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A town in France for a month

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Jun 28th, 2014, 01:01 AM
  #1
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A town in France for a month

Hi we are a Kiwi family travelling to France and Spain for 31/2 months from September, trying to choose a base in France for a month for exploring with our family (3,7,9). Already have a village house in Aquitaine booked for oct-nov, and Spain sorted, so looking for a different area in a larger town for sept-oct. Into good food, wine, culture (not overly touristy), some good flea markets would be great! Thanks in advance.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 03:33 AM
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I will just say, before anyone starts about Schengen that Kiwis are allowed 90 days in France without reference to other Schengen countries they may visit. There are several other Schengen countries that make an exception for Kiwis too.

OK now you can come up with suggestions of towns.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 03:51 AM
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Thanks hetismij2�� . I have done (a while ago) Normandy, Brittany some of the Dordorgne (and Paris of course) though I don't mind doing an area again...I think I may see it differently with kids. Provence doesn't excite me only because I think it may be a bit too touristy for my liking.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 05:27 AM
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>>Provence doesn't excite me only because I think it may be a bit too touristy for my liking.<<

First, after 30 August, nothing will be touristy anymore.

Second, there are many very remote villages in Provence and even more remote villas, so you will be able to avoid any contact with other people.

Third, Provence is really great - beautiful scenery, nice climate, cozy little towns, Roman heritage, medieval heritage, architecture, swimming in rivers, lakes and the sea, and, of course, good food and wine (as anywhere in France).
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Jun 28th, 2014, 05:27 AM
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Provence is an absolutely lovely part of France. It would be a good bet for late fall as it is in the south. And Oct/Nov shouldln't be very full of tourists. There are certainly towns in Provence off the beaten path.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 05:40 AM
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Check out The Luberon area of Provence. It is lovely at that time of year. We have spent time there including a month in winter and loved it as it is easy to day trips to all sorts of villages. We are headed back this fall through early winter and look forward to it. Our first time, We did 2 weeks in Late September and it was glorious. We stay in St. Saturnin les Apts and find it a perfect spot to travel in any direction. A quaint village and beautiful views and nice people.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 05:50 AM
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Most tourists in Provence only go to a limited number of places and towns, in my experience. Most of it they never see, so it isn't really too touristy even in peak season IMO. I go in July and stay in areas that are not on the top 10 list and there aren't that many tourists around even then.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 06:45 AM
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Burgundy! Gorgeous in September. Outstanding food and wine!
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Jun 28th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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If you don't want to travel to far from the Aquitaine rental, Bordeaux is lovely, a not-too-big city and has a great tram system for getting around the city. With kids your age, I think they would love the walks by the river and the carousel, etc.

Another thought it Toulouse. It has a young vibe, lots of good walking areas, etc. I do like Provence but I think with kids and the fact that you would like a city, these would be simpler choices within much closer reach of where you are going to be for the rest of your trip. Another choice could be Nantes is you want to explore a bit of the area around there to the sea, but I would prefer one of the other two cities-just my personal choice.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 07:38 AM
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Oh just to let you know, we are headed to Bordeaux next week (we are currently living in another part of France and considering resettling in this region) and we are renting this apartment:

http://bordeauxappartements.com/15-A...fort-Rue-Frere

It is too small for you as a family but the guy who manages the agency, Jean Christophe is terrific. His contact info is on the site. We met him when we rented a place on booking.com that turned out to be one of his places and he showed us the place we will be renting next week. Both of the properties we have seen and are excellent and they give a good discount for a weekly or monthly price. September would be lovely there since that is the grape harvesting time.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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If you put a circle based on Strasbourg and draw round about 100km you get some lovely areas along the Rhine appearing including most of the Alsace wine region, the Vosges mountains, the black forest in Germany and the Mosel wine region. Bescancon etc etc. Lovely countryside, some ancient cities and fine food and wine. Lots of bike paths (helmets not mandatory or in fact required) and you can hire tag-alongs as well as child bikes etc.

http://www.tourisme-alsace.com/en gives you a rough idea of the Alsace area, kinda pretty
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Jun 28th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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My wife and I spent three weeks in Dijon. Nice town, great market, good train connections. We stayed at Coco's www.myhomeindijon.com which is too small for you but great for a couple. http://www.visitdijon.com/en/
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Jun 28th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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In September-October, places like Strasbourg or Lille would be outstanding, because the weather is still nice, and they are both perfectly situated to give you access not just to other areas or France but also to other nearby countries.

I certainly would not choose another town in the south of France if I already had plans to spend a month in Aquitaine.

Although I myself have little interest in Burgundy, kimharp's suggestion is also valid, even though it doesn't have great connections to a lot of other places.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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A few years ago, I spent a rent free month in Lunel, in the Languedoc region. The town is non-descript, does not have any tourist highlights, it is strictly residential. For the price I paid ($0.00) dollars, it was great, and here's why- It has many good local eating places, with authenic French cuisine, the surrounding area is lovely, the people are friendly, and most of all, it has great railway connections to the interesting places like Nimes, Arles, Montpelier, and all those glamorous cities, if you want to go there. Also, it has extremely reasonable hotels with great rates. Too bad I can't go there for free again.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 12:15 PM
  #15
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Haha I knew I would have some Provence fans chiming in ! Good train connections would be handy as it would be nice not to have to use a car all the time. Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone!
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Jun 28th, 2014, 12:21 PM
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Bordeaux looks lovely but as it's only 2 hours from where we are staying in oct - nov it's on my discovery plan then.
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Jun 28th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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We just spent a week in Alsace and loved it. Close to Germany as well as people above have said.

You can see my photos here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7644953485474/

We also love Burgundy!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7607493717331/

Both wine regions would be lovely in the fall
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Jun 29th, 2014, 04:43 AM
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Where are you headed in Spain? Because you can take a high speed train from Toulouse to Barcelona, so that could make that a good base where you wouldn't need a car for either of those cities and you could see Carcassonne on the way as well if you wanted.

Both Bordeaux and Toulouse feel kind of like a "mini" Paris to me in terms of their size, amenities and transport, although obviously I am not comparing them to Paris in other ways necessarily. For instance Toulouse has a mini-metro, just one north-south line and one east-west line and a tram. Bourdeaux has just a tram (both of course also have buses). By contrast places like Beaune and even Dijon are and feel much more like "towns" versus cities IMO. The vibe is different of course but also the need for transport is different which might impact your decision.

Here are some approximate population sizes in case you are interested:

Larger Cities(Paris is 2.2M)

Toulouse 440K
Bordeaux 236K
Strasbourg 272K
Lille 226K
Nice 334K

Mid-sized Cities/Towns

Dijon 152K
Beaune 22K
Avignon 90K
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Jun 29th, 2014, 04:16 PM
  #19
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Hi we are going to Moirara near Alicante and will be in Monflanquin in the Aquitaine before that. So looking for somewhere to go before Monflanquin after Paris. Not sure i would like to be in a large city for a month a town might be better suited, one with good connections perhaps.
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Jun 29th, 2014, 05:13 PM
  #20
 
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Auxerre? Lyon? Dijon? Montpellier? we have given thought to the very same question that you posted. Let us know where you decide to stay.
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