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France in September

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Jul 13th, 2016, 04:01 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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France in September

My initial plan is to visit Paris, Nancy, Colmar and Strasbourg via train. Primary focus is architecture, historic sites/landmark, gardens, photo ops. Secondary is food and wine. Will be coming from London in Sep.

I am concerned that if I visit Paris first, the other locations will be somewhat of a letdown. Thoughts?

Proposed visit order is as follows:

Strasbourg (three nights)

Colmar (daytrip via train from Strasbourg)

Nancy (2 nights). Train from Strasbourg.

Paris (6 nights)

Appreciate feedback on order of locations, plus time spent at each location. Good to know transportation tips also welcomed.
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Jul 13th, 2016, 04:35 PM
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Sounds like a reasonable plan to me, but if your concern (unwarranted, IMO) is that other locations will be lacking by comparison to Paris, why don't you just go there first and end in Paris?

BTW, Alsace is so very different from Paris I can't imagine even comparing the two. Alsace changed hands between Germany and France something like 11 times and bears no resemblance to Paris in any way. It's like being in an entirely different country, so I find it unfathomable that you would be disappointed in either one. Maybe you'll even prefer Alsace!

My preference is always a car for exploring country regions, but train is entirely possible for the places you want to visit.
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Jul 13th, 2016, 04:51 PM
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Where are you going home from/to? Looks like you are from the U.S. If you are going home from Paris, then unless your flight is late afternoon, you would need to overnight in Paris anyway. In which case, the practicality alone would favor putting Paris last. Even if your flight home is later afternoon, it is still recommended to be much closer to the departure airport city. For example, how would you get to the airport if there is a train strike?

If you think you are coming back to France several times in the future, you might want to reduce your stay in Paris. It is not that there isn't enough things to do in Paris. But, if you visit France often, and if your return flight are always from Paris, you are likely to visit Paris over and over again in the future anyway. In which case, you can visit Paris lightly each time, but over many trips, you will visit Paris a lot.

Alsace and Paris are different worlds.
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Jul 13th, 2016, 04:53 PM
  #4
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Thanks StCirq

I see your points. Perhaps it is an unwarranted concern. I just thought that after Paris, the other places would seem a bit dull or lacking in attractions. But after looking at more pictures, it seems like they are totally different and very contrasting.
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Jul 13th, 2016, 04:55 PM
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Thanks greg

I return home from Milan. And I hope to visit France each year now that I am retired.
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Jul 14th, 2016, 08:31 AM
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Last Sept/Oct we spent 2 wks in Nancy followed by 2 wks in Paris. We mainly went to Nancy because my wife absolutely adores Art Nouveau architecture and she was enthralled by what she saw. We walked around on our own and took the TI walking tour (with audio phones) and went to the well-known Ecole de Nancy Museum. Visited the Parc de Saurupt neighborhood which was interesting. We were there on "Patrimonie Weekend" in Sept so special sites were open to visit, including the Villa Majorelle which is an astonishing Art Nouveau dwelling both outside and inside (furniture, decorative elements etc). If you like architecture/Art Nouveau do not miss the Brasserie Excelsior near the Nancy train station. In fact we had breakfast there before catching the train to Paris (plus having had dinner there one night) - simply breath-taking. Check the opening schedule for the Ecole de Nancy museum as its schedule is limited. As far as your travel sequence question, I do think it would be a letdown to visit Paris first and then Nancy. Paris has a much more 'active' energy IMO especially if you think in terms of cafes and restaurants, shopping and general street bustle. No doubt about it, the Place Stanislaus in Nancy is lined with outdoor cafes and a lot of foot traffic (and has jaw-dropping architecture) but that type of 'scene' is more concentrated in that square vs being 'everywhere' (which is my impression after having spent the equivalent of months in Paris.) Didn't really mean to get carried away with details about Nancy, but I just wanted to provide some context for a recommendation to visit Nancy before Paris.

Stu Dudley
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