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France: On The Road

Paris, the city of love and a thousand other clichés, still holds a certain mystic. But no matter how many written words this great city has commanded - however familiar this town may appear - Paris will always remain an enigma, a magnet for millions of visitors from around the world.

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Full Name French Republic
Capital City Paris

547,030 sq km
211,208 sq miles

Population 60,400,000
Time Zone GMT/UTC +1(Central European Time)
Daylight Saving Start last Sunday in March
Daylight Saving End last Sunday in October
Languages French (official)
Religion 86% Roman Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Protestant 1% Jewish, 3% unaffiliated
Currency Euro (Euro)
Electricity 230V 50HzHz
Country Dialing Code 33


Planning a Smart and Satisfying Europe Trip

Before you even pack your bags and jump on the first flight to Amsterdam, we're going to have to do the dirty work. That's right. We need to take the time to spread out those big Europe maps and open some guidebooks to plan our trip right. You could never really cover the entire landmass of Europe in one trip unless you had an unlimited source of travel money, so some basic decisions have to be made before you even call your travel agent. Will you try to cover as many countries as you can in the given time or do you choose to explore a few countries and cities in depth instead?.First, you have to decide where you will start and end your journey.

London is a major entry point for flights into Europe, but you could also start and end in Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Athens.Second, consider your mode of transport when you get to Europe. You will need to take a hard look at your budget to factor in the ticket prices of the boats/trains/buses/planes you will be riding. Rail is a good way to cover a large area in a smaller amount of time. Rented cars can give you a lot of flexibility but can isolate you from the local culture.

You will most probably use a combination of train, bus, ferry, foot, trams and rail to get around most cities.When planning your route, make sure it is based on the way you want to travel and see the sights. It should include stopovers or roads with elements that interest you, such as views and historic significance (some castles, bridges, views, etc.). But you have to be realistic.

There's not much point in only staying for a day or two in a city that interests you; you will miss most of the sights and you will most likely be totally exhausted before you even reach the end of your trip. Make sure your transport routes are clearly traced: zigzagging back and forth across cities can take its toll on your sanity and your wallet.It's always a good idea to pick the cities you think you must absolutely visit (London, Paris, Vienna and Rome are always popular).

Allow at least two or three days in each city and a day in between for travel time. You can also go to side trips if the time allows (like Versailles if you're already in Paris). Add a few days for relaxing along the way and see how many days that adds up to. If it's too long, you will have to cut some cities out. Or you could choose two or three countries and spend at least four days in each.

With each country, allow three days in the capital and an extra day for other towns and villages.Once you come up with a workable itinerary, you are now ready to travel. Just remember to have extra cash for unforeseen events and circumstances and always be open to changing your plans once you're there. However, try your best to stick to what you planned to do and thoroughly consider visiting new cities. Don't just throw the entire planned route away just because some travelers say that a certain city is "unmissable".

Again, what may appeal to other travellers may or may not work for you.Always be on the lookout for travel burn-out. Don't panic and try to cram too many cities in too little time.

Travel steadily, pack light and always allow enough time just to relax and take everything in. Enjoy!.


Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Europe Vacation.

By: Michael Russell

Discover France

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