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Trip Report Two Weeks in France, reposting TR

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This will be a brief report on the highlights of our trip to France at the end of September, beginning of October 2014. Hopefully I can get the editors to remove my other post, which I forgot to mark as a trip report.

Because we were on award tickets, the trip was planned long ago. At the time, it seemed reasonable to drive from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to fly to Paris, but I have now realised, after doing this several times, that I’m just too old and somewhat unwell to add a 6 hour road trip to either end of Transatlantic flying.

Flights on US Airways were fine as usual, and I slept a little. The Air France strike had me worried and the three of us (DH, myself and our friend who travelled with us) made a quick decision upon landing at CDG to change our flights to and from Nice. Air France had posted that they would allow changes between certain dates, and our flight to NIce landed squarely in those dates.

So instead of training to Reims, driving to Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte, then flying to Nice, we cancelled the Orly > Nice leg of our trip and decided to drive all the way to Nice from Reims.

It seems crazy, and it was, but it eliminated all the worry of getting to our expensive Riviera rental on time. We actually had an extra day at the front of our weekly rental that we weren’t going to use, and we got to St Jean Cap Ferrat a day earlier than originally planned. This was wonderful because we loved every minute of our Cote d’Azur stay. We also saved a few hundred dollars by changing our car rental. AutoEurope was terrific, even long distance from France.

The trip:
From CDG we trained to Reims where we stayed at Les Telliers Bed and Breakfast. We wanted triple accommodations with separate bedrooms, and this was about our only choice. It was well located and fine for our purposes. I’m not a B&B lover but I would recommend this place as friendly , comfortable and reasonable. http://telliers.fr/

In Reims, we walked and walked, explored all over the city, churches, cathedral, mansions, ruins, market, shopping streets, and my favorite, the Church of St Remi. This was gorgeous and surrounded by ruins and a lovely small park. Our friend visited a champagne house while DH and I went to St. Remi, but we don’t drink, and I think she envied us our visit to St Remi. She wasn’t thrilled with her champagne visit, and we were completely bowled over by our visit to the ancient cathedral of St Remi. I visit a lot of European cathedrals and St Remi is at the top of my list of favorites. It was practically empty while we were there. If you’re in Reims, please go and see for yourself.

After Reims, the long trek south, driving and driving and driving. The best part of this was our stop in Beaune. I would never have even heard about Beaune if it wasn’t for our B&B hosts in Reims, who recommended it for our sightseeing stop on our road south. The Hotel de Dieu was one of the greatest, best preserved and most beautiful sites I’ve ever visited. I just spent a bunch of time looking for a good website to show here, and came up short.

http://www.hospices-de-beaune.com/index.php/hospicesdebeaune/L-Hotel-Dieu/Le-Musee

Beaune was a sweet town with too many wine and tourist shops but still quite nice

After a long day of driving and our stop in Beaune, we spent the night on the road and got to St Jean Cap Ferrat at check in time. I want to say that St Jean Cap Ferrat is heaven.

We chose it because we found a nice two bedroom apartment at a reasonable cost with parking and AC and a view. We had no idea of how wonderful the choice would be. Fodorites helped with this decision and I’m grateful. St Jean Cap Ferrat is incredibly beautiful

https://www.flipkey.com/saintjeancapferrat-condo-rentals/p313040/

While there we explored the entire promontory, went to Antibes, Nice, Monaco, Eze and Ste. Agnes.. In Nice, my favorite visit was to Cimiez. I loved the museums, church, park, ruins, etc.

After our week, we flew from Nice to Orly, then cabbed to our apartment. http://www.vacationinparis.com/listing/277/historical-center-of-paris-two-bedroom

Mixed feeling on this: when we chose it, someone here said “tourist central” which it was. Crowded streets and stores; a bit much. The apartment however was quiet. One bedroom was huge and the other was miniscule, but since our friend chose this herself from among the two bedrooms on our short list she had to make the best of it. Bathroom was great and huge, but there was a broken bidet (looked permanently broken to us). Living room and dining room and hallway were roomy, the views were gorgeous, but the kitchen was a waste of very little space. No toaster, a few glasses, no room and not much in the drawers or cupboards. I don’t expect much but the ability to make toast would be nice.

VIP makes it clear that they dont provide any reservations help so I guess that was OK, but I prefer an agency that will help a little.

While in Paris, we went to the ballet, a great museum show of 50s fashion, spent a too long day in the Louvre with French and Dutch paintings, revisited Pere la Chaise and a lot more.

We used shuttleinter.com for our trip to CDG. We were happy. I actually don’t like their pick up service, but use them for departures and have always been satisfied.

A brief note about traveling with a third person: it wasn’t awful, we had many laughs, but I’m a loner and don’t want to do it again soon. My husband is my perfect travel companion and I guess I’m only really comfortable with him. But we’re still friends with our third, so it’s OK.

Our friend is not a food lover, and that became a problem for me. I feel like I missed out on most of the food aspects of our trip, and I usually enjoy restaurants a lot more than I did on this trip. But she is an art lover, and a game spirit, so we had lots of adventures and took in some wonderful art.

We were barely unpacked when it was time to head to Disney World for a long weekend with DD, SIL and the grandkids. Now we’re still barely unpacked.

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