First time to France: Help!

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Feb 16th, 2008, 04:31 PM
  #1
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First time to France: Help!

Hi Folks -

My husband and I will be traveling to France & Italy for a month in Septmember - first time to both - and we are so freaking excited!!

My plan for France is the following: Paris to Lyon to Grenoble to Provence to Nice.

Has anyone done anything similar? If so, does this make sense? I am concerned I may have too may stops and am wondering if a base camp in the French Alps with trips to Lyon or Provence make sense. Help!

Thanks all.


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Feb 16th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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How many days do you plan to spend in France?
Are you going to rent a car?
What are you interested in : museums, country side, sea side, small towns, food, cities, ??????????

You might try do be a bit more specific so you can get better info.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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You said France & Italy in you heading, but all the places you mentioned are in France. How many days in France?

Will this be an all train trip, or all car, or both?

Stu Dudley
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Feb 16th, 2008, 05:21 PM
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She said a month.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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If you're doing 2 weeks in France and 2 in Italy you have too many stops. Since you will be jetlagged you should do at least 5 and preferably 6 nights in Paris. I would then select 2 of the other areas/depending on what your interests are.

To really see much of the Rivera you should also leave at least 5 nights in Nice - assuming you will visit other cities along the coast and the cute small towns and museums in the hotels by car.

I would probably spend a couple of night in Lyons in between - but - it does depend on your interests.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 07:58 PM
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OK, I will try again. We are planning to spend 14 days in France and I already have my itinery worked out in Italy. We like adventure, local culture, food, wine, and the outdoors. I am attracted to beautiful landscapes, vineyards, lavendar fields, outdoor activity. I am not much of a big city person and I live on a rad beach today. Therefore, I wasn't planning on staying too long in Paris or French Riviera (only 3 nights in each) and am not too worried about jet-leg (have traveled to Europe before and am a weekend warrior) - I know, many of you will disagree with that decision. Just looking for some nice advice on Lyon, the French Alps, and Provence. My friends are from Grenoble and says it rocks. Is it feasible to take day trips from the Alps to Lyon or to Provence? Or is it worth it to pick betweem Lyon or Provence and stay a couple nights. Hopefully, this was more clearn. Thanks for any advise you can give.
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Feb 16th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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I'd go for Annecy over Grenoble...and sorry to disappoint, but the lavender will be harvested before September.
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Feb 17th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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ira
 
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HI M,

> I am not much of a big city person ...I wasn't planning on staying too long in Paris ...only 3 nights

I strongly advise you to plan for 5 nights in Paris.

It ain't just any big city.

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Feb 17th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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No - it's really not possible to take day trips to Provence from Grenoble. You could do it on a tain, but the trains only go to the large cities (Avignon, Aix, Arles) - you will need a car to get you to all the countryside, mountains, small villages, etc that you prefer.

A train to Lyon from Grenoble is less than 1 1/2 hrs to Part Dieu station, and then another 8 mins or so transfer to a train that takes you to the Perrache station, which is closer to the section of Lyon you want to visit.

You'll need a car in Provence.

I have never visited Grenoble - but we have stayed in Annecy & Chambery in the Alps. I've read quite a bit about Grenoble and have had many chances to visit - but never chose to do so because other places seemed more appealing.

You said you did not want to visit big cities - but Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, and Nice are all big cities. I don't understand your rational?????

Stu Dudley
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Feb 17th, 2008, 08:48 AM
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Even if you think you aren't a big-city person, Paris is different. It has sky and trees and flowers and parks and invites you to slow down and stroll.

I agree with ira, give Paris at least five days. A full week would be even better. Why not a week in Paris and a week in Provence?
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Feb 17th, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Thanks Apres_Londee - I really appreciate your advise and you have made me see the light! I will trust your advice and save more time for beautiful Paris!

I think my eyes were bigger than what is realistic and I shouldn't be trying to squeeze it all in.

I will put more thought into my adventure and come back with a better plan (hopefully)

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Feb 17th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Do you have my 27 page Provence & Cote d'Azur Itinerary. it has my favorite villages, drives, sites, markets, etc. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 17th, 2008, 09:22 AM
  #13
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I will email you now - Thank you SO much for your help!
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Feb 17th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Two weeks in France followed by two weeks in Italy is a dream trip, you will have a wonderful time regardless so be secure in knowing you can't really go wrong

If you decide to spend up to a week in Paris, you may want to look into renting an apartment. Also look into the many outdoor food markets, the extensive parks, and ideas for a daytrip out of town.

I really recommend the Blue Guide to Paris because it includes information about all sorts of little museums and neighbourhoods that are well off the usual tourist path, and that are usually neglected by other guidebooks. You can easily put together a fabulous Paris itinerary that is unique to your interests, especially once you start to think a little outside the box.

After Paris you could take a train down south, pick up a car, and spend some time touring Provence (I haven't been to Provence but from what I've read on other posts, Stu's intinerary is great).

Then look into trains and cheap flights from, say, Nice into Italy. Or drive even into Italy, if that better suites your Italian plans.

I think September would be a gorgeous month for such a trip, and I think you'll have lots of fun planning.
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