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Help with lodgings to access most of France

Help with lodgings to access most of France

Jan 22nd, 2011, 10:35 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,583
Well, I think I missed this, but exactly how many full days in France will you have, cbaird?

France experts: Given that this trip is a large, unusual and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime expense for the OP and her daughters, couldn't she spend four days in Paris and three in Burgundy or the Loire if they were willing to rent a car? I used to travel really fast like that and I always enjoyed my trips. While I love a full week in Paris, a full week in Rome, etc., I don't always have the time for that.
Leely2 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Leely2: I agree. IMO 4 days in Paris and 3 in Burgundy would be great. (I personally would want longer in Paris -- but 4 + 3 would be fine) Just not 7 days in one place as a base to tour the whole country.
janisj is online now  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:25 PM
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4 days in Paris, one day to Giverny, one day to Versailles, one day to Chartres or even Angers (via TGV) and the week is gone. It means keeping the same overnight location and seeing more of France than going for three days to Beaune or Dijon, or any other provincial city. The OP has the same transportation problems in those potential destinations as she has in Paris.
Michael is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:00 PM
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The other thing that might be a potential problem is that there are five of you - and you've never taken a trip abroad together, according to what you're saying.

Will one of you make a decision for all?

Even if you do decide to go to the Louvre together, there's really no need to all huddle together to gaze at one painting.

What we've found even if we've had only three in our party is to split up, do our own thing, and meet for dinner. Or we'll all go to the Louvre together, but split up once inside, tell one another that we're going to meet at such-n-such a place after a designated amount of time.

One man's meat may be another man's poison. You may not all have the same interests.

Of course you should plan on doing some things together - there's nothing like shared memories. E.g., You could all go to Versailles together or take a bus tour of Paris together.

But you should also have some whole days/half days when people can feel free to go somewhere without all the others.

Personally I find that the more detailed the planning ahead is, the better the trip is. We don't waste time in the morning arguing over breakfast what we're going to be doing that day.

If you do plan activities ahead of time, also make some contingency plans. If it's raining today, I'll do the indoor museum first and tour the Luxembourg Gardens when the sun is shining tomorrow.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:10 PM
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HI, et.

Good advice, but since the daughters and sons-in-law seem to be heading straight out to Normandy on arrival, followed by a trek to Berlin, then back to Paris and on to Manchester, I think herding problems are the east of this family's worries.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 05:16 AM
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Ah, waking up and reading all your replies, the trip is constantly revising. Stayed up late last nite reading the guide books and trying to see the differences between the various arrondissements in Paris, I do see that it makes more sense to stay more centrally in 4, 5, or 6 so I am looking at that, also going to go ahead and get a bigger apartment, since the two Normandy people have decided to stay in Paris and do a tour to Normandy rather than try to get there themselves,and then hopefully leave that Saturday by train to Munich to stay until coming back Friday. Our whole trip, hoping to finalize the airfare next week, is arriving in Paris the morning of Thursday 7/14 and getting to the apartment and getting settled in. There is a tour group that leaves Paris MWF for a very long day of going to a DDAY beach, etc and getting back late that evening so those two want to do that on Friday, then head for Muchich Saturday to stay there until training back probably Friday 7/22 so that the one SIL can fly back from Paris to DFW and the other 4 of us will fly on to Manchester to see family until the next Thursday when we will have to get back to London to fly home. It seems to make much more sense to do that than to try to do Eurostar into London and then have to get to Manchester anyway.

So we will not be doing anything all together in Paris and we are all Ok with that. The three of us in Paris will be in France, total, from arrival on 7/14 to departure 7/23. Outside of Paris, we really want to see Chartres and the lavender fields. So 8 days not counting arrival and departure days. I had thought to try to go to Nice very early one day on the TGV, spending maybe 2 nights there and then returning would be worth it but I am still trying to read everything as I don't know where all the lavender fields are, if there are tours, etc. StuDudley has kindly sent me a wonderful, detailed packet on the coastal area but I have not been able to read it all yet.

I hope you all having a wonderful weekend and thank you for all your great ideas we are absorbing them hourly!
cbaird is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 05:45 AM
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Sounds like it is coming together, c.

