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3 weeks in France and Spain with teens. Need advice, please.

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We are excited to plan an adventure for our family in mid to late August. We'll be traveling with a 14-year old boy and 12-year old girl who have never been to Europe though they've been fabulous travelers of North America. We are active and happy to walk lots, love art and architecture, music, food, and history.

Because of the way we booked our flights using miles, we'll fly into London and plan to spend 3 nights there and then take Eurostar (chunnel) to Paris. We'll fly back to the states from Barcelona 3 weeks later.

As I research, I've run across may useful forum threads and made scores of notes (thank you!). But I could use some help narrowing down the possibilities, please.

Here is the rough itinerary as I'm laying it out:

3 days London (hotel)
... looking at hotels maybe in the Westminster neighborhood so we can walk to some places, tube to others. Other suggestions for neighborhoods to consider?
... 4th day -- chunnel to Paris in the afternoon

4-5 days Paris (apartment)
... includes lots of city exploring and day trip to Versailles
... suggestions on the neighborhood we should consider?

7 days exploring potentially with rail pass (prefer train to car = more relaxing)
... this is the murkiest part, we would like to visit the Provence area of France and are drawn to St Remy, L'Isle sur la Sourge, and Aix en Provence. Maybe Cassis or Arles. Suggestions?

... but we are also curious about high-speed town hopping in southern Spain, including Cordoba, Granada, Malaga to absorb the fascinating history there.

5ish days in Barcelona (apartment)
... may include day trip to a beach towns tbd


We could go spend more time in Provence and go straight from Provence to Barcelona and skip southern Spain altogether considering it will be quite hot in southern Spain. (Southern Spain sounded the most different and exciting to me, frankly, but the heat warnings from other travelers are giving me pause. Is it really that bad? We know how to pace ourselves in the heat.) I'm also not as excited intially about the north coast of Spain. The vineyards are only mildly interesting to us and less so to the kids, obviously. I am looking forward to Barcelona. (Husband and I have been to London and Paris, but not Spain.)

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I've made lists of things to do in London, Paris, and Barcelona and will need to whittle those down eventually, but I'm eager to lock in our apartment and hotel reservations next so we know we'll have places to lay our heads that are 1) safe, 2) clean, 3) fairly convenient to sites or public transportation, 4) not too too expensive.

I appreciate any/all feedback! Thanks in advance.

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