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10 Days in France - Loire Valley and ???

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Our tentative plan is to spend 10 days on the ground in France, and the time frame will be mid-September.

We have been to Paris several times, and though it's likely that our flights will go through there, we don't need to spend much time there this trip. Thinking 5 days in each of two regions would work well. Besides Paris, the areas we have visited previously are Burgundy, Normandy, Provence, Dordogne, Basque Country, and the Atlantic Coast in the area of La Rochelle. Typically, we've spent 4 - 7 days in each of these regions, (more in Paris).

While we have thoroughly enjoyed everywhere we've gone, and realizing we've just scratched the surface in most of these, we want to try new regions this time. We are a healthy and energetic couple in our early 60's, fairly experienced travelers with a lot of miles under our belts. We'd have a car, and enjoy visiting one or two major sites per day - museums, chateaux, castles, gardens, etc. We like small hotels and B &B's in small towns, where we can walk to dinner in the evenings. There could be one fancy splurge dinner during the course of the trip, but we prefer eating at more casual places, recommended by our hosts, serving good local food.

We are pretty well set on ~5 days in the Loire Valley being one of our destinations, and would be open to suggestions on where to base - have thought about Angers, but nothing is set yet. We are looking for suggestions on another region - though I'm not adverse to a long car ride, we don't really want to blow the better part of a day travelling between regions. We were considering, for example, the Rhone Valley, near Lyon, but that's quite a ways, and would require either an extra plane ride or a very long drive returning to Paris on the way home. So that probably leaves Brittany, Champagne, or Alsace-Lorraine as the most practical alternatives ... maybe?

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

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