Help with France iterinary

Dec 31st, 2006, 03:41 AM
  #1  
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Help with France iterinary

Hi

We are going to France in June/July for 3 weeks with our 2 boys, ages 6 & 3. We have decided on 2 days each in Paris, Dijon & Evian Les Bains. Any other suggestions about other places to go would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Dec 31st, 2006, 04:22 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi J,

>We have decided on 2 days each in Paris, ...<

Are you absolutely certain about that?

ira is online now  
Dec 31st, 2006, 04:38 AM
  #3  
 
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Hi,

Welcome to Fodor's. Three weeks in France is a lovely amount of time. Have you traveled to Europe before? Have you done so with kids? There are lots of great places to choose from, but it would be helpful to know a bit more about your interests.

I have to say that 2 days in Paris sounds like far too few, especially with 3 weeks. I think that both because there is so much to see and do AND because you are traveling with young kids.

We also have 2 boys - they are now 12 and 15 - and we have found that less is usually more. Trying to pack up and move around every couple of days is a hassle and can make us grumpy. The occassional 1 or 2 night stay is fine, but constant moving without time to enjoy some swimming or parks or playgrounds or reading in the room can take all the fun out of a trip.

One area that might be worth considering is the Dordogne. We are going with our to-be 13 year old this summer. There are castles, prehistoric caves, and rivers for canoeing. There are lots of villas/cottages that rent by the week which is perfect for a home base. The area radiating out from Sarlat seems to get the most recommendations (Beynac, Domme, etc) for its proximity to lots of wonderful possibilities.

Hope this helps get you started. There are many very knowledgeable people on this board who will be glad to help, but may need a bit more detailed information.
fun4all4 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 05:18 AM
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..couldn't agree more wiht the fun4all. with children the less moving the better..do day trips. I would suggest with 3 weeks you might consider 3 "bases" with day trips. One week Paris and 2 1 week stays elsewhere with the specific local based on interests. You might consider a car for the 2 weeks away from Paris but not for the week in Paris. You will be able to rent apts or homes. June is a good month as children in France are still at school so you won't have to compete with families for child friendly locations.(You might even consider a home exchange). As a mother of 3 sons, I really hate hotels for long trips. In Europe, the standard US hotel room with 2 double beds is a real rarity and my boys really liked to have a fridge for snacks. Good luck and if you send family interests I might have more specific suggestions.
travelbunny is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 06:01 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We will be renting a car when we leave Paris. We will be staying at first 2 days in Paris and then when we come back we will stay another couple days.

I have never been to France, however, my husband has. We are very interested in small villages, wineries, castles and of course for myself a little shopping. We definetely wish to go to Provence but there seems to be so much to see, I am not sure where would be a good home base.

Also, any suggestions for activities to do with 2 busy boys during this trip would be great.

Thanks.
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Dec 31st, 2006, 07:21 AM
  #6  
kdcwood
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Our family has traveled extensively in Europe since our daughter (now 13) was a toddler. We have done trips where we changed locations every two or three days, and we've also done trips where we use rentals and base in fewer places but stay four days or a week (and even longer). Our preference-- by far-- is to travel more slowly. I totally agree with the other posters that less is often more, and especially when traveling with children. A lot of time is lost checking in and out and traveling... time that could be spent really enjoying the experience in France. You are lucky to have three weeks, so hopefully you could base in at least one of your destinations for a full week.

Our family has spent extended time in Paris, Normandy, the Dordogne, Burgundy, Alsace and Provence. We love all of France, but we are definitely partial to Provence, where we lived for six months two years ago. This piece about activities for children and families will give you some great ideas of what you can expect in Provence: http://www.slowtrav.com/france/prove...s_children.htm There are many options for vacation rentals in Provence, but these will normally be for a week Saturday-Saturday. I suggest going in June and looking for a place with access to a swimming pool.

Enjoy your travel planning!

Kathy
 
Dec 31st, 2006, 08:03 AM
  #7  
 
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If the Paris bit is not cast in stone, try not to split up the time (except maybe an overnight airport hotel at the end). It limits options for an apt (there are apt hotels but really not as good value). I agree with Provence with kids (but do do the pool thing unless you are in a seaside village. Parts of Languedoc are very beautiful though I would not stay in both on this trip as too similar but IMO both would be equally good. When you have done a bit more homework, please get back to the board. As a Mom who has lived in Fance, I might have some suggestions for kids activities and family based vacations.
travelbunny is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:31 PM
  #8  
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Thanks for all the advice. We have decided to do the following:

2 days in Paris
2 day in Dijon
2 Days by lake geneva
5 days in provence
overnight in toulouse
4 days in bergerac
overnight in chambray les-tours
3 days back in paris
overnight in gatwick, london

I know it is alot ground covered in 3 weeks but we are travelling a long way to see in France. Any tips on must dos in any of these place with 2 young boys would be great.

Thanks again.
jacrichanne is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:50 PM
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As a parent of similar aged children, I would recommend you re-think your itinerary. I know you want to see a lot and are traveling a long way to get to France, however, is this the only trip in your lifetime you will take there ?

