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10 Days in France - Trip Idea Please

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Hello Gang.

My wife and I are thinking about taking a trip to France in October (October 10-October 20, about a ten day trip once we actually arrive in the country. We are both 51 and we like to take in local cultures (cafes, music, people watch), see the sites, feel the romance, and meander in general. We have no interest in running from place to place simply to say we have been there. Usually when we are in Europe, we like to stay in smaller villages, see castles, mountain landscapes, and some otherwise historic sites, (but not so much on churches, museums, etc.) on limited time.

With that said, I request your guidance please. While I would prefer the efficiency of flying into Paris and then flying out of another destination in France, tentative flight tickets are about $600 cheaper per ticket to fly in and out of Paris. Nothing has been purchased yet.

Originally, I was thinking about a week in Paris, and working on my french speaking (just now starting to self study), but now that we are up to ten days, I wonder if we should only target a few days in Paris and then spend the other days on day trips or even some sort of a conservative loop in France to see a variety of locations. We have never been to France before other than a quick border crossing a few years ago, so we are opens to a variety of suggestions.

Thank you in advance.

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