France 8 days

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Mar 28th, 2015, 12:11 PM
  #1
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France 8 days

Hi all,

I wanted to see if you could help me with planning my upcoming trip in June to France.

I have already been to Paris so I plan to spend roughly 4 days there, I land on a Saturday and have yet to decide if I stay in Paris in the beginning or end of my trip.

I am trying to figure out with the remaining time if I should explore the north/west regions, Normandy and Loire or if I have enough time to go to Avignon/Provence and possibly Cannes. Our group is interested in exploring a wine region, visiting some chateauxs and seeing historical architecture as well as some moderate bike riding. I am not opposed to flying or taking a train directly to any region and renting a car once we arrive there.

I am also hoping to stay overnight in a chateaux as well, any recommendations for this would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
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Mar 28th, 2015, 12:28 PM
  #2
 
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It sounds to me like Burgundy would be a good choice, considering the activities you've mentioned. I liked Dijon but, as someone who likes smaller towns in general, I loved Beaune. It's a wine region, of course, biking through the vineyards available and both have historic centers and architecture.
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Mar 28th, 2015, 01:30 PM
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There are very few (if any) remarkable chateaux in Provence. But lots of wine/vineyards, "cute little villages", and historic sites (Roman, medieval). Plus, the countryside is very scenic - especially if you will be there in late June when the lavender is in bloom. Both Avignon & Aix are two of our favorite cities in France. I would forget Cannes - just stay in Provence and spend more time "on the ground" than "in the car".

Burgundy, of course, has a big wine presence. Dijon is our second favorite city in France (tied with Toulouse) after Paris. Beaune is one of our "top 5" smaller cities in France. Lots of chateaux to visit. But not as many "cute little villages" as you'll find in Provence. IMO, the countryside is not as scenic and as diversified as in Provence (but better than the Loire & Normandy)

Normandy has a few chateaux, but no wine/vineyards. Rouen is one of our "top 5" large cities in France. Loire has an abundance of fantastic chateaux, but there isn't the "wine focus" that there is in Burgundy & Provence. Plus the countryside in the Loire is not as scenic as in Normandy, Provence, or Burgundy. And not as many "cute little villages" as in Provence.

Provence is our favorite of the three. We've vacationed in Provence for 20 weeks. We love the Loire (8 weeks there) - but only because of the Chateaux. Dijon, Beaune, and Auxerre are fantastic as are the chateaux, but the countryside & villages didn't appeal to us as much as they do in Provence (4 weeks in Burgundy/Beaujolais).

I think you can get to all three of these regions easily from the CDG airport - Normandy by car, Provence & Dijon or Lyon by TGV. Spend your last 4 nights in Paris (train from Avignon/Provence, Dijon/Burgundy, or St Pierre des Corps or Blois/Loire).

Stu Dudley
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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:34 AM
  #4
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Thank you both for your responses, how much time would you devote to Normandy if we were to go there? I also am curious if you would do Provence/Avignon to Loire to Normandy back to Paris as a tentative plan. In any of those regions would you have any recommendations for spending more time in one over the other?

Thanks!

Sarah
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:03 AM
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I should let him respond but, as I read Stu's post, he wasn't suggesting to go to all the regions, just the best way to travel to each. In 8 days, as I see it, you have time for Paris plus 1. My personal choice would be to stay in 1 area for the entire time.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:06 AM
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>>if you would do Provence/Avignon to Loire to Normandy back to Paris as a tentative plan<<

No way in the world. You have 3 1/2 to 4 days available. If you never got out of the car to wander through a medieval village, never visit a single chateaux, never explore a farmer's market, never have a leisurly lunch - it would still consume all of your available time. You would spend more time at toll booths on the autoroute than you would visiting a chateau.

We have been traveling to Europe yearly since '77, and since '99 we've spent 2 months in Europe every year (mainly France). I wouldn't even do Normandy & the Loire on one trip.

I would do:
only Normandy or
only Loire or
only Provence or
only Burgundy or
only Dordogne

Even so - 3 1/2 to 4 days is only enought time to scratch the surface of each of these regions.

I have 20 to 30 page itineraries for each of these regions (except the Loire & a shorter one for Burgundy). I've sent my various itineraries to over 5,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail. Make sure you designate which one you would like.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:33 AM
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For wine AND castles, Loire is the best choice imho.
Get yourself a guide, that's what we do.
Enjoy your trip !
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Mar 29th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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We loved burgundy! You can se our pics here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7647659760923/

And here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7607493717331/

We thought the countryside was beautiful and it is also easy yo yo and from paris. Perfect match!
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Mar 29th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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Anyone who agrees with me must be right. Particularly with so few days, Burgundy is an excellent choice. If you haven't considered it before, I suggest you do a bit of research on the area. I'm currently planning a return to the Burgundy Canal for a long walk. There are also boats and bikes, for a complete contrast to your time in Paris.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:16 PM
  #10
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Thank you all for the responses. I think I am leaning towards the Loire Valley, and would like to attempt to go to Mont St. Michel if possible... do you think it would be do-able to take a train to Ambroise or Tour, spend two nights there and then an additional night in Bayuex then back to Paris?
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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:28 PM
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Only if you don't want to see or do anything outside of Paris. You are trying to cram in too much and as a result would see nothing.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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Since you've been to Paris, if you want more than a day for chateaux, spend 3 nights in the Loire (2 full days). Very worthwhile. If you feel a night in Bayeux is worth one of your Paris nights, do it.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 08:36 PM
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Typical first-timer plans. Trying to see to much in too little time.

Visit just the Loire, if that's what interests you the most.

Stu Dudley
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