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Paris to Venice, but ....

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Paris to Venice, but ....

We are planning to fly from the US to Paris, spend a few days there and then (great blank here) eventually wind up in Venice. For the days in between (a week) we want to consider some independent travel. I am just beginning my research, but had a few basic questions as we narrow some of this down.

1) Our children are 13 and 16 and very good travelers. We will not have a problem traveling with carry-on bags only. That does, however, preclude the idea of skiing anywhere -- which is fine. So my question is: Will the charming towns of the French, Swiss or Italian Alps still be under a lot of snow with no hiking posssibilities in mid-april?

2) French, Swiss or Italian Alps?

3) Drive, take a train?

4) Stay in France? Normandy interests my husband but I'm thinking that's a day trip from Paris, not a destination for us.

All advice, suggestions, welcomed!

1 reply
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 17,244
reviews: 113
1. Re: Paris to Venice, but ....

There are no towns in the mountains. All the resorts are villages up there. The towns in Switzerland are either on the plateau or around the lakes or in some cases close to the mountains like Chur, Sion, Martigny etc.

So if you want to hike in mid April staying in any of our towns is fine and you can certainly hike as there will be no snow down here. In mid April the snow level has normally gone up to about 1700-1900m depending on the exposure to sun (north or south facing slope) but pretty much between that level and about 1000m it is very muddy so you probably won't want to hike there. Many resorts have winter walking paths that they maintain all winter but unless the resort is very high these won't be in great condition in April.

On top of that, many lower resorts close down in mid April when they have no more snow on their pistes. But this year Easter is very late so whether this will happen or not is a question mark!

I would suggest you stay somewhere around a lake - lake of Luzern, Thun, Brienz, the Léman etc - and then go to a nearby high resort to ski when you want to. from Luzern you can easily get to Titlis at Engelberg. Around lakes Thun and Brienz there is Mürren which is very high - village is over 1800m. And near the Léman is Verbier which will stay open with spring skiing conditions until the beginning of May.

Finally - take the trains. So much easier than driving and you can get from Paris to Basel or geneva in 3 hours. Driving is twice that, at least! Then when you go on to Venice take either the Simplon line through the Valais or the Gotthard line south from Zürich and Arth Goldau (easily accessible from Luzern).

For train info - www.sbb.ch/en

For hotels - see the tourist office site of the place concerned.

For more ideas - www.myswitzerland.com

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