Subject: Paris, Como, autostrades in Italy
Elena - I would advise reservations every night for dinner in Paris. The Parisians are very particular about their food, and always make it a point to reserve a table for themselves. 48 hours in advance should be ample for dinner - one can usually get a table at lunch without reservations, but not always. I strongly second Sandy' recommendation of Balzar - it's changed hands over the last few years, but it still incredible. It's one of the few really good restaurants open on Sunday.

Peter, you amaze with your wealth of information on buses schedules, autostrades, etc - your list is endless.

Pam in Montana - As you can see from Peter's info, it is possible to get to Como by public transporation - but - many times after one has flown in from a Trans-oceanic flight - weariness sets in and negotiating public transportation in a foreign country isn't the easiest thing to do with luggage. I seem to be the only one always advising taxis. The taxi to Como is actually quicker than going to downtown Milan - about 25 minutes. They will take care of your luggage and drop you off at the front door of the hotel - and you won't have to experience the delays so many people have been talking about lately.

Autostrades in Italy - Again, yes it is possible to get pre-paid cards, use your Visa, etc. - but why the hassle? When you exit the autostrade, it is so easy to just to pay cash (Lire). Give the attendant your ticket and there will be a screen at eye level, showing you exactly how much to pay him - far quicker than using a Visa card - and you won't have left over credit on your pre-paid card.