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Quaint villages/towns in French countryside

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I'll be in Paris for 16 days in Oct/Nov. I think I'll book a hotel for the first 7 days, travel by train out to the countryside for 2 days, then come back to Paris for the remaining time. I may not book the hotel for the last segment, as I will have time to look around during the first week.

As to the countryside, I could use some suggestions. Rather than castles, grand chateaux, etc., what I'd really like is a charming French town or village. I speak only a little French, so that must be taken into account. Moderate budget, but I could consider renting a car if that gets me somewhere special. Any ideas?

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