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France Itinerary - looking for feedback

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I'm a 23 year old female student who is going to be traveling with a friend to France as part of a European vacation this coming June. I've been reading through a lot of the posts on this forum and looking at other websites, and have come up with a rough itinerary. I was hoping to get a bit of feedback - I'm not sure if I should be adding time or taking it away from some places, and I'm open to other routes entirely. The total number of days in France doesn't have to be 14, but we'd like to keep it at roughly 2 weeks.

These were my thoughts when making the itinerary: Obviously Paris is a must, and we also would like to go to the Loire, Provence, and Cote d'Azur regions, but we're open to suggestions. We'll be coming into France from London, and we were thinking of taking the Eurostar. I know that my friend would like to go to Normandy to see the D-Day beaches, but it seemed like it would be out of the way and a bit of a hassle to actually see the sites of interest in Normandy. I would have liked to include the Alsace-Lorraine region in the plans as well, but I didn't see how it would be feasible. Am I wrong? Another thing I was unsure about was the day trip to the Loire region. Would it be better to stay there and move on to Lyon from there instead? I'm aware that my travel times might not be 100% accurate - if I'm way off on one of them, let me know. Since we're both students we'd like to be as budget-friendly as possible, and we're interested in everything from outdoorsy activities (beaches, hikes, etc.) to museums and art. We'll likely be buying a Eurail pass.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tentative France Plan:

Days 1-5 – Paris including day trips to Loire Valley and Versailles
- Possibly add an extra day in Paris?
Day 6 – travel to Lyon (about 2 hours)
Day 7 - Lyon
- It seems that there is a lot to see in Lyon – possibly add an extra day?
Day 8 – travel to Avignon (about 2 hours)
- On the way, stop at Orange to see the amphitheatre
Day 9 – Avignon
Day 10 – travel to Marseilles or Aix-en-Provence (about an hour and a half)
- On the way, stop at Arles (UNESCO world heritage site)
Day 11 – Marseilles or Aix
Day 12 – Travel to Nice (about an hour and a half)
- Stop at Cannes
Day 13 – Nice
- Possible extra day in Nice?
Day 14 – leave Nice in the morning to go to Monaco, go to Italy in the evening

  • Report Abuse

    Where to start?

    OK, first off, you don't use Paris as the kickoff for a daytrip to the Loire Valley if you're planning to head south anyway. You take the TGV to Tours on your way to Lyon, spend a day or 2 touring the Loire (NOT staying in Tours, but rather in Amboise or Blois or some smaller town), then get back to Tours and get on the TGV and go to Lyon (personally I wouldn't even go to the Loire, but it seems to be wildly popular with most people). You'll need a car or organized tour(s) to see the castles and such.

    Then go to Lyon - at least two days there. Wonderful city, loads to do, fabulous food, subway system that makes getting around very easy.

    Get back on the TGV and go to Avignon. Forget Orange - truly of minor, minor interest compared to what else there is to see in the region. Base in Avignon or somewhere nearby (Arles is good, so is St-Rémy, lots of other places, but you need a car).

    Don't bother with Marseilles. Aix would be good.

    Nice is lovely.

    Forget Monaco and "going to Italy in the evening."

    How are you getting home...and from where?

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks for the reply!

    First off, I should mention that we won't be renting a car, so places that require one aren't possible.

    My initial plan was to spend a day or two in the Loire, but I thought it might be possible to do as a day trip. That's good to know. We were thinking of traveling by bike in the region - from what I've read, it seems like that's feasible. If you wouldn't bother with the Loire, is there somewhere else that you would recommend where we'd be able to do/see similar things (i.e. castles and wine tours)?

    Is there somewhere else in the Cote d'Azur area that you'd recommend if we skip Monaco (I know it's technically not in the region, but I think you know what I mean)?

    Also, "going to Italy in the evening" means that we'll be traveling to Italy to do the next part of our trip (which is 6 and a half weeks in total)... we're not just planning on going there for the night! That would be insane! :) We just haven't planned that part of it yet so I left it out.

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