France in 7 nights?

Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:57 PM
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France in 7 nights?

What would be a good itinerary for a couple going to France for the first time for 7 nights? Obviously want to hit Paris, but also want some other side trip recommendations.
Maihen is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2003, 10:02 PM
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side trips-Giverny (until end of Oct.),Chartres, Versaille, but I would only choose one because Paris itself is one big side trip. 7 days can be spent very nicely in Paris alone for a first trip or indeed any number of trip
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 10:21 PM
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What to see in France is almost as broad a question as what to see in europe, since France can be like 12 countries rolled into one. I've been 9 times, and feel like I haven't begun to see half.

So the question becomes, what do you envision when you close your eyes and think "I want to go to France to ...."? What prompted you to want to go to France? Food? Wine? History? Art? Fashion? Geography? Family connections? "Culture"? - - which inevitably revolves around a love of the French language, its performing and/or visual arts.

It's aboslutely true that 7 days will not encounter any boredom in Paris and the Ile de France alone. Some common alternatives are to combine 3 days in (one only of) the following: Normandy, the Loire, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence or the Cote d'Azur. Happily, high speed trains or low-cost intra-national airfares make it just about as easy to go "far" in France as it is to stay within 200 miles.

"ita" has already hit the nail on the head on side trip suggestions, originating in Paris and returning the same day.

Best wishes,

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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 04:22 AM
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I agree with ita.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 05:50 AM
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I'm in agreement with Rex and merely adding to it with my opinion, that a high percentage of the enjoyment of travel is the preparation (research) - and therefore, the anticipation - for the trip.

Therefore, go to it. Then, with some ideas of your own, come back to the Fodor Board for some feedback.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 05:58 AM
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Stay in Paris all seven days and take a
daytrip or two.

Do a text search for daytrips and also check out an old, but still very good thread: 100 great things to do in Paris.

Set up a proposed schedule and many people here will be glad to review it and make suggestions.
Old Sep 12th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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I agree with Degas. I would suggest spending all seven nights in Paris and then doing a daytrip or two if you feel up to it once you're there.

I've done Paris five times this way and despite the fact that every time I'm armed with loads of information on where else I'd like to visit outside the city, I rarely make those trips! I have such a great time in the city that I apparently have difficulty pulling myself away.

However, I did enjoy the daytrip we took to Versailles and I can recommend that very much.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 09:57 AM
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Paris the whole time with ONE day trip. I am not a big fan of Versailles so I would suggest Chartres or Giverney.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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I agree. If you have never been to Paris you will have so much to do that you will find it hard to leave for even short trips. Depending on the time of year, Giverny is a lovely day trip but wouldn't be great during the fall and winter.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 11:14 AM
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Actually Giverney is apparently quite lovely right up to its closing October 31.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 04:45 PM
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I've been to Giverny in both Spring and Autumn and think that it was more beautiful in October
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 05:04 PM
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I'll go against the grain and recommend that you get outside of Paris for a night or two. Paris is a wonderful city, so is London, so in NYC, so is Rome, so is Tokyo, so is etc. But Paris is not France just like NYC is not the United States. There is so much more to see and do than a country's biggest city.

I suggest you break your trip in half. 3 nights in Paris on one bank (left or right,) 1 or 2 nights away from Paris, then 2 or 3 nights in Paris on the other bank. That way you'll get different perspectives on a single trip.

For the Left Bank you'll want to stay in the 5th or 6th arrondissement. For the Right Bank I'd recommend the Marais area in the 4th. You don't want to go too far from Paris but there's plenty within a two-hour train ride. There's Amboise in the Loire Valley for a chateau, Clos de Luce and a pretty little town. Troyes has a beautiful downtown loaded with half-timbered buildings, a couple of interesting museums and a nice, small fine arts museums. There's Reims in the Champagne area. Rouen is a possibility as is Dijon, Blois, Angers, etc. Look around and see what interests you.

One reason to get outside of Paris is to find out how cheaply you can tour France. You can spend one-half on a hotel and meals outside of Paris. I was in France for 15 nights this spring and only spent 3 in Paris. Because of the money I didn't spend, I'm going back to France for another 9 nights this Thanksgiving. Only 2 or 3 of those nights will be in Paris.

Maybe you'll fall in love with Paris and never see anything else. Or maybe you'll decide that France is as interesting and fascinating as Paris is though in a different way. Either way with an itinerary like this you'll be able to better decide.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 06:19 PM
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Obviously your choices will depend on what you want to see and do. But our experience might be helpful to you in making up your mind.

I took my first trip to France last year with a best friend (2 ladies). We had 16 nights. Our itinerary was:

7 nights in Paris in the 6th. Then 7 nights in the countryside, followed by 2 nights back in Paris at a hotel right on the Seine--5th.

The countryside was wonderful and, like indytravel said, surprisingly inexpensive. But after 5 days, we were longing to be back in Paris. There was so much we hadn't been able to see/do in the first week.

So we cut the countryside short and headed back to Paris for 4 days instead of 2. That's a total 11 days in Paris and STILL we missed so many things.

So, here's my suggestion. If you plan to spend quality time in the Louvre and other museums (which will take considerable time), plan to stay in Paris the entire week. I do like indy's idea of staying in two different hotels. The city is sooooo romantic...I really wished I'd been there with my true love.

I'm sure, if we had skipped the countryside, we would always wonder what we had missed. But now that it's done, I wish we had stayed in or around Paris the whole time. You can't go wrong with a week in the City of Light. One week will fly by before you're dreamily boarding the plane for home.

Don't know your budget, so I haven't suggested hotels.
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