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Everything posted by marazul

  1. @NCteacherlovescruising Here is the initial claim form for AA: https://www.aa.com/contact/forms?topic=#/topics/CR/Complaint/DL_CNCL_FLT Make sure you start everything by saying: "This is a claim under EU Regulation 261/2004"
  2. Sorry, I gave you bad info. There is no longer a car rental place at the Chartres station. Probably the easiest would be to return it at the train station in Versailles and take a taxi in. Or at one of the train stations in Paris. Montparnasse, is probably the most direct route. https://www.autoeurope.com/
  3. AA had to pay us $2000 for the flight delays. That includes 600€ each plus expenses. It took a while and many emails insisting they pay us according to EU Regulation 261/2004 instead of the 5,000 frequent flyer miles they offered. But they paid. Ours was also a through ticket booked through the cruise line. Read this: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/travel-rewards/eu-261/
  4. You are right. AA had to compensate us when they canceled our flight from Lisbon. Nothing to fo with US regulations. They have to comply wit EU rules.
  5. @NCteacherlovescruising I never answered your question about which one is best, Versailles or the Loire castles. I can't answer that. Which is the most beautiful Southern city, Savannah or Charleston? We could argue about it for ages. However, if you are taking this trip, do it justice. Stay an extra day in Paris so you can go to Versailles. To continue the Southern analogies, the Biltmore Estate is the (very) poor man's Versailles. 'Nough said. Do book on their website (see above). And I agree with Hank (@Hlitner) in many things. Don't keep the car in Paris. Return it either in Paris or, as I suggested before, in the train station in Chartres and take a train in and then taxi to your hotel. And think small ship some time in the future. And we also have T-Mobile for unlimited text and data all over the world. BTW - train from Bordeaux to St Emilion is not that convenient. For you a small tour may be best so you don't have to drive. Same for the Medoc side vineyards. Many times they have entry to vineyards you might not be able to just drop in.
  6. @NCteacherlovescruising Hotel Des Marronniers looks like a much nicer hotel. Judging by their website, the Dauphine is much more basic. Check on the booking and hotel websites to get an idea of their prices. The last couple of times we stayed at the Castille, right next door to the original Chanel store. Looking at Marronniers, I would gladly stay there. BTW- a marronnier is a chestnut tree. Maybe they have one in their yard?
  7. Probably too early for the website. You can always email them and ask. Many times you also get a better rate.
  8. Put them in Google maps and look at walking directions to Pont Neuf. This one is 5 minutes away. Don't know anything about quality, but location works.
  9. I don't know any of them, but the last one is in a perfect location. The other two are too far from the attractions you want to see in your short time in Paris. Close to the river and close to Notre Dame is ideal.
  10. The castles are wonderful. If you only do two, go to Chenonceau and Chambord. If you add one more, pick Blois or Amboise. (The Vanderbilts copied the exterior staircase of Blois in the Biltmore Estate.) Or, stop in Chartres to see the Cathedral. Try to do an overnight in that area so you are not rushing around. Amboise makes a lot of sense for a stop over and it has a lovely old town around the castle.
  11. If you are only planning on two days in Paris you have no choice. If you stay another day, you could even find a day trip that takes you to a couple of the castles. But this is not ideal. It is 2.5-3 hours one way. The best is a couple of days in the Loire Valley so you can see more without the drive from and to Paris. There are elevators in the tower. And good restaurants there. One is the Jules Verne perfect for excellent food and a romantic evening. (Splurge.) https://www.toureiffel.paris/en We always stay in hotels. Many reasons. One of them is that the hotel will hold your bags until check in time. I have known people that wasted most of a day sitting at a cafe with their bags until the VRBO apartment was available. The only way to prevent that is by renting the apartment for the previous night so you can go in when you arrive in the morning.
  12. @NCteacherlovescruising I thought there were no direct flights BCN-BOD, but Vueling has a direct flight. Vueling is the European branch of Iberia. This simplifies your plans. Fly to Bordeaux and then decide whether to rent a car or take the TGV to Paris. http://www.vueling.com/en Do not miss St Emilion. You could squeeze in a half day tour. https://www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com/en/ All the sights in Paris are fairly close together. You can go to the Louvre and then walk over a short distance to Notre Dame. Also stop at the Sainte Chapelle along the way. It is a jewel. You can see the Eiffel tower from everywhere, but you may want to go up. If you get tickets, you can see all three in one day. Busy day, but... Also get tickets to Versailles. The best and quickest way to get there is by taxi (30 euros?). It will leave you right at the entrance. The train (TER) takes longer and it involves waiting and walking. https://en.chateauversailles.fr/ You will have to figure out the Loire castles. If you can add another day, go for it. However, they really deserve at least two days. Next trip?
