France Ideas

Old Nov 1st, 2018, 11:22 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
France Ideas

Hello - I apologize in advance for my vague request. My wife and I are in the very infancy of plans for our 10 year anniversary (the trip won't happen until Spring of 2020), however we just got back from two weeks in Italy and have the travel bug so we thought we might start getting a rough idea of our plan.

My wife has been to Paris twice, myself once, so we are looking to visit France without a focus on Paris. We will either have 8 nights or 16 nights. We decided that she would get to pick a place for half the vacation and I would get to pick another place. I know she is leaning towards France, but is unsure of where. I am open to go anywhere but also wouldn't mind using my allotted nights for an extended French stay.

That long-winded intro aside: We are both big foodies and enjoy our beverages. We are looking for something relaxed (we just spent 2 weeks in Pienza, Italy) and don't mind renting a car and driving. We would prefer less touristy places as we have two young children and would appreciate relative quite. We are not huge art lovers but will never pass on seeing something beautiful.

Can anyone throw out any ideas just to get us started? Usually when we plan trips we like to find a base or two and explore from there but I admittedly know next to nothing about France aside from Paris and the southern touristy towns (which we would likely stay away from).
WorminRome is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2018, 11:40 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Dordogne (Périgord Noir, specifically). Gorgeous in Spring and not overrun with visitors. You could pair a week there with a week in any number of places, Languedoc-Roussillon being a particular favorite of ours.
StCirq is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2018, 01:09 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd suggest one base in Avignon area and another in Dordogne (St-Cirq who posted above has lived there for years so tap into her expertise when time comes and want great info on Dordogne) or French Riviera or Ardeche or .... and on and on. But, I think the Avignon area with car for a week would be my first suggestion. And to rent a Gite - country home often in small villages or flats in towns, etc - cook your own meals. Usually want a week minimum so could do two in two different places:

https://translate.google.com/transla...m/&prev=search

If land in Paris take bullet train right from CDG to Avignon (in about 3.5 hrs) and other places like Bordeaux or fly into Lyon or Marseilles (may be same price or even lower than to Paris some experts said in a recent thread). www.oui.sncf has all info on trains - www.seat61.com tells all about booking your own tickets in advance - general info on trains and where to go in France also www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.

I'd stay away from northern France because weather there can be funky in spring but down south much better.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2018, 03:35 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,949
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We spent a few weeks this past August/September in France. Flew into CDG and had a driver take us directly to Reims, where tasted champagne and then rented a car the second day to head out on the road. We loved driving through the French countryside - one of our favorite stays was in Kayserberg (Alsace). We rented a lovely apartment right in the old town, and used it as a base to see the many beautiful villages along the wine route. We also drove to Dijon, stayed a night, and then rented a small house in Bligny-Sur-Ouche about an hour outside of the city, where we visited Beaune, and took the back roads in Burgundy to taste wine at chateau wineries and drop in to small fromageries and other unexpected places along the way. We dropped the car back in Dijon, and took the train back to Paris for a few days and then flew home.

Of course, depending on how late or early in spring you will be traveling, the weather could be an issue. Hope you enjoy planning your trip - I always think that's half the fun!
scdreamer is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2018, 08:56 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yeah Reims, Burgundy area really nice but yes in spring dicey weather - could be brilliant or cool and rainy.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2018, 01:33 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 329
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just back from Brittany. Good food, nice weather (only place the weather was correct this week) old towns, splendid landscapes, history, wine, Calvados, you name it. Second week in warmer climate : Dordogne, Provence, Cevennes if you like to be lost in the wild, Côte d'Azur if you like beaches and people.
thibaut is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2018, 11:27 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Think outside of the hexagon - Corsica can make a really neat place to a week or two. Nice weather then.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2018, 11:29 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 329
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Outside the Métropole, Guadeloupe is alos nice. Or St Bart.
thibaut is offline  
Old Nov 4th, 2018, 10:33 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow. Thank you everyone for the quick and informative responses! It seems like we should be planning this trip for a different time of the year, however.
WorminRome is offline  
Old Nov 4th, 2018, 10:39 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,959
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Based on the fact you enjoyed your Tuscan trip so much, I recommend basing in or near the lovely town of Lourmarin and use the excellent Provence Byways guidebook to provide information about what to do and day trips. It is a must for visiting the area-
Provence Byways

I’ve visited the area a few times and stayed in apartments in town. Parking is easy and Lourmarin has a nice selection of restaurants and cafes. It also has a fabulous Friday market.

Let me know if you’re interested in the apartments I’ve stayed in and I’ll dig up the information.
zoecat is online now  
Old Jan 16th, 2019, 10:27 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi All,

So we are thinking that we might fly into Barcelona and spend a couple nights (we loved our 8 night stay a couple years ago), then take a train to Toulouse or Bordeaux where we will pick up a car. We don't have much interest in either city but we both only drive automatics so we need to find a rental car pick up in a "larger" city. We would then spend time in the Dordogne and then make our way north and spend some time in the Loire Valley. We would likely drop our car there and train into Paris for a night or two and then head home. This would be my wife's 3rd trip to Paris and my second so we don't think we need too much extra time there.

If we trained form Barcelona to Toulouse would we need a significant amount of time in the Languedoc region or should we train to Bordeaux and split our "interim" time between Dordogne and Loire?

