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Trip Report France two weeks, opinions and impressions.

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We have just returned from our two week trip to France, so I wanted to write the trip report while it is still fresh. I hope some of this may help others in their planing as I have received great information from Fodorites. Our itinerary is as follows:
3 days in Paris
3 days in Loire Valley - based in Tours
2 days in Burgundy - based in Beaune
3 days in Provence - based in Arles
2 days in Nice
1 day in Paris
We arrived early at about 8 a.m. in Paris. Was a very long wait at the airport getting through immigration. They had everyone piled up in one section just waiting, didn't know for what. Finally after about an hour, we heard over the PA, that there was an unidentified package, and we were all to wait for security reasons. This was all in french, so that's what we made of it, as we don't speak french. There was a very loud bang at one point. And finally the lines started to move.
My plan was to take Uber from the airport to our hotel, this ended up being a long process also. I don't think Uber has a very large presence here. There is only one place they can pick you up. It is in the departure area upstairs, door number #16. We finally left the airport 3 hours later.

Our plan was to head to the Eiffel Tower first thing. Since there was such a delay, we managed most of what we planned today. If you are planing on taking the metro, it is very simple to use, buy the 10 ticket carnet pack, this is less expensive. I was debating to buy the tickets online for the Eiffel, but found that it wasn't that bad. If you want to go to the top, then I think you should buy ahead of time, as there was a long line at the middle to purchase those tickets. Next we went to see the Arc de Triumph, walked the Champs Elyseea, and then went to see Notre Dame. Thought we could see Musee d'Orsay, but it didn't work out today. We did a boat ride on the Seine with the Batobus. Not that expensive, but it was kinda pointless. Very crowded and noisy. Today we also purchased the tickets for Versailles the next day online.

Next day Versailles. Left at 9am, should have left earlier, as there was already a large crowd when we got there. Purchased round trip train tickets at the metro station, she also informed us that the plan I had to take the RER C train wouldn't work as part of the route was closed. So make sure with them the route to take. Once you get there, there are clear signs to the way there. We toured the main areas, took the shuttle from the back of the palace to the other buildings, Trianon and Marie Antionette apartments. These were okay in my opinion. Not a lot to see here. Could have spent more time in the gardens, but it was very hot. Saw some of the fountains, then left at closing at 6pm. Took the train back to Paris.

Third day was for the Lourve. Spent most all day here. Again did not buy tickets online, purchased there, no problem. We did go early, but there were masses of people still. The lines moved quickly.
We had lunch in the Richelieu Cafe, this was very nice. Very tiring, long day. We stopped to get our train tickets printed out for the rest of the trip, but it did not recognize our card. If you have booked train tickets for SNCF online and have to get paper copies, go during office hours as they are not open late.

I had booked the train for all intercity travel, and booked a car in Tours and Arles to see the area once we were there. This worked very well for us. With the Apple maps on our phone we were able to navigate easily. The car navigation was not very user friendly.

Tours: The main lignes as they are called, are the intercity trains. These are usually upstairs in the train station. We found that our Metro ticket worked even as you exit the metro station and go up to get to the main station area. Check your SNCF ticket as some have seat assignments, though not really necessary as none where full. We had rented a car with Sixt which is located right next to the St. Pierres des Corps stop in Tours. You can get off here before Tours Center stop (I had booked our train ticket to the main station by mistake). We stayed outside of town about 20 minutes, in Chateau de la Noue. Booked through VRBO. It was built in the 16th century. It was very interesting to stay here. The hostess was wonderful. Since I had booked the 7am train for all our trips, we were there early. Stopped at the grocery store in town, Monoprix. We visited several chateaus in this area. Today was Blois and Chambard. Our hostess said Cheverny not that good, so didn't go there.
Both were amazing. Next day was Chenanceau (mushroom caves: La Cave des Roches( a must do), in Bourre), Amboise, and Clos Luce. Next day more chateaus: Azay-le-Rideau, Chinon, and Usse. All were really interesting and unique.

Left next morning to go to Burgundy. We stayed in Beaune, which I thought was going to be a sleepy small town, but it was also packed with tourists. We stayed in Le Maison de Courtines, only a few minutes walk from town center. Nice place with a kitchen and washing machine. Book directly. Today visited the Hotel Dieu, and took the little tourist train about town. Also visited the Dali Museam which was strange.
Next day we had booked an all day bike tour with Viator. Really expensive, but thought it would be worth it for the length of time, lunch provided, and winery tours. Make sure you go to the correct pick up spot as there are two tourist offices in Beaune. Unfortunately one member of our group had a very bad spill in the first 10 minutes, as most of this part was downhill and the bikes were going really fast. Two member continued on as the rest went to the hospital. They treated us very well though as in the US, it took a very long time to get finished and leave. The rest reported that the ride was good, just a few tough uphills, and the food was good too.

Next morning off to Arles. Will continue.

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