I need help planning our trip to Paris please.
June 19, 2012 7:48 AM   Subscribe

I posted this question a few months ago and have since narrowed down our options. Need help deciding please!

Here's what's definite so far - we are going to Paris in November for at least 4-5 days, where we will stay at the Westin Paris. We can spend about 9 days total in Europe.

I can't decide which of the following we should do after that:

- Travel elsewhere in France for a few days (Loire?)

- Take the train to Munich for a few days and fly home from Munich (or Munich first, then Paris)

- Stay in Paris the whole time

Some background - my wife and I are 35-40 years old, enjoy cities, nice hotels, good food, taking photos, exploring etc. I was in Paris once for half a day, my wife has never been there. Neither of us have ever been to Munich. We are Jewish so we are both interested in the concentration camps (if we go to Munich). We tend to like places that are not overly touristy (I was turned off by Siena, Italy, for example, because it seemed to be a city that operated solely for tourists. We loved Bologna because it was more of a real city for real people, not just American tourists.) We are not really interested in bed and breakfasts, guest houses, etc.
posted by kdern to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I took a train from Paris to Dijon and really enjoyed it. They have an awesome museum there, Palais des Duke, I stayed at the Foyer International des Etudiants, but I was younger then. There were tons of adorable looking hotels right by the station. The Bus was easy to use and got me where I was going.

The food in Dijon was amazing. You can see the Grey Poupon store! Mustards and vinegars, oh my goodness.

You can take the TGV to Nice and check out the cities along the Mediterranian on the little Chemens de fer de Provence. I went to Monte Carlo. There is a Chagall gallery in Nice. And it's so beautiful.

You can get a 4 day Francerail ticket (cheaper if you buy in the US) that was a great deal and let me travel any way I wanted, very easily.

I'd skip Germany. That's a whole other thing and frankly one country per visit is much easier to manage.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:00 AM on June 19, 2012

--Munich is a great town and far from touristy. It is a great mix of some urbanity with a very small German village feel to it.
--You're unlikely to get much out of the Loire valley without getting a car.
--Paris is Paris. It can be extremely touristy but its also a large working city and so its possible to find your own corner of it.

I'd go to Munich. It makes a great contrast to Paris. Trains there go through Strasbourg which has yet another nice feel to it. And it has one of my favorite cathedrals for the way it just sits in the middle of the city like some benign beast.
posted by vacapinta at 8:04 AM on June 19, 2012

If Munich is your best opportunity to visit a concentration camp, then I would go to Munich. The visit to an intact camp can be profound. I have not been to Dachau but I have been to Terezin and it fundamentally altered my understanding of the war.

It's a very worthwhile experience but it isn't by any means happy. Ergo, I would consider going to Munich first, and then moving on to Paris. The train is 9 hours; I would fly. Both Lufthansa and Air France cover that route multiple times a day.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:25 AM on June 19, 2012

I have been to Munich and it's alright but I can't see myself going back unless it's for business. It's a nice enough place, but it's so not touristy that you may find yourself a bit bored of it after a few days. I would much rather travel around France if I were heading to Paris right now.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:34 AM on June 19, 2012

Would you consider taking the Thalys to Amsterdam? It takes only 3.5 hours. Amsterdam is wonderful and lots of jewish history: Anne Frank house, Jewish Historical Museum, Dutch Resistance Museum, Jordaan neighborhood.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:06 PM on June 19, 2012

I thought about Amsterdam - do you think it should be a day trip or a second city to fly home from?
posted by kdern at 2:20 PM on June 19, 2012

Too much for a day trip. Amsterdam deserves lots of time to wander and relax. Flying open-jaw would be perfect.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:35 AM on June 21, 2012

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