The travel time to Nice is about 6 hours - it's not all TGV. Have a look at Stu's information and you might find that stopping in Provence, at Aix-en-Provence, for example, suits your limited time better. Aix is only about 3 hours from Paris.

It might help you sort out the information and help us in providing it if you use different threads for the different portions of the trip you are planning;

a France thread (could be this one or you could start a new one),

Paris to Manchester and beyond thread, and

a thread for your SIL's Paris - Munich portion (if you are still helping in planning that.
Aramis is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:49 AM
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Nice--it IS the "south of France" but there are more charming places in Provence. You might think about Avignon as a base for that part of the trip.
You are also arriving on a HUGE holiday. Maybe crowded and congested. A shuttle would probably be advisable from a traffic point of view.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:00 AM
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You do realize, I hope, that you're going to have to rent a car to see the lavender fields. And they're not near Nice, so I don't understand why that's your destination.

It also seems wasteful to rent a bigger apartment when part of your party is leaving almost immediately and you're not planning to spend the full week there. Given your current plans, a hotel would seem smarter so you're not paying for space not used.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:17 AM
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If you are set on going to Provence (lavender fields) it could make much more sense to leave from CDG on arrival and take the TGV to Avignon--3 hours train. You will need to rent a car and decide on a base--Avignon, St. Remy perhaps. When I plan a trip I prefer to consolidate travel days so there is not so much moving in and out of hotels, getting to train stations, etc.
Return to Paris after X days and stay there, taking day trips if you desire. Then leave for Manchester from CDG if that is the plan.
I agree with St. Cirq about a hotel.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 08:13 AM
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>>as I don't know where all the lavender fields are,<<

There are some lavender fields scattered around the Luberon Valley in Provence - Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Saignon,, etc. This is a very popular region for visiting Provence. The Avignon TGV station is just 30-40 mins away by car. The largest concentration of lavender fields is near Sault - which is north of the Luberon and east of Carpentras. The itinerary I sent you has info about scenic drives & admiring the lavender fields & cute villages in both of these regions.

Gretchen's idea about visiting Provence directly from CDG when you arrive is a good one. You don't want to be in Provence too late in July - when it will be overwhelmed with tourists.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 08:43 AM
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It also might be just as well to spend the 14th travelling and settling in because of the holiday. Might be interesting in a smaller city also.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 05:25 AM
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I have been taking a break from posting while trying to read more about the Provence area, deciding to rent a car, thinking about where to stay, how best to see the lavender and where, etc. After talking with my daughter that will be staying in France with me, other than going to Chartres her desire is to see some mountains (we live in Texas so it is flat land for sure) and it doesn't look like the mountains and lavender coincide so I am working on that. Will post more questions after I try to understand where things are located, etc.

I figure even if things go wrong, and they will, I will be IN FRANCE! so how bad can it be
cbaird is offline  
Jan 24th, 2011, 06:44 AM
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The area around Sault has some mid-sized mountains. Read my "lavender route". Also, there is the Gorges de la Nesque.

If you want the serious Alps - stay in Annecy for a couple of days & take a trip to Mt Blanc. However, if the weather is not that great, you won't be able to see the mountains very well. We were in Annecy for 2 weeks in June '09, and then the Alps around Briancon & Embrun for 2 weeks in early July last year - had great weather.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 12:55 AM
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I haven't read through all these posts so sorry if I am about to repeat or overlook anything that has already been said!

For what it's worth, as an English woman living in France, my advice would ALWAYS be to travel by train rather than plane. Travelling from Paris-London by Eurostar and then taking the train from London-Manchester is likely to be just as quick and far more pleasurable than CDG-Manchester. And don't you want a chance to at least take a bus tour around London before heading "up North"? No insult to Manchester (my mum-in-law lives there) but London is AT LEAST as awesome as Paris - and I promise that's not just because I'm a Brit!

I agree with the poster who suggests Lake Geneva (eg Annecy) for a few days then train up to Paris for a few days then on to the UK. "Open jaws" flights are always the best bet for anyone with limited time in Europe. For those who suggest that you can use all your time in Paris - well yes, of course you can, but I feel from what you say that you would maybe like a little more variation than just cities?

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful trip, and come back soon. Two weeks in Europe cannot even scratch the surface!
Aveyronnaise is offline  

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