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Help! Feeling overwhelmed - starting to research a trip to France this June . . .

Help! Feeling overwhelmed - starting to research a trip to France this June . . .

Old Jan 10th, 2002, 06:24 AM
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Help! Feeling overwhelmed - starting to research a trip to France this June . . .

. . . with family members (including 2 teens & one 9-yr. old). We want to rent a villa for 10, spend about 2 days in Paris (some of our group have been to Paris before and don't want to spend much time there), and another 7-8 days elsewhere in France (but where?). We might be interested in the Normandy beaches; also, quaint scenic villages, and good food.
I know this is vague; we've just started researching this weekend and aren't totally sure what to do. I would welcome any and all suggestions on what others have enjoyed in France, and suggestions on an area to rent a villa in.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 06:47 AM
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My vote for another location in France is the Alcase region, partly because it is the only place in Frnace I have visited. My parents have lived there for 2 yrs now and really enjoy it. Pluses: people are incredibly friendly, food is good (mix of German and French), the wine is great (and fairly inexpensive), tons of cute small villages. You can start at Strasbourg and head south along the wine route down to Colmar. Also, tons of places to hike along the route. My father has written a fair bit about the hikes they have down in the region, so if that interested you I can send you more details. Lastly, I found that the prices for food and clothing to be on par with Canada.

Hope this helps!
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 07:10 AM
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Ariel, thanks! It does indeed help. Please send more details!
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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Normandy and Brittany would satisfy your every need for beaches, quaint villages, nice people, and good food. I would suggest you pick some neat places to stay and to see in those areas.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 10:03 AM
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Hi, Paula. If I were you, I would head south after Paris. You could, for instance, take the TGV to Avignon and be there in about three hours. The northern part of France can still be a bit chilly in June, especially the early part and especially on the channel coast in Normandy or Brittany. My first choice would be western Provence: Avignon, Arles, Nimes, Pont du Gard, Aix-en-Provence, Les Baux, the Luberon hill towns, etc. -lots to see and do. I think both the adults and the kids would enjoy seeing all the Roman ruins and if you want beaches, you could get to the Mediterranean coast at Cassis, La Ciotat, Toulon (I am assuming you will be driving at this point.)
My second choice would be the Dordogne and Lot River area (also reachable by train in a few hours): medieval castles (Beynac, Bonaguil, etc.) prehistoric caves (Les Eyzies, Lascaux, Pech-Merle, etc.),the Gouffre de Padirac, beautiful old towns like Rocamadour, Sarlat, St. Cirq-Lapopie. No beaches here but you can do canoeing or boat rides on the Lot and Dordogne.
Both areas abound in beautiful scenery, quaint villages and good food. If you choose your spot carefully, you can get to most of what you want to see in an hour or so by car.
A word about timing: most houses and villas are rented for a minimum of one week, usually Sat. to Sat. However much time you have beyond that you can spend in Paris at the beginning or the end. If that comes out to more than 2 days, those who have already seen Paris could take some day-trips by train to Chartres, Rouen, Reims, or any number of other places. For those who haven't, 3-4 days is about the minimum.
If you need more help with the house rental issue, e-mail me. (substitute charter.net for home.com in the above e-mail.) Over the last few years I have rented 7 houses in various parts of France.
I hope you have a wonderful trip to France.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 01:51 PM
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We had a terrific break in Brittany last year; great beaches nice people. I have web site for houses if you want them
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 02:12 PM
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Paula: I would check out www.cheznous.com. I have never used them, but will in the future. On this site, there are quite a few rental properties for 10+ people. With that many people along, you probably don't want to be moving around a lot and the kids would probably enjoy a pool.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 03:35 PM
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I do not have a great deal of experience in France, but based on my limited experience, I'd recommend my favorite region, the Dordogne. The lanscape was lovely, with huge swollen gray cliff, a lyrically curving river, charming villages, castle rising out of the mist. Food was delicious and (for me) unusual. The prehistoric cave art was fascinating and unforgettable, and I think would greatly interest children, with some preparation. It lacks only beaches.

The attractions of Provence are so outstanding and so well known that I won't bother to say anything here, since many others know the region better. I loved it, and most people do.

I also enjoyed Normandy, though not nearly as much as the Dordogne and Provence. But except for the cheese, did not like the food in Normandy--too many cream sauces.

One place that I fell in love with 17 years ago was Chartres. I've read some negative comments about it on this board, but it's really hard for me to imagine how anyone would not love it.

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