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Paris and ??.......

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I am scheduled to go to Paris at the beginning of March for two weeks. I will be spending at least eight days in Paris, two days alone when I arrive, followed by six days with a companion. I have six days after my friend leaves to do with as I please. I have travelled to Paris many times, and I love it. My issue is that I think two weeks in Paris is a lot, no matter how much I like it; so I am thinking about adding another city for a few days, preferably somewhere I have not been . Currently, I am planning on taking a train to Amsterdam after my friend leaves, staying for two days, and then returning to Paris for four more days, but staying in a completely different neighborhood than the first part of my trip. But I am also thinking about a few other alternatives to Amsterdam, and would love any thoughts. Also, i am trying to keep the travel to relatively quick/ easy/economical flights/ trains; especially so I do not kill two days with traveling. Incidentally, I am a man in my 40's who has no problem traveling solo, and do so frequently; I like cities, great food, architecture, and just exploring and walking and discovering. A vibrant culture and nightlife is key too.

Here is my thinking about a few options to take a break from Paris:

Amsterdam: A big plus is that is an easy 3 houris train ride from Paris. I have been once, but it is a unique place that would probably be fun for a couple of nights.

Venice: I haven't been since I was a kid, and I would like to return as an adult to experience it. Downsides are that the travel is a little more involved and time consuming, and will eat up a good part of two days (flying and the transfers in Venice), also I will be alone in a very romantic place. Possible upsides are that it is off season, which I would probably like a lot more than prime season since i am somewhat crowd and tourist averse; also, hotel rates are relatively good at this time of year. I think I would go for two or three nights.

Madrid; A fairly easy quick flight from Paris. I've been to Barcelona and loved it, but I've never been to Madrid. I think I would go for three or four nights probably. Is the current economic situation in Spain a reason not to go...Or is it a reason to go...or neither?

Loire and Normandy. As many times as I have been to Paris, I have yet to make it to the Loire Valley or Normandy. Perhaps a driving trip for three or four days? I am worried that doing this alone would not be ideal.

I look forward to hearing thoughts and suggestions. Thank you.

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