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Help with 12 nights in France - Lyon, Dijon and Marseilles

Help with 12 nights in France - Lyon, Dijon and Marseilles

Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 08:42 AM
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Help with 12 nights in France - Lyon, Dijon and Marseilles

I will have 12 nights in July at the end of a five week trip (which also includes Italy and Croatia) and want to include Lyon, Dijon and Marseilles. I'll arrive mid day into Lyon and I need to be at CDG for night number 12 (airport hotel - for flight out on day 13). Been to Paris many times so not planning any time there this trip. Other than the three cities themselves I am considering day trips to Nimes (from Marseilles) and Vienne (from Lyon).

Interested in opinions as to how to split the time (number of nights each) and in what order - Lyon, Dijon, Marseilles, CDG or Lyon, Marseilles, Dijon, CDG.

Thanks
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 09:31 AM
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Isabel, hi, perhaps I should know but what are your interests?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:28 AM
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Driving or taking train as IMO you should for those places - you have little time to wander around countryside - booking tickets early can result in significant discounted ticket if high-speed long-distance trains - www.trenitalia.com book your own online - www.seat61.com has loads on doing that - general train info - www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 12:58 PM
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Bilboburgler - my main interests are photography (this is my website - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/) and just 'being there' - wandering (I average 9-10 miles a day on my trips in recent years, and those trips range from 2 to 5 weeks). I like to explore towns - historical architecture for sure, but also just squares, fountains, bridges, alleys, shops, etc. I certainly do museums but they aren't a priority. Can't say I've met a UNESCO site I didn't love, especially if it's the 'town' that is the site. Usually do reading of novels (historical and contemporary) set in the places I'm going, and do extensive research.

I'll be traveling by train.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 01:52 PM
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Dijon is a nice old town but consider day tripping to say Beaune, a Burgundy wine center with tastings in town or hit one of the small wine towns with names made famous by their local wines that are popular all over the world - a train line goes thru a string of them to Beaune and beyond.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:43 PM
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Suggest you fly into Marseille Provence airport and work you way north by the good trains
www.skyscanner.com for European budget airlines.

https://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/
Trains

Marseille is historic and multi-cultural, worth all the time you can give it. Avignon on the way north is picturesque and walled, worth at least a night.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 03:03 PM
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Nimes in a nice unique city with Roman ruins but I think Avignon may be far more picturesque as a whole and has the famous Palace of the Popes and neat things like the half broken famous Avignon Bridge still spanning the river part way. Easy by train.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for the replies. But - I can't fly into Marseilles. As I said, I already have plans that start with arriving in Lyon. Can't change that. And I'm leaving through CDG. Can't change that either. So that's my question. How best to arrange the 12 days between those, given I want to go to Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles. I've been to a lot of places in the general region including Avignon, Nice, Arles, etc. Other than the possible day trips to Vienne (from Dijon) and Nimes (from Marseilles) - and probably Cassis also from Marseilles I don't think I have time for many other places. That's why I'm seeking advice from people who have been to Dijon, Lyon and Marseilles as to how many day would be good in each. And given that I need to start in Lyon does it make more sense to go to Dijon then Marseilles then CDG or the other way around. Thanks again.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 03:45 PM
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Well Marseille is an outlier from others - be neat if you chose another nice city near Lyon and Dijon - both only a few hours by train from CDG. But you may want to end up in Marseille and fly from there to CDG -or take train in about 5-6 hours.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:46 PM
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Since you arrive in Dijon, I’d go next to Lyon, then Marseille and either take the TVG or fly straight to CDG from there.There are hourly trains from Dijon to Lyon and the journey takes about two hours. You can again train to Marseille from Lyon.

Dijon is a photographer’s delight, half timbered buildings with their polychrome multi colored tiled roofs. I’d take a day trip to Beaune too, if only to visit the Hospices de Beaune, another magnificent building.

And if you’re an oenophile, the area between Dijon and Beaune produces some of the finest reds ever. Even if you’re not really into wines the rolling countryside and vineyards make for a stunning sight.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 02:31 AM
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I can't comment on how long to spend in each place but if arriving in Lyon around midday logistically I would consider making that day my travel day and heading straight to Marseille (perhaps after a lunch break in Lyon). Then Lyon, then Dijon, then Paris CDG. That way, you can do it all by reasonable length train hops, avoiding any really long train journeys or a flight.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 04:45 AM
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Sorry, I got it wrong! Lyon first, then Dijon and Marseille before heading to CDG for your flight back home. Marseille-CDG will be on the TGV, the others are probably TER trains. Book well ahead for best fares, I generally use the ouisncf site.

https://en.oui.sncf/en/train-ticket
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 05:46 AM
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Thanks Geetika, that helps. I have found a few 3.5 hour direct trains to CDG from Marseilles whereas from Dijon it only takes 2.5 hours but you have to change to the RER in Paris (two changes) so faster but less convenient.

