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Early Fall Trip to France - what am I missing?

Early Fall Trip to France - what am I missing?

Jun 28th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 262
Early Fall Trip to France - what am I missing?

First, thanks to all the fodorites for suggestions on this topic over the last few months. Here is what we’ve settled on so far. Any comments or suggestions for changes would be appreciated.


My girlfriend and I (in our mid 20s) are going to France for 12 days in the fall. we are staying in Paris from the Monday to Friday of our first week at the Hilton near the Eiffel Tower Eiffel, not a lot of character unfortunately (wanted to stay in a boutique hotel on one of the islands) but couldn't argue with the US$105 per night that we booked on Hotwire - a great site for low prices, if you are happy with the stress of not knowing what you are paying for (i am evidently).

In terms of things to do in Paris we plan on going to the concergerie, Notre dame, louvre, montmartre, les invalides, musee d'orsay, catacombes, arc de triomphe and the tower itself. my girlfriend has never been to Paris, and i have only been as a kid, so we're doing the generic first time attractions.

As for places to eat & drink, we think of ourselves as foodies, but are not planning on spending the money on Guy Savoy or Alain Ducasse. we do plan on getting a picnic from Fauchon, and dinners at Aux Lyonnais (cheap form of AD), Market (Jean-Georges), Le Grand Colbert and ?... we still need some suggestions, and are not firm on any of the above restaurants either. wouldn't mind an omlette and people watching at cafe flore (is it worth it?). we do plan on have drinks at Bar Hemmingway (our splurge i guess, - my girlfriend wants to walk through revolving door ie: Diana) and we want to grab a pre-dinner drink one night at Bubbles, any comments?

After Paris, we are going to rent a car and drive to Tours in the Loire valley, stopping at chambord on the way. we are spending two nights at domaine de la tortiniere. We'll eat there one night, but if anyone has any suggestions about places in or around Tours for either lunch or dinner it would be appreciated. We're going to do clos luce and chenonceau while in the area.

We're then driving down to Cognac to spend one night and one dinner at Domaine du Breil; and have an afternoon tour of Hennessey.

Following Cognac, we are heading down the coast to Bordeaux. We are staying a little north west of the city at Chateau le lout.

We will be in bordeaux from Monday afternoon (planed to be spent in St-Emilion) until Friday morning (when we have to make an unpleasant b-line back to CDG to fly home to canada early sat morning). Tuesday is spoken for, (haut brion in the morning and chateau d'yquem in the afternoon). wednesday we are thinking of heading out towards the coast for archacon to eat seafood and see the dune du pilat. Thursday is full with Mouton-rothschild and chateau latour.

we are still looking for recommendations for restaurants in the bordeaux area - we've heard good things about Le lion d'or in archins (any indication of prices?) and le chapon fin (we've got reservations but not sure if we'll feel like another hugely rich, expensive meal by that point). any local spots? Bistrot du Clocher in St-Emilion looks interesting.

I guess the point of this post is to see if our itinerary makes sense logistically and also to ensure we hit the "must-see" locations for our vacation. Comments welcome, suggestions welcome. Thanks a bunch.

Happy travelling,

JMWF is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,273
Sounds great, except you seem to be locking yourself into restaurant recommendations when there are so many restaurants to choose from and recommendations are so unreliable and subjective. What somebody liked on a given day when the stars were aligned, the waiter in a good mood and the sauce just to their liking may not please you at all the day you'll be there. Make your own discoveries!


WallyKringen is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,461
While visiting the Conciergerie in Paris, don't miss Sainte Chapelle, just next door. One of the top sights in Paris, in my opinion.
Nikki is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 07:29 PM
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Be sure the sun is bright when you go to the Saint Chapelle. There are no better stained glass windows anywhere. This includes Notre Dame and Chartres, in my opinion.
AJPeabody is online now  
Jun 28th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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I think you've done some research and picked out things that make sense to see, and have a good list.

As for restaurants, I just don't get the whole foodie gestalt, but you can find foodie-type recommendations in many standard guides, if that's important to you. I don't think making some special point to go to Cafe Flore for an omelet is worth it in any way, but if it's important to you to go to a place that you think has a "name", why not.
Christina is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Musée Jacquemart-André aris I would try to include Musée Jacquemart-André in the 8th, the newly opened L'Orangerie by the Louvre in the 1st, and as others have suggested Ste. Chapelle.

I think you've done a great job of selecting sights to see and way to go on the inexpensive room (even though it lacks charm). I like spending less on accomadations and more on food!

I suggest you go early to the Eiffel Tower so you don't waste time there. I went in June and July, arriving before 9am both times and had little or no wait either times queing for tickets or the line to the elevator. As I was leaving about an hour later the lines were getting quite long and once when strolling past in the afternoon the area under the tower was completely congested.

I'm sure you've seen references to Mike's Fat Tire Bike tours. At any age they're fun but are very popular with your age group especially. You might try the evening tour that combines biking and a boat trip on the Seine.
amwosu is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 05:34 AM
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BTW, the Eiffel Tower is also fun late at night.
amwosu is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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Lion d"Or in Arcins offers a set price lunch menu that is very reasonable. Apart from that, I would say that there prices are high-moderate. It has been three years since I was there so cannot remember exactly except to say that prices in this region are much lower than in Paris. We liked Lion d"Or very much....I recommend it both for food and atmosphere. It is right on the side of the main road in Arcins. You should reserve in advance. One speciality from this area, I believe, is the lamb from Pauillac.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,148
Hi JM,

I suggest that instead of driving from Bordeaux to Paris that you drop the car either in Bordeaux or Libourne (just outside Bordeaux) and take the TGV to Gare Montparnasse.

You will save about 2:30 hr.

PREMS fares are only 25E pp.

Schedules, prices and tickets are at www.voyages-sncf.com

ira is offline  
Jul 1st, 2006, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,635
You might like a nice restaurant in Paris that Mrs. Peabody and I found a few years ago:

L'Argenteuil, in the 1st. For info, go to


(It's in French, but you can read the basic info anyway.) The food is great, the wine list also, and the service is very pleasant. They have a few outdoor tables in good weather. Prices are reasonable, too.
AJPeabody is online now  

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