Free time in France


Apr 25th, 2016, 04:16 AM
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Free time in France

We complete a Central Europe tour in Frankfurt. Then have six days before arriving in Paris. After a fifteen days on a bus we are looking at spending quiet time in country France at one or two locations. Perhaps a b n b with English speaking hosts in a smallish town, enjoying local food, markets may be a bike ride. We would like to hear from anyone who experienced a similar holiday. We are a middle aged couple from Brisbane
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Apr 25th, 2016, 07:21 AM
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Crikey so many places. What month?

Use search engines like or with the the B&B element turned on and the language set to the Union Jack.

Likely places

The Loire Valley say Saumur
The Loir Valley
La Rochelle or Isle de Re
The Tarn Valley

I suspect Cahors is about as deep into France as you can get to.

You may also find gite-de-france a useful tool and google maps hunting for B&B rather than chambre d'hote (the latter tends not to have the language skills but their website will help). We also like logis-de-france for more food focused places
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Apr 25th, 2016, 07:40 AM
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Pick a region first and then look for a gîte or B&B. In order to pick a region, you must specify your interests: scenery, sea, wine, castles etc. It matters, if you have a car or not.

You will take the TGV from Frankfurt to Paris which takes 4 hours without any other stop in France. So, you will start in Paris.

You may in the surroundings of Paris (Île de France). Also, the Seine Valley with the charming towns Rouen and Honfleur (on the coast) are in easy reach. To the North, Amiens with its splendid cathedral is a destination. To the East, there is the Champagne. To the South, Bourgogne is not far, e.g. Auxerre, a beautiful historc town. To the west, you find the Loire Valley with dozens of splendid castles. So many choices. Make up your mind first.
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Apr 25th, 2016, 07:42 AM
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Yes I agree that time of year will make a difference of where I would suggest. Also, will you have a car or will you need to get there from Frankfurt by train or place since that would make a difference in my suggestions.
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Apr 26th, 2016, 03:57 AM
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Thank you to those who replied. We are reliant on public transport. My wife tells me we aren't middle aged but mature
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Apr 26th, 2016, 04:01 AM
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Apr 26th, 2016, 04:12 AM
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Great July is not August when the French go on Holiday en-mass.

Using trains and buses, I'd look at the following from above

Saumur, (Loire wines), trains and buses go up and down the river
la Rochelle,
Bergerac (Bergerac and Monbazillac wine)
Cahors (where Malbec based wine comes from), trains into Toulouse and to the north
Colmar (Alsace wine), train to Strasbourg
Epernay (where the Champagne comes from), train to Rheims
Auxerre (where Chablis almost comes from)

All the above are easy to get to, good eatin and drinken, Cahors and Auxerre are close to hilly areas.

I have stayed in each for at least two nights and would recommend them to anyone. July should be hot for France.
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Apr 26th, 2016, 10:01 AM
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Given you are coming from Germany and going to Paris, I would not go all over the country in-between (meaning I would rule out anything west of the Rhone or Paris, not the west coast or SW France, etc).

Burgundy would be perfect for you, I believe. The Loire, even though west of Paris, wouldn't be too bad, it's not that far by train. Seem to be a lot of English expats in Provence, among other places, and of course that would work if you want to go that far. But I bet you can find English-speaking B&Bs in Burgundy.
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Apr 26th, 2016, 01:00 PM
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I frankly don't see the appeal of Cahors, either as a place to easily get to from where the OP is originating or even in and of itself, and it certainly isn't "deep in the French countryside." There are places all around it that would qualify for that, but not Cahors itself. Plus it just doesn't have the sort of appeal that would make the usual North American traveler squeal for joy - it's dour, there is always insufferable construction around it, the landscape is rocky and bleak, and the town is less than welcoming and pretty. If you live near it, as I do, you get to know its charms, but I can't see an outsider waltzing in and thinking he'd found a charming venue. Except for maybe the wine, which can be bought anywhere in France.

I would head to Burgundy or the Loire, neither of which is remote or inaccessible, but probably a lot more palatable to the fairly uninitiated.
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Apr 26th, 2016, 01:20 PM
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Cahors is good wine. Going there from Paris is half an expedition.

Honestly Bogarts, just open a book about France and choose a region, the select a small town.

I ave no idea what to recommend. I've spent some holidays in deep holes which I found charming - not difficult to find in France.
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