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Help with France itinerary

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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:01 AM
  #1
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Help with France itinerary

So, I'm planning a trip next year July to France with my husband and 3 kids (10, 12,15). We are staying in Paris for 5 nights and ending our trip with a canal trip on Midi canal with about 10 days to spare between the two. This is what I'm thinking and need help and advice please. I really would love to go to strasbourg/ colmar for 3 nights where we will hire a car and explore there a bit. Then thought we would drive down to the canal stopping at Beaune, Lyon and Avignon for 2 to 3 nights each, just to break the journey and see a bit of the country at the same time. Would then do a 5 night canal trip and end off our holiday like that. I realise we won't stay in any region for ages but is it a feasible plan.Thanks in advance for your insights.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:10 AM
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hi simjay,

yes your plan is feasible, but if your kids are anything like ours, they would much prefer to stop in one place and explore it thoroughly, as well as being able to do some active things like swimming and canoeing.

I would suggest heading for the Dordogne for at least a week of your 10 days, hiring a gite, and using it as a base for day trips and activities. I suspect that after 5 nights in Paris, especially in what will be the heat of the city, your kids will appreciate that a lot more than touring around in a car.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:22 AM
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I actually like your plan - but it very much depends n your kids and their interests. As long as you have plenty of time for more active pursuits - hike in the woods, bike between towns and other things kids would enjoy I think it would be fun.

Look at the towns on your route to see what there is (boat rides, visit stork sanctuary, etc) that kids might like.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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I agree with the above re the kids interests. I'm a big fan of the Alsace region but I don't know what would appeal there to kids. I enjoy the villages of the Route Des Vins and wine tasting. What have you found in your research of the area that you think will appeal to the kids?

Sometimes I wonder if the interests of adults and kids mix on a vacation other than a beach vacation.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:54 AM
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Tx. Didnt really want to do dordogne. Maybe leave it for another trip. Its such a big Country, it's difficult to choose. Do you think it better to leave Lyon , and stay longer in Beaune so we have more time then to cycle, relax etc? Then we'll just have a longer drive down south after that.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 06:58 AM
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I hear your concerns re kids. It's always a risk taking kids along, making sure everyone is happy. We were in tuscany last year for 10 days with day trips to small towns and they were fine with that kind of travelling
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Aug 30th, 2014, 07:07 AM
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I think they will be fine with that itinerary--or something close. Seeing these areas is SO different from anything they have done, I would be sure they will stay interested--and lead you to the next site!!
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Aug 30th, 2014, 07:08 AM
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And I will add, we have travelled with our kids of only a bit older and they were great. They DID enjoy shopping.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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Well these aren't tiny kids. All are old enough to enjoy museums and historic sights (esp castles etc) in moderate doses. Probably won;t want to do it all day (although, yes, I would have at 15) - but it's not like they're toddlers and just want to run in circles.

I would get them to do some online research in the area so they have an idea of what they may like (castles, stork sanctuary, one of the wine towns south of strasbourg has some sort of dungeon attraction they might enjoy - and cycling between a couple of those towns is easy).

We stayed near a huge French National Forest - near Avallon - that had a lot of wildlife. We saw an ermine from the hotel restaurant window one night - Moulin des Ruats - and a lot of people seemed to be heading in to explore the forest and the wildlife - although I believe there were wild boar etc.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Probably won;t want to do it all day (although, yes, I would have at 15) - but it's not like they're toddlers and just want to run in circles>>

nyt - that's not what I said at all. staying in one place can allow kids to let off steam and adults to enjoy more cultural pursuits, which hopefully the kids would like as well. IME everyone is likely to enjoy that more than being cooped up in a car for significant parts of most days.

And in France in July i would want to spend at least some time in a place with a swimming pool.

<>

why on earth not? lots to see and do, beautiful countryside, good food, and it's within reasonable distance of both Paris and the Canal du midi, though you might need one overnight on the way there.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 06:51 AM
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>>>nyt - that's not what I said at all. staying in one place can allow kids to let off steam and adults to enjoy >>>more cultural pursuits, which hopefully the kids would like as well. IME everyone is likely to enjoy that more >>>than being cooped up in a car for significant parts of most days.

It's not your family.


>>>And in France in July i would want to spend at least some time in a place with a swimming pool.

Well that's you, but not really relevant anyway because the OP didn't say they wouldn't be doing this.....


<<<<<<>

>>>why on earth not? lots to see and do, beautiful countryside, good food, and it's within reasonable distance of both Paris and the Canal du midi, though you might need one overnight on the way there.

Why on earth "so"?

Why is it important to try and direct the OP to choose a vacation that would suit the interests and likes of you and your family?
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Aug 31st, 2014, 07:51 AM
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Let's see, Aramis. Did YOU offer anything for the OP other than what he/she can do all on her own==take or leave the advice given?
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Aug 31st, 2014, 08:33 AM
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Simjay--Actually, the Dordogne lept to my mind, along with the Loire Valley, so you might still want to keep it in the running.

Loire Valley: Great cycling area; good canoeing; Amboise for its Leonardo da Vinci home and museum, castle and for just hanging around; fun cave homes (the Troglodyte Caves), plus even a cave hotel (we stayed at Les Hautes Roches for two nights), great food/wine and of course, fab chateaus.
The one problem with the Loire Valley, even though daily cycling in the area is so much fun, is that the first chateau or two is memorable and then they all begin to blur, even for adults.

