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March - 20 days, including Paris, Barcelona, Venice -- guidance?

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For next March, 12-30. SFO-CDG-SFO. Got mileage tix FC/BC on Delta/Air France, so could not get open jaw. I have a 3 day mosaic workshop in Venice Mon-Wed 18-20. DH has to do some work during the day (net access needed) during both weeks.

We'd like two days in Barcelona for Gaudi/mosaic tour but otherwise prefer the time in France and Italy. Have been to Paris (but love it) and the north. Love Venice (we've been number of times). Would like to see something of Provence and south of France, and otherwise am happy with Northern Italy for the time. We prefer train travel. Love sitting in cafes and walking, along with the train rides. Have not been to south of France at all. We know we'll likely need to get a car for part of the time but the less the better.

Suggestions about direction of travel (given this rather large loop we're in for)? About bases for travel, especially in southern France, which we do not know well? (I did get a copy of Stu Dudley's Provence posts and am studying that as well.) About good routes? Not totally averse to plane hops but as noted prefer train. We are flexible except for starting point and end point and the class. OK, any thoughts? :)