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France - Paris, Loire Valley and Provence - June 14

France - Paris, Loire Valley and Provence - June 14

Mar 29th, 2014, 05:08 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Thanks for that feedback.
Now looking at 3 nights in Paris, 2 nights in the Loire, 4 nights in Dordogne then 6 nights in Provence.
Do you thing picking up a car in Loire to visit the chateaux then driving to Dordogne and again on to Provence. Doing the drive between these areas, is it a relaxing drive, would it be better to train it?
gdaypat is offline  
Mar 29th, 2014, 06:12 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Keep the car and drive the whole time. Here's some general info about Michelin maps, the viamichelin.com website and tourist office websites that can be applied to any region you visit in France:

Get your hands on the Michelin maps. You want the ones of the scale 1:200,000 (regional maps) or 1:150,000 (departmental maps, more detailed, cover slightly less area) for whatever regions you visit. A nice feature of the 1:150,000 maps is they show the starred attractions in the corresponding Michelin Green guidebooks. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things. Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists.

You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:200,000 scale maps of France (Regional maps): http://tinyurl.com/4bt96ev

And here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France (Départementale maps):
http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

You could also buy them here but then you can't do research beforehand. The maps can be bought in many places such as bookstores, news stands, magazine stores, larger supermarkets, department stores, hypermarkets and in the full service rest areas on the autoroutes, just to name a few.

You need good guidebooks for whatever region in France in which you will be traveling. I like The Michelin Green Guides. If you need restaurant info then get The Michelin Red Guides, which cover restaurants.

And speaking of Michelin, you can go to the website viamichelin.com and get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The drive times given do not consider stops (fuel, food, bathrooms) nor do they consider bad weather and bad traffic. I find the drive times very accurate when these factors are accounted for. The time estimates can break down when you are driving in congested urban areas, like in or near Paris, due to the unpredictability of heavy traffic or traffic jams. They can also be affected on peak travel days, specifically on autoroutes leading to/from popular destinations.

You can acquaint yourself with rules of the road in France and road signs and such and this website will give you some useful tips:

http://www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchDrive.htm

Here is some other general advice for you. You can google the tourist office websites for any region, département, city , town or village you may want to visit. You will find loads of info on these websites including hotel/accommodation and restaurant info as well as what to see and do in the area. Occasionally the websites have English versions. In doing a google search enter the words "office de tourisme" followed by the name of your region, département, city, town or village and this will bring that place to the top of your search.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  

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