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Middle of France? Drive and stay between Loire and Rhine Aps

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Hello! We are in Chinon in the Loire now June 5, with two more nights (in Villandry). We Plan to stay 7-10 nights in the French, Italian Alps near Mont Blanc and Lake Annecy at end of trip. We fly out of Geneva June 22nd. We have a car and are a couple.

We need help finding a route though Loire toward Rhone alps to break up the drive. Hubby is interested in Dijon or Beaune. We were both interested in Provence initially but it may be too far/ too much. Both interested in Rhone valley. Any recommendations for smallish medium towns with nature, outdoor activities would be greatly appreciated.

We are traveling on the fly, have done it before several times but are unsure about where to go or which route to take through the middle of France.

Is Auvergne or Limousin worth sleep over?
Go straight to alps?
Rhone valley suggestions?

We enjoy hiking, walks, nature, mountains, cafés, markets. Thank you!


Ps highly recommended Etretat as a overnight trip from Paris. We took two nights driving the Alabaster coast of Normandy from Dieppe to Etretat. Etretat was definitely the highlight. Also highly recommend Giverny as a stop outside of Paris if you enjoy gardens. We went on a Monet trail so to speak.

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