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Please help with Itinerary draft for 29 days in France

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Hello fellow travelers,

I’m in the beginning stages of planning a trip with DH to France starting in late August this summer. We have visited Paris four times, and traveled to Provence and the Cote d’Azur three times, and enjoyed all of it. This time, with 29 days and as Empty Nesters for the first time, we’d like to explore new regions of the country as well as return for more leisurely time in some of our favorite spots.

We enjoy quaint neighborhoods, old architecture, art, history, and shopping for local goods. We love baguettes, cheese and wine, and we like to dine in small restaurants with local color. We’ve visited the major museums of Paris, so won’t return to them, but we definitely would want to see major museums in other areas.

After quite a bit of research online and in several travel guides, I’m hoping that some of the experts here on Fodors will help me to develop our itinerary.

We already have our flights on Delta (with Frequent Flyer miles!) flying into CDG and home from Nice. Other than that, nothing is booked yet. We plan to rent a car and drive for most of the trip, but would appreciate advice on that vs. trains/buses.

Here’s the rough draft of our itinerary so far, with a close estimate on the number of nights in each place.

Paris: Fly in, stay 5 nights.

Day 6: Pick up rental car in Paris, drive to Giverny in the morning, then visit Rouen on our way to Honfleur.

Honfleur: stay 1-2 nights

Bayeux: stay 1-2 nights (or longer?)

Day 9 or 10: drive to Dinan to visit on our way to Mont St-Michel in late afternoon, stay in Mont St-Michel 1 night

Drive to Loire Valley, touring Chambord on our way to Amboise

Amboise: stay 2-3 nights, visiting Chenonceaux, Cheverny, Chaumont and seeing the sights in Amboise. Should we spend more time here?

Drive to Beaune in Burgundy. Looking forward to leisurely tours of wine country.

Beaune: stay 3-4 nights. Again, we’re not sure if we should allow more time in this area.

After the Burgundy region, we are uncertain how to proceed. We’d like to spend some time in the warm, sunny south of France, but not sure about the best way to get there. Should we drive from Beaune, possibly stopping at Lyons or some other town along the way? Would it be better to drop the rental car, take a train to Bordeaux and pick up a new car there?

Bordeaux: 3 nights. I’m a big fan of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and would really like to see this area if it makes sense in this trip. Would it be wise to spend more time in this new area and eliminate some time on the Cote d’Azur?

St. Remy de Provence: 3 nights. We have stayed in this town twice before, and enjoy it as a base for touring other towns in the region. We’ve visited many: Apt, Gordes, Lourmarin, Les Baux, Rousillon, Abbaye le Senarque, Isle Sur le Sorgue, Aix en Provence, Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard…but we know there are still more to explore.

Drive to Cote d’Azur, stay 3 nights.

Antibes? Nice? Not sure which is the best town for us. We’re leaning towards Nice, even though it’s so close to St. Paul de Vence, where we plan to end the trip. We have never stayed in Nice before, but it seems like a lovely spot for a few nights. However, if there is one area to cut, this would probably be our choice.

St. Paul de Vence: stay 4 nights, relaxing with short day trips. We have stayed at Le Hameau and would probably return there.

So, we would certainly appreciate any help from you as to how to improve the time allocated to different areas. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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