France Planning Assistance Needed

Old Mar 1st, 2018, 04:22 PM
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France Planning Assistance Needed


We are taking a family trip to France over the summer. My parents, My brother, his wife and baby (11 months), My husband, my kids (ages 5 & 2), our nanny and myself. We will be in France for almost 2 weeks (July 5th - July 24th), and my husband, myself and kids will continue on till August 18th. We want more experiences and some sightseeing and want to feel the culture, eat the food, sip the wine, and relax. I have been attempting to research where to go and what to do and it is extremely time consuming and overwhelming, as I am the one in charge of planning which is by choice!

Does anyone know of a company or a person I can contact that will help me with the planning where to go, the logistics, accommodations and experiences who are France experts. I do not want just a travel agent. I have a great one and our tickets are booked! I want someone who has personal knowledge and can give personal recommendations and tips based on our needs and their experience. We are experienced travelers and I don't want to reinvent the wheel on France when there are so many experts out there!

I look forward to hearing from you and your suggestions!
ashopalicious is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2018, 04:41 PM
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Yes Fodor's has at least a dozen such experts - some of whom live there - that would be as good or better than anyone yo could find to pay.

But, you have to be more explicit - like do you want to go to Paris and if so for how long?
wine districts?
cities or rural areas?
going by train or car or bike or foot?

Assume you are going by car at least part - sometimes folks do Paris first then take a TGVnearly 200 mph train south to Provence around Avignon or French Riviera - or Dordogne, etc.

Here are some good sources on where to go by train in France and cars can do it as well: BETS-European Rail Experts - free online European Planning & Rail Guide has itineraries for trains or cars for France -

But just ask more explici questions and you'll find a wealth of 'experts' IMO right here. One even has very prescriptive detailed driving routes he'll send you free in some of the nicest areas in France.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 05:11 PM
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I suspect that you might want to rent a house in two different area, such as the Provence and the Dordogne.

Bed and breakfast, cottage and holiday rental in France

Start looking on these sites. You will need to reserve soon. Start browsing in bookstores and their guide books on these areas. Michelin for the sights. Fodor's offers more practical information.
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 05:46 PM
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My wife & I vacation in France for 2 months almost every year. One month in June & another in Sept. We've been doing this since 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more. Between 1978 & 1999, we vacationed in Europe 3-5 weeks every year. We stay in Gites (houses) with kitchens, multiple bedrooms & baths, dining room, and all the full amenities. Many have had private pools. We have stayed in 70 Gites for a total of 110 weeks. As Michael stated - it really helps the finances and logistics. However, you are late to the party if your travel is for this year. We reserve our gites at least 1 year in advance and we travel a tad off peak season. You are going to be smack-dab in the middle of prime season - and you will pay $$$ accordingly and all the best gites will probably be already reserved. The gites where we stayed last year are currently booked solid from June through Sept.

I also have developed several itineraries for many of our favorite regions in France. BTW, our two favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by the Cote d'Azur, Brittany, and the Languedoc. The Alps & Pyrenees are in a different category. These itineraries are anywhere from 5 to 35 pages each. They describe our favorite villages, cities, scenic drives, farmer's markets, restaurants, etc. I have itineraries for (in order of most requested):
Provence & Cote d'Azur
Brittany & Normandy
Burgundy - a shorter one I wrote for a friend
Alsace (short one)
Alps & Annecy
Pays Basque
Puy du Dome
Haute Pyrenees
Ardeche - that I wrote for a friend

I've sent these itineraries to over 6,000 people on Fodors.. My Dordogne itinerary has a section I recently added that describes a good plan for spending time in Provence, then heading to the Dordogne with a stop in Carcassonne for a brief visit, and also in the Lot dept for a few days to visit some A+ sites there, before heading to the Dordogne around Sarlat for several days. This may be a good plan for you. If you would like any of these itineraries, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach any you request to the reply e-mail.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 01:19 AM
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If you already have a travel agent and your tickets are already booked, I would suggest that that travel agent isn't so great after all. Booking tickets before you know where you're going is far from a professional approach, as you undoubtedly would benefit from open-jaw tickets as opposed to round trip ones. I'm assuming you bought RT tickets here - if you did not, then it would certainly aid in our ability to give you advice to know where you are flying into and where flying out.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 06:34 AM
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6 people means renting a van or two cars.

Michael's links to gites, etc is a great idea - rent them by week - usually in rural areas or villages. Self-catering lets you shop at local markets and then cook for yourselves. A pool would be great for kids. Note that July is busy season in southern France - book ASAP.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2018, 08:20 AM
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there are actually travel agents who DO know areas and know what they are doing, specialists who plan itineraries. You are calling a travel agent someone who just takes orders to buy tickets, I guess or something.

Those top-level agents are not cheap and tend to work for wealthy clients, often the itineraries are high-end hotels and special guides,drivers, etc. Here is one such person, she is from France
Murielle Blanchard

But if you already have things booked, it's too late for that even if you wanted it.

I'd suggest finding some travel buff who knows France well in your community, maybe a neighborhood listserv, library, etc.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 07:45 AM
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Questions? ashopalicious?
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 12:34 PM
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