Recommendations for Europe

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by FrequentMiler, Jan 30, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. FrequentMiler

    FrequentMiler Gold Member

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    I just booked a 3 person award trip to Europe for Aug 5 to 15 (Delta bus. class 100K miles per person). We'll fly into Paris (arriving morning Aug 6) and out of Amsterdam on the 15th. In between, we have no plans set at all. Thanks to platinum elite status on Delta, I can add additional legs to the itinerary with no additional cost as long as I keep to no more than one layover and one open jaw.

    At this point, I'm just looking for whatever miscellaneous recommendations people have for places to go, things to do, places to stay, etc. We have plenty of SPG, Hilton, Chase UR, Marriott, and Club Carlson points that we can use. However, we tend to enjoy smaller boutique hotels or B&Bs more than big impersonal hotels. There are 3 of us (my wife, me, and our 12 year old son) which can sometimes make finding rooms in Europe a challenge.

    For stuff to do: we enjoy walking around cities, hiking in nature, food tours, train travel, ... We could put up with a day tour or two if they're really good. A couple of museums would be nice, but our son will lose patience with too much of that. We're not shoppers. We like castles, and we love great (but not too fancy) food.

    For where to go: We definitely want to explore Paris. We'll happily walk many miles (kilometers?) each day and don't mind taking the subway. Should we spend about a week in Paris and then a few days in Amsterdam before going home? What other cities/towns should we consider?

    We travel quite a bit, so I don't see this as the big once in a lifetime trip to Europe. My goal is not to try to fit everything in at a whirlwind pace. Instead, I'd like for us to take our time and get to know a bit of Paris and maybe fit in an excursion or two. It's really all up in the air right now. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing what my fellow Milepointers recommend!
     
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  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Close to a week in Paris would be nice, with day trips to Versailles and/or Fontainebleu using regional train lines. Between Paris and Amsterdam, (roughly) there's Brussels, Brugges, and Antwerp, all with good train service.. It's hard to see the chateaux of the Loire without a car or the willingness to bicycle long distances along pretty flat secondary roads with lots of traffic. Don't try to do too much in one trip.
     
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  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I'm planning a trip report on Paris starting next week (Feb 10 or 11). But I can say right now that Paris, for me, is all about food. Laduree is a must, and I always visit Le Bosquet even though it's probably not something any tourist would find on his own.
     
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  4. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    You might be surprised the last (and only) time I was there I think half the diners were American.. in fact one guy at the next table we spoke to took the RER all way fom his hotel at CDG to dine there.:)
     
  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    [quote="For stuff to do: we enjoy walking around cities, hiking in nature, food tours, train travel, ... We could put up with a day tour or two if they're really good. A couple of museums would be nice, but our son will lose patience with too much of that. We're not shoppers. We like castles, and we love great (but not too fancy) food.

    [/quote]

    One museum I almost guarantee your son will love is the Musee de l 'Armee (military museum) which in part of the same compound at Place de Invalides where Napoleons tomb is situated.
     
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  6. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    Sounds like a great trip. I was in Amsterdam last year and enjoyed the Hotel Pulitzer using SPG - hotel on the canal (no need to pay extra for canal view). They have a great private boat tour of the canals which was well worth the extra money in my opinion. Good location to walk everywhere and a supermarket at the end of the street. They have great tips on facebook from the concierge team. For bike tour I did JoyRide's bike tours (city and country)- w/your son may be best to do their country tour which stopped at cheese and clog maker along the way. City tour good but busy in traffic not sure about that for kids. Starting point IAmsterdam between museums.
    I love, love Paris for the wine and chocolate and tend to just walk around for hours depending on the weather. I have friends who enjoyed the underground sewer tour with their boys. I've stayed at the Westin liked location but thought hotel tired and not special. The W is opening soon but if like London rooms will be tiny.
    I would look to Accor options, since they are French, I've had good luck in the past w/smaller properties in neighborhoods but not sure if they have family rooms as I travel solo
    Have fun
     
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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Scheduling at that level is very personal. I'd love to have two solid weeks in Paris. My wife thinks it looks like Philadelphia.

    I grew up in Paris from the ages of 8 to 11. A couple of things that I really enjoyed were the Palais de la Decouverte (Discovery Museum) which had lots and lots of hands-on science exhibits and the Jardin D'Acllimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, sort of a combination zoo, fair ground (with rides) and playground. Not an earth-shattering attraction, but a very pleasant half-day out.
     
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  8. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Yes, there are Americans there. I didn't mean to say it was locals only, but that I happened across it by chance and it's not really on the way to any tourist attractions. (It's near the Eiffel Tower, but not between it and the Metro.) It does have good TripAdvisor ratings, so that probably attracts people.
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I would suggest hopping on a train and going to where people go in France in August: Nice and la Côte d'Azur. I have always gotten a great kick out of NCE, and I suspect that your 12-year old would love it there (you if you do not mind that there will be half-naked folks on the beaches). It will take you about 4 hours by train from Paris and there is a train that can take you back directly to CDG. Monaco is just minutes away from NCE, but you will have a blast just staying in NCE and walking around. It might be a bit pricey, but since you do not care about the glitzy hotels, you might be able to find something reasonable, like the IBIS chain. Nice is really nice!
     
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  10. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Well its so happens that was how we found the place. We were staying at the (former) Paris Hilton which is right at the Tower and walked by there. However since Ave Bosquet crosses over Rue Dominique arguably the street with the most dining establishments (think Thoumieiux, L' Violin de Ingres, Fontaine de Mars, Cafe Constan, L' Croque au Sel etc etc ) certainly in that general area or perhaps all Paris it would be in an area recommended by anyone who wanted to steer visitors towards decent dining.
     
  11. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    When I was a kid I lived one block from this intersection, just off Rue St Dominque.
     
  12. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    agreed !
    the following said in my best Brando voice from Apocalypse Now: the hordes, the hordes, the hordes
    excellent, besides the above, perhaps rent a car and see the D-Day sights in Normandy (we really enjoyed this, we did go in the off season so it wasn't crowded)
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Hey, like they say, "the more, the merrier", especially for the teenager!:) I just come alive in Nice, especially in Old Nice...but YMMV...
     
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  14. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    Nothing against Paris (duh) but Paris + Amsterdam sounds like a pretty urban time. Maybe some countryside thrown in? In August I'd pick either Brittany or someplace in the Alps foothills like Annecy. Brittany has some wonderful countryside and coastline, and Haute Savoie is drop-dead gorgeous, with lakes, mountains, cute towns (Annecy itself is fabulous.) Maybe a day or two in Paris for a little rapid sightseeing, then a quick train ride to Rennes (Brittany) or Annecy, get a car and explore the countryside for a few days, then lose the car and train to A'dam.

    In Brittany you could (read, ought to) go to the southern coast of the peninsula (around Quimper) for some great scenery and history (Celtic ruins at Carnac) ... and the food's not bad either, or in Haute Savoie toodle around the mountains, or take a day trip into Geneva or Lausanne. Wonderful areas, both.
     
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