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Help w/ Burgundy, Lyon, Provence Itinerary

Help w/ Burgundy, Lyon, Provence Itinerary

Jan 30th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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Help w/ Burgundy, Lyon, Provence Itinerary

I will be in France in late May for 11 days. My plan was to rent a car and tour Burgundy, Rhone and Provence before taking the TGV (from Avignon) back to Paris for 3 days. We went to Paris last Thanksgiving for a week and had an incredible time, even with the cold, rainy weather so I can't wait to see Paris in the spring. I got so much useful information for my last trip from this board. Now, please help me with my trip outside Paris. Here's my itinerary so far:

Day 1: Arrive at CDG at 5PM. Rent car and drive to Auxerre
Day 2-3: Visit Vezelay before driving to Beaune. Spend 2 nights in Beaune.
Day 4-5: Drive to Lyon for 2 nights
Day 6-8: Drive to Provence (St. Remy, maybe, open to suggestions) and spend 3 nights before returning to Paris

Does this sound too aggressive in not allowing enough time for each region. If so, which part should I cut out (Beaune, Lyon, Provence)? I figure the first night is Auxerre is a must since we're getting into CDG pretty late and I don't want to drive more than 2 hours.

As for my interests, I like to visit the major attractions (historical bldgs, sites, museums, etc.) but to a limit. Paris was great in that we would do one, maybe two at the most, major sites a day and the rest of the time we would just walk around, explore the neighborhoods, hang out at the parks, go to the markets and just take in the city. We love food and wine and being in beautiful scenery.

Also, any recommendations for accommodations would be great. I'd like to stay under $150 per night. Prefer to spend my money on food and wine
Jan 30th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Lyon: Hotel des Artistes. Good location, nicely furnished, reasonable, etc.
grandmere is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Check out my website which descrobes a trip to provence and a trip to Bougundy and Champagne. We loved both trips, and I don't think you can do justice to provence in 3 days. However, if you do go to Provence for just 2-3 days, I suggest Avignon because It's a fascinating city and very centrally located for that area of provence.

As for "cutting out" something, don't cut out Beaune!!
sssteve is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for the info. sssteve, you site is very helpful. I know I won't be able to fully discover each region being there only 2-3 days. However, I would like to be able to get a feel for the culture, people, food, etc of each area. Can I do that in 2-3 days? If I were to cut out an area which one would you suggest? Or should I go for all 3?

Does the time of the year matter? Originally I was planning on going to Burgundy/Rhone in Sept during the harvest but saw some great fares for May and jumped on it. Will Burgundy/Rhone be just as nice in the spring? I heard May was one of the best times to visit Provence.
Jan 30th, 2004, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I spent 10 days in October just in Burgundy alone, with Paris for the last 3 days of my trip. Burgundy is wonderful, and there is so much to see and do. It just seems a shame to rush through, and try to do Provence in the same trip. I took the train from Paris to Dijon and rented car from there - stayed in Beaune and several other places - all beautiful. I ended up in Auxerre (which is a most interesting town, and deserves a day at least), and trained back to Paris from there.

I debated about trying to do Lyon on that same trip, but didn't. You could certainly work that in on a trip to Burgundy and Paris. In mid May I'm planning to go to Provence. Will train direct from the airport, rent a car in Avignon, stay for about 10 days, then train to Lyon for 3 days, and back to Paris from there.

I just think you can't do justice to those wonderful areas of France for just a few days each!
Sue4 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 09:39 PM
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Dink, I agree with Sue. We loved Provence and it certainly deserves a solid week. But we loved Burgundy and Champagne as well.

What would I do? I'd spend 2 days in Paris and the rest in Provence, with Avignon as a base. Save Burgundy for next time.

As for the time of year, anytime in spring or fall is great. Just pray for decent weather.
sssteve is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 06:44 AM
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Having been to CDG before, you can make a fair guess of the amount of time it will take to clear the airport and get on the road. Then there is the drive to Auxerre. All of this adds up to a very long day. If I couldn't get a train somewhere from CDG, I would opt for an enjoyable night in Paris and either a train in the am, probably to the furthest destination, or rent a car and drive out of the city.
RonZ is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 07:27 AM
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i also agree with picking one or the other. there is so much to see in burgundy - auxerre is definitely not a place you just want to drive through! you would miss dijon, semur, abbaye de fontenay, flavigny... if you split up the trip.

have fun! i'm jealous...
quimbymoy is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Your itinierary sounds quite nice, although I would suggest omitting Lyon in favor of more time in Provence. Also, driving to Auxerre late in the afternoon means lots of traffic around Paris; think about taking the train to, say, Troyes, spending the night there, and picking up your car and heading south the next morning.

