Post # 1
Hey, Bees! In the early stages of planning our honeymoon for end of June/early July 2018! It will be our first time in Europe and we’ve decided on 4 nights in Paris, 4 nights in Nice (with a few day trips to nearby cities) and 4 nights in Barcelona.
Looking for recommendations on booking travel — is it possible to get a good deal booking “open jaw” flights (flying into one city and out of the other)? How far out should we buy?
Would you recommend hotels or AirB&B (or does it depend on the city)? Lastly, what is a reasonable budget for the 4 days/nights we have planned in each city (food, transportation, activities)?
As far as things to do, I think we’ll skip the museums, as it’s not really our thing — we’re mostly just interested in sightseeing, maybe some night life and good (affordable) restaurants.
I have just started my research and it looks like the time allocated is reasonable, but any other tips, reccs would be super appreciated!
Post # 2
I’ve done similar trips a few times and the question that comes to mind right away: why Nice? It’s a nightmare that time of year and there are much prettier towns and cities in the south of France.
Post # 3
I’ve heard that it’s a good place to stay as a base. What other towns do you recommend?
Post # 4
I love Airbnb, don’t get me wrong, but the big drawback is that you really can never tell until you’re there if they’ll enforce the morning checkout (often 10am). It often depends if the host works, has other guests, uses a cleaner etc.
If your onward travel from a city isn’t until later that day you’re lumbered with your bags or seeking out left luggage services etc. Sometimes a hotel and leaving bags with a concierge is just easier! Just something to think about!
Post # 5
That’s a really good point! I’ll definitely consider that when booking travels from one point to another.
Post # 6
That sounds like a lovely trip! If you’re not big on art, it’s probably not a bad distribution of time. I’d be mindful though of how jet lagged you might feel the first few days, and also how much of a day will be eaten up by transportation. Do you plan to take trains between those 3 places? Transit time whether you fly or take a train will take up a decent chunk of those days.
And for that itinerary, I’d look for an open jaw ticket. I’d set a google flight alert for your days (or a few variations if you’re flexible) and wait for a deal. Hopper (an app) can also let you know what’s normal vs. what’s good in terms of flight prices on those days.
As for places to stay: Barcelona has cracked down on AirBnB so I’d avoid it there. Our Paris AirBnb cancelled on us 2 days before our trip, so I’m hesistant to suggest it, but my sister is there in an AirBnb now and is loving it. I’d recommend hotel if you’re nervous about travel delays and arrangements with hosts since you sometimes have to meet someone to get keys, etc. It’s really up to personal preference. When we were in Barcelona, we stayed at Retrome and really liked it. It’s fairly affordable, in a good area, and trendy. The beds weren’t awesome, but we liked the rest of our experience there.
And budget is immensely variable on how you travel/what you do. I’d take a look at hotel prices, restaurant menus that stand out to you, and the price for activites you’d like to do and try to estimate what that would run you a day.
Post # 7
I’ve reread my post, which is much harsher than I meant it to be! I’m sorry about that.
Are you deadset on the French Riviera? I just prefer Provence, but it depends on what you would like to do and if you are willing to rent a car. My husband and I stayed here this summer: http://www.lamaisondulysse.com/en/ and it was spectacular in every way. We actually just recommended it to friends for their honeymoon next year!
With your time, I would spend four or five days in Paris, and then book a week somewhere indulgent and beautiful in the south of France, save Spain for another trip. I have also used Airbnb to rent homes in the south of France and that’s always very dreamy, but requires a bit more independence and comfort with the language.
I had some issues with a Paris Airbnb earlier this year due to the increased enforcement but it was all resolved. It was worth it to me to stick it out with Airbnb because my stay was a month long so the savings were significant. For a shorter stay in Paris, especially if you’re not familiar with the city and you find uncertainty stressful (understandable!), a hotel might be the better choice.
Post # 8
we booked our 2 week honeymoon, touring italy through http://www.europeandestinations.com. it was very easy, a few friends had used it before and suggested it to us.
you can put in all the cities you want to travel and how you want to get from place to place and it will book everything for you.
Post # 9
I used VRBO for Paris in June 2016. It ended up being right around $125/nt which was a steal compared to the hotels in the same area. I would highly recommend that.