As for the Dordogne:
I really did not want to go there. A friend of mine convinced my husband that it was a kid's paradise and so we went on a cycling trip there. The friend was right.
Why would a kid like it? Prehistoric cave paintings. A bicycle museum. Castles of all types: one with the Museum of Medieval Warfare complete with life-size trebuchets (Château de Castelnaud) to Josephine's Baker's house (Château des Milandes) that has a great falcon show to the "Ever After" castles of Chateau Hautefort and Chateau de Fenelon. Canoeing and kayaking. Waterparks, "CroMagnon" parks of all sorts, and now there's even a zipline place (L'Appel de la Foret).

Heck, with ten days, you could station yourself in one spot in the Loire Valley and one spot in the Dordogne and have a really good kid trip.
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Sep 1st, 2014, 07:39 AM
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It's not your family.>>

no indeed, Aramis. I made it perfectly clear that my remarks were based on my experience of travelling with children of that age and gave reasons for my suggestions. The OP is of course at liberty to disregard everything I said, but at least s/he knows why I said it.

who knows what prompts you to make your remarks, save an impulse to criticise without actually saying anything which might be useful to the OP.
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Sep 1st, 2014, 11:18 AM
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Well I have to say that most responses on most posts are by people who are in fact promoting their own preferences. In that regard, I agree with Aramis.

If we go back to the very first response here we find, "I would suggest heading for the Dordogne for at least a week of your 10 days, hiring a gite, and using it as a base for day trips and activities."

There is absolutely nothing in what the OP wrote that would lead to that suggestion. It's simply one person's preference. It is not fitted to a set of criteria provided by the OP. Suggesting a place with a swimminng pool is even more of that personal preference rather than fitted to anything the OP has said.

I do agree anyone is free to write, 'this is what I would do'. In fact, I think many posters come here for that exact purpose, not to actually answer questions people ask. If you really want to answer the OP, you would have to ask questions of the OP BEFORE suggesting anything.

If you read what the OP wrote, there is NOTHING in it to answer other than 'is it feasible' to which the answer is simply yes. Nor is there anything in what the OP wrote that would suggest any criteria on which to respond to , "your insights". Insights based on what criteria?

Instead what happens is people write, 'what I like to do'. Nothing wrong with that as such but I don't think it is as valuable to the OP as writing, 'we cannot provide you with suggestions if you have not provided us with criteria on which to base suggestions.' In this case, there has been no criteria provided by the OP on which to base any suggestions. So WHY is anyone providing suggestions instead of asking for criteria?
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Sep 1st, 2014, 02:18 PM
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well sojourntraveller, if I'd come to a travel board, and asked for advice on whether something was feasible, and simply got yes [or no] answers, and then I went on that trip and found it was a disaster, I'd feel pretty short-changed. I know that I have been saved from some expensive errors by the unsolicited advice I've received here, and been very grateful for it.

Why did I offer suggestions instead of asking for criteria? well, there are in fact criteria there, if you did but look for them, instead of playing word games. They are travelling with 3 teenage children, they will just have spent 5 nights in Paris, and they are due to spend time on a canal in the midi. i don't know how much experience you've got of travelling with kids of that age, but mine, which is not inconsiderable, leads me to believe that both Paris and the canal trip are essentially adult activities. OK, there will be things that the kids might enjoy, but they might also spend quite a lot of time being hot or bored or both.

Therefore, it makes sense to me to consider spending the time in between doing things that might appeal to them more than touring from one town to another. That is, if you want them to come with you on other family holidays.

of course, the OP knows his/her kids better than I do, and they may love being cooped up in a car driving round France, but I bet they'd enjoy canoeing on the Dordogne more.

<>

you really must be having a laugh, st. a swimming pool in July in France with 3 teenagers in tow a personal preference? I'd call it an absolute necessity. Hot kids need to swim. Full stop.

and BTW, I can't have done too bad a job at taking my kids on holiday. They were still coming with us until a couple of years ago, and they are now 26 & 23.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 08:18 AM
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You are free to suggest your personal preferences annhig. The OP gave no criteria on which to suggest you or your children's prferences fit the OPs kids however. Full stop.
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 09:06 AM
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annhig--
The OP asked for recommendations. The OP has children.

Hence from what I can see, you gave a thoughtful response based not only on your past travels in France, but also on your experiences traveling with your children in France.

The last time I checked, OPs can pay attention to or totally ignore board responses. It is not as though our responses go through cyberspace and lock an OP into the Forum's choices.

So I have no clue as to how anyone could take issue with you.

If it's worth anything...

Gold Star

AZ
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 10:51 AM
  #19
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Hi all

Thanks so much for all the replies. You have given me lots to think about. I truly do understand what it is like when someone asks for advice. We have done Italy and loved it so much I can't ever understand why people don't do it like we did, because it was so fantastic.

Unfortunately, we have to pick and choose where to go. This time we are doing the Strasbourg area,Burgundy and provence. Actually decided to leave canal midi as we realised we would rather do provence and south of france area. I have a few ideas but think I will post in a new topic for discussion. Again, tx so much
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Sep 2nd, 2014, 02:09 PM
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thanks, AZ. I'm glad that you could see that I was trying to be helpful.

Simjay - I'm also pleased that you took my advice in the spirit in which it was meant. i note that you have decided against the canal du midi, which i think is probably wise, given the make-up of your party. I hope that you have a terrific trip.
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