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France

Old Apr 9th, 2015, 04:05 AM
  #1  
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France

I am travelling to Europe in May, 2016, for a wedding in Malta. Prior to the wedding, we would like to travel around France for approx. 3 weeks. We haven't decided which city we will fly into but intend to hire a car and drive ourselves. We have been to Paris before and have seen the main attractions there so we don't need time in Paris again. I would like any advice on where to begin planning an itinerary. We have no expectations except to finish in a city where we can catch a plane to Malta. Mid level accom. budget. We have begun to research regions and attractions but as yet have no goals.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 04:36 AM
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We have been to Paris before and have seen the main attractions there so we don't need time in Paris

REALLY!! LOL
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 04:54 AM
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Not really a helpful answer, Gretchen, but I do understand that one would need many trips to Paris to see it all.

No first-hand experience, but looking at the map, I see a ferry line from Pozzallo in Sicily. Google what goes on there but one sees beaches.

Perhaps Sicily could be an option--you could fly from other cities there. Others can give better info. DH and I loved Sicily.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 05:07 AM
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I thought you might get pulled up for that comment, Jayne, but I know what you mean - if you don't want to go to Paris on this trip then that's that, regardless of the reason. I think you'll have to specify some more preferences or parameters, thigh - there are a LOT of options! What are you most interested in? Historical monuments? Cultural spectacles? Shopping and gastronomy? if I had three weeks is consider flying into somewhere like Bordeaux and seeing a bit of that region, then heading down via Arcachon to the Basque Country for a pretty different landscape and cuisine. You could go to San Sebastián and even Bilbao. Then you could motor over to Toulouse and Carcassonne, and finally head east to Provence - it looks like you can fly to Malta from Marseille or Nice.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 05:09 AM
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Sicily is fascinating, and the landscape is crazy - you can be in almost alpine-like villages in the morning, and on the beach or in the thick of it in somewhere like Palermo by evening. Sardinia and Corsica might also be an option?
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 05:20 AM
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jayne - I think that it might be helpful if you could give some parameters for your arrival and departure airports. Have you worked out where your easiest entry and exit airports are? There's no point in us suggesting a route that, say, starts in Nice and ends in Toulouse if you can't fly to Malta from Toulouse.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 05:37 AM
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Since the OP mentioned France not sure why everyone i recoing Sicily and sSpain.

If it were me I would check out a couple of different areas to get a taste of a variety or French subcultures - perhaps do a road trip from Normandy through the Loire (lovely chateaux), Burgundy and then up through Alsace. You can definitely fly to Malta from Frankfurt and perhaps Strasbourg or Basel.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 07:01 AM
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We've spent over 3 years "on the ground" in France. Our two favorite regions are Provence & Dordogne. Just below that is Brittany & the Cote d'Azur.

A good itinerary would be:

Fly into Nice & spend 5-6 nights on the Cote d'Azur. Rent a car the last 3 days there & explore the beautiful Nice Hinterland

Drive 2 1/2 hrs to Provence & spend 5-6 nights there.

Drive to Carcassonne, visit for 2 1/2 hrs, then drive to St Cirq Lapopie and spend 3 nights there.

- Drive to the Dordogne/Sarlat and spend your remaining days there.

- Either fly to Malta from Toulouse, or take a train from Brive la Gaillarde to Paris & fly from there.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 07:03 AM
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If you go to whichbudget.com and tell it you want to fly from France to Malta it will offer you nine airports (other than Paris). Personally I would pick Nice. I am fond of Nice in the off season and May is probably still early enough it won't be swamped. It makes a very good base city, although if you have a car you might want to stay somewhere nearby.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 07:25 AM
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Fly to Bordeaux and visit the Dordogne for a week, and then drive through the Languedoc to go to the Provence where you would spend another week. If you can get a flight from Nice, a few days there would probably fill out your itinerary.

You should get the Michelin Green Guides for each region to plan the trip in more details.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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In May, stay in the southern half of the country. Michael's ideas look good, but you could also visit northern Burgundy (Chablis/Auxerre both very pretty) and then hunker down in Burgundy proper for a bit.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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I think Stu Dudley has offered a great general itinerary hitting some of France's neatest regions.
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Old Apr 9th, 2015, 05:39 PM
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Thank you for all of your very practical and considerate replies. Thanks Stu and Michael, you are most helpful. Valuable advice from others too, thanks.

Gretchen- your comment- really?? Not necessary nor practical. I am not that ignorant to believe that Paris doesn't have so much to offer the tourist but there is so much else to experience in France and with so little time to explore new places, I can't afford the luxury of revisiting Paris.
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 08:21 AM
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jayne - there's always one. sometimes, I confess that I'm it, but on this occasion, I think that most of us realised what you were getting at.

Though a few days in Paris are rarely wasted!

hope you have a terrific trip.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 04:32 AM
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Thanks Annhig. Perhaps someone can help me with this question. Which would be the best/ easiest airport to fly into to hire a car and drive out of the cities CDG- Paris or Orly? I apologise in advance if this seems a stupid question to some.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 06:20 AM
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If you want a southern France itinerary, get a connecting flight from Paris directly to Bordeaux, Nice, or wherever since you really don't want to drive that far. It won't cost much more. Train from CDG to a southern city is another option, but fussier since you are switching modes. If you want to visit Burgundy driving from CDG could work. I doubt Orly gets long haul flights so probably not in the equation.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 06:29 AM
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Yes, you can fly from Paris or London or Dublin or Amsterdam to Bordeaux, Marseille, or Nice, so you have a lot of flight choices, some of which may be significantly cheaper than others.

If someone told me "Here's two weeks and a briefcase full of money", I would just download Stu Dudley's reports and follow his itinerary above.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 01:47 PM
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ditto to what Ackislander says and about Stu's comprehensive itineraries too (I have not seen one but from others comments like this) but IMO use as a general guide but do not try to follow every turn - part of the fun of driving in rural areas is just seeing what is down that road - get a 1:200000 Michelin yellow map - sold at gas stations, newsstands, cafes, everywhere and stick to the D (departmental) roads that except around big cities are IME basically well-paved untravelled roads that wind between villages - roads in yellow are busier and avoid roads in red - those are oft traffic-palgued with lorries, caravans and cars avoiding the steep tolls of the autoroutes.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 05:12 PM
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I can't afford the luxury of revisiting Paris

Well, forgive me ALSO. With 3 weeks to visit France and "I've been to Paris" I DO believe I'd spare a couple of those days. BUT as everyone AND you have pointed out, that is just "me" and not you. In maybe a dozen trips over 60 years, I always work in a Paris "fix' but again, that is must "me" and not you. BUT I still say it is worth at least thinking about since you have an ample amount of time.

I also am not wealthy--don't know where you got that idea.

Again apologies for a differing opinion. I read a book once and enjoyed it. LOL

And yes, there are myriad ways to visit France in that time. Enjoy them.
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Old Jul 10th, 2015, 05:25 PM
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Hi Gretchen- yes everyone is different. I appreciate your point of view. In this context, the term 'afford' has nothing to do with wealth and money, I refer to luxury of time.
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