A wonderful month in France

Jul 28th, 2015, 11:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 54
A wonderful month in France

We arrived home last week from a month stay in beautiful France and whilst my body is back home, trying to carry on with normal life, I seem to have left my heart there and am longing to go back and fetch it. Our family of 5 loved every minute of our journey and have made the most incredible memories. The outline of our journey was as such: 6 nights in Paris, train to Strasbourg where we hired a car for the remainder of our stay. 3 nights in Riquewihr followed by 4 nights in Beaune, 3 nights in Annecy, 6 nights in St Remy de Provence and 4 nights in Nice. Thank you to every person who gave us suggestions and tips in the planning process. I can honestly say there is not one thing I would change about our trip. I'm not much of a writer, so not going to write a detailed report but thought I would record a few details that might help someone else in their planning. So here goes:
My husband and I did a few French lessons before our trip and so could do basic phrases which helped a lot. We also taught our kids basic phrases such a Je Voudrais, Bonjour, Merci, Sil vou plait etc. I truly think being able to speak a bit made our journey better.
The French people completely blew us away. We were slightly nervous and expecting a bit of unfriendliness or maybe stiffness based on hearsay[I hope that came our right and I haven't offended anyone but hopefully you know what I mean] but we only experienced warmth and friendliness from the people in every place we went to. At one crepe shop in Paris, the owner invited my 2 boys behind the counter to make their own crepes, and everywhere we went, people went out of their way to allow us to practice our French and were very forgiving of our primitive attempts.
I had quite a detailed trip planned but found the best approach was to certainly be flexible. Some things I had planned we didn't get to , but then we did other things that I hadn't planned which were amazing. Certainly with kids, I found it helped to have a bit of down time here and there where they could recharge their batteries and then keep going.
Everything was much easier than I expected. I was nervous of working out the metro and public transport in Paris[coming from a country where we don't have much of a public transport system] but it was really easy. We even caught the RER train from CDG to St Michel Notre Dame on arrival which went really well.
As far as safety goes, we were careful. We never left bags on the floor and on public transport we would put our hands over our bags, but never once did we have any problems. We saw a few scam artists and even a few tourists being taken in by them but nobody bothered us at all.
My advice to anyone visiting another country would be to do as much reading up before that you can. The forums helped a huge amount in my planning process and just being prepared. My overall impression of France and my trip: France is incredibly beautiful and we found it very varied in the landscapes we visited. Our trip was filled with laughter, delicious crepes, croissants, adventure, busyness but also rest and I cannot wait to return one day. I'm quite happy to answer any questions anyone has or if you want some ideas or information about the places we visited.
simjay is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 12:33 AM
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really glad you enjoyed France
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 01:34 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. Indeed, flexibility i vs rigid schedule is so important! You're wise to have realized that.
And what lucky kids you have!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 03:02 AM
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No offense at all! I'm glad you met nice people (and I'm sure you were nice too) Hope you like your stay in Burgundy and took some time to visit Dijon
cocofromdijon is online now  
Jul 29th, 2015, 03:06 AM
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A wonderful experience for you and your children.
Adelaidean is online now  
Jul 29th, 2015, 06:43 AM
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cocofromdijon, we absolutely adored Beaune. Unfortunately we didn't get to Dijon. This was one of the things we had planned to do but then ended up not doing. Went cycling through the vineyards to Santenay instead which we all absolutely loved. Will keep Dijon for our next visit.
simjay is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 07:39 AM
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Once you are hooked on France, it become a life long love affair. How wonderful your family will have those memories forever.
benitakaren is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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Nice report.

Don't you love the post-trip glow? I hope you hold onto it as long as possible.
Coquelicot is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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This was a great post, got me very excited for our upcoming trip to France! Thank you for sharing.

We are following a similar itinerary, Paris to Provence to Nice and I'm not sure what to expect. We have a love affair with Italy but wanted to try somewhere new.

Any thoughts on the St Remy and Nice portion would be much appreciated! Struggling with best home base towns for each.
ag123 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 10:49 PM
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ag123, I hear you about Italy. We love Italy and I was worried France wouldn't match up. Boy, did it take me by surprise. We loved every moment of our France trip. They are so different from each other. Friends ask which one we prefer and I am happy to report they are both so special, I don't need to choose. Provence was absolutely amazing. The sounds of the cigalo's, the smell of soap and bakeries, the warmth of the sun and people, the beauty of the countryside. It hooked us completely. Of course, we only have limited experience and there are others here with years of experience. All I can say is, we loved St Remy. It was easy for us to get to Uzes, Pont du Gard where we spent hours swimming, Les Baux, Luberon etc. We visited Fontaine de Vaucluse which we loved so much we went back another day and rowed down the Sorgue river. Not sure if you are travelling with kids but that was a wonderful experience. Nice was great for us. We spent a lot of time at the beach and travelling short distance both West and East from there. It was our last stop before home so we tried to build in more time to just relax rather than rush around and sightsee. Read up, pick your spot and don't worry about things you don't do. Just enjoy every moment of being there because time goes by so fast when you are having fun. Enjoy your trip.
simjay is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
how lovely to read a thread by someone who so clearly had such a good time.

sounds like a terrific trip.
annhig is offline  

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