France driving trip, where to base??

Dec 31st, 2004, 01:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 267
France driving trip, where to base??

I am planning a driving trip in France (and/ or Northern Italy, but for now, let's focus on France) in May. I will have about 6 days or so to do Burgundy and Alsace-Lorraine, and possibly the Loire Valley or Champagne, if time permits.... I am traveling alone ( a young 40), and I am a bit of an impatient traveler. I will not linger in churches or museums for hours (or even minutes, sometimes). I was thinking of two or three nights in each region.

My question is: what is the best place in each region to base myself? If you can recommend specific hotels (nice, but not crazy; around $200 plus/minus a night), that's great also. I definitely want to do a few great meals (michelin 2 and 3 star). I also would love to stay somewhere that is not isolated, maybe a large village or small city that has some urban feel, and good walking, and maybe a little nightlife. I love architecture, and just meandering through a great city or town; immersing myself in the local culture. I was thinking Strasbourg for Alsace, and Dijon or Beaune for Burgundy, and Tours or Angers for the Loire, and Reims for Champagne (if I go); though I really know nothing. Can you highlight the differences between the different "bases" you suggest?

Remember, I am traveling alone....Is there a particular region(s) that is a romantic couples experience that I should avoid or postpone until I am a couple?

Thanks for the help.
fishskis is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2005, 02:56 AM
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I am no help but the information is roughly the same as what I am after. We want to drive from somewhere in Italy to Paris, but so far it appears to be easier the other way around.
Marko is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2005, 04:04 AM
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>We want to drive from somewhere in Italy to Paris, but so far it appears to be easier the other way around.<

I wonder why? Isn't it the same road in each direction?

ira is online now  
Jan 5th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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The advice that I have been given indicates that hire cars are cheaper and easier to organise in France, when we get to the last major point before Italy we switch over to public transport ( I love the Italian rail system !!)
Marko is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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I can think of a trip involving stays near Tours ( see some chateaux) then on to Dijon or Beaune for a couple of days and then to Rheims for a day ( champagne caves and the Cathedral). This is the most that I can imagine that you can do in 6 days. IMHO if you try to travel more distance than this you will spend far too much of your time in the car.
DougP is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Tours to Beaune is a pretty long drive. This can be checked on, a very useful site for route planning in France.

I'm shooting from the hip, but how about this.

Drive to Reims, and do a one night stay at Boyer les Crayeres, requesting a table in the main dining room. Enjoy one of the best two star dinners of your lifetime in a truly elegant setting. Get a pass for the Piper Heisdeck champagne tour, visit the cathedral.

Then drive south into Burgundy, and spend two nights in St Florentin at La Grande Chaumiere. Troyes is one place where you can stop and sightsee along the way. The hotel has wonderful one star cuisine and very reasonable rates [that will make up for the Boyer splurge]. The town is attractive and a good base for exploring the area.

Then two nights somewhere in Burgundy on the way to Dijon for a night. Or, two nights somewhere after Reims.

I believe Stu Dudley posted that in Dijon you can catch an AM train to Charles de Gaulle, where you could get a flight to Italy.

RonZ is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Thanks Ron; great suggestions. Still tweaking the details. It looks like I will be driving into France through the alps from Lake Como. I will have four or five nights to spend between the alps, Burgundy, and ???, ending in Paris. Right now I am planning one night in Annecy, I am trying to figure out my next stop for a night, then to Beaune for 2 nights (I think I am going to do another post to request ideas).
fishskis is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 07:35 PM
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I just posted suggestions in answer to your question under a different title. Click on your name in the upper-left-hand corner of this page to see that post and replies.
Underhill is online now  

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