I'm glad you found Dijon to be a photographer's dream as that's my main reason for wanting to go there. I can see it looks great from online images, what I can't determine is how many days are needed to explore it. I tend to walk all over a city center several times (light is different at different times of day) but I don't really plan a lot of museums or such (probably climb a tower or two, and certainly visit the main buildings of architectural interest). Do you think 2 nights ( so one full day plus two half days - and if I put it at the end the last day I wouldn't leave till around 5pm) is enough?

dreamon - unfortunately I have to have all the Lyon time at the beginning cause my husband is flying out two days after we get there. I was thinking of one or two more nights after that before going on to the other towns. But as I want to day trip to Vienne and probably Perogues perhaps I need a total of 4 nights?
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by isabel View Post
Thanks Geetika, that helps. I have found a few 3.5 hour direct trains to CDG from Marseilles whereas from Dijon it only takes 2.5 hours but you have to change to the RER in Paris (two changes) so faster but less convenient.

I'm glad you found Dijon to be a photographer's dream as that's my main reason for wanting to go there. I can see it looks great from online images, what I can't determine is how many days are needed to explore it. I tend to walk all over a city center several times (light is different at different times of day) but I don't really plan a lot of museums or such (probably climb a tower or two, and certainly visit the main buildings of architectural interest). Do you think 2 nights ( so one full day plus two half days - and if I put it at the end the last day I wouldn't leave till around 5pm) is enough?
Isabel, I think that should be enough, you’ll effectively have two full days.

Try and do a Calanque tour when in Marseille, supposed to be drop dead gorgeous from the sea. Actually the ones near Cassis are said to be lovelier, and July weather will be perfect. We went mid-June and the sea was too rough for boat yours 🙁
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 08:56 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, Dijon is not worth more than a day, even though I made a photo report there.

Dijon in spite of myself | Any Port in a Storm
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 02:19 PM
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Dijon gives a hoot! It has a popular Owl Trail winding its way around town and to the cathedral - the owl being the towns emblem (and a feature of the cathedral I think) - get one from tourist office:

The Owl's Trail ? Tours, Activities & Souvenirs ? Tourist Office

If staying in Dijon you may want to see if former and sometime Fodorite Cocodedijon has a nice flat she rents out - folks have raved about it and Coco. More about it and Coco cherie here:

Dijon B&B or villa

Last edited by PalenQ; Apr 24th, 2019 at 02:23 PM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 11:53 PM
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Yes, the Owl Trail or Parcours de la Chouette is a fun walk, you can either download the app or buy a paper map at the tourist office for €1. The trail takes a couple of hours and walks you past several important sites in the town.

You might also like to walk along the Canal de Bourgogne in the outskirts of town, built in the late 18th century it was an engineering marvel at the time. The canal connects the river Yonne to the Saône, and hence indirectly to the Rhône and Mediterranean. Unfortunately the coming of the railway in the 19th century lead to its decline. Today the pathway along the canal is an extremely popular biking and walking trail and vacationers enjoy renting barges. A verdant and quiet spot to get away from it all...



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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 02:37 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. And now I'm convinced that two nights in Dijon should be enough.

Any thoughts on Lyon. I know it's larger and I definitely want to see it, but it's not really 'calling' to me. I originally thought 4 nights but am now thinking only 3. I probably do want to do day trips to Vienne and Perouges but they look like they would be rather short day trips leaving some time each day in Lyon itself. That would give me three afternoon/evenings and a morning - is that decent for Lyon?

Also now thinking that since the Dijon to CDG train involves changing to the rer (and then of course hotel shuttle to hotel and back again in the morning) that I might be able to stay in Paris that night instead. I have a 10:20 flight from Terminal 1 ( to Dublin) - is 1 hr for the RER and 2 hours at the airport sufficient?
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 02:57 AM
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Three nights in Lyon should be plenty.

And yes, one hour for the RER and two hours for the airport is a generous allowance.
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