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Where to spend 4 nights and another 8 nights?

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My husband and I will be leaving Reims June 4 and would like some suggestions for four nights en route down to Darcy Les Couches before staying in the recommended Gite En La Marre for 1 week?
The Gite is situated 45 minutes from BEAUNE, 1 hour 15 minutes from DIJON, 30 minutes from CHALON SUR SAONE and 20 minutes from AUTUN.

When we leave the tiny village of Couches (slightly West of Burgundy) June 15 and wish to discover where you would saturate yourselves for 8 nights before going to spend a week in an apartment on the Beach in Antibes?

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    >>When we leave the tiny village of Couches (slightly West of Burgundy) June 15 and wish to discover where you would saturate yourselves for 8 nights before going to spend a week in an apartment on the Beach in Antibes? <<

    How about in the Alps????

    We've spent 2 weeks in a gite on Lake Annecy (gite is no longer available), and then 1 week in a gite at the bottom of the Col d'Izoard near Briancon. Perhaps more stuff to do near Annecy.

    As I recall, you've already visited Provence...???

    Stu Dudley

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    We really enjoy Burgundy and have spent four weeks in different areas over four trips to france. So after Reims I would suggest you have a look at the northern part. Semur en Auxois is popular and from here you could visit Noyer sur serein, a plus beau village, Vezelay with its wonderful cathedral, perhaps Abbey de Fontenay, Auxerre, Flavigny [of Chocolat fame]. We stayed once near Flavigny and another time in Varzy.

    We have also stayed at Givry, near Chalons. Chalons has a good market in the attractive centre ville [old half timbered buildings] on Friday and Sunday mornings. We did a day trip over to Autun and passed through Couches with its striking chateau. In 2010 we stayed near Cormatin which also has a chateau. You could easily do a day trip or two cross country [ the best way we think !] down to this part. Try to drive past the fairytale chateau at Sercy -lake in front with beautiful ducks. St Gengoux le National is an interesting old village. We also enjoyed Brancion and Chapaize. Some great wine caves in the Maconnais area.

    With eight days you could do another week somewhere or two four day stays. We also spent a week in Briancon in 2010. I had read a book "Wild Herb Soup" about the region. We did lots of drives in the area and also into the northern part of Italy. I am sure Stu has covered this for you.

    Another option after Reims could be the Jura which is not mentioned much on forums but is beautiful countryside - rivers and their sources, waterfalls, reculees [dead end valleys ]. Wonderful smoked meats, some iconic cheeses and special wines. We spent a week at Salins les Bains in 2008.

    We had nine weeks in France earlier this year and after remembering these lovely places, I can't wait to return!!

    Have a wonderful trip.

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    I've made the sauce, cut op the lamb for dinner (I hate turkey), pie is in the oven, and I have a few hours before heading into San Francisco with Ellen & her father for a little "drive around" before dinner.

    This is what I would do for your 4 days before Burgundy. The stars (* to ***) indicate the rating in the Michelin Green Guide.

    June 4 – Head out to Provins**. This is a smallish town with some interesting ramparts. Follow the walking tour in the Michelin Guide. We enjoyed the Grange aux Dimes* exhibit. We thought the “Souterrains a Graffiti” guided tour was very tedious – I couldn’t wait to leave (tour is in French). Provins is a "couple hours" visit.

    Then drive to Troyes*** & stay for 1 night. Follow the walking Itinerary in the Green Guide for Troyes. We stayed at a “functional” hotel close to the train station – Royal Hotel. We had an excellent dinner at the Valentino – very good value too. Troyes is a very interesting city architecturally. It’s not a shopping mecca – just a pretty city. Michael (another Foderite) loved the tool museum here. We enjoyed another museum that had opened since my Michelin Guide was published – it had displays about fabric weaving, old machines that did this stuff, and lots of other early industrial machines. It was housed in an interesting building. You should be able to find the name of the museum from your hotel.

    June 5. Continue exploring Troyes in the morning.

    Head out towards Auxerre & stay in this region for 3 nights. As rhon mentioned, there is a lot of stuff to do in northern Burgundy. When we were there for 2 weeks in '06, we found ourselves spending too much time in the car driving from our gite (10 mins south of Beaune) to Auxerre and the other sites around Auxerre. There were too many "things" to fit into a single day (because of the lunch closings) so we had to make this long journey twice - and still didn't get a chance to see everything we wanted to see. The drive from your gite to Auxerre will be even longer than our drive.

    I would stay in either Auxerre or Vezelay - probably Auxerre.

    Go to the tourist office (close to the Tour de Horlogue) in Auxerre**+ and pick up an English walking itinerary. The walking route is painted on the sidewalk/street – except where the streets have been recently paved over. We really enjoyed Auxerre. Spend at let a half-day here – perhaps even longer. The walk took us about 1 1/2 hours, as I recall.

    June 6 (my birthday - you & Stephen can drink a "toast" to me) Visit several Chateaux & Abbeys, and enjoy the countryside. Here is a site for the Chateaux in Burgundy.
    If you save your ticket for the first chateau you visit, you’ll get a discount on the next chateau. If you save your ticket for that chateau, you'll get a discount for the next, etc, etc, etc. Today perhaps visit Tanlay**+ in the morning, and Ancy le Franc** in the afternoon. You may be able to slip in Fontenay Abbey***- too.

