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Did Make a mistake in the time needed for our France trip..help needed!

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Mar 1st, 2005, 07:58 PM
  #1
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Did Make a mistake in the time needed for our France trip..help needed!

I think I have misjudged our time. We have 7 weeks with the last 10 days in Paris.In looking at the calendar we have more time than I have alloted I think..altho I haven't counted days of travel and laundry.

So far doing Normandy for almost a week, Mont st. Michel for a night... in Dordogne a week, Carcassone and Albi I hope, ending with Provence for a week or so. I looked at the calendar and we have more than enough time to do more of Brittany ... OR should we push it and leave Provence and go to Lyon, or Dijon by train. Car can be dropped either there or in Avignon. Or how about Barcelona and the Bilboa.

I dropped the Loire for this year...! I keep thinking we need to go SLOWER. So need advice on this.

Stu..I have your itinerary for Brittany.

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Mar 1st, 2005, 08:36 PM
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Don't miss the "calvaires" in western Brittany. If you have the time, you might want to wander up to the Auvergne (between the Dordogne and Lyon).
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Mar 1st, 2005, 08:49 PM
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i'd definitely vote for more time in brittany, especially as you'll already be so close at le mont st-michel. four or five days visiting some of the major sights in brittany would certainly enhance your trip.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 08:52 PM
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In case you did not see it, here's my report that covers Normandy and Brittany. It might give you some ideas.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34444403
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:44 AM
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I think you have time for the Loire as it will not be out of your way. You can go from Brittany or from Paris. How much time have you currently planned in Brittany? Why don't you plot your days on a calendar and see how much time (if any) you have to allot.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:04 AM
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I would vote for Brittany also. In fact, I would spend more time in Brittany than in Normandy. Brittany will be quite different from the South of France. In early Sept, the hydrangea will be quite beautiful in Southern Brittany. However, I think Northern Brittany around Dinan is prettier than southern Brittany. I would stay in Dinan - lots of restaurant options so you won't need to drive at night.

I would not go to Lyon and that area if this is your first trip, and I would not try to drive into Lyon to return a car. You could turn in the car in Avignon & take the 1 hr TGV to Lyon, or a litle longer to Dijon & visit both of these towns.

I think the most "rewarding" (you define that anyway you want) areas in France for the first timer are:

1. Paris
2. Brittany & Normandy
3. Loire, for a 4 day stay only - the Chateaux are fabulous - the other parts of the Loire are not in my top 8.
4. Alsace - probably ate up more film per square mile than anyplace else.
5. Dordogne
6. Provence
7. Cote d'Azur
8. Languedoc

Here is want I would do:

Day 1-10 Paris
Day 11 train to Rouen, visit & stay overnight.
Day 12-16 Normandy
Day 17-22 Northern Brittany near Dinan
Day 23-26 Southern Brittany near Pont Aven
Day 27-30 drive to Loire & Visit Chateaux
Day 31-38 drive Mostly very fast freeway) to Sarlat & the Dordogne.
Day 39-41 drive through the Languedoc (Albi, etc) to Provence
Day 42-48 Provence
In the afternoon of day 48 in Provence, turn in the car in Avignon & take the TGV to Dijon. Stay at the hotel Jura (50 yds from train station).
Day 49 - take the TGV directly to the Paris Airport.

Stu Dudley

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Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Stu has it down very well.
I would only add, that if you enjoy the wines of France, you should consider visiting the Champagne region and/or Burgundy, possibly staying in the Beaune area.
Bordeaux...I enjoyed the visits to the Chateaux but the city left me somewhat cold. One could combine a Dordogne visit with a two day trip to the St Emilion/Bordeaux wine areas...
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Can some of you come with me????...



Thanks so much. OK I will plan more in Brittany after I read up on it.In going from Brittany to the Loire...would we go via Rennes to Amboise? If so what are some good places to stop on the way? As a rule we don't like big cities ..I think this is a carryover from our rv.

Am I asking too much?..

