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Itinerary help - where to go besides Paris

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I'm looking for some help...

My wife and I want to take a trip to Europe for our 25th anniversary late spring (May time frame). A little about our travels. Our main point of interest is Paris and Normandy. The rest of the trip is up in the air, and the main reason I'm posting. Looking for ideas. A bit about us....

healthy middle age, love to walk and explore
been to Italy 3 times, Vienna, Prague, Budapest
have driven all over Tuscany, don't mind driving
we plan on being gone for about 18 nights (give or take)
modest budget, prefer < $200 / night for lodging. We like to rent apartments
flying on miles, open jaw is no problem

We've thought about:
Paris / Barcelona trip
OR maybe a Paris / Luxembourg / Amsterdam
have also though about Zurich and/or Munich

While we are an active couple, we prefer to travel a bit slow and enjoy the moments. Don't like to stop in a city just to say we've been there. We know you can't see Paris in a couple days.

So, we are looking for some suggestions to complete our itinerary. Initial thought is 5 nights in Paris with maybe a couple in Normandy. My wife would also like to see some castles. Enjoy food, wine, architecture. Not a huge fan of museums.

My wife and I are leaning towards Barcelona. I sure don't want to drive all the way there as I would want to avoid a large rental car drop off fee. So we're looking at driving to the southern part of France taking in some smaller cities and then probably train into Barcelona.

So it would look like 5 days Paris, a couple/three in Normandy, spend a 5 days on the road, and then 5 days in Barcelona. I'm assuming I can train from Toulouse to Barcelona?

Any ideas/suggestions always welcome.

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