Thank you for all the suggestions and please provide some thoughts on the skeletons of our planned trip.
WorminRome is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2019, 10:42 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,920
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DH and I flew to Barcelona, trained to Montpelier, then to Nice and ended up on Paris and flew home from there. We stayed 3 or 4 days in each place and it was super. I will see if I can find my computer notes as I didn't write a trip report.
TDudette is online now  
Old Jan 16th, 2019, 04:32 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't understand your question - especially the reference to "interim time"!! If your first destination is the Dordogne after Barcelona, then take the train to Narbonne, transfer, then to Toulouse.


Research schedules here. Obviously, 2020 schedules are not "loaded" yet. Use an April 2019 date.
https://reiseauskunft.bahn.de//bin/query.exe/en
Barcelona Sants to Toulouse-Matabiau. We picked up an automatic about 2 years ago at the Airport. They did not have any to reserve at the train station. But things may change by 2020.


Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Jan 17th, 2019, 07:35 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stu, I apologize for my poor choice of words, I meant the middle of the trip. The question is whether this is a feasible plan given a two week time frame. We typically like to take our vacations slow and enjoy the people and culture we are immersed in more so then rushing from one "must see/do" to the next.

Thank you.
WorminRome is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2019, 08:21 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Seems like your plan is:
- 2 nights &1 1/2 days in Barcelona
- 7 nights & 7 1/4 days in the Dordogne
- 5 nights & 4 1/2 days in the Loire
- 2 nights & 1 1/2 days in Paris


Since you have been to Barcelona before and also Paris - the Dordogne/Loire time is fine for a slow pace.



I'm curious as to why you would spend a couple of nights in Barcelona on this trip after having spent 8 nights there a couple of years ago - but you have been to Paris once and you only want to spend 2 nights there on this trip. How many days did you previously spend in Paris? How many days did your children spend there? Does Paris interest you?


Taking the train from Barcelona to Toulouse and then driving to the Dordogne will consume most of one entire day. If you could skip Barcelona you might consider flying to Montpellier (or training there fom Paris) and visit the Gorges du Tarn area for about 4 nights. Lovely area, with canoeing, wonderful caves with stalactites & mites, cute villages. Then visit Carcassonne on the way to the Dordogne.


My wife & I have spent 13 weeks vacationing in the Dordogne, and 14 in the Languedoc. I developed a 20+ page itinerary for the Dordogne & a 30 pager for the Languedoc (with a large section on the Gorges du Tarn). I've sent my various itineraries to over 6,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.


Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old Jan 18th, 2019, 09:37 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hey Stu - I Believe you already sent this to me, but thank you for offering once again. We both love Barcelona and flights are very inexpensive from the two closest international airports. We are also trying to catch a La Liga match while in Spain. We also thought it would be more fun to do this than backtrack by flying into Paris, going south, then going north again and back out of Paris.

We spent 10 nights in Paris on our last trip there and my wife spent a week previously. We both would like to revisit some of our favorite places, which is why we thought to fly out of Paris.
WorminRome is offline  
Old Jan 18th, 2019, 01:18 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3,313
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm curious you say you have two small children ...what are their ages? No mention seems to have been made as to how you are going to entertain them. Five nights in the Loire for kids would be a nightmare, IMO. I was there for three and found it boring! Admittedly it was my second time and I had seen so many of the Chateux previously... For little ones I'd really rethink this plan..the Dordogne has more to offer, canoeing down the river, etc but they are your children and you know more about their likes than I do.
schnauzer is offline  
Old Jan 18th, 2019, 02:27 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
https://www.loirevalley-france.co.uk...canoe-or-kayak

Though the Dordogne may have more canoeists, the Loire and smaller languid Cher River offer several canoe/kayak rentals and excursions. And the Loire is closer to Paris and their flight home. Get a chateau-hotel with a nice swimming pool and kids will be happy after a day of sightseeing.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2019, 02:31 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by schnauzer View Post
I'm curious you say you have two small children ...what are their ages? No mention seems to have been made as to how you are going to entertain them. Five nights in the Loire for kids would be a nightmare, IMO. I was there for three and found it boring! Admittedly it was my second time and I had seen so many of the Chateux previously... For little ones I'd really rethink this plan..the Dordogne has more to offer, canoeing down the river, etc but they are your children and you know more about their likes than I do.
We won’t be bringing our children on this trip. I was just stating that since we have kids at home, we are looking forward to something more peaceful. I agree that if we were to bring our kids we would spend considerably more time in the Dordogne.
WorminRome is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2019, 03:48 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,585
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
I often tour in an arc the various wine regions of Europe (based in the UK and I've been doing it for 30+ years) and you might like to look at the Loire (I was there last year and left a thread in Sept about it if of interest) we based in Chinon which was new to us and worked out pretty well. I visited roughly 6 wineries or winery outlets (just how the market works in the area) all of whom were interesting. We took a bunch of friends/wine tasters who all felt the food was very good in Chinon.
bilboburgler is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
scdreamer
Europe
38
Jun 10th, 2019 10:11 PM
Tisacco
Europe
6
May 23rd, 2013 08:47 AM
smitchell53
Europe
5
Nov 11th, 2012 08:57 PM
Chenoa7
Europe
10
Jan 26th, 2011 06:33 PM
danlin
Europe
11
Aug 17th, 2008 02:39 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:58 AM.