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First Time in France, What should we see?

First Time in France, What should we see?

Jan 21st, 2006, 01:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 833
First Time in France, What should we see?

We will be visiting France in April. We will like to see the main sites. We will stay in Paris for about 5 days, is this enough time in Paris. We would like to explore other parts of the country and have up to 14 days for the whole trip. What regions should we concentrate on - the north or the south?
Also, we are eger to go for a ride on the TGV at top speed. Is there a place near Paris we can visit as a day trip on the TGV?
justshootme is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,113
Hi J,

With 14 days, I suggest at least a week in Paris.

4 days in Paris.

You could then visit Beaun and Dijon for 4 days.

Return to Paris - 3 days.

Train to Bruges via Brussels on the high speed THALYS. Return to Paris.

Train to Versailles or Chartres for a day.

Fly home.

You might find these threads helpful:

Paris Superthread

Degasís Paris Walks

Have a nice visit.

ira is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
The question of what should one see always perplexes me when I have no idea what the individual interests are.

If you dislike classical music, I would NOT suggest an opera. If you dislike art, I would not suggest any of about a dozen art museums.

If you have no interest in history, I would not suggest Versailles or Fontainebleau.

If you have interests in those areas, then the detail can be long and complex.

So I think for those of us who have visited Paris more than 2 times would supply you with a great deal of informatin if we knew where your interests lie.

I hate to be sort of obtuse in my observations, but your questions reflect a lack of knowledge of Paris and French geography.
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 01:25 PM
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If it were me, I'd go South. Spend five days in Paris, then you can take the TGV to a southern city and rent a car. I'd spend a couple days on the Cote d'Azur or in Provence or the Languedoc, a couple days in the Dordogne, a couple days in the Loire valley and return the car in Paris and fly home. There are people who don't want to move around that much, but I would enjoy it.

But there are dozens of other possibilities that you might enjoy.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Posts: 833
Thank you for the comments. While this is our first time in France we have been to other parts of Europe and see a great deal of the Continent. We would like to see things unique to France and do not care to see the same or similar things that we have seen before. We were thinking of spending a few days in Paris and at this time we are undecided if we should see the north or the south. We understand that 14 days isn't enough time to see the whole country. At present we are leaning towards see the north, because we feel that the resorts in the south will be similar to what we've seen elsewhere. Any suggests/comments.

We are interested in art, culture, food, history, etc.

By the way we are determined to ride the TGV.
justshootme is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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<We are interested in art, culture, food, history, etc.

By the way we are determined to ride the TGV.>
So I agree with ira on Dijon and Beaune, 1h40 with TGV

my pictures here :

happy travels
cocofromdijon is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 02:07 PM
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For an April trip, I would suggest that you head south. The weather will probably be better.

A good plan would be to spend 5-6 days in Paris, and then catch the TGV to Avignon and explore Provence by car. Plenty of art, Roman ruins, cute villages, scenic drives, outdoor markets, mountains, gorges, caves with stalactites & mites, coast, etc to keep you busy for 7 days (we've been there for over 16 weeks just since '99.

Perhaps stay in St Remy for 3 days and the Luberon (near Gordes) for 4 days.

Then catch the TGV to Dijon the day before your flight home. Explore Dijon - its a very pretty, historical, & interesting town. Next morning jump on the TGV to the CDG airport at 6:30am, arriving at CDG before 8:30am for your flight home.

I have a 20+ page itinerary that describes my favorite corners of Provence. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

I've also been to Normandy & Brittany for 4 weeks, Loire for 2 weeks, Dordogne for 8 weeks (my other favorite area), Languedoc/Roussillon for 8 weeks, Pays Basque for 2 weeks and Alsace for 1 week - all since '99. I think Provence is the best bet for April.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 21st, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Forgot two other places I've visited - Cote d'Azur for 11 weeks, and the Ardeche for 2. I still think Provence would be better in April than these 2 other areas. Cote would be fine, and you could visit it if you shorten your Paris stay by a day or two, and don't mind changing hotels. The TGV gets you to Aix very fast, which is a good starting point for the Cote.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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I like Stu's plan and then you'd see another area and do the TGV thing at the same time. I think for a lot of people, staying in one major city for a week out of a 14 day trip can be overkill. No one knows if that's the kind of thing you would like or not, but I think a lot of people prefer to see a little more of a country than stay in the capital for half their visit. Yes, of course, you CAN do it, but I wouldn't recommend it out-of-hand to virtually every single person as some folks on this board seem to do.

I think five days for a major city is about right, but it's hard to say without knowing your travel preferences in general and usual approach to touring. Some folks hate cities and others hate country. I'm sort of in-between, I tend to prefer major cities, so get tired of the usual village small town stuff a lot of people like, or driving around the country randomly.

You have to know your own preferences a little on that score.
Christina is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 177
TGV is overrated for trips of over 2 hours.

At that point, you're better off flying, paying about the same and saving a lot of transit time to do something more interesting than being cooped up in a train.
wco81 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2006, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 60
To Bob Brown:

Responses like yours are exactly why so many newbies are turned off to this site. For God's sake lighten up!

Thanks to all the many other responders who actually had something constructive to say.
PBH is offline  

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