10 days in France or Spain?

Jan 15th, 2011, 12:07 PM
  #1  
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10 days in France or Spain?

Hi everyone!

I would love to get some advice on an itinerary for 10 (full) days in France or Spain. My husband and I are planning to travel from May 6-May 16 and I will be 5 months pregnant.

We are not opposed to renting cars or taking the train. We are thinking of going to 2-3 cities over 10 days.

We love:
- Good food (all price ranges - I imagine both France and Spain will offer tons of options) and bakeries
- Beautiful scenery
- Cities and the countryside but we are definitely more city people
- Shopping
- Short day trips

We do not want to go somewhere cold for this trip.. we are ok with light sweaters!

Unfortunately, I won't be drinking and I don't think we will dedicate a large part of our trip to wineries etc.

Thanks very much!
sharona555 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 12:13 PM
  #2  
 
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I assume that you have been to neither France nor spain.

both would be lovely that time of year.

Personally I would tend towards France, perhaps because I know it better than Spain.

you could do a lovely trip flying into Toulouse, then heaading down through the Pyrenees to the south-west coast of France, [possibly staying in Perpignan if you prefer cities] and finally getting the TGV train up to Paris for a few days before you go home.

I'm sure that other people will come up with ideas too.
annhig is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 12:13 PM
  #3  
 
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If Spain, probably Madrid with side trips to Toledo, Segovia and Avila.

If France, Paris with side trips to Chartres, Giverny, Troyes, a day in Versailles.
Michael is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 12:23 PM
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Two very different ( and big) countries.

In Spain: : Barcelona and Madrid ( side trip to Toledo or Segovia)
fast train in between

In France, Paris( takes a long time to see if you have not been) with a few days driving in Loire Valley.
danon is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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I adore Paris and Loire, but freely admit that I have not been to Spain.
If you are looking for sites outside of Paris, in the Loire check our Amboise and Chenonceau; also Barbizon is so charming and near Fontainebleu and i also love Reims, which is great if you want to make the Champagne houses part of your wine trips. Also, Beaune in Burgundy would be a good choice.
denisea is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 01:46 PM
  #6  
 
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'We are not opposed to renting cars or taking the train. We are thinking of going to 2-3 cities over 10 days.'

Over ten days, two or three cities (with a side trip or two using a city as a base) and one country or the other, otherwise travel will put a large hole in this ten days.
WomBatt is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 01:47 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for your suggestions!

I have been to Paris but my husband has not. My previous trips to Paris were short, though and I didn't have the chance to take any day trips.

@annhig, could you be a bit more specific? where in the Pyrenees do you recommend and which city would be a good place to take the TGV from, to go to Paris?

@danon, is it easy to rent a car in Paris and drive in the Loire Valley? Would you recommend any specific places to stop at and visit?
sharona555 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 03:49 PM
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We just returned from Barcelona; I would not spend more than two full days there. Madrid is a wonderful city which requires at least 4 days; I would then fly to Paris where we just spent 6 days with side trips to Normandy and Versailles. Flying between the two countries is easy.
Maureen W
maureenw is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 04:14 PM
  #9  
 
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To me it would be very hard to choose between the two countries. They both offer such a bounty of delights I studied for the semester in Seville, Spain and traveled throughout the country but have also visited France on numerous occasions (although never south of the Loire Valley which is an absolutely stunning area).

As people have mentioned, Madrid is a great city to explore not to mention a great base for exploring some of the other cities in the Castilla-Leon province (Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Valle de los Caidos). It's also easy to connect with Barcelona, either by AVE (high speed rail) or flying (Vueling is one of the country's low cost carriers).

Paris is terrific with always so many places to see and explore. I'd probably recommend a car for exploring the Loire Valley although perhaps not renting one until you get to one of the larger towns (perhaps Amboise). Giverny is also a great spot and very much doable from the center of Paris by train.

Good luck!
traveltalesfromtheredheadedtraveler.blogspot.com/
librarychica85 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 05:06 PM
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We drove from Paris to Loire very long time ago ( 20 years)...You can probably get better info. from more recent visitors.

"We just returned from Barcelona; I would not spend more than two full days there. "
I have visited Barcelona four times ( never less than 5 days) and going again in April. One of my favorite cities in Europe.
Different strokes...
danon is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 05:54 PM
  #11  
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Hi everyone! Thank you SO much for your responses. The husband and I have decided on Spain since neither of us have been. I will post a new topic in the Spain forum.
sharona555 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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I envy you! I made a trip to both Spain and France about 5 years ago, and although I intended to like France the most - I fell in LOVE with Spain! I found France to be rather gray and somewhat dirty-looking, and was not able to see Versailles as I had wished. In Spain, Barcelona was "interesting", the architecture is amazing and the history riveting. I also enjoyed Madrid and Seville immensely. Driving through the countryside full of olive tress was beautiful. Too bad you will not be there to participate in Las Fallas, the festival at Valencia. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My favorite part of the whole trip, however, was a side trip to Gibraltar. I'm still trying to think of a way to make a living on that little island and I would go tomorrow! Enjoy your trip and let us all know how you liked it...
swyatt is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 12:46 PM
  #13  
 
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Hi Sharon,

IIWY, from Toulouse I would head for somewhere like Tarbes, then work my way to the coast, or Perpignan as you prefer.
this is the link for researching TGV trains - there are some from Perpignan itself but most connect through Beziers or Toulouse.

http://www.raileurope.co.uk/default....asketTotalLink
annhig is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 01:45 PM
  #14  
 
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Food in France is just divine! If you are going for the food, you should go to France. Paris cannot be missed. Go to the Pierre Herme bakery in Paris - I still dream about the pastry I got there 10 years ago.

The Loire Valley is an excellent option for some stunning Chateaus.

If you like food and exploring the countryside, Provence would be a great option. You could stay in a more urban part like Aix-en-Provence and take day trips out.
froggytraveler is offline  

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