    June 7 – Visit Vezelay** and it’s Basilique***-. The town is a little touristy, but interesting. Then visit Ch Bazoches* - Vauban’s chateau. You can see Vezelay from Bazoches. If you have time left in the day, visit Avallon*. Because of all the driving we had to do from our gite near Beaune, we did not have the opportunity to visit Avallon. The town of Chablis is close to Auxerre. We visited it about 30 years ago - so we did not see it in '06.

    June 8. On the way to your gite, visit Semur en Auxois*. This perched village is very picturesque from the outside, but less interesting on the inside, IMO. If you look at the picture of Samur in your Michelin Green Guide, the location of this scene is where the “view” icon is located on lower half of the map in the GG. You’ll take lots of photos at this spot. Also note the large crack in the tower as you approach Semur on the Rue de Paris.

    Visit the cute village of Noyers, and another Chateau or two. We didn’t like Ch Bussy Rabutin. Also, Flavigny sur Ozerain, where the film “Chocolate” was filmed, was perhaps the most disappointing village in France that we have ever visited. There was some government sponsored "work" going on while we were there - and perhaps the village looks better now. It was very drabby when we visited it in '06.

    Stu Dudley

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    We had a similar experience to Stu with Flavigny. We were also there in 2006 [April] and the streets were all dug up and it was looking a bit drab after a shower of rain. We were staying not far away and did go back for a second look later in the week which was better, but I suppose I had an image in my mind that was not met. Do love the sweet made there, Anis de Flavigny [original flavour for me], though and always get some when we are in France. When we were there , there was a "restaurant" on Sunday in the 'hall?' which is operated by locals with the ladies cooking. Very simple food and inexpensive. 'La Grange' if my memory is correct. It was packed.

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    >>Do love the sweet made there, Anis de Flavigny [original flavour for me]<<

    Yep - we purchased a "tin" of them there. We still have them - they're sitting on a coffee table in our house now.

    Stu Dudley

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    Oh so many thank yous for all the suggestions!
    Yes, Stu, Stephen and I shall certainly raise a rollicking toast marking your Birthday!
    We have to purchase the new Michelin Green Guide to catch up with everything.
    Sweets? Yes yes we do love sweets...I must read up on the offerings.
    Auxerre, Chablis region, interesting for a few days. An out of the town B+B would be central for good jaunts in all directions.
    Rhon, we thought of Jura as a place of interest to us too yet it is, I think, a bit East for a before Couches stay. Possibly en route South.
    Stu, we have not stayed in Provence. If we route ourselves ...Aix-en-Provence would be a two day stay, look for Lavender fields and meander East until Antibes. I am about to read the Cote d'Azur + Provence itinerary you sent to me in order to get a better focus.
    More ideas sharing your special tiny finds very welcome.
    I wish everyone a very Happy gratitude filled holidays I hope it is all days.

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    We spent 3 weeks in the Jura a couple of years ago. We liked it - especially the rugged geography. Not many "cute little villages" however. We took several day-triips & an overnight into Switzerland too. We've visited Besancon on 3 different occasions, and it has a lot to offer. Kind of a "hidden gem". However, I think the Jura is better for your 8th trip to France - after you have visited Provence, Brittany, Cote d'Azur, Burgundy, Pays Basque, Auvergne, Alps, Pyrenees, and explored the Languedoc/Roussillon area some more, perhaps even returned to the Dordogne and around Albi & the Lot. Loire also if you are big chateau fans.

    If you have not visited Provence - then I would go there. The Alps can be a little "iffy" weather wise in mid June. My Provence itinerary has info about a B&B in St Saturnin in the Luberon. DebitNM has a recommendation also (see her post). You probably won't see much lavender in full bloom until very late in June. IMO, Aix is not centrally located as a "base" in Provence. I also think the area immediately around Aix is not as picturesque/serene as other regions in Provence - like the Luberon. However, Aix is one of our favorite cities in France. Eight days would be perfect for Provence. Perhaps stay in a couple of different locations - Luberon, St Remy, around Uzes or Vaison. A morning stop for a half day in Aix with lunch at Deux Garcons on your way to Antibes would be perfect.

    As I might have already told you - Provence & the Dordogne are our 2 favorite regions in France. We're returning to Provence/Luberon for 2 weeks in '14 (already have Gite secured).

    Stu Dudley

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    Dear Stu, your current advice will be taken. (Perhaps stay in a couple of different locations - Luberon, St Remy, around Uzes) The nearest we've been was a tiny town, Hyeres (1 week on the water) which is minutes West of Toulon.

    I was just reading your comments (Daytrips from Beaune Posted by: MaineGG on Aug 24, 11 at 1:43pm) and now I am sharing them with Stephen.
    Many more France explorations are planned after our 2013 trip..probably following in your driving footsteps.

    We have had only 4 separate trips to France, 5 weeks each and have divided them into small slices. Our other extended trips have been to Spain and Italy.

    Before I knew about your information and Foderites' information we seemed to have had the great fortune to indulge in some of your favorite places, wow.

    We certainly have loved the weeks in the Dordogne and in our 2005 we spent 1 1/2 weeks in the Loire region, staying 4 nights in Chateau du Pray (built 1244).

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