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Anyone recommend daytrip outside of Paris?

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Jul 4th, 2000, 04:08 PM
  #1
Patricia
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Anyone recommend daytrip outside of Paris?

Hi everyone! I would like to take a daytrip
to a quaint, provincial french village outside of Paris.

Do you have any suggestions? I would love to hear about any "Alpine" like mountain villages(?)

Do you know Chartres, Strausbourg, Rouen,or Rheims?

Would love to any suggestions,
Thanks again,
Patricia
 
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Jul 4th, 2000, 04:40 PM
  #2
Emily
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Just back from Paris. Chartres was a wonderful day trip but go on sunny day & make sure Malcom Miller is lecturing that day. i suggest buying the Time Out Paris guide book (amazon has it & TO has a web site with similar info). We took an early train there; visited a small stained glass museum, had great pizza @ the italian cafe in facing the church, took a small tourist train ride around the town & walked. Very charming; if we had more time we would have gone to the town park & rented boats. I would call the towns tourist bureaus to see if anything interesting is happening while u r in the area; Rouen sounds great--RicK Steves writes a lot about it; Giverny is also lovely. There is a book called Daytrips from Paris that prbably list it all; Time out has many good suggestions! U should also take the Paris Canal boat to la Villette: its
a 2/3 day trip & great!
 
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Jul 4th, 2000, 04:47 PM
  #3
Maira
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I spent some time in Bourges in the summer of 1996 and in 1997. Definitely recommend it. About two and a half hours south of Paris, the Cathedral was breathtaking and the medieval streets layout with the timbered houses offered photo ops at every corner. The best of it, however, was that it is not touristy at all and still retains a quaint, provincial, small french village flair.
 
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Jul 4th, 2000, 07:11 PM
  #4
Patricia
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Thank you Emily and Maira for the suggestions! Both Chartres and Bourges sound like my cup of tea. I am going to look more into them!

Thanks again for the suggestions,
Patricia
 
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Jul 5th, 2000, 02:36 PM
  #5
Chrisina
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Strasbourg is too far for a day trip (almost half a day); it's a major city though and the seat of the Eur Parliament, and there isn't anything alpine close enough to Paris, I'm afraid, the Alps are about a full day's travel time away--there might be something sort of quaint like Colmar in the Alsace region, but not doable in a day trip. Rouen is very interesting but it's not quaint or provincial, it's a fairly large port/business city, and Reims is even larger (about 200K pop). Chartres would be good, I think, also maybe Chantilly, which is the smallest of these towns, but it isn't really that quaint given it's a resort town. I think Blois is a pretty town you might consider, I thought it was more interesting and attractive than Chartres, although slightly larger (neither is really a village). I do know some more quaint little villages but maybe they are too quaint and not that easy to get to by day trip on public transportation, that's sort of the problem, if that's what you were planning to do, and sometimes these quaint villages aren't that interesting as there's not much there so there's really nothing to do for a day. YOu know where it is fairly quaint that you could go easily by train: Moret-sur-Loing, the painter Sisley's home, nice willow trees, mills on the river, etc. About a mile or so hike from the train station (no public transportation from station) or you can take a cab from the station. If you are planning on a couple, I also would recommend you get the book Day Trips in France by Steinbicker.
 
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Jul 5th, 2000, 02:57 PM
  #6
Me
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Can't recommend any "Mountain" type things, but highly recommend a trip to St. Germain-en-Laye. Easy to reach via RER - takes about 45 minutes. The chateau and small building in the back where Louis XIV was born are beautiful. Gardens are beautiful. The town is also lovely to walk through. On the way back, take RER to Chatou. The Ile des Impressionistes is there and the restaurant where Renoir painted the "luncheon of the boating party" is still there - we had a terrific lunch there and felt like we were part of the painting!
 
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Jul 6th, 2000, 04:23 PM
  #7
Patricia
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Thanks everyone so far! Great advice!
I guess I should clarify a little, my trip outside of Paris doesn't have to be a "day trip"(I should have used different terminology)

Christina, I would love to hear more about the smaller provincial towns you have been to.

Thanks to everyone!
Patricia
 
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Jul 6th, 2000, 09:24 PM
  #8
Dave
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We made a fabulous "day-trip" from Paris in 1998 and plan to repeat it during our visit to Paris this September. The destination Annecy is a beautiful village in the Alps situated next to Lake Annecy and surrounded by mountains. Parts of the village are over 2000 years old and have canals and flower-covered bridges. In fact, Annecy is often called the Venice of France. Lots of interesting history of the town going back and forth between the French and the Italians.

The trick is to use the TGV to reach places not usually considered suitable for a day-trip. We left from Gare de Lyon around 6:45 - 7:00 in the morning for the ride to Annecy (just over three hours, as I recall) and were back in Paris around 10:00PM. The train ride is great with nice scenery the entire way. The train station is right in the middle of Annecy and only a few blocks from the lake.

We spent about eight hours in Annecy, which was enough time to walk around the village, take the one hour boat trip on the lake and have lunch. We had dinner on the train returning to Paris. Read about Annecy in some of the travel guides and I think you will find I am probably understating Annecy's charm. Email me if you would like more information.

 
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Jul 9th, 2000, 10:11 AM
  #9
Patricia
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Thanks Dave! I was also thinking about Annecy when I found a beautiful picture of the hotel on the lake. The town sounds very charming from your post.

