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charming small French city for weeklong stay?

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Feb 27th, 2013, 05:00 PM
  #1
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charming small French city for weeklong stay?

Hi,
We are planning our French summer holiday and are looking for some Fodors inspiration. We are a family of 4 with two daughters aged 12 & 16. We're flying into Dublin then connecting into CDG. We will rent a house for a week in a smallish French city with plenty to do but some interesting side trips nearby. Then we'll head back to Paris, stay there for 4 nights, fly back to Dublin for 3 nights and then head home.

We are definitely city people rather than the small isolated farmhouse loving folks. At first we were thinking of driving from CDG to Normandy and finding a homebase there. But most of the towns are quite small and my girls might get bored after a couple of days. So we're thinking of getting a TGV from CDG to somewhere within a 3 hour radius and renting a car there. Ideally it will be the Lucca of France, a town we fell in love with during a previous trip. It's the perfect size town: big enough for plenty to do but small enough to give us some a respite from Paris. We're not big into wine so vineyards and chateaus aren't that important. A few thoughts: Dijon? Strasbourg? Besancon? Any others?
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Feb 27th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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Sarlat
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:03 PM
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Besançon
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:50 PM
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Annecy. It's in the Alps, yet has a lake and beach for summer time fun. Plus lots of fun canals running through the city. Old town is quaint.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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Aix-en-Provence
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Feb 27th, 2013, 09:01 PM
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Nice.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 09:41 PM
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La Rochelle with the nearby Ile de Ré.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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I like the vibe of Strasbourg, I think Aix may be too small for that length of time, but certainly central for some good days trips.

Second Nice, and the girls may like La Rochelle and Ile de Re. You have had some good suggestions.... Lyon?

Let us know what you decide,
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Feb 28th, 2013, 03:13 AM
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La Rochelle (great fun for the girls) , Strasbourg, St Malo, Avignon
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Feb 28th, 2013, 03:26 AM
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I second Sarlat. Stunning town, beautiful region with lots to do.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Metz or Nancy.

They have the advantage of being on a commuter train line that goes Luxembourg-Metz-Nancy with a spur over to Strasbourg. So if you ever need to do something different, it is just a short ride away with trains every 30 minutes or less.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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Okay, I will throw in a few photo reports that I made:

Metz: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...ad=3702&page=1

Pompidou Center Metz: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...&page=1#150349

Nancy: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...ay&thread=5870

The Nancy fun fair: http://www.anyportinastorm.proboards...&page=1#135534
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Feb 28th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Strasbourg. You have the benefit of a multi-cultural town with a lot to see and do - plus visit Colmar for the day plus the towns on the wine route (adorable charming villages even if you don;t drink anythng).
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Feb 28th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Nice, which has a lot to see and do and would give you beach time for relaxation.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Frankly, neither Strasbourg or Nice qualifies as a "small" French city.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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How about Troyes?
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Feb 28th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Another Annecy suggestion.

www.annecy-town.com/

Also, google images of Annecy for more inspiration.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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Menton.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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Annecy or Biarritz
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Feb 28th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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I love it when people say the name of a city and don't bother to describe why it is desirable.
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