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San Sebastian, Costa Brava, Pyrenees, or southern France?

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For 2 weeks in mid to late July. I know, super high season. My husband has a conference in Montpelier, France in early August, so this is when we can go. I'm one of those people who would rather travel when the weather is cold or grey than during high season, so I'm trying to determine where we can travel during July that won't be very crowded.

We speak Spanish, not French, and thought it could be fun to fly into Barcelona and travel either up the coast (thus spending time on the Costa Brava, in little towns like Tamariu to avoid the big beach hotels), or into the Pyrenees (of Catalunya, to avoid extra driving time), or add another flight and go to San Sebastian/Bilbao because I'm always hearing how wonderful San Sebastian is. Or, maybe we should just focus on France since that is where the conference is, and I'm sure it is lovely, too; I just don't know as much about France.

We like nature, hiking, beaches, little towns, and maybe a museum or two, but as we will be traveling with our 2 and 6 year olds, museums will not be a big focus of our trip. Also because of the little ones, we want to stop in 2 or 3 places and stay put, rather than moving from town to town frequently. If we can skip the car rental and go by train, even better! But I don't want to travel on buses, since we wouldn't be able to use car seats to keep them safe, so it's either train or car rental.

I would greatly appreciate advice from those who know these areas of lovely places to spend a week or two with great nature, either mountains or coast, and no crowds of tourists. Is that even possible in late July?

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