France and England?

Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:02 AM
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France and England?

My wife and I are planning a 10 to 14 day trip to Europe in August of 2011 to celebrate (or mourn) our turning 50. Having never been to France or England, we wonder if it is possible to get a good "taste" of these countries in the time we have alloted or would it be wiser to pick one country and do the other at some other time?
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:19 AM
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You can certainly do something in both in a fortnight. If you are in or near London, it can be easier to get to France than to the north of England. as first-time visitors you may want to do all the normal touristy things in London & Paris (& why not?) but to get a real taste it'd good to get out of the cities too.
One thing about England that I miss (living now in republic of Ireland) are pretty villages with a pond, maybe Tudor style houses, locals playing cricket on the green, and of course the village pubs, often with great pub grub. There are plenty dotted all over England. As for a "real" taste of France, it's hard to say as regions are so varied, but Brittany is a choice for many in England as it's not too far and it's not too busy there. There are plenty of transport options available between the two including comfortable overnight ferries to Brittany and faster routes from Dover and nearby.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:20 AM
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Have you been to Europe before? Where are you coming from?
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:25 AM
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It depends. If you just want to see London and Paris, then yes, you can get a taste of both in 5 days each. But if you're interested in seeing both cities and countryside, it's not enough time. If that's the case, I'd pick one or the other.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:28 AM
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We have been to Germany and Italy and will be coming from Texas (which should be its own country!! ) My wife wants to do France (for the supposed romantic side of it), but because of my being more excited about seeing something besides France, we are thinking about mixing in another country....hence the question about France and England!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:47 AM
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It depends on whether what you mean by "a good taste of these countries" is going to a city or destination in each country and enjoying them for their own value and for the contrast between them (in which case yes) or going to several destinations in each country and forming a cumulative idea of each country (in which case no).

There are budget flights within Europe on several airlines, so it is not necessary to restrict yourself to southern England and northern France, although London and Paris is a perennial favorite combination which can be combined by the Eurostar train.

For budget flights see www.whichbudget.com.

If you do decide to see something in each country, make sure you arrange your flight as "open jaw" so that you fly into your first destination and home from your last one. On most booking websites this is known as something like "multiple destinations."
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:56 AM
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Seriously: Much of France closes in August for their summer holidays .For historic reasons they all go on holibob at once, loads closes down. Even in Paris (not the big stuff like the louvre but lots of shops, restaurants etc).

You would soon be familiar with the sign "Frermee pour la vacance".

Check the dates otherwise you could have a less than perfect time in France, especially outside Paris.

There's no English equivelent (at least not in the south).
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 06:52 AM
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That's rubbish, CW. It was true a couple of decades ago, but it's gone the way of the tw0-hour lunch. In Paris, unless you have your heart set on dining at very specific places, you'd hardly even notice it was August.

And in the countryside, hardly anything closes down. The Périgord, where my house is, is a madhouse in August. Where do you think all those vacationing French people go? To other places in France (the vast majority of them vacation in their own country).

Sounds to me like it's been a very long time since you've been to France in August.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 06:58 AM
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This is the first time that I have used this type of format in researching a trip.....most helpful....and interesting!!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 07:00 AM
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So, to summarize....to get a decent "taste" of either England or France, I would need the full 10 to 14 days in one country to allow time to visit the countryside along with the notable cities. My wife wants to go to France....
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 07:01 AM
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So, what should we do in 10 to 14 days in France to gain a good taste of the country and its culture?
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 07:29 AM
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I would rent an apartment in Paris for half of your stay and pick one region that interests you for the other half - Normandy, Brittany, Alsace, Provence, Burgundy, the Dordogne, whatever is most appealing to you. Take the train from Paris to wherever you choose, rent a car, and poke around. People here will give you specific tips once you've decided where you want to go.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:22 AM
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This was extremely helpful....thank you everyone.....
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:37 AM
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If you really have 14 days, I would recommend:

- 3 days for London
- 3 days for central England (e.g. Oxford, Cotswolds, Bath)
- 3 days for Paris
- 5 days for Provence (makes the best contrast to England)

Book an open-jaw flight, e.g. into London and out of Nice or out of Paris.

If you have just 10 days, you have to skip two of those four destinations.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Or if you really want to do another country, not specifically England, then fly into Amsterdam, spend three day there, then train to Paris, maybe stop off for a night in Bruges on the way, 3-4 days in Paris and the rest (if you have 14 days) in Provence or Dordogne, or the Alps, or the Pyrenees (then you can whip over to Spain too ).
If you have 10 days then stick to Paris, and maybe a quick trip to Normandy?
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