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Old 12-28-2010, 05:04 AM   #1
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Default traveling to Europe

Thinking I might take the Mrs's to Paris, France for a week in late September. One of the items on my "bucket list", no matter how corny it may sound, is to hear Jimmy Buffett play "He Went to Paris" in Paris. And, as fate would have it, Buffett is playing in Paris on 26 Sep 11.

So my questions are many, Am I better off trying to plan, and book the whole thing by myself ? I have been shopping on-line, and it looks like I can get round trip airfare for the both of us for roughly 2 grand, flying from PNS to PAR.

I have about 5 grand earmarked for the trip...enough ?

Am I going to do any better with a travel agent ? How about flying a discount carrier ( Airtran, South West, etc ) to a major airport, then over the pond ?

Anyone got any recommendations for hotels ? I have found several within walking distance of the L'Olympia ( the venue for the show ), which is also in Central Paris, which to me means more sight seeing. My main concern is I don't know the facilities, and what to expect. I don't mind paying a premium price, but now sure how to judge the value of the product to the price tag ?

I also want to do some sight seeing, 'cause no matter how big a parrothead I am, I really can't see a trip to Europe just to catch a show, and fly home. I have toured Germany abit, way back in my military days, So I want to stay in the France area.

I have also thought about flying into London, spend a night there, do the tourist thing, and take the train to Paris, with a night in the Normandy area. Maybe do some sight seeing up that neck of the woods, visit some of the cemeteries from the Normandy landings, and tour the battlefields ?

Anyone have any intel on Public transportation ? Trains, Subways, Taxi's, Buses, that sort of thing. Not sure about renting a car, and all that goes with that, so I'm leaning more towards public transportation.

Any thoughts, pointers or points of contact would be greatly appreciated !!
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:41 AM   #2
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A good travel agent can make things alot easier in my opinion. From what I understand they make money off the airlines and such, not the client. (this may not be true anymore) There is plenty of transportation so a car is probably not necessary. Since it is costly and time consuming to make the trip I would see as many places as possible while there. You never know if you'll make it back. Sounds like it would be a trip of a lifetime seeing Buffett there. Good luck. SHB
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:52 AM   #3
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Hey, take em some mango's...I heard some guy ate the last one.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:10 AM   #4
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Yes, definitely take mangoes!! I think that guy, Paul or Marlin, I forget his name, ate the last mango in Paris long ago so they are craving them and you could barter mangoes for most anything you needed there!!

Seriously, if I were planning on see Buffet in Paris 3/4 of the way through next year, I would definitely try to check on tickets before I left!! What a let down to finally get to Paris and find out that all the tickets are sold and the scalpers are getting a Grand a ticket for them!!

If you are only going for a week, you will probably find that there is more to see in downtown Paris than you could possible cover in that short time! Just try to ignore the local populace, they were the rudest people I met in 3 years of living and traveling throughout Europe back in the 60's!! And I was fluent in both French and German at the time so I understood most of the smart assed remarks they made about us as we passed by! The city is beautiful, I wouldn't give you one franc for a whole dumpster full of the locals though.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:55 AM   #5
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The biggest question is how many days do you want to spend in Europe? If just a few - take a direct flight to Paris on British Air. If you have a week or more take Iceland Air (stops in Iceland) to London and take the bullet train to Paris.

No need to rent a car where you are going, just take the trains. If you decide to roam the countryside, rent a car (or motorcycle) for the day. You can walk just about anywhere.

Hotels - there are lots of good ones, just look online and read the guest reviews (they tell more than the website). I like the local hotels as opposed to the American chains over there.

Travel Agent - Not necessary but if you get overwhelmed give them a call.

Site Seeing - This sounds corny but the best way to see all of Paris is to take the boat tours. If you have extra time visit the Louvre, Notre Dame, The Arch(s), Champs Elysees, etc. Give the Eiffel Tower a look but only go to the top if you have half a day and don't mind looking at a lot of rooftops.

Budget - 5K would probably get it done but you would need to be frugal. 7k would open up some options for you (based on 7 days or so).

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:48 PM   #6
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Book everything yourself and buy a "Ricks Steve's" book.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Some of the most famous artwork in the world is at the Louvre. I would spend a day there.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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Having just returned from living in Germany last year (3 years), I have been to Paris a few times. The best way to get around Paris is with the metro system (Subway). My wife, 4 kids and I went all around Paris using this method. If you you stay at a hotel make sure it's near one of the stations, they are real easy to use. Another museum to see is the Rodin (The Thinker), it's right across from the Les Invalides Hospital where Napoleon is buried. When you go to the Notre Dam just beware of the beggars, tons of them, they would always hold up a sign that said "Do you speak English?" and in my best english I would repy "No" and move on.

If you have any questions feel free to email me. Plus I have tons of pictures.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:00 PM   #9
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There are more scammers over there than here. Remember to NOT use your ATM/Check/Debit card. They can clean out your bank account in one swipe. Use a credit card.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:15 PM   #10
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I was in Austria and Germany for 10 days back in September. One tip for you. Watch the exchange rate the next several months and when (if) the dollar rebounds, get your bank to get you some euros. Most of those exchange places (including banks) are rip-offs.
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