On the first full day there, we went on a walking tour through a husband-wife owned company called Wego Walking tour. It was good to get a lay of the land. I was given tickets to the second floor of the Eiffle Tower, so we went. I wasn’t going to go otherwise, but the view was amazing and great for after the tour — you end up near the Eiffle Tower.
I really also enjoyed the Seine River Cruise for one hour.
I would not recommend going to the Palace of Versailles in June. It was a mess when we went and I would never go again.
One of my favorite dinners there was a small place called Minimes. It was reasonably priced and very tasty.
Mostly, enjoy the morning pastries, fresh bread, and delicious sandwiches at the boulangeires.
Post # 10
Yes, do book open jaw, it is the most efficient way to travel on a multi destination trip like yours. It will usually save you money as well since you won’t have to back track. I use both hotels and private apartments/houses depending on the specifics of my trip and needs. I’d look to staffed hotels/inns for the trip you described.
I agree with glitterati :
, she gave great advice on tweaking the trip. It is what I would do if it were my trip too.
Post # 11
wildflowerz : glitterati :
Thank you! I think we would prefer not to rent a car. I’ve heard parking/traffic can be a nightmare, and probably more expensive than just using public transportation. We will consider visiting other small towns nearby, though!
Post # 12
I always harp on about this when I get chance, but when you are in Nice if you have a car drive out to Gorges du Verdon (about 1 hour inland) – google it, it is stunning and quite a hidden gem which doesn’t get overly crowded – at least it wasn’t when we went 2 years ago.
We stayed between nice & Cannes whilst in the French Riviera. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly unwhelmed by it (other than the Gorge du Verdon). Perhaps we just didn’t do the right things (we went to Monaco etc) but I just found everywhere to be a bit too crowded (the beaches were impossible) and I just wasn’t feeling it. We didn’t get as far as St Tropez but I’ve heard it is very nice, although I was concerned it might be a bit pretentious as it is known for attracting very wealthy folk.
My favourite part of France aside from Paris is the Pyrenees – we flew to Toulouse once and stayed in a place called Pau. We loved it there (DH is a cyclist and it is a great place for biking, which was one of the key reasons for going).
Paris is my favourite European city of those I have visited, you will love it! We didn’t do anything specific whilst there, just wandering around and taking in the sights was more than enough.
Barcelona is also a great choice. Again I don’t recall doing any specific thing whilst there but we just loved wandering the streets. La Ramblas is amazing, and the Gaudi architecture is so unique. We also went to Barceloneta to see the beach and went in an ice bar while we were there (random!)
I can’t offer much advice on flights as we are from the UK so different route. And hotel wise we didn’t book with Air B&B, just booked direct with hotels.
Post # 13
I’ve stayed at Airbnb’s several times in Barcelona, and they have been fine but for a 1 bedroom vs. hotel, it’s almost the same price, so I think it’s probably more convenient to go the hotel route. A lot of the more inexpensive places have you sharing a house and/or bathroom which is probably not as comfortable as having your own place.
To eliminate a lot of flights, you might want to think about going from Paris to SW France and then train / bus to Barcelona. There’s the TGV from Paris to Toulouse (I actually live here) and then you can take a train or bus to Barcelona pretty easily. You can also do St. Emilion or Bordeaux which is only 1.5 hrs from Toulouse. Flying may seem easy when you think it’s a 1.5 hr flight, but in reality it takes much longer. For example, when I fly to London it’s 1.5 hrs but it takes almost 6 hrs to go door to door bc you waste a lot of time getting there early for security and passport control. So just something to take into account.
Also it’s hard to give an idea on how much things will cost – hotels in peak season in Barcelona can run $250-300 a night, so it’s not cheap. In comparison, I went in March and it was $100 a night and much more expensive in July bc it’s more touristy. If you need more recs on BCN let me know – we are getting married there so we’ve spent a decent amount of time there.
Post # 14
Thank you! I agree with the hotels — from what I’ve seen, there’s not a huge difference in price and at least hotels can hold your bags if you are not checked in or after check out. And no need to make arrangements with the host.
What time of year did you visit the French Riviera? I am guessing early July will be crowded, too — but for us, weather is important and if we have to choose, we rather deal with crowds than cold/rainy weather.
Post # 15
We visited in early September. I know what you mean, I also would rather have nice weather even if it means it’ll be a bit busier.