France - Favorite small towns

Old Aug 14th, 2009, 08:38 PM
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France - Favorite small towns

Guys, I have two weeks in France of a four week European vacation and I am looking for advice on towns to vist. I plan on finishing up in Paris (four nights)

Thanks in advance for your help,

Steve
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 01:59 AM
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When you are planning how to spend 10 or 11 days, I would not start with searching for towns but for regions (you find picturesque small towns practically in every region).

Within your timeframe, I would recommend to concentrate on two or three regions besides Paris. Which regions you pick, depends on your preferences and season.

E.g. you can spend 3 days at the Cote d'Azur, 4 days, in Provence, 3 days in Bourgogne and 3 days in Paris.

Or you spend 3 days in Champagne, 4 days in Alsace and 3 days in Lorraine.

Or 3 days in Aquitaine, 3 days at the Dordogne, 4 days in the Loire Valley and 3 days in Paris.

Or 4 days in Brittany, 2 days in Normandy, 4 days in the Loire Valley and 3 days in Paris.

Once you have made your decision for regions, it will be easy for us to recommend towns within those regions.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 02:38 AM
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There's always the question of 'what size is a small town?'

For some people, it's anything under 10,000 -- for others it's anything under 100,000.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 02:58 AM
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traveller1959, I think that's good advice. I tried to think of small towns that might appeal, but they are spread across a wide area and it didn't seem helpful to just list them without adding more details. Regions is a much better way to start planning.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 03:07 AM
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I might try bordeaux, great shopping, nearby sea and close wine.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 05:17 AM
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Hi KT,

What's your itinerary?

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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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I haven't worked out all the trip details as yet but I have the tickets already: Aussie to Rome March 21 - Paris to Aussie April 18, 2010. We did Italy, Austria, & Germany last year so I don't plan on any more than a week in Italy this time. Then one week in Switzerland, two weeks+ in France. It's just me and my 15 year old son this time so not looking for hours of wine tasting or romantic stuff.

The Itinerary as it stands: Rome, Siena, Florence, Lake Garda (only lake I haven't been to), ?????, Luzern, Interlaken, Wengen area, Thun, Bern, Gruyeres, Annecy, Beaune, ?????,Normandy (WWII stuff), ?????, Paris.

Thanks again for any suggestions

Steve
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Forgot to mention I will have a car for the entire trip...
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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With 14 stops already planned for a 29-day trip, whyever are you looking for more places to go? You don't have enough time to see what you've already planned.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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You've already got too much on your plate. Naming small towns would be a waste (I can think of hundreds, but they're all over the place and you'd never get to them). I think you should just fine-tune the itinerary you've got, even cut it back a bit, as you're already rushing all over the place.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Favorite Cities and Villages in France

What we like:
We are building architecture buffs – old architecture – not new. We also like to see lots of pedestrian-only streets, outdoor markets, non-touristy shops, & outdoor cafes. We typically don’t go to many museums, so cities get “no points” for having museums. Also, churches don’t give a city extra points. When ordering these cities, we did not consider the “setting” of a city, like the beach at Nice or the lake at Annecy.

Cities with a population greater than 85,000

1. Paris
2. Dijon
3. Toulouse
4. Rennes
5. Strasbourg
6. Avignon
7. Aix-en-Provence
8. Rouen
9. Montpellier
10. Lyon
11. Nice
12. Nancy
13. Bescancon
14. Bordeaux
15. Nantes
16. Marseille
17. Perpignan
18. Tours

Cities with a population greater than 10,000 but less than 85,000
1. Sarlat
2. Colmar
3. Beaune
4. Auxerre
5. Chambery
6. Vannes
8. Annecy
8. Troyes
9. Albi
10. La Rochelle
11. Figeac
12. Perigueux
13. Arles
14. Bourges
15. Dinan
16. St Malo
17. Quimper


But I agree with others - choose your destinations - then the cities.

Some of those Alps destinations might be a little tough in late March & early April.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 03:32 PM
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StuDudley, Thanks that's just what I was looking for.

While I appreciate the comments about cutting back on the itinerary, different travelers travel at different speeds. I enjoy the driving and eating (not at the same time) side of Europe. As I mentioned above I spent considerable time in Italy last year so this time only three nights in Rome, one in Siena, Florence just to pick up the car, and one night in Lake Garda to break up the trip (5 nights Italy). In Switzerland four nights around the Interlaken area with day trips to Bern, Luzern, Wengen, Thun, and one night in Gruyeres. (5 nights Switzerland). That leaves 15 days (+/-) for traveling around France and 3 nights in Paris.

My problem on this trip is that I have never spent any time in France over the years (always preferring Italy) so even picking a region, let alone a town, requires some help.

I get no enjoyment out of shopping and sitting in cafe's for hours on end relaxing. I can do that at home. And after 15+ trips to Europe Churches are losing their appeal. I like to pack as much as possible in my travel day. My 15 year old son is a major factor in this philosophy for this trip.

Thanks for all your help so far. The towns Stu recommended will be a big help in planning my 15 days touring France.

Regards,

Steve
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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You must read a guide book or several to get the feel
of what you will like. we all have favorites and don't agree
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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Onzain. It is across the Loire from Chaumont. I have stayed twice at the Chateau de Tertres and from my room (the same each time) I had a view of the chateau. Nice hotel, friendly people in the town, good central location in the Loire valley.
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Old Aug 15th, 2009, 07:54 PM
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I quite like the towns of Burgundy (Bourgogne). You could stay in Dijon and take trips out to the smaller towns from there.

Lavandula
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