While you're in the Beaune area be sure to schedule time to visit the city of Autun; it has a magnificent cathedral, the old town is attractive, and the Roman theater is quite interesting.

By skipping Lyon and heading directly to Provence you can see more of that beautiful region, perhaps splitting your time between the area around St.-Rémy and either Aix of the Lubéron. near Aix you could stay in Celony, just above the town, at Le Mas d'Entremont, which is charming and has excellent food. For St.-Rémy, check out the Château de Roussan, an 18th-century château in lovely grounds; it's under French-English ownership. Some of the bathrooms are quite elderly; inquire about that if/when you book.
Underhill is online now  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for all the input. Now I'm thinking of dropping Lyon from my trip and spending 4 nights in Burgundy and 4 nights in Provence. I'd like to see as much as possible in such a limited time so I'm thinking about splitting my stay in each region as follows:

Day 1-2: 2 nights in Auxerre. Stay in town at either Le Parc des Maréchaux, Hotel Maxime or Hotel Normandie. Please let me know if you have stayed at either and can comment.
Day 3-4: 2 nights in Beaune at Hostellerie de Bretonniere.
Day 5-6: 2 nights in St. Remy or Arles. Any preference between the two?
Day 7-8: 2 nights in Forcalquier or Saignon. Again, any preference between the two?

I'm looking to stay in towns that are large enough to have good dining options and some nightlife but still retaining the village feel. Are these good choices? For accomodations in Provence, I'd like to stay under 100E per night and would prefer something close to town. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks again!
Feb 9th, 2004, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think there is more to see in Provence than Burgundy, but that may not be fair -- we were 2 nights in Burgundy and the weather (in May) was kind of dreary. The people were friendlier in Provence, where we had stayed for 4 nights outside of St Remy and had remarkable weather. If you are driving, the drive from Provence to Paris may be rather long -- you might want to drop off the car in Avignon and take the train back to Paris. (Last year we trained to Avignon, picked up the car, and visited Provence, Lanquedoc, Dordogne, Lyon and Burgundy before ending in Paris for 3 nights. We drove into Paris as we were only coming from Burgundy, but I wish we'd dropped off the car and taken the train into the city. It always seems that paperwork takes longer in Paris!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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SFDink, I spent 2 nights in October at the Normandie in Auxerre, and was really pleased with it - a real bargain. It was easy to find, and parking right across the street - it was on a kind of ring road. Not luxurious, but very clean, comfortable and quiet. Also an easy walk to see the sites. Auxerre was really interesting, and there is a great "walking map" you can pick up at the tourist office. Best map of any town I've seen.

Also, I had an absolutely wonderful dinner at the restaurant right across the street from the Normandie - Le Jardin Gourmain. Great ambiance, service and food.

I considered staying at both the other hotels you mentioned, but was glad I chose the Normandie in the end, and saved money for the delightful dinner!
I'm sure you'll like Auxerre.

Vezelay is breathtaking, I loved seeing it. And you will certainly like Beaune. There, I stayed at the Hotel des Remparts, which is just inside the remparts in town, and walking distance to train station. Very nice. It was very convenient to town, but had easy parking nearby, and the Avis rental was close, where I picked up my car. I happened upon a great restaurant in Beaune, "Le Fleury", for dinner one night. I later saw that it was mentioned in some guidebooks. Delicious, and reasonable. Enjoy your trip! I'll be in Provence in May, also, but earlier than you.

Sue4 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Your new revised itinerary sounds very good. I can't speak too much for Burgundy, but as for Provence, having moved here three years ago, I feel pretty well placed to offer some local advice.

The choice between St. Remy and Arles is tough. Both are great. Arles has a bit more of a large town feel - there is more to do and the best museum for Provencal antiques/fabrics etc. If you are into that. St. Remy is better maybe as a visit during the day. It can be seem leisurely on your way from Arles to the Luberon.

As for the Luberon, Forcalquier is really nice but a bit out of the way. I love Saignon - in fact, my favorite B&B is not far away. It's called Le Mas Perreal and I can highly recommend it - which is only natural as my wife and I are the innkeepers!!

If you need any other info, don't hesitate - either for our B&B or otherwise.

Bon voyage.

P.S.: May is a great time to be in Provence. Weather noramlly excellent, and just ahead of the tourist onslaught. Plus, the cherries should be just ripe for the picking....

kevin_widrow is offline  

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