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Need help going from UK to France to ......

BILLVACK

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We have planned a trip for next year to spend approx 20 days in Europe. We have flights that arrive in London on July 3rd and Leave Zurich on July 23rd. Other than that, we have no plans.
Our idea was to spend a few days in London, take the chunnel to Paris for a few days, then take a train to Frankfurt, Germany. From there, rent a car and head to the Bavarian section and onto Zurich.

What's confusing us is the trains. They have combo tickets, multi day tickets, multi country tickets. I don't think the UK is a part of the rest of the rail system but not sure. So I don't know what to look at.

Any suggestions or websites that would help us plan a bit would be great. It will be 2 adults and 2 children. No Timeshares this time. Most likely will look in VRBO for rental units.

Also, if you think we are missing anything or should change anything, please advise. As you can see, we are open for the 3 weeks, except for arrival and departure dates and cities.
Thanks
Bill
 

Bwolf

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Having lived in Germany a few years, with visits to England and France, I'd recommend chucking the train. Rent a car in Paris and drive. The roads are great, the driving pleasant, the views fantastic.

Just be sure you bone-up on European driving laws and signs. I'm sure you can find a rental company that will permit you to leave the car in Zurich.

HTH :)
 

x3 skier

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For your first leg of the trip, I would take the Eurostar from London to Paris. Fast and comfortable and no worries about left/right hand drive and traffic.

After that, renting a car or trains would be a toss up to me.

Pros for the car:
Go where and when you want
No need to try and figure train schedules (although that's really not that hard)
Stop if the whim strikes you
Cons for the car:
Gas is not cheap
Almost impossible to use in city centers
Easy to get lost unless you pay attention or use a GPS (BTW, finding the drop off point can be a hoot unless it is at an airport)

Pros for the Train:
Reliable and very easy to use
Possible use of Eurail pass (I personally think they are not worth the money but YMMV see www.eurail.com. They do have some Family deals that are pretty good)
Runs from Big City Center to Big City Center as well as smaller towns
Cons for the Train:
May not be convenient for what you want to see
Need to figure out public transportation in town (Still easier than trying to drive in town)
Lugging bags to and from the Train

My bottom line is depending on where you are going to spend most of your time, either the train or car can be the best.:shrug:

If you plan to spend most of the time in the major city centers, the train is the best way to go. If you want to see more of the country side and smaller locations, rent a car.

The best deal is to take European Delivery of a car like Mercedes, BMW or others and use it to see Europe. You can save big bucks if you are in the market for a German or other European car like Volvo. :D I have done it and was a fantastic experience.

I would also skip Frankfurt and go to Munich as a base of exploration. Munich is much more interesting than the more Commercial Frankfurt.

If this is your or your family members first time to Europe, I would spend most of the time in the big cities of London, Paris, Munich with a cruise on the Rhine for a little variety. 4-5 days in each with travel days in between is a good sample to wet your appetite. Day trips via tours to Cambridge from London, Versailles from Paris, and the Concentration Camps near Munich for a sobering history lesson will add variety to the Big City sights.

Cheers
 

BILLVACK

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Thanks for the replies. We have decided to drop the train idea and go for the car from France.
I like the idea of 'cruise on the Rhine for a little variety' and have checked out http://www.jpmoser.com/aufschoenburg.html.
It looks very interesting. x3 skier, do you have any ideas or thoughts about this or other castles along the Rhine we could stay in. I figure for 1 night it would be an experience.
Thanks Again
 

x3 skier

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No castle recommendations but a nice town to visit is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is a walled city and we stayed there overnight. They have a Night Watchman tour that gets good reviews. There are many castles one can visit and most have restaurants.

For a good Rhine Cruise, check the KD Line. http://www.k-d.com/englisch/index.html We had lunch in St. Goar and visited a Castle near there. Cannot remember the name.

Cheers
 
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Carolinian

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There are also some good river cruises on the Elbe around Dresden, that go to a number of castles and palaces, and use the world's largest surviving fleet of sidewheeler steamboats. Around Dresden, there are also several surviving narrow gauge steam rail lines, one of which runs to one of the former palaces of the Kings of Saxony.

I would concur on missing Frankfurt, which was bombed to oblivion in WWII and rebuilt a functional 1950s way, ignoring most of the past other than the tiny area immediately around the Romerberg. Dresden, which also suffered huge destruction by firebombing, has been rebuilt with much more respect for history. If you have to stop over around Frankfurt, I would recommend staying in Limburg on the Lahn, with an exceedingly well preserved medieval core including a castle and a medieval bridge over the Lahn complete with defensive medieval bridge towers, that is still in use for vehicular traffic. Limburg on the Lahn is not as touristed as Rothenburg on the Tauber and is only 18 minutes from the Frankfurt airport by ICE fast train.
 
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