Help with travel plan to France?

Old May 10th, 2021, 11:33 PM
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Help with travel plan to France?

I am starting to plan my next trip to Europe and France will be the destination. How ever I quickly understood that there SO many historically important/interesting locations I'm having difficulties to choose my route. I have been in Paris so that I will pass it this time and focus on other locations. At this point I'm planning to reserve 9 days for entire vacation and I would like to see as many historically significant places as possible (not being too efficient though). What are your TOP places to visit or old route plans to give?
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Old May 11th, 2021, 12:56 AM
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It is said that the Dordogne has a castle for each day of the year. It also has important caves.



Burgundy has its share of castles, vineyards, and small; villages.


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Old May 11th, 2021, 03:10 AM
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Wow what a great question and of course it really depends on what you mean historically significant

1 Fighting the English royal family
2 Killing other religions
3 Fighting the Germans
4 Crowning French Royal Family
5 Palaces
6 Killing local Frenchmen

I too like the Dordogne (see 1) but I might start in Reims (4) and then move onto Alsace (3) picking up the odd glass works, and design masterpiece along the way culminating in the Chablis region and a few monestries and then Auxerre.

Further south than Dordogne you could visit Carcassone and all the castles down there (2)

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Old May 11th, 2021, 06:37 AM
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Wow! Very good tips! I love castles so that was spot on! I will make a note of these and start drafting
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Old May 11th, 2021, 06:53 AM
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My wife & I retired early in 1999 so we could travel more. Since then, we have spent 2 months in Europe every year. About 80% of that time has been spent in France. Our two favorite regions are the Dordogne and Provence. If you enjoy spending a lot of time in the car, you could visit them both in 9 full days. If you need to allocate the first & last day to getting to & from France