15-18 days in France itinerary

Old Apr 20th, 2024, 03:31 PM
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France 15-18 day itinerary recs

My husband and I are planning our first trip to France at the end of September/early October. We're excited, but would love to get some advice on creating a practical itinerary. We are flying from Honolulu, Hawaii (where we live) to Los Angeles, then onto Paris. It's going to be a long journey so we plan to give ourselves a day or two for jet lag in Paris before fully exploring. We'd like to spend an additional 3-4 nights in Paris, outside of the 1 day we want to go to Disneyland Paris. From Paris, we plan to take the train to Nantes to visit his sister and stay 2-3 nights. From there, we're pretty open but we know that we want to end our trip with a couple of days in Annecy before heading back to Paris to come back home. We can give or take 1-2 days on the total time frame of 2 weeks, so we're open to adding or removing days. Some places we're interested in seeing, but not sure if it's doable is Bordeaux, Nice/Monaco, and Lyon. Any advice or recommendations would be so appreciated!!!

Rough itinerary so far:
Honolulu > LAX > Paris: 1 night
Explore Paris: 3-4 nights
Disneyland Paris: 2 nights
Disneyland Paris > Paris > Nantes by train: 3-4 hours
Explore Nantes: 2-3 nights
Next destination? Is there time for one or more?
Destination TBD > Annecy
Explore Annecy: 2 nights
Back to Paris
Paris > LAX > HNL: 1 night

Last edited by naomicraft9228; Apr 20th, 2024 at 03:59 PM. Reason: updated itinerary for clarity
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 03:43 PM
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welcome to Fodors. It usually helps if you think in terms of nights rather than days.

1 day means 2 nights, 2 days = 3 nights and so forth. So using your lower # of days that would require 15 or 16 nights total home to home, and using the high end . . . that is a 19-20 night itinerary
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 03:52 PM
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Thanks for the tip! I should have said number of nights instead of days.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 04:58 PM
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Not sure if you have left time for it, but Lyon is the obvious extra as the train from Nantes to Annecy will almost certainly require a connection in Lyon anyway. Breaking up such a long train journey (7-8 hours) has a certain attraction.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 05:00 PM
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Why go all the way to France and then visit Disneyland? Are you traveling with young children? And Why Nantes?? There are dozens of large cities in France that are more interesting than Nantes, IMO. It was heavily bombed in WWII & perhaps rebuilt "not-so-nicely".

Annecy is about as far away from Nantes as you can get in France.

We spend 2 months in France almost every year. Traveling to different regions. My favorite areas in France are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by Brittany, Cote d'Azur, and the Languedoc. Alsace is quite interesting also. If you are stuck on visiting Nantes - also visit close-by Brittany. If you love chateaux, the Loire chateaux are close.

Attached are lengthy itineraries for:
Provence & the Cote d'Azur
Dordogne
Languedoc
Brittany & Normandy

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Dordogne-revised.doc (153.5 KB, 17 views)
File Type: doc
Languedoc-revised.doc (223.5 KB, 14 views)
File Type: doc
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 05:24 PM
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Don't mind Stu -- he's from California, spends months in France . . . and doesn't 'get' Disneyland

For some people DL Paris is a must, for some its a curiosity, and for some ^^^ they run as far in the opposite direction as fast as possible. You don't need to justify your decisions to anyone. (psst 🤫 I've actually been to DL Paris and am not a heathen LOL )
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 05:28 PM
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. . . and . . . can you believe it, I visited DL Paris without any children in tow!
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 08:08 PM
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The OP said they are going to Nantes to visit his sister.
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 08:43 PM
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""Don't mind Stu -- he's from California, spends months in France . . . and doesn't 'get' Disneyland"

I get Disneyland. I was raised in LA. Went to Disneyland when it first opened in the mid 50s. Had many High School "date nights" there. Friends & visiting family all the time. It was less than 35 mins away. Great place to be. I was a parking lot attendant at the Disneyland hotel between college semesters. Had one of my High School reunions at the Disneyland hotel. IT IS FAKE.

I go to Europe to experience things that don't occur in the USA. Caves with 20,000 year old paintings, Roman Ruins, Medieval villages, diverse cultures, art, sculpture, thousands of castles, old churches, WWI & WWII sites, I could go on & on & on.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SusanP
The OP said they are going to Nantes to visit his sister.
I missed that. Visit nearby Brittany or the Loire. Annecy is too far away. I attached my Brittany itinerary on a prior post, I'll attach a brief Loire one here.

