Notices

French towns in autumn

Reply

Jul 28th, 2015, 12:33 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 39
French towns in autumn

Hello!

I recently posted about spending mid September - early December in Paris. I've decided to spend less time fussing with longer trips out of the country, and just plan a few day/weekend trips within France. I'm sure we'll take a couple of out of country trips, but I'm just happy to be in France and don't care as much anymore. Plus, you know... money ;-)

Anyway, any recommendations on if the time of the year makes sense for these would be super. These are all loose and can change on a whim. Here's what I'm thinking thus far...

Last week of September: Mont Saint Michel (staying overnight perhaps here https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4489686)

First week of October: Giverny (with plans to bicycle from Vernon to Giverny). I've read that the flowers are typically still in bloom at this time.

Still in beginning of October: Versailles (will the garden still be enjoyable at this time?)

Late October: Alsace (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3409459)

November: Marseille & Nice (maybe stay the night here https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5225491)


Any glaring timing issues? Again, this is all loose and some of these might not happen / get replaced by other trips / be lengthened or shortened. I don't plan to micromanage our time.

Any place missing that you absolutely love in France? I have a dreamy vision of biking through lavender fields in Aix En Province, but know that's quite the stereotype and quite possible not doable.
hellomoe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 12:44 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 39
Okay, after reading this NYT article on 36 hours in Aix-en-provence, I feel the need... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/tr...l?pagewanted=1
hellomoe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 12:55 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,623
I couldn't open any of the airbnb links. I'd want to spend two nights in Nice or Marseilles--lots to see and do, even off-season.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 12:57 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 39
Oh bummer! When I click on the links they won't work for me, either. Not sure how to fix that. Well, they're all about $60/night...
hellomoe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 02:02 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,617
Paris isn't that warm weather a climate, so flowers in gardens in October are not going to be what you'd get in spring/summer. And of course, it depends on the weather, but I wouldn't expect frost by first week. If any, that kills the annuals. You won't have the same kind of flowers as in summer, no lilies, for example, nor sunflowers/roses obviuosly.

There is no lavender in PRovence in the Fall, it's harvested end of July or August.

So other than making sure your expectations of gardens aren't too high, I'm sure if it is pleasant weather you can enjoy the trip to those areas. I don't see anything glaringly out of place.
Christina is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 03:15 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,521
The flowers are rotated throughout the season at Monet's gardens and there will be flowers in bloom at any time it is open. There is info on the website about what flowers will be in bloom for any season.

If you want to go to anyplace that requires a reservation for train tickets (all TGV trains and many Intercités trains) you'll need to buy them 3 months in advance to get the cheapest ticket prices.

The cheapest train tickets are going to be the local trains near Paris that have fixed prices so you don't need to buy tickets in advance and you can also wait for the best weather day to do a day trip.

Here is a brief list that summarizes many of the most popular day trips from Paris (within an hour and a half by train). With the exception of Reims, Troyes and Rouen I haven't included places that require advance train ticket purchase to get the cheapest train ticket prices. The rest of the destinations are all local trains with fixed prices. There are certainly many other day trips you could also do but this list covers most of the biggies:

__________________________________________________ ______________________
Provins (an authentic walled medieval town): http://www.provins.net/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ________________________

Château of Chantilly (wonderful fairytale château, famous art collection): http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/fr/
http://www.chantilly-tourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord and arrive at Chantilly-Gouvieux. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Senlis (beautiful small medieval town can be combined with a visit to Chantilly):
http://en.senlis-tourisme.fr/
Take train to Chantilly (see above). Take bus number 15 from Chantilly to Senlis. Bus schedules here: http://www.oise-mobilite.fr/index.asp
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Reims (champagne tours, great historic cathedral, museums):
http://www.reims-tourisme.com/
Take TGV train from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Train tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Epernay (champagne tours): http://www.ot-epernay.fr/
Trains depart from from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Fontainebleau (former royal town with famous château):
http://www.musee-chateau-fontaineble...mmaire&lang=en
http://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/index.php/en/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon. Take Bus 1 from train station to château. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Versailles (obvious):
http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage
http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/en/accueil.html
There are several possible ways to get here by train from Paris. Easiest (least confusing) is to take RER C from Paris to Versailles Rive-Gauche. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Rambouillet (Royal château now Presidential palace, nearby forest for hiking/biking, pretty downtown. On the same rail line as Versailles and Chartres)

http://www.rambouillet-tourisme.fr/

http://chateau-rambouillet.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

Trains depart from Gare Montparnasse. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ______________________________

Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte (the château after which Louis XIV based his garden renovations for Versailles and IMO one of the most elegant château in France):
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/useful-information
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Melun. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. Take taxi from Melun to château or in high season use the shuttle bus from Melun to château. See 2nd link above for further transport info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Rouen (small city, lots to do, wonderful cathedral, medieval old center): http://www.rouentourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules. Tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance. Last minute tickets cost 22.80€ each way (45.60€ round trip).
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Giverny (Monet's house and gardens):
http://fondation-monet.com/en/
http://giverny.org/giverny/
http://giverny.org/gardens/index.htm
http://www.vernon-visite.org/index.shtml
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare and arrive in Vernon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Look at links above for info about shuttle bus to Giverny, or walking or renting a bike.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Chartres (the famous cathedral and wonderful old medieval town):
http://www.chartres-tourisme.com/en
http://www.discover-chartres.com/

Malcolm Miller Cathedral Tours:

Daily tours of Chartres Cathedral from Easter until late October are at 12 noon and 2.45 p.m. Not on Sundays, and during the winter occasionally or on request.

E-mail address is [email protected].

Trains depart from Gare Montparnasse. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ______________________________

Compiègne (château with museums, wonderful old town. Can be combined with a visit to the château of Pierrefonds): http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _________________________

Château of Pierrefonds (Magnificent fairytale looking château. Reconstructed in the 19th century but magnificent nonetheless. Can be combined with a visit to Compiègne):
http://www.pierrefonds.monuments-nationaux.fr/
http://www.pierrefonds-tourisme.net/
http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/Le-...errefonds.html
Take train to Compiegne (see above). There are shuttle buses from Compiegne to Pierrefonds but they are infrequent. Use www.oise-mobilite.fr for bus info. Easiest means of access is taxi from Compiegne to Pierrefonds. The tourist office in Compiegne will assist with taxi service.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Troyes (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.tourisme-troyes.com/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Auxerre (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.ot-auxerre.fr/
http://www.burgundy-tourism.com/page...erre-1034.html
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Laon (medieval hilltop town with a spectacular cathedral): http://www.laon-tourism.co.uk/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Crépy-en-Valois (charming little medieval town with 12th century châteaux, abbey ruin, quaint streets, nice park)
http://www.valois-tourisme.fr/ot_cre...nglish_version
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Crécy-la-Chapelle (small charming renowned artists village): http://www.cc-payscrecois.fr/Crecy-la-Chapelle,203.html Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Transfer at Esbly to the next train for Crécy. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ __________________________
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Moret-sur-Loing (charming walled medieval village/artists village):
http://www.msl-tourisme.fr/index.php/francais/accueil
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive at Moret-Veneux-les-Sablons. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Auvers-sur-Oise (Van Gogh and other impressionist art history):
http://www.auvers-sur-oise.com/heading/heading899.html
Trains depart from either Gare Saint-Lazare or Gare du Nord. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Rueil-Malmaison (château of the Empress Josephine and a nice old downtown. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye):
http://www.chateau-malmaison.fr/en
http://www.rueil-tourisme.com/EN/
Take RER A to La Défense and then bus 258 to Château de Malmaison. Also possible to take RER A to Rueil-Malmaison and then walk 1.5km to 2km to old downtown and then to château. Bus number 144 also available from RER station to get to downtown then walk to château. Use www.ratp.fr for transport info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Saint-Germain-en-Laye (former royal town with a wonderful château now home to the national museum of archaeology. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Malmaison):
http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/en/
http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/...of-archeology/
http://musee-archeologienationale.fr/
Take RER A from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Barbizon (famous artists village, can be combined with Fontainebleau):
http://www.barbizon-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Fontainebleau-Avon. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. It is necessary to take a taxi from Fontainebleau to Barbizon.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

IMPORTANT NOTE: When using the http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ website here are a few tips. When entering Paris as your arrival or departure point you will notice a drop down menu appears when you start to type the word ''paris''. Select ''Paris (all stations – FR)'' and this will automatically bring up the correct train station in Paris for your journey. Be sure to uncheck the box marked ''Direct Trains'' to see all options.

