4 days outside of Paris??

Old Feb 18th, 2024, 09:12 AM
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4 days outside of Paris??

Hello all, I'm sure this has been asked over and over, sorry.

We will be flying into Paris mid-May arriving Monday, and need to get back to Paris Friday, giving us more or less 4 days to explore.

We have been advised to go to the Loire/Loir region, the Burgundy/Dijon region, and finally the Epernay/Reims/Champagne regions.

We assume we'll take the train from the airport and if need be rent a car upon arrival. We would like to go to somewhere off the beaten path, perhaps a bicycle tour of a vineyard, a non-touristy area and perhaps stay in a place where we could walk into town. Sorry, not being all that helpful, but we don't really do tours and are not all that much into churches and museums. Don't need fancy dining.

Anyway, if anyone has anything specific to offer, we're all ears.
sohoprom is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2024, 09:21 AM
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Each of these is a great holiday

Loire/Loir region,
Burgundy/Dijon region,
and finally the Epernay/Reims/Champagne regions

as would Alsace
You might like this link https://www.francevelotourisme.com/c...yclable-france (click to the tricolor to get alternative languages.
La Loire is a very big river (1000km)
Le Loir is much smaller and more approachable but that also means less tourist support
Epernay is good riding and a very approachable zone, while Reims has better architecture.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Feb 18th, 2024, 09:44 AM
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What are you interested in, since it does not include churches, museums, and dining and you do not want touristy areas? A quick look at your older posts suggest you are coming from the New York City area and have traveled quite a bit. You already should have realized that arrival day in Paris will be jet lagged and departure day will not be a touring day either, so you have three days. If you want to be outside of Paris, pick one place to stay and tour or else you will be spending most of your time coming and going rather in doing. We generally advise avoiding driving on the day of arriving from a intercontinental flight due to jet lagged driving safety risk, but a train to your destination could easily be done.

I would advise picking one location for your stay, based on what activities are there. It may be feasible to get there by train, then renting the car at your destination, returning it in Paris. Vineyards could be in Champagne or Alsace or the Loire, the latter two probably being the kind of places for visiting small villages and so forth. Perhaps you could invest in a few guidebooks or a trip to the library to get an idea of where you want to be.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 11:24 AM
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Should I say touche? Been now several happy years since I left New York.

I should have been clearer, we are looking to go to only one area, and while we don't typically go to churches and museums we do enjoy dining, just not FINE dining, which may be not even worth mentioning. But bike tours would be appealing.

We were planning on taking the train down south from the airport and renting a car as you mentioned.

Heading to our local library on Tuesday, thanks!!


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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 07:46 PM
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We stayed in Ay, village next to Epernay and enjoyed doing tours of the champagne houses in Epernay. Don’t miss Moet e Chandon!
We have stayed in Burgundy several times, in Beaune and Dijon. There are many wineries north of Beaune but the tasting rooms are in town. There is more to do in this area.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; Feb 18th, 2024 at 07:50 PM.
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 05:12 AM
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Any thoughts of going north instead of south? You might want to consider Upper and/or Lower Normandy. It has beautiful scenery, interesting little towns and incredible history. Quite a lot can be seen in the three days you have. It’s been a while but when we were there it was not crowded. Giverny, Rouen, Etretat, Honfleur, Bayeux and many D-Day sites are all interesting. We split our stay between Etretat and Sully (near Bayeux). Even though you are not much into churches or museums, the Caen Memorial Museum and the Bayeux Tapestry can be seen quite easily.

St Mere Eglise, Pointe du Hoc, the American cemetery, Omaha Beach, Arromanches , the artillery battery at Longues sur Mer and other D-Day sites are all interesting and easy to visit. Climbing and walking above the cliffs on both sides of Etretat was a highlight for us. There is also a Normandy cider route and a Normandy cheese route. We found driving around Normandy to be very easy with well-marked roads and almost no traffic. There is so much more to the area than just D-Day sites.
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 07:45 AM
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Beaune, the main town of the wine region in Burgundy would seem an ideal fit to what you are looking for. 3-4 hours by train from Paris. It’s a beautiful town, compact and very walkable. Although it’s on the “tourist map”, I don’t think the area will be too crowded in May. There are numerous smaller towns and villages in the area with very few crowds and not “touristy” such as Nolan, Chagny, Pommard, Chateauneuf (extremely beautiful) and many others, many just tiny villages but all nestled amongst the vineyards with some excellent bike riding opportunities.
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Old Feb 20th, 2024, 01:43 PM
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We have trained from Paris for 4 day trips to all the “A’s” on different trips…..Antibes, Aix-en Provence and Avignon. Rented a car and drove the area. All were easy going, stayed in town and then drove the countryside.

Have also trained 4 days each to Loire Alley twice, our favorite was “a cottage in Thizay” I’ll look it up and send

Whatever you choose, France is a wonderful place to explore.
I’ll be waiting for your trip report.
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 09:04 AM
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There are three 'off the beaten path' suggestions I can make that I adored visiting, even more than some famous regions. They would all make for great bicycle touring as well.

La Thierache is a micro-region of small villages that have fortified churches. The architecture is unique, and each one is different with a different story to tell. But this is a quiet region and at some of the villages you will have to ask someone in the village for the key. As this is a border region toward Belgium, it has stood up to war and bombings, hence why the churches were fortified. In and around the area you can easily visit WWI sites like the Chemin des Dames, and it would be easy enough to strike out toward Verdun. The Familistere Godin is a 19th Century utopian community, famous for the manufacture of cast iron stoves. We stayed in Parfondeval.

Les Enclos Paroissiaux (the parish enclosures) in Brittany are also unique, consisting of an architectural ensemble of a church, ossuary, cemetery, and garden wall with a triumphal entrance. Villages like Guimiliau, St-Thégonnec and Lampaul-Guimiliau are at the heart of the area.This is another micro-region, and from there it would be easy to also dramatic coastline and prehistoric relics.

Last but not least is the Marais Poitevin, a bay that was canalised by monks in the 14th Century to create a network of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny canals. Also called The Green Venice. This is unique in the world. Cycling on canal paths as well as boating on a barque, a flat-bottomed vessel commonly paddled standing up. Canoes and kayaks are also available. Arcais is my favorite village and has an adorable port. Coulon, St Hilaire la Palud, and Sansais la Garette are all very good places to launch an excursion.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2024, 10:09 AM
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Epernay, but include Dom Perignon in Hautvillers; Burgundy & Dijon would be my choices (did the two separately). 3-4 days would be plenty. How many days are you spending in Paris?

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Old Mar 4th, 2024, 08:59 AM
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All mentioned spots are excellent- I'd just like to mention Granville and its region too. Granville is a charming and untouristy walled town perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea, with its dramatic situation and belle epoque heritage earning it the nickname "Monaco of the North"... The walled town is beautiful, and has excellent views of both Donville Les Bains's gorgeous sandy beach and the harbour. It can be done justice without setting foot in a museum (though the Christian Dior Museum is a great visit), and is lovely and walkable. In Addition, you can visit Christian Dior's childhood home, and the beautiful gardens around it (home to a lovely beldevere overlooking the sea and many varieties of roses and other flowers). It has a direct train line linking it to Paris, and is a popular summertime retreat for wealthy Parisians!
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