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Itinerary Help Needed -- Champagne & Burgundy

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I’m looking for some itinerary help for a trip to France this coming spring -- mainly the Champagne and Burgundy areas. My wife and I don’t know this area well, and we can use any help you offer: where to go, how long to stay, places to visit, particular hotels and restaurants and cellars.
Our emphasis will be on wine, food and architecture. Total vacation time will be three weeks, but we’ll have only 15 days or so for traveling Champagne and Burgundy.
We’ll arrive in Paris on a Tuesday and meet the couple we’re traveling with. All four of us will leave Paris the following Friday or Saturday by car.
We’d probably go to Laon to visit the cathedral, then head east and south. We’re considering Reims and/or Epernay, maybe Chablis and/or Troyes, then Dijon, Beaune, Macon and Lyon.
Our friends will return to Paris after 7-9 days on the road, probably from Macon or Lyon. It's those 7 to 9 days I'm mainly concerned about. How would you make best use of them?
I’d welcome any suggestions, particularly about where and how long to spend our time.
Also, after my wife and I are back on our own, should we head back north into Burgundy again, head for the Loire, or go south to the Rhone?
Thanks in advance.

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    I’d welcome any suggestions, particularly about where and how long to spend our time.
    Also, after my wife and I are back on our own, should we head back north into Burgundy again, head for the Loire, or go south to the Rhone?>>

    kvick - first of all there are no shoulds - only what YOU want to do, based on the time you have and your interests and inclinations.

    before we can suggest anything, it would help to work out your plans a bit more clearly; is this right?

    Day 1 [Tuesday] to Friday/Sat [4-5 nights = 3-4 days] Paris.

    Day 4/5 to day 11/13 - that's 7-9 days touring Reims and/or Epernay, maybe Chablis and/or Troyes, then Dijon, Beaune, Macon and Lyon.

    Day 13 - 20 - a week by yourselves in?

    ___________________________________________

    firstly, I would add a day to Paris. if you arrive Tuesday and leave saturday, that's only 3 full days plus whatever time you've got on Tuesday. leaving on the sunday might be better, subject to your being able to arrange car hire for that day - sometimes that can be a bit tricky, but ought to be ok in Paris.

    however, IMO it would be better to get the train to your first destination [perhaps even to your 2nd] and only hire the car when you need to.

    train timetables here: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/billet-train

    then you are trying to cram too much into the next 7-9 days - 3 places max would be enough, and even then you have to remember that you lose at least 1/2 a day every time you move. with 4 of you, moving around will take longer - don't know why, but add a person or two to the group, and getting organised takes much, much longer than if there are just two of you.

    finally, whether you want to head south or just stay where you are depends on whether you think you'd like to see more of Burgundy or head for the south - if you did the latter you could always get the TGV from Lyon to Avignon and then take it all the way back to CDG, assuming that's where you're leaving from.

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