If you are redirected to the RailEurope then try again and select ''Antarctic'' as your ticket collection country to avoid being redirected to the RailEurope website. The RailEurope website usually doesn't show all the trains and shows higher ticket prices. Be sure to also look at other ticket purchase options. If you are having troubles with the SNCF website you can try using a new ticket selling website called www.capitainetrain.com. You can also use the German rail site www.bahn.de for schedules but it will not give train ticket prices.

These are the most popular day trips and all are worthwhile but there are many other less popular and equally worthy day trips. I could easily list a couple dozen more but only if what's on this list doesn't interest you. A good guide book for the Île-de-France region should give you more ideas.

You'll need to take a train from Paris to do these day trips. For info on trains in Paris and the nearby suburbs (métro and RER trains and those TER trains that operate within zone 5) use the website www.ratp.fr. Use the interactive map on this website to plan your trip: http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk. Parts of this website are in French so you can use an English language companion site www.vianavigo.com. You can also use www.transilien.com for métro and RER trains and those TER trains that are part of the Transilien network. Some TER trains on the Transilien network go beyond zone zone 5. It's a personal choice as to whether you prefer using the RATP or Transilien website.

A great website to learn about the Paris métro/bus/RER network is www.parisbytrain.com.

For trains that go further beyond the Île-de-France and outside of the Transilien network use the website http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ A great website to learn about trains in France (and Europe) is www.seat61.com if you have any train questions/problems.

Paris and many of the places nearby in Île-de-France are divided into zones, numbered 1 through 5. Paris is in zone 1 and areas outside Paris are in zones 2 through 5. Some of the destinations I mentioned are in zone 5 (Provins, Fontainebleau, Moret-sur-Loing, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Crécy-la-Chapelle, Barbizon). For these journeys it will be more cost effective to buy a one day Mobilis pass for 16.10€ for zones 1 through 5. This will be cheaper than the point to point tickets round trip. Plus, this pass is good for unlimited travel on all public trains and buses for one day in zones 1-5. Buy it first thing in the morning before your first métro ride and it gets you to your train station, your round trip tickets, any buses you need to use at your destination and any traveling you'll do in Paris when you return. Before you use the ticket make sure to write your name and the date on the ticket. You can buy these passes from the ticket machines in métro/RER stations. The machines have an English language option. If so, look for the one day Mobilis pass option. When you get to the screen that lists your zones to choose from press zone 1 and then press zone 5. You can also buy them at any ticket counter. They are good for 60 days so you can buy it in advance if you want to be prepared. It's not valid until you write your name and date on it and validate the ticket on your first métro/RER trip or at the train station. If you buy the ticket at a main line train station before boarding a train be sure to stick it in the machine that validates tickets and it will punch your ticket.
FrenchMystiqueTours is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 03:30 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 39
FrenchMystiqueTours, you're awesome. Thank you!
hellomoe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 03:31 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,521
You're welcome!
FrenchMystiqueTours is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 05:32 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,378
hellomoe - The reason your links won't work is the parenthesis at the end. If you want to set a link off with parentheses, just type a space before and/or after them.

I think FMT's list could keep you busy for many a day.
MaineGG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 01:04 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,623
French Mystique,

That is such a good list!

Giverny will be lovely in October. Their roses, apart from possibly ramblers, will still be blooming.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 02:32 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,036
FMT - what a wonderful list. Where am I going to get enough time?!
margo_oz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 04:12 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,437
margo-oz, it may take years. I keep a copy of FMT's list and with each visit to Paris, try to visit one or two. I've been to 11 and plan Le Vaux le Vicomte in December.

Thank you FMT!
Judy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 05:38 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
We went to Giverny the last week in September last year. The dahlias are truly spectacular but most everything else is done for the season except for a few late roses. I found the dahlias worth the trip.
mamcalice is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 08:06 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,590
Hellomoe, did you know you can bike in the countryside near Paris with FMT? He takes small groups out for a day or half-day. We haven't done that yet since we don't go to Paris, but if we ever do, biking with FMT is top of my list. He loves the French countryside at least as much as we do.

http://www.frenchmystiquetours.com/our_bike_tours
Coquelicot is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 31st, 2015, 06:37 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 8
We used FMT's wonderful list during our one month in Paris in May. Beginning Sept. 1 all Navigo Decouverte passes of either one week or longer will be "dezoned" good for zones 1-5 -- so the pass will make travel easy throughout the Paris and the Ile de France.
Sally
ssb100 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:04 AM.