With so many moves and changes of locale, you will see more of your suitcases and inside of your car...

I would recommend selecting a few places that you absolutely can't go without, renting a home or villa, and day trips. The boys will be much happier having consistency to come home to each evening. You can get groceries and cold things that you aren't worrying about keeping cold in-between hotels. Pick a location and plan on every other day going within a few hours drive and staying close to home the other days. Plus, if you did that, you could cut down on packing, do some laundry and have clean clothes.

good luck!
surfmom is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:59 PM
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..I will again echo surf moms plea to reconsider.
travelbunny is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2007, 05:05 PM
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I'll third the recommendation. Slow down - see less & enjoy more..

If you want to see all these places, rent a Rick Steves video. If you want to experience France, slow down.

Bergerac??? Why did you pick that location. Stay in/close to Sarlat - the Dordogne is much more interesting there than around Bergerac.

If you need to overnight somewhere between Provence & the Dordogne, I think the kids would enjoy Carcassonne more than Toulouse - although Toulouse is one of my favorite cities.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 3rd, 2007, 07:47 PM
  #12  
kdcwood
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I'll also strongly suggest you reconsider your itinerary... on the two-day stays, you'll be doing mostly driving.

It may be helpful to look at one of the map websites www.mappy.com or www.viamichelin.com and check the distances/times between each of the points you've identified. (Add 10-20% to these times, especially since you are traveling with children.)

Kathy
 
Jan 3rd, 2007, 08:46 PM
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I must echo the others' suggestion and encourage you to slow the trip down. Put the Paris nights together and perhaps eliminate Dijon or Lake Geneva would be best especially with a 3-year-old.

That said if I were in France with 2 little boys I would make sure they had a pony ride in one of the parks, went to Parc Asterix, www.parcasterix.fr, rode carrousels whenever possible, visited the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, ate ice cream often, played in parks with other kids, went swimming with other kids, took them rowing on the canal at Versailles, had fabulous french hot chocolate, took a train trip anywhere, visited a castle or two and shopped for their own souvenirs and gifts for friends at Monoprix or the local grocery store. And I would buy them an inexpensive digital camera to take their own photos.

Before the trip I would read them some stories about Paris and France such as
A Spree in Paree by Catherine Stock
Minnie and Moo go to Paris by Denys Cazet
Paris Cat by Leslie Baker
The Trouble with Henriette by Wende & Harry Devlin
Madeline--of course
Zat Cat by Chesley McLaren
I,Crocodile by Fred Marcellino

I hope you all have a wonderful trip.

Scootoir is online now  
Jan 5th, 2007, 01:49 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for all the advice. I know it sounds like alot but we had certain places we definetely we wanted to see. I have also made sure that all car rides are no more than 4 to 5 hours. If you think this was bad, we were considering at first doing France and part of Italy!

Thanks for the tips on activities for the boys. We are from the Caribbean so we are more interested in activities that we could not do here. Which would be tons!
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Jan 6th, 2007, 04:48 AM
  #15  
ira
 
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Hi J,

>4 days in bergerac

Is there a particular reason for that?

I'd stay in or near Sarlat la Caneda.

ira is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 04:09 AM
  #16  
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Ira, the hotel we booked is located in bergerac. We thought we could use it as our base and just drive around. As we are looking for a hotel that is no more that 100 euro and has to be a triple room. Our choices can sometimes be limited.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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We've spent several months vacationing in the Dordogne and have visitd & driven through Bergerac a half-dozen times or more. I would strongly recommend that you look for another location to base in. Bergerac isn't that great of a town (compared to Sarlat or Perigueux), and it is certainly not centrally located for exploring the top sites in the Dordogne. That section of the Dordogne river is not nearly as interesting as the Roque Gageac/Beynac/Carlux section.

Hotel reservation can easily be cancelled in most cases - and I would suggest you do that & inquire on this forum about places to stay in Sarlat, Roque Gageac, Beynac, Carlux etc. that meet your requirements. Believe me - you'll unjoy your visit to the Dordgne more if you move a bit east.

Stu Dudley

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Jan 7th, 2007, 11:10 AM
  #18  
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Thanks stu. checking out Sarlat hotels.
jacrichanne is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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"The hotel we booked is located in Bergerac."

I would suggest, then, that you cancel that hotel and book another one in the area around Sarlat. Bergerac, while crtainly having some nice attributes, is definitely not in the part of the Dordogne that you will discover yourself wanting to visit. Especially with kids. One hour to the east of Bergerac and you will be in another, far better, world, with lots more attractions for you and your boys.

In fact, given the pace of the rest of your itinerary, I would go so far as to say that I'd skip the Dordogne altogether if the choice is between staying in Bergerac and devoting more time to other places on your itinerary.

And this from someone who thinks the Dordogne is paradise on earth....
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Jan 9th, 2007, 05:03 PM
  #20  
annieladd
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Regarding Dordogne/Sarlat, why don't you take a look at the apartments at Villa des Consuls in Sarlat. I think you'll find an apartment to suit the family, a nice large terrace for the kids, and so close to the center of town. annieladd
 

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