  13. Trip Advisor owns Viator. It's a tour company that acts as middleman between tourists and local tour agencies in many countries. They are not the tour providers, they just book the tours for you. San Giovanni=Saint John Your tour guide can help you find a taxi or taxi stand at the end of your tour. Carry a piece of paper with the name and address of your hotel (or a hotel business card) in case you have trouble communicating. Does your day 4 voucher include a tour or is it just admission? When you get your instructions on where to meet them you can post them here if you have any questions. The Vatican requires identification to "validate" your ticket to enter the Vatican. That means your passport, or a copy of the ID page of the passport AND another ID such as a driver's license. Just about all the tour providers in Europe use WhatsApp to make phone calls. You can install it on your phone and use wi-fi to make calls.
  14. @firefly333 Let me try to take your itinerary in detail. 1. You are staying at the Albergo Santa Chiara. It is one block behind the Pantheon and a five minute walk to the Piazza Navona. The Trevi fountain is a 10 minute walk away. The Spanish Steps are 10 minutes beyond the Trevi Fountain. On Monday you said you were going to walk to the Spanish Steps and take it easy. If you go straight there it is a 15-20 minute walk. 2. Tuesday - I think you are taking a tour that goes first to Santa Maria Maggiore, second to Saint Peter's, and third to San Giovanni in Laterano. There is a quite a distance between them and you said they provide transportation. This will likely be by metro (subway). Your last stop, San Giovanni is a 40 minute walk to your hotel. This could be a good time to take a taxi back. If you want more details, post the website link that describes the tour or, at least the name of the tour company. 3. Wednesday - You are taking a tour to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain. This is all within steps of your hotel. When you look at the Pantheon you will see that there is a taxi stand alongside the building. It is half a block from your hotel. 4. Thursday - Sistine Chapel and Museums. Tickets: The skip-the-line ticket is THE admission ticket. It means that you are buying the ticket on the internet so you do not have to stand in line to buy it in person. That's all. Print it and also save it on your phone. Getting there: The entrance is at the Vatican Museums entrance. It would take you 40 minutes to walk there from your hotel. Because of the distance, the twisty streets, and the traffic you should get a taxi at the taxi stand by the Pantheon so you don't miss your timed entrance. Just tell the driver to take you to the "Vatican Museums." It will cost you 10-12 euros. This is a worthwhile expense. It is important not to be late so get the taxi 30-40 minutes before your admission time. That will give you plenty of time there to get your bearings. Getting in: There is a security line that moves pretty fast and there are signs for people with tickets (you), and a line for the ticket office for people who did not skip that line by buying it ahead of time. If you have a tour guide, you will get instructions to meet either just outside the Vatican Museum entrance where the taxi drops you off, or right inside in the lobby. The tour guide will tell you where to meet. Once inside, the Sistine Chapel is at the very end of the museum buildings and you will be walking through the museum exhibits to reach it. There are amazing works of art to see on the way. Again, if you need more details, post the link for the website where you are getting the tickets.
