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Any area in France as wonderful as Paris? Pls. help!

Any area in France as wonderful as Paris? Pls. help!

Nov 15th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #1  
Emily
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Any area in France as wonderful as Paris? Pls. help!

I know there is a lot of knowledge out there, and I would love to hear your opinions. We have spent two glorious weeks in Paris and want to go back to France in June. It is tempting to return to Paris, but we feel we should give some other area a chance.....perhaps stay one week in Paris and try a different area for a week or two, perhaps in a gite or bed and breakfast. We will be there in early June and really love everything....good food, wine, chateaus, scenery. Not interested in sports, fishing, etc. as we have plenty of that at home. Provence comes to mind first, but you may have other ideas. Please advise. Thank you!
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 09:49 AM
  #2  
Grasshopper
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I would check out the Loire Valley. Maybe stay in a chateau (lots reviewed here) And for cities, Lyon is my favorite city in France. It's got a wonderful old town and the best food anywhere.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 10:14 AM
  #3  
David
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Good for you!! Yes, Paris is wonderful, but there is so much more to another country than its largest city. Your idea of renting someplace for a week and taking a bit of time to explore is excellent.

In the Loire Valley I particularly liked Saumur, Angers, Blois, & Chinon. Some of these are bigger than others, but all have something to offer. If you get further west in the Loire valley towards Saumur & Angers, there seems to be fewer tourists than in the east from Tours on back towards Paris.

I spent 3 days in Troyes this past spring and really enjoyed it too. It’s in the Champagne region and lovely too.

As a bonus, I’ve found the dining outside of Paris to be much less expensive than the equivalent meal in Paris. In fact I no longer fine dine in Paris. That’s for the countryside. I only eat at bistros and brasseries in Paris now. The cost of a 2 star hotel room in Paris will get me a very nice 3 star hotel room in the provinces.

For ideas you might check out www.chateauxhotel.com

So Grasshopper, I’ll be in Lyon for the first time this spring, any restaurant recommendations?
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 10:14 AM
  #4  
Christina
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There isn't any other city like Paris in France, so don't expect it. Going the gite or B&B route is kind of surprising to me as it's so different from what I would have guessed you liked about Paris. It really does depend what you loved so well about Paris -- the architecture, availability of performing arts, size and scale, hustle and bustle of a big city, sophistication, shopping, whatever -- if you just like wine and good food and scenery, many places will do. Why not try Beaune and the wine region around there, and you could spend a few days in Lyon, also, that's a good idea. Provence is certainly nice but nothing like Paris, nor is the Riviera.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 11:34 AM
  #5  
Gretchen
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Provence would be a definite candidate. We did that a couple of years ago--5 days in Provence and 5 in Paris. We just returned from a trip of 6 days in Normandy and a week in Paris. I think next year we will return to Provence for at least a week. It is very accessible--the towns being close enough for comfortable driving from a central "base". Charming doesn't approach it. France has lots to offer.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 12:23 PM
  #6  
äkpkäpkäp
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David, go to t´he "mother of all restaurants" - Paul Bocus in Lyon. O
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Just Incredible!

lunch is the best deal.

M. Jagger
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 12:54 PM
  #7  
Paul
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Try looking into the Dordogne.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 01:00 PM
  #8  
xxx
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For what it's worth, in terms of popularity, I'd wager that Provence, Normandy, and Burgundy are three of the top five places in France outside of Paris,with Provence likely first. As far as the other two might be, not sure . . . the Loire Valley? the Dordogne?
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 01:01 PM
  #9  
liz
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Hush Paul, don't say a word about that area. Lets keep it for you and me and a couple of others who have found it, otherwise it will become like the rest of France.
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 01:53 PM
  #10  
StCirq
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Really, Paul.....sssshhhhhhhhhhh!
 
Nov 15th, 2002, 07:49 PM
  #11  
Jon
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My favorite non-Paris destinations are Provence and Lyon. Actually, I like them both better than Paris. While they don't have Paris' concentration of sites, we enjoy them more than the hectic pace of Paris.
Lyon was the highlight of our recent Paris-Burgundy-Lyon trip. It's an incredible city, and truly a culinary capital. We absolutely blew the budget on food. Every meal was a celebration.
j.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 04:52 AM
  #12  
Emily
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I really appreciate all the superb advice on regions in France and am definitely going to add one or two of them to our itinerary. Any thoughts on the area around Dijon? Could a gite near Dijon be used as a base for day trips as far south as Lyon? I'm not sure how long it takes to drive that distance, but it looks manageable on the map. Any suggestions for "must-sees" in the Dijon area or the area south to Lyon? And what do you think would be better, rent a car in Paris and drive to Dijon or take the train to Dijon and rent a car from there? Would one outweigh the other costwise? Thanks to everyone once again.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 06:00 AM
  #13  
pam
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We stayed in Beaune in early June and absolutely loved it. We drove from Paris -- if there are only two of you, the train is more cost-effective, but we had two adults and two teens, plus we drove all the way to Rome. We liked the freedom of car travel and had no problems, except getting out of Paris (and mistakenly driving into Florence, which is a whole other story).
My other vote is for Chamonix, in the Alps, near the France/Italy/Switzerland border. It was our favorite town of our entire trip.
Pam B.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 06:27 AM
  #14  
maryjane
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I would definitely recommend Provence in June. The lavender will be beginning to bloom and it will be warm and sunny, ideal for exploring and relaxing beside the pool at your b&b. We have also been to the Loire Valley in June, the poppies are in bloom and it is a beautiful time to visit. We have also been to Burgundy and Normandy/Brittany but Provence and the Loire are have the most to offer in my humble opinion.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 06:41 AM
  #15  
xxxx
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Biarritz is a great place to visit - on the Atlantic coast, stunning scenery, great shops, wonderful food. Near the Pyrenees mountains where you will find beautiful Basque villages. Specialities of the region are duck, foie gras and armagnac, and of course it is only two hours by road from the Bordeaux wine region.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 06:47 AM
  #16  
Louis
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Lyon, Nice, Nîmes & Arles.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 07:26 AM
  #17  
Moira
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I would highly recommend the Loire Valley, its only an hour and a half away from Paris on the TGV. In particular for accommodation, I would highly recommend Chateau de Brou www.chateau-de-brou.fr It is idyllic, losts of wonderful chateaux nearby, Chinon for its wine, Chevre cheese. Biking or walking, great restaurants. Or if you want to do nothing but relax its equally perfect for this too. Nearest towns are Tours, Loche, Poitier. You can also go further afield to Limoges and Bordeaux.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #18  
Emily
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What a treasure trove of information! Thank you all very much. I welcome any other thoughts you have on good, somewhat moderate places to eat near Dijon, in the Loire Valley, and in Lyon.
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #19  
Selena
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I love the Camargue area. It is way down south. The towns of Aigues-Mortes and St.Giles are alot of fun....
 
Nov 18th, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #20  
julie
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Northern Brittany away from the usual tourist areas. Fascinating culture and interesting people.
 

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