France Experts, Could you Help Please?

Apr 8th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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France Experts, Could you Help Please?

I think Our next trip to Europe will be France . We have been to Provence, Nice and the Riviera and Normandy.
The Loire Chateaux look great as the Dordogne region as does Dijon area.
We would do 2 weeks and need to find some kind of itinerary.
Of course we would fly into Paris.
I prefer to stay in a base area and day trip, as we did in St Remy.
I noticed through quite a few posts, that 3 days is sufficient for the Loire region., that some here are not that fond of it.
We could train to_____ then pick up a car.
Then what?
We were going to go to Vienna and Budapest, but DH thought to go back to France.
He has good taste IMO.
Judyrem is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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BTW, it would be in September.
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Apr 8th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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We based ourselves just outside Tours and that was fine. There's heaps to see, and distances are not that great (said from an Australian perspective!)

Probably you could stay just about anywhere and see as much as you needed / wanted. That was my third trip and I'd go back in a flash!
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Apr 8th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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You will never run out of things to see and do, not matter which area you choose.

But September? Absolutely Alsace, as far as I am concerned.
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Apr 8th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Thanks Margo. Those "distances" often get me in trouble with my DH. Happened in the Cotswolds and Normandy.
Sometimes I feel like using a travel agent ;-) !!!!
Kerouac, I know you love your France.
I had not thought of Alsace for this trip.
Hmmm.
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Apr 8th, 2011, 04:50 PM
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TTT.
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Apr 8th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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Another vote for Alsace!
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Apr 9th, 2011, 12:01 AM
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We spent a week in the Dordogne in late Sept and it was amazing!!! Our favourite place in France - the food is fantastic, the scenary gorgeous! Lots to see. Recommend staying in or around Sarlat.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 01:02 AM
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Maybe combine the south and east coasts of Brittany with the Loire?
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Apr 9th, 2011, 01:13 AM
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Another vote for Alsace. Travel along the route du vin and enjoy the beautiful vineyards, rolling hills and the classic Alsatian architecture. It's an easy distance from Paris, too.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 01:34 AM
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if you decide on the Loire, I suggest splitting it in two, or just doing one half this time - it's a long way from one end to the other, but if you base yourselves in Saumur or Amboise you can see a lot in 3-4 days. you could then hop easily to the Dordogne for a week, and spend a couple of nights ad lib on the way back to Paris.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 01:56 AM
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How about the Isle de Re? It should be very pleasant in September - still good weather and after the Parisians will have gone back to work.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 01:57 AM
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Sorry, I meant ILE DE RE.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 02:23 AM
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One more vote for Alsace! You could rent an apartment in Strasbourg and do day trips to so many towns and villages in France, Germany, and Switzerland to place like Colmar, Baden Baden and Basel.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 02:25 AM
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oh that should have been: "to places like..."
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Apr 9th, 2011, 03:05 AM
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We stayed in a house in Beynac in September and loved our week in Dordogne. We alternated longer and shorter driving days, although it seems everything we wanted to do was fairly close.
The food was wonderful.....my husband loves foie gras and cassoulet.
On several market days we'd have dinner in and sit by our open window and watch the hot air balloons drift by over the river.
We followed with a week in Paris.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 04:00 AM
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Have you thought of the area around (1) Beaume. Only 4 hours from Paris. Great wines. Absolutely lovely area. Or Touring to (2) Carcasson & then travel up and around Cahors. You could consider the north edge of Provence starting in Nyons tip of the Drome Provencal. It is simply beautiful. A drive from Nyons to Sisteron or Nyons to the Gap... or Nyons through the hills to Cliouslat. Let me know if you need more ideas in this area. You could train to Montelimar, rent a car and explore. You'll be in the Cote de Rhone wine area. What time of year would, of course make a difference also. Let me know I may have more suggestions. [email protected].
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Apr 9th, 2011, 05:20 AM
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Wow such great suggestions!
Thank you ALL so much .
Annhig, that does sound very interesting and doable.
Jamikins, Sarlat sounds just the thing.
Judy, do you have the link for the apt?
Chez carol, you make that trip sound wonderful.

BTW, chillout and grandmere, I think Alsace and that area will be my NEXT trip to France.
So many places, so little time(and money) sigh.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 05:47 AM
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Judyrem, we were with 2 other couples. Here is our rental
http://www.vrbo.com/106240
We loved our week there but it is a hike up to the house if you choose not to use the garage. The street accessing the house is barely one car wide. On occasions, we just used the public parking lot rather than chance meeting someone and having to back down.....depended on time of day.
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Apr 9th, 2011, 07:05 AM
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If you haven’t seen the Loire, I’d do that. Where else are you going to see the grandest chateaux in such a great concentration? And of course, good food, pretty villages, rolling countryside, scenic little rivers with watermills, quirky sights. In five recent trips to France, we’ve visited the Loire region every time, not exclusively, but there’s always something we missed last time we have to return for. We no longer go to visit chateaux–we’ve seen the biggies in the past, so nowadays a chateau walk-by or drive-by is enough for us. It’s possible to walk along the river opposite Chenonceau, where the gallery meets the opposite bank of the Cher. You can drive by Montpoupon and almost touch it.

I’m not trying to talk you out of touring chateaux, because that’s part of the fun. I’m saying it’s not all there is to do in the Loire region.

There are also gardens open to the public: http://www.jardins-de-france.com/

And there are some beautiful villages (France has 155 villages with this official designation):
http://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en

Montresor is considered one of the top villages. Candes-Saint-Martin and Montsoreau are side by side, and Crissay-sur-Manse is not from these two. Chedigny is not on the PBV list and I think it should be.

There’s a program that awards up to four flowers for villages and towns that make the effort to beautify with annuals and perennials, and there are some really snazzy ones:
http://www.villes-et-villages-fleuris.com/index.htm

In September (third weekend, I think) you can take advantage of the Journees du patrimoine to see interesting places that may usually be closed to the public, or get a reduced rate or a freebie at other places. On the Friday night before, you can get a local paper and plan your next two days. Don't rely on the national website; it's incomplete.

There’s a quiet drive right along the Cher near Athay sur Cher where we rarely see another car.

We like to drive on the quiet D17 that follows the Indre upstream to Loches. It’s a very scenic drive past old water mills (starting at, say, Sache) and continuing along the green banks of the Indre.

I think Loches itself is underrated. It has a medieval chateau at the top of the hill with terrific views. The town has two market days a week (Wed and Sat mornings), very lively. There are several very good boulangeries-patisseries, a troglodyte pizza place, a public garden along the Indre, and interesting shops.

You can play it by ear, and if you don’t find enough to do, you can move on. But I believe you could fill two weeks easily.

I didn’t even mention goat cheese, wine, and excellent restaurants in all price ranges.
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