  15. @NCteacherlovescruising- I must confess I am a francophile. France is an incredibly beautiful country. If you enjoyed Tuscany, you would love the Dordogne-Perigord area. It is the hidden France with wonderful castles, lovely villages, prehistoric caves and extraordinary food. And it is next to Bordeaux on the same river. The Loire valley is wonderful. It is royal France with magnificent castles and historic towns. Paris is Paris and it deserves more than one day. And I would definitely not take a "dinner cruise" on the Seine. You would have a mediocre dinner at best and less than fine wines. There is only one truly gourmet dinner (or lunch) cruise by Alain Ducasse, one of the very best 3-star chefs in France. You say you are foodies who enjoy fine wines, then IMO, do take the a river cruise for sightseeing only and then go to dinner to a really nice restaurant. Here is the info on the cruise: https://reservation.ducasse-seine.com/en/Our-Cruises https://www.ducasse-seine.com/en For a discussion on dinner cruises, read this with my suggestions on post #7: Your trip really depends on how much time you have. For the whole Paris-Bordeaux-Loire circle you need a week to do it justice. You can do a shorter driving loop out of Barcelona that takes you to Carcassonne, Sarlat and Bordeaux. Return the car in Barcelona to avoid surcharges. Or just go to Paris and the Loire. You might even consider doing a full river or barge cruise in France with an extra one week stay some other time. If you have another big occasion coming up you can splurge on this one: https://www.fcwl.com/
  16. No. Excellent, well marked roads all over France. GPS works perfectly. It is best not to have the car in Paris. If all you want is Bordeaux, the minimum would be one full day for Bordeaux and a wine tour to the wineries in the Médoc area (yes, that includes Margaux). You need a second day for a tour to St Emilion which is a fabulous medieval town with a long wine tradition. It is surrounded by wonderful wineries (Pomerol for one). That also gives you three nights in Bordeaux to try fabulous restaurants and drink wonderful wines. It is best to fly to Paris from Barcelona. Then high-speed TGV train to Bordeaux or fly if you want to go there first. It would be a shame not to see the Loire Valley castles which are half way between Bordeaux and Paris. That's why I suggested driving from one to the other. You can take the train from Paris to Bordeaux ( two hours direct on a TGV train). Rent a car at the Bordeaux train station and drive towards Angers or Tours to start your tour of the Loire Valley. Return the car at the Chartres train staion. Train to Paris is one hour. Or train to airport if you do this at the end of your trip. There are hundreds of hotels in Paris. Look at a map and find hotels between Notre Dame and the Eiffel tower on either side of the river. Come back here for comments before you book. BTW- don't miss going to Versailles when you are in Paris. Easily accessible by train or taxi.
  17. @firefly333 The Vatican is a tiny country ruled by the Pope. It is enclosed by a wall and it is totally surrounded by the city of Rome. The Sistine chapel and museums are all part of the Vatican Museums. Saint Peter’s is in the Vatican but its entrance is on the other side of the Vatican from the Vatican Museums entrance. If you post links to the tours you are taking we might be able to give you some ideas about how to reach them.
  18. The HO-HO bus is nearly useless in Rome. The bus cannot go in the narrow streets where the main sites are located. You would be doing a lot more walking and wasting more time sitting in traffic than if you plotted your walking routes from the hotel. An occasional taxi, like going to the Vatican costs 10-12 euros.
  19. If you go back to your early planning posts, you had a lot of info on Madrid, hotels, trains, etc. That info is still good and there is nothing new. This is a great option for you if you still have the CLT-MAD direct flight available. For after your cruise, you have many options, especially if you are willing to drive in France. You could go from Barcelona to Bordeaux by train and rent a car at the station. https://www.seat61.com/international-trains/trains-from-Barcelona.htm#Barcelona-Bordeaux You can rent a car in one country and return it in another one, but they charge you a hefty premium. Visit Bordeaux and Saint Emilion. Then drive to Paris through the Perigord, one of the most beautiful parts of France. [Route through Sarlat-la-Canéda. Use Sarlat as a base to explore the Dordogne river area: Beynac, La Rocque Gageat, Domme, Les Eyzies, Lascaux Caves, etc.] Or, drive from Bordeaux to Paris through the Loire Valley [Route through Tours, Amboise, Blois, Cheverny, Chambord, etc. Amboise is a great place to stay.] You can return the car at another train station and take the train to Paris flying back from there. Or drive to Paris and return the car at the airport. Your third option is to go to Portugal (through Seville?) and fly back from Lisbon. Driving is also easy there. More ideas if you want them...
  20. For transfers look at Friend in France. https://www.friend-in-france.com/
  21. There are lots of places like that in the area of your hotel. Menus are posted outside. Just look at them and pick a place that looks good to you
  22. Great! Is it round trip Barcelona? Make sure you have at least two full days (3 nights) in Barcelona. If it returns there at the end you could do a train to Madrid and then to Seville, or just fly to Lisbon. Somehow I thought you would be returning. 😉
  23. I looked at the website. I am pretty sure we were in a Superieure.
  24. @NCteacherlovescruising Fabulous! I hope you are planning your next trip to Europe already. France, Spain and Portugal?
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