Patricia
 
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Jul 9th, 2000, 11:29 AM
  #10
Naupaka
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Omigod! I went to Annecy last year and LOVED it. I would definitely go there on a day trip, but hopefully you won't be too sad when you leave....we stayed there for 3 days and I was *still* sad to leave. The air is crisp, the water like glass, and the fondue is great (if you have a big appetite). Rheims was also very nice, very scenic. That was the highlight of one of my earlier trips.
 
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Jul 9th, 2000, 12:54 PM
  #11
kam
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Giverny is very nice, but the gardens are seasonal. Chartres is a great daytrip. Reims is champagne house center as well as an interesting cathedral. Strasbourg is wonderful but you should plan to overnight and visit the wine road from Strasbourg to Colmar. You can get a TGV train to Dijon (others take too long) in about 1 1/2 hours. Great food there and a pretty little city. Also a bit far but one of our favorites was Bayeux, a wonderful medieval town and home to the famous tapestry of Queen Matilda. Also loved the Loire Valley and Blois. Have fun.
 
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Jul 9th, 2000, 07:48 PM
  #12
Sandi
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Patricia,

Hello! I wanted to share my opinions with you about a few places. I returned about a month ago from a two week tour of France and had the best time! Rouen was a really nice place. It was the first "small town" we stopped at after leaving Paris. Made a great impression on me, took lots and lots of pictures here. Great for just wandering the streets and taking it all in.

We stopped in Rheims on the second to last day of the trip, on the way back to Paris. I have to tell you I saw a lot of beautiful cathedrals during my tour, I love the architecture of them. But the one in Rheims took the cake. It was the most impressive, in my opinion. We were there at about 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., the sun was shining just right for most of the stained glass windows on the inside. The detail on the outside of the church, the carvings, the smiling angel to greet you at the main door, such intricate details.

But another place you might find worthwhile is the Mont St. Michel. It is a beautiful sight to see, but most especially at night when the sun is dropping behind it, with an orange glow on the water. Then when it really gets dark it becomes illuminated. The cathedral at Rheims is also very pretty at night when it is illuminated.

Hope you find this useful. If not, happy planning anyway!

Sandi
 
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Jul 10th, 2000, 06:24 PM
  #13
Patricia
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Thank you Sandi! And yes I did find your advice very worthwhile -- people's travel experiences and memories are always very important to me. Thank you again for sharing them! Rouen and Reims sound very charming and so does Mont St Michel (but the latter I think I will save for another trip)

Happy travels,
Patricia
 
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Jul 10th, 2000, 07:00 PM
  #14
BillJ
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How 'bout Hon fleur, on the Normandy coast. Beautiful little seaside town. Maybe pick up Giverny on the same trip. Everybody else's ideas were great. Just thought I'd add one. You could maybe even find a neat little Normany chateau to stay in.
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 02:23 PM
  #15
Heather
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Just got back from 18 days in the east side of France and Paris. We drove from Paris through Reims to Colmar. The cathedral is beautiful in Reims, but it is not worth a day trip. Alsace and Strasbourg are too far and are most enjoyable for driving around from village to village. If you're up for a long haul, Annecy is incredible ... it's where I spent my birthday. We stayed for 3 days. If you're going when the weather is warm, you will have a difficult choice about whether to do the hour boat cruise or renting a paddleboat to drift around in an Alpine lake surrounded by incredible scenary. If you go to Annecy, hit the array of food shops and take a picnic to the park by the lake ... it's wonderful. Have fun with whatever choices you make!! p.s. I'm ready to go back and am willing to tote your bags for you.
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 04:05 PM
  #16
kalena/karin
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The french country villages are my idea of nirvana! You have had some wonderful recommendations. We spent three weeks in Annecy three years ago, having done a wonderful home exchange with a french family. I was trying to remember the elapsed time to get there by TGV. I thought it was about four hours, but it may have been less. We have lovely memories and explored quite a bit of the area. However, it is a long haul from Paris, as another person noted. So unless you have a few days to devote to the trip, I think it's too much ground to cover.
Dijon, fabulous food. Honfleur and its environs, an incredibly charming destination. Mt. St Michel, crowded in the summer, but so interesting. In Dorgogne we loved the cliff-village of Domme, but that's a little harder to get to. By all means, visit the countryside, that's where you'll find the heart of france. I can't wait to get back!
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 08:34 PM
  #17
kalena/karin
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Just wanted to clarify, Annecy is a city, not quite a village. There are some charming villages nearby. But it's still a long haul from Paris.
 
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Jul 12th, 2000, 08:42 AM
  #18
Sondra
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Hi Patricia,

I really think such cities as Annecy are a bit far for a day trip. I would concentrate on closer areas such as Reims, Chartres, and my favorite Giverny. Tha Alsace area would be another great choice, but again I think it is too far and deserves more time. Whatever you decide have a wonderful trip.
 
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Jul 13th, 2000, 02:59 PM
  #19
Patricia
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Thanks everyone! I just wanted to clarify that my trip is not quite planned (is very flexible) and does not have to be a "day trip" per se...so I would love to hear about any info on any towns, (be they near Paris or the farthest point away (maybe not to Morocco ).
I really have appreciated everyone's advice. Keep it coming!

Thanks!
Patricia
 
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