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Touring France, end in Alps

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Planning a surprise trip for hubby's birthday. Beginning in Belgium where we will see an old au pair and her family and attend a Springsteen concert. Then we have a free week (mid-July) to explore on our own. We spend the second week with this family again, at a chalet rental in the French Alps, near Modane. Background: have been to Europe 4 times before, some trips with kids, now empty nesters in mid-50's. We would do some museum tours, but prefer outdoor pursuits (hiking, easy cycling). Don't need to "do" Paris again.

My decision is what to plan for that free week (Mon through Sat). We'll be in Kortrijk in Belgium, on the west side, and haven't been to Normandy before. Is a full day enough time? Then thinking of heading down to Bordeaux to see another old au pair. We have been there once before. But we have never been to Italy and would like to spend a couple of nights over the border, near Turino. We are avid winter Olympic watchers and wonder if it would be possible to see the venues, even though it will be summer.

Calling on my wonderful Fodorites to help a bit. Also questioning the wisdom of renting a car. It does give flexibility, but it will be quite a bit of driving, I think. Once plans get closer I'll ask for more specifics, but right now I'm just looking for a framework. We will likely fly in and out of Paris as we can get a direct flight from Boston and is central for our beginning and end of trip.

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