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Auxerre, Dijon, Autun or Macon?

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After touring UK next year, we plan to pick up a car from Calais and drive through northern France and Burgundy. Our thoughts at present (everything's flexible!) are to finish up in Annecy and fly home from Geneva. The first part of the trip is pretty much worked out (based mainly around Somme battlefields and other special interests) but we need help deciding where to spend our time for the second half (i.e. Burgundy).

Driving south from Le Quesnoy (a village near Cambrai with a special connection to my homeland of New Zealand) we are thinking we'll easily make Troyes in a day. But is that being unfair to places like Reims, Laon, etc along the way? In other words, is it worth an overnight stop midway to explore these places, or not? And then, between Troyes and Annecy, which places would make a good base for exploring?

I realise the answers to both questions depend on how much time we have, and I'm afraid this is something of an unknown at this early stage of planning. But let's say we had a week to fill between Troyes and Annecy. How would people recommend we divide that time between the four towns listed in the topic title of this posting? Or are there better places, like Chablis, Avallon, Salieau or Beaune or whatever? Is it worth venturing further east to Nevers or le Charite-sur-Loire, or west to Langres or Chatillon-sur-Seine?

As well as a base for exploring the surrounding countryside, we are looking for places with some scenic appeal, character, some cafe life, and ideally some historical interest and architecture. Grateful for any suggestions and advice.

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