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Fall Driving France Itinerary Planning - Need Experts Advise Please!

Fall Driving France Itinerary Planning - Need Experts Advise Please!

Jun 24th, 2014, 02:34 PM
  #1  
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Fall Driving France Itinerary Planning - Need Experts Advise Please!

Fall Driving Tour of France Itinerary Planning - Need Experts Advise Please!

We’re planning a trip to France this September. We've traveled extensively through-out Europe but have only been to Paris and the Southern France, including the Cote D'Azur and Provence (Loved it!).

We like to start rural and end in Paris. We can spend 2 weeks plus a few extra days and would like to drive, but have no problems using rail, if needed, to get back to Paris.

I usually like to include a few different regions to make the trip more diverse. For example last year we did Northern Italy for 16 nights. We spent 4 nights in Bologna - 3 nights in the Dolomites - 4 nights in the Piemonte Region - 4 nights Bellagio-Lake Como. It was incredible because it felt like 4 different vacations. Many thanks to fellow Fodorites for helping me plan. (Trip report at http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm if interested). Our travels in Spain included 4 different two week trips and we still have more places to go. We like to slow travel. I understand that France probably has plenty of two week trips.

I am intrigued by the Languedoc/Roussillon and Dordogne region of France because we love being near the sea, plus love good food, driving winding roads, castles, caves and little towns. We will end our trip in Paris and will spend a few nights there.

I know I am late in planning so your expert advise would be appreciated since I really don't know much about traveling in France and it has so many wonderful regions. Thank you in advance for your advise.
easygoer is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 05:10 PM
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Several years ago we took TGV from Paris to Libourne, and then stayed in the Dordogne (based in Cenac) for a week. many day trips in region. we then drove to Loire Valley. Stayed in Amboise. After Amboise we dropped car off in Tours and took train to paris.
leuk2 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 05:24 PM
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The Dordogne isn't anywhere near the sea.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 24th, 2014, 06:35 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Like your trip ideas leuk2. StCirq, we were thinking of starting in the Languedoc/Roussillon region which is on the sea, then moving towards Dordogne. What's you're favorite places in the area for a base? Thanks in advance.
easygoer is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 11:27 PM
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We spent a week in the Dordogne based just outside of Sarlat and loved it, very centrally located

Would highly recommend our b&b
http://www.les-granges-hautes.fr/en/
jamikins is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 04:14 AM
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Here's our TR of The Dordogne. Maybe it will give you some suggestions.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-paris.cfm

Toulouse was a fantastic city to start our trip for a few days. Then there are so many variations in The Dordogne and Lan/Rous area to choose from. I suggest you start reading Fodorites TR's to choose what suits you. IMO, I would then take the TGV to Paris. We've taken it from several places in the south and it works well rather than the long drive.

That said, you seem to move around fast, so maybe you could base a few places in The Dordogne & LanMRous area and then squeeze in a few days in The Loire Valley---those chateaux are beyond wonderful(Chennenceau, Villandry, Chambord.)
TPAYT is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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jamikins, what a lovely B&B. We usually like to stay in town to be able to walk to restaurants. Was it easy enough to drive in at night?

TPAYT, WOW what a great trip report. You captured the essence of the area. Love the food descriptions and pictures. I clicked on many of the replies from people who were remembering there visit to the Dordogne and found lots more trip reports. Thank you for sharing.
easygoer is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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I will throw out a wildly different idea. The Vosges mountains are spectacular in autumn and would certainly outshine most regions. Most of Alsace is quite wonderful in the autumn as well, and it would set you on a route to the Jura and the wonderful views of the Alps overlooking Geneva. And the final fantastic area to visit would be the Massif Central with the Puy de Dôme and Vulcania. You would absolutely be off the traditional tourist track of English speaking tourists and therefore save lots of money.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 25th, 2014, 11:52 AM
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Simple to drive in and out of plus they serve dinner a few times a night I believe.

We also loved our recent trip to Alsace! Our pics are here
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7644953485474/
jamikins is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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kerouac, no problem with the different road trip ideas. As I mentioned we've spent extensive time in Italy and Spain and realize that touring France will be multiple 2 or 3 week itineraries. We went to Barnes and Noble today and was overwhelmed with the different regions of France to explore.

jamikins, thanks for the answer re: your beautiful B&B. You're pictures from Alsace are amazing. We too take pictures of our food, so not to forget.

My question about the Alsace region is there enough varied food. We tend to hover around the coastal Mediterranean. We love seafood and game (especially rabbit).

Kerouac, I also saw you're trip report on Marseille. We loved Nice and I did consider starting in Marseille if we did south west France. So many decisions! I knew I should have started planning earlier. Thanks everyone.
easygoer is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Another vote for Alsace but I'd add in a bit of Germany as well either the Pfalz, the Mosel or the Balck Forest. The food suits the wine so yes you get maybe heavier meals but you also get amazingly light pizza like things.

http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/Alsace_Food.php
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Thanks so much for your nice comments!

As for food in Alsace...we found more variety there than a lot of other regions...although seafood wasn't on a lot of menus
jamikins is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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Hi biloburgler, we're kind of leaning towards The Dordogne and Lan/Rous region and as TPAYT mention "squeeze in a few days in The Loire Valley" if possible. The reason is we've been to Germany and Austria several times. Alsace and Northern France is definitely on our to do list.

We like to have 3 or 4 home bases for 3 to 4 nights each. Perhaps fly in to Paris for a few nights then flying out of Marseille with train and car in between. Everyone is so helpful here. TY.
easygoer is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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Well, if you saw my trip report about Marseille, perhaps you should also look at my trip report about Strasbourg: http://www.anyportinastorm.proboards...ptember?page=1
kerouac is online now  
Jun 25th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Hi kerouac,your pictures are amazing. I love photos that tell a story and yours do. Thanks for sharing. Lots of votes for Alsace. Yikes! I'm getting throw off track. Lots to consider. I suppose I should have started with "Where is your favorite French region for a road trip". Thanks again everyone!
easygoer is offline  
Jun 25th, 2014, 11:08 PM
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Well if driving is your thing then you need to drive over the Millau bridge, then drive up the Tarn valley and visit the roquefort cheese factories. Interesting area for its rocks and taking donkeys for walks.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 26th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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bilboburgler, love your name. Millau Bridge looks amazing so does the Tarn Valley. I sold imported cheese for a living and have been to many European and US factories but never to the Roquefort caves. Planning is starting to come together. Thanks so much.
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