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froggymomma
01-16-2011, 06:59 PM
We've just booked the July 9 11 Day Med Cruise! We are thinking about either traveling to Paris post cruise for 3 days - or exploring Spain. Can anyone offer suggestions? There are two families - so four adults - and two children, ages 10 and 12

Looking around there seems to be an overnight train to Paris - what do you do with all of your luggage between the time you disembark from the cruise and the evening when the train departs? Anyone have experience and recommendations?

Another option for us is to remain in Spain for a few days - are there recommended sites/cities outside of Barcelona that anyone would recommend?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide - we decided on this trip just a few days ago and I don't want to book airfare until we decide where we will be

sinnika
01-16-2011, 07:25 PM
We took the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona prior to the cruise last May. It was a fun experience and we arrived in Barcelona around 9am. We negotiated with a taxi driver to tour us around for a few hours before boarding so it was a good use of our time and a way for us to have our luggage held in the taxi minivan and we were on the ship around 1:30pm and straight to our stateroom. We splurged for grand class cabins on the train so we could take showers and have our own bathroom. Perhaps you can hire a taxi for the day to do the same and see the sights of Barcelona before leaving if you want to travel after the cruise. :goodvibes

OrangeCountyCommuter
01-16-2011, 07:27 PM
Most European train stations have a luggage storeage area. It will cost you a few Euros but I have never had any issues using it.

KrisannB
01-16-2011, 07:34 PM
We did the Paris after the TA cruise in April and actually found flying there cheaper for us than taking the train. We were there by early afternoon - went to the airport from the ship, then flew out. My one word of caution - if you are doing the train PACK LIGHT!

gatzsd
01-16-2011, 07:39 PM
We did Paris before our trip to Barcelona and flying one way to/from Paris I believe is a lot cheaper and easier. We used Easyjet and had no problems whatsoever (can't say the same for Air France as we never saw our luggage again!) The weight limit for luggage is lighter though - closer to 40 lbs.

froggymomma
01-17-2011, 01:06 PM
Thanks for all of the input so far. We had never considered flying to Paris - just assumed it would be more expensive than the train, and yet it is not!

For those with experience flying EasyJet - what happens when your bags are heavier than the 40 lb limit? Will they accept them with extra charges? I have a feeling that after the cruise we will be working hard to keep our bags to the US 50 lb limit.

One of the reasons we had thought about the train was the opportunity to see the country as we travelled through it - but the day time trains required transferring to another train and the website said less than 30 minutes between the two. We were concerned with getting all of us and all of our luggage from Train A to Train B in under 30.

Can anyone who traveled to Paris before/after the cruise recommend a hotel? We are two families of 3 and right now we are thinking about the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. We will likely have 2-3 days. So any ideas of "not to miss" sites are also appreciated!

Thanks for all of your help - this is our very first (can you tell?) trip to Europe and it can seem overwhelming!

dursin
01-17-2011, 01:39 PM
If you've never been on a European train before, you may still want to consider that if the price difference isn't too much. We took the Eurostar between London and Paris a few years back and the train ride was a great experience. Nothing like the broken down dirty wrecks they call trains here in the US. :)

When we were in Paris, we stayed at this place:

http://www.hotelduminyvendome.com/uk/index.php
Very affordable, but small hotel right in the middle of everything. Had a really nice breakfast to start each day. About a 5 minute walk to the Louvre. We walked to the Eiffel Tower from there too, but not sure I'd recommend that again as it wasn't as close as it looked when we started the journey. :)

mca
01-17-2011, 01:47 PM
Thanks for all of the input so far. We had never considered flying to Paris - just assumed it would be more expensive than the train, and yet it is not!

For those with experience flying EasyJet - what happens when your bags are heavier than the 40 lb limit? Will they accept them with extra charges? I have a feeling that after the cruise we will be working hard to keep our bags to the US 50 lb limit.

One of the reasons we had thought about the train was the opportunity to see the country as we travelled through it - but the day time trains required transferring to another train and the website said less than 30 minutes between the two. We were concerned with getting all of us and all of our luggage from Train A to Train B in under 30.

Can anyone who traveled to Paris before/after the cruise recommend a hotel? We are two families of 3 and right now we are thinking about the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. We will likely have 2-3 days. So any ideas of "not to miss" sites are also appreciated!

Thanks for all of your help - this is our very first (can you tell?) trip to Europe and it can seem overwhelming!

I strongly suggest you buy a few books from the Rick Steves collection, available just about everywhere ( google his website). They are excellent and will answer every question you may have. A very worth while investment!

KevinP1935
01-17-2011, 02:07 PM
I strongly suggest you buy a few books from the Rick Steves collection, available just about everywhere ( google his website). They are excellent and will answer every question you may have. A very worth while investment!

I second mca's Rick Steves advice. I have used his books when I've travelled to Paris. Here's a small hotel my wife and I stayed at, near the Eiffel Tower and a great pedestrian market street (Rue Cler). Also close to subway.

http://www.hotelmottepicquetparis.com/

Forgot to mention, I've also flown EasyJet, great airline with very affordable pricing.

MrShiny
01-17-2011, 02:33 PM
In paris, we found this inexpensive hotel in a GREAT area - great restaursants (one of the best creperies in the city one street over) and easy access to the metro. They also had rooms that slept 4, which was very hard to find.

http://www.hotel-des-bains-montparnasse.com/

We did a night train from Florence to Paris. We stored our luggage for the day in Florence (a bit tricket because we came into Florence in one station and left via another - use a taxi between).

We had a couchette - we had it all to ourselves since we were 4. The kids (14 & 10) had no problems on the upper births, but my wife and I did not find our sleep so restful!

STLUCIELADY
01-17-2011, 06:23 PM
We did Paris prior to our cruise in Sept. We flew into Barcelona. In the airport there is a place that you can lock up your luggage for a fee. We (2 of us) got the large locker, paid in advance, and took an Easyjet flight to Charles degaul airport. It was extremely cheap and the airline is great. They do charge heavily for luggage. You can bring one carryon with you for no charge. That's what we did. The flight is super quick. We then took the high speed train from the airport to the Radisson Blu right outside Disney. The train takes 9 minutes. :thumbsup2 We booked it in tandem with our Easyjet flight and saved alot. It even included the most amazing breakfast buffet I have ever seen. The breakfast separately was 42 Euros :scared1: It keep us full for most of the day. They had a free shuttle to Disneyland which is also the main train/metro station. It was very easy to get into Paris proper and it only took about 20 minutes total. We got the all day pass which gave us use of the trains, buses and metro all day for like 6 euro. We stayed 3 nights and were able to see all the main city attractions (Eiffel tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Ile St Louis, Champs etc. We used the Batobus since we only had a short period of time and wanted to see alot. It was a beautiful way to see the city, a relaxing Seine river boat ride. Have fun!