Advice for trip to France

Jul 5th, 2006, 05:06 PM
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Advice for trip to France

We are arriving at CDG Aiport on the 9th of August, and need to be in Bordeaux at 6 pm on the 12th. We are travelling with three young children (3 years, 6 years, 6 years), so we expect we'll be exhausted and they will be raring to go once we land (first time on a plane).

My husband, a war history lover, would like to go to Verdun (we did Normandy on our honeymoon), which is, of course, north and west of the city, and Bordeaux is south and east of the city. Not unreasonable, but it does make the trip down longer.

Does anyone have any ideas about stops in the middle, or some advice I could entice him with about either WWI or WWII history, that is more in line with the direction we're going?

I've been to the Loire Valley before, and we're doing it on our way back up to Paris...staying in Angers with a cousin and being real "locals." Also, enticing my husband with castles really won't's got to be related to the "big wars." My daughter, on the other hand, will really enjoy castles, I'm sure

I speak French, so it's no issue to go somewhere that is not English-friendly. Recommendations for hotels and restaurants is greatly appreciated!!
PattiSca is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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You should visit this website: It is very interesting because it proposes a lot of nice hotels in the most beautiful and pleasant locations of Paris and others cities in France. provides you with a wide range of French hotels to choose from.

Hope you have a good time!!!

Best wishes

pat91 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 01:27 AM
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Verdun is only a 3-hour drive from Paris along the A4 autoroute, so I don't think it is an unreasonable detour. And the Douaumont monument and cemetery are unforgettable, as are the destroyed villages.

However, if you really want to stay in a straight line to Bordeaux, you might consider visiting Oradour near Limoges. The town was destroyed by the Germans and all of the inhabitants slaughtered right at the end of the war. The town has been left "as is" with the rusting cars and bicycles, the old tramway tracks, and the empty shells of buildings. Very chilling.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 6th, 2006, 02:30 AM
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I assume that was a typo and you meant to say that Bordeaux is southWEST of Paris.

I agree with a possible visit to Oradour because it really does bring things "to life" as it were.
Dukey is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Thank you for the advice! Yes, I meant to say Verdun, NE, Bordeaux SW. I have left-right confusion (sign of an intelligent mind, LOL!), now I have East West confusion. Sheesh!

I never heard or thought of Oradour. Since you've been there, any advice on family friendly (read, romantic honeymooners probably won't appreciate my energetic little ones) hotel/restaurants?
PattiSca is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 05:24 PM
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You don't mention how you'll be getting to Bordeaux, but here's a couple of suggestions.

My husband is also a war history fan, so we've been to several "war" related places. There are several things that can be done from "daytrips" from Paris.

Verdun is a moving experience--there may even be some interest for the 6 year olds as there are displays in the museums of the trenches, etc. There are signs all around warning about unexploded ordinances, so don't let them wander off. You can also stop in Reims (Champagne region and on the way between Paris and Verdun) where there's the "Salle de Reddition", Eisenhower's French HQ during WWII and where the German surrender was taken. (We actually stayed overnight in this region-in Epernay.) A car is helpful here.

In Paris, the Hotel des Invalides has a lot of military history exhibits as well as Napoleon's tomb.

Just north of Paris, in Compiegne is the site of the armistice of WWI. The Musee Wagon de l'Armistice contains a replica of the train car where the French surrendered to the Germans in WWII.

LoriS is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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Oops-now for the other half of my suggestion.

We've been to Bordeaux several times and traveled there, from Paris, by car, by train (TGV), and by air. The flights into Bordeaux are quick, fast, and cost about the same as the flights. I'd suggest flying if you have that option. Alternatively, take the train. It's a long drive from Paris to Bordeaux, and probably more so with young children.

Have a great time!
LoriS is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Thanks for all of the great tidbits, Lori. We were planning on driving for two reasons. (1) Cost of flight or train is prohibitive, and once we arrive there, we'd need a car anyway.

So, the plan is to drive down slowly stopping here and there to tour and stay in cool hotels (one of the reasons I didn't want to go further out of our way to Verdun).

Once we arrive in Bordeaux, it's a family reunion at a winery for three full days. Trip back to Paris is expected to be via the same car, but stopping at Angers, where my aunt owns a house, and we can visit a little more, relax, not so formal, etc.

So the trips aren't likely day trips from Paris (we'll be "doing" Paris once we return), rather scotting down over 4 days.

So, did you ever stay in any of these places you mention (other than Paris and Invalides, which we've seen already, but will likely visit again)? Any hotel, food, etc. advice would be greatly appreciated.
PattiSca is offline  
Jul 9th, 2006, 11:06 PM
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I agree with Kerouac that a visit to Oradour sur Glane is indeed chilling. Too chilling and to somber for small children. There is no play area for them, no refreshment concessions, etc.. In other words, nothing to interest or entertain them.

It is a shell of a town, a constant reminder of man's inhumanity to man.

The only greenery is the small cemetary, filled with the remains of the those unfortunate souls whose only crime was living there. I forget the exact number, but I think it was something like 610 men, women and children. Only two or three people that were there that day, survived.
Nina66 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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OK-then if your husband is set on Verdun, I'd suggest picking up the car at CDG when you arrive on the 9th and drive west to near Verdun. When visiting Verdun, we stayed in Epernay at Royal Champagne.

Lovely hotel set in the vineyards-most of the rooms have balconies with a view of Epernay. The hotel also has an excellent restaurant. (Nearby is Boyer in Reims--also outstanding.)

You can easily spend the day of the 10th touring Verdun et environs and then depart for Bordeaux on the 11th. That will give you two days to drive to Bordeaux--back near/around Paris, though, is unfortunately the quickest way.

If you wanted to push it, you could drive from Verdun to Compiegne the evening of the 10th or the morning of the 11th. It's about 8 hours from Verdun to Bordeaux and about 6 hours from Compiegne to Bordeaux.

(We visited Compiegne while driving from Paris to Normany. We stayed just north of Honfleur along the coast--so that one is probably too far out for you--alternatively, you could probably stop at Compiegne on your way back from Bordeaux before heading into Paris.)

When we drove to Bordeaux, we overnighting at Chateau Curzay in Curzay-sur-Vonne. It's not far off the autoroute, but it's world's away in terms of the rural setting. The restaurant is also very good here and there's probably some activities for the kids as well.

Have a great trip!

LoriS is offline  
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