Thanks all of you. Wish you were here looking at my maps with me.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 04:04 PM
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While poring over maps, make sure that you do not assume being able to cover distances the same as in the States. Our drive from Quimper to Rennes via Josselin was an all-day drive, just to give an example.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 08:13 PM
  #10
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Oh dear...happy you told me that...!! I am making that assumption. So going from Brittany to the Loire should I just use mappy and see how long it takes?...or are there wonderful things I will be missing.

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Mar 3rd, 2005, 10:34 AM
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You should decide what you want to see and use these locations or nearby towns as intermediary destinations when using mappy or viamichelin. In any case, mappy gives you driving time, and you will stop to see things and to eat. I would limit drive time to a maximum of 4 hours a day, less when touring within an area, so that you can stop and enjoy things without feeling that you need to jump in the car to cover another long distance.
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 11:38 AM
  #12
ira
 
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Hey Lois,

>Or how about Barcelona and the Bilboa?<

Stay focussed. This is a trip to France.

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Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:46 PM
  #13
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Ira.. that is sooo funny you mentioned it..we have friends who we will be visiting in Washington DC in May, and they are constantly harping on us to see Barcelona and Bilboa.

What can I say to them? I am already worried about my response?..they hated Carcassone and we are going so, I guess we are not on their wavelength.

I think we will be doing ok with our itinerary as it is. I took off the Loire but put it back in as I had made a mistake in my dates. Hubby would like to go there so....7 weeks does give us a lot of time.

If you are lucky I won't post the itinerary here!... .I was amazed at the mileage we will be putting on..
but we put on 10,000 every year on our rv in our cross-country trip so we are used to it. (selling the rv).
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Mar 4th, 2005, 06:25 AM
  #14
ira
 
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Hey lois,

>..they are constantly harping on us to see Barcelona and Bilboa.

What can I say to them?<

Your Travel Advisor says to stick to France this year and see Spain on another visit.

>I won't post the itinerary here!...

Please do.

>I was amazed at the mileage we will be putting on.<

5500-6000 miles?




Please do.
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Mar 4th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Lois.

You should post your itinerary here (seperate post - to get more attention). Many first timers make a lot of mistakes. Usually things that are unique to Europe, like:
1. Long lunches, when most stores and many museums/sites close. You don't want to pop into Rouen for a visit at 12:30, or arrive at Castelnau-Bretenoux (Dordogne region), at noon for a visit.
2. Most all stores close on Sunday - except tourist towns like MSM.
3. Many stores close on a Monday morning, and don't open till 2:30 or later
4. Interesting outdoor markets, that you might not be aware of.
5. How many hours does Carcassone take for a visit
6. Interesting places you will be driving right past & perhaps not know they are there.

There are more little things too.

Post your planned itinerary, and make sure that you indicate the day of the week (Mon, Tue, etc) you plan to do these things, and whether you plan to arrive in the morning, evening. Also, indicate what hotels you have already committed to.

Where and when are you departing. As I recall, you are doing Paris first. Do you plan to take the train to Rouen, or pick up a car in Paris & drive there, seeing Giverny on the way and some other sites also.

You might state again that you can not drive at night because of sight problems, and any other limitations you may have because of age, etc. You are older than I am, and I don't take as many all day hikes into the mountains as I use to.

As far as Bilboa & Barcelona, tell your friends that your planned driving itinerary does not take you anywhere close to those areas - especially if you get to the Dordogne via the eastern Loire chateau country. Logistics for getting in/out of Barcelona are a little tricky too - what do you do with the car. Barcelona/Catalonia is fantastic - do it next year - perhaps on a 2 week trip.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 4th, 2005, 09:29 AM
  #16
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OK will do...but I am not sure about exactly what to see and do in Brittany..so the itinerary won't be real detailed. Will do over the weekend.
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Mar 4th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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>>but I am not sure about exactly what to see and do in Brittany..so the itinerary won't be real detailed. Will do over the weekend.<<

Read my itinerary along with the Green Guide and the Cadogan guide for Brittany, and write down what appeals to you. We can help you refine it. Brittany does not have the same kind of coast you have in Southern Cal - it's more like what we have up here in the Big Sur area. They also have medieval villages & castles which our coasts don't have. It would be a nice complement to your South of France plans - quite different.

Stu Dudley
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