Stu Dudley
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Loire Chateaux area.doc (27.5 KB, 14 views)
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by FTOttawa
Not sure if you have left time for it, but Lyon is the obvious extra as the train from Nantes to Annecy will almost certainly require a connection in Lyon anyway. Breaking up such a long train journey (7-8 hours) has a certain attraction.
Good point! Thanks!
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
Why go all the way to France and then visit Disneyland? Are you traveling with young children? And Why Nantes?? There are dozens of large cities in France that are more interesting than Nantes, IMO. It was heavily bombed in WWII & perhaps rebuilt "not-so-nicely".

Annecy is about as far away from Nantes as you can get in France.

We spend 2 months in France almost every year. Traveling to different regions. My favorite areas in France are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by Brittany, Cote d'Azur, and the Languedoc. Alsace is quite interesting also. If you are stuck on visiting Nantes - also visit close-by Brittany. If you love chateaux, the Loire chateaux are close.

Attached are lengthy itineraries for:
Provence & the Cote d'Azur
Dordogne
Languedoc
Brittany & Normandy

Stu Dudley
Hi Stu,

I appreciate the other suggestions you provide! I'll definitely take a look! The reason we're going to Nantes is to visit my sister-in-law who recently moved there from Grenoble. We're going to see where she and her partner live and to meet the in-laws. Other than that, I don't know anything about Nantes, but I hear it's nice. The reason for Annecy is because we were supposed to do an France/Italy trip, but had to cut it short. We will do Italy right all by itself another time. Annecy is not a must, but it seemed like a beautiful place to relax for our final days since I couldn't go to Lake Como. Lastly, as for Disneyland, we used to be Disney pass holders when we lived in CA and we just love Disney. It's on our bucket list to go to every park that exists!!
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Don't mind Stu -- he's from California, spends months in France . . . and doesn't 'get' Disneyland

For some people DL Paris is a must, for some its a curiosity, and for some ^^^ they run as far in the opposite direction as fast as possible. You don't need to justify your decisions to anyone. (psst 🤫 I've actually been to DL Paris and am not a heathen LOL )
Ha ha! Thanks! We don't have kids and we used to go all the time!
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Old Apr 20th, 2024, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
"
I go to Europe to experience things that don't occur in the USA. Caves with 20,000 year old paintings, Roman Ruins, Medieval villages, diverse cultures, art, sculpture, thousands of castles, old churches, WWI & WWII sites, I could go on & on & on.

Stu Dudley
One can visit Roman ruins, museums, galleries, castles AND DisneyLand. Don't be a snob
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Old Apr 21st, 2024, 04:02 AM
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I suggest to switch Annecy with other Destination, why not Mont Saint-Michel, a great place to visit that not exists on ther countries
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Old Apr 21st, 2024, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by purpleone
I suggest to switch Annecy with other Destination, why not Mont Saint-Michel, a great place to visit that not exists on ther countries
St Michael's mount just across the Channel must have passed you by. https://stmichaelsmount.co.uk/ or this https://caldeyislandwales.com/abbey or this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inchcolm_Abbey

Abbeys end up on Islands
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Old Apr 21st, 2024, 08:03 AM
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Or Noirmoutiee or Ile du R if you just want to chill. Ask your in-laws to recommend somewhere they would go for a getaway weekend.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 05:37 AM
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Annecy is beautiful - I say go for it! With a stopover somewhere to break up the ride.

I'm a fellow Disney nerd (grew up in CA, went as a kid but ALSO love it as an adult) and Disneyland Paris was AMAZING! It's so fun to compare and contrast with the California version - a lot is similar, but there are fun and exciting differences like the adorable Ratatouille ride, Hyperspace mountain is much more thrilling (even goes upside down very briefly) and Big Thunder is longer. Check out the "America" scene in It's a Small World - it's hilarious. It's also so enchanting to see the characters speaking French and half the rides in French - and the gardens might even be prettier there. Don't miss it!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 08:11 AM
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Do you have to fly out of Paris? Geneva is an easy, short bus ride from Annecy; you can even take the bus straight to the airport. That might make more sense than backtracking to Paris. And I, for one, would want to be in Paris the night before an international flight.

FWIW, I agree with the idea of considering a few days in Lyon. Its a fascinating city, IMO!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2024, 11:54 AM
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Annecy is worth one half of one morning. Do not go out of your way to see it when you will pass by many, many places that are closer.

The glory of France is in the countryside, not in the cities (except for Paris).

My standard recommendation is to rent a car, if possible, for three days of a two week vacation. That way you have the freedom to go anywhere. Stay in villages. Form Nantes you have many directions to choose from.
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