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Help planning 2-week Spain and France itinerary (first time)

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Hi there,

I had recently posted that I was planning a summer trip for a foodie (me) and family with 2 kids *but* we've since found a fun place that the kids are going to hang out while my hubby and I take a much-needed vacation together (the first one since the kids were born). So it'll be just the two of us (that has such a nice ring to it) for two weeks (14-16 days) and we've decided on visiting France (1 week) and Spain (1 week). It'll be the first time that we're visiting so please let me know about any cities/towns that we should try to include (we have Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid so far) and how many days you would allot for them. We'll be departing from one of the Washington DC airports.

I love finding great places to eat and going to food markets (I'm vegetarian; hubby is not), art museums (we're not big on religious art/churches... more of impressionism, expressionism, through to modern art - I love to paint and plan to bring some light supplies with me), I'd love to try a half-day cooking class to take, visit local artisan shops (of both artists and artisan food producers), I love gardens (especially kitchen gardens, but any gardens are good with me), open squares/interesting parks for picnicking, do some bicycling, walking around or light hikes, perhaps a wine tasting or two or three (I love Sauvignon Blancs/Sancerres so somewhere in the Loire Valley perhaps since going to Alsace for my favorite Rieslings might not make sense this time around). My husband also loves history.

I've heard that any self-respecting foodie would make sure to spend some time in San Sebastian. How long is a decent amount of time and what are the must-sees/must-eats?

My husband wants to spend no more than a week in France. So if we are planning on visiting these cities should we add other places too that shouldn't be missed if we have enough time? Are there favorite hotels (with air conditioning) in these places and sites that you would recommend (or those to avoid)? I just ordered some guidebooks that should arrive any day now but I'm so excited at the possibilities that I couldn't wait to jump on the forums and ask. Everyone was so helpful with my last post (many thanks again)!!

Thank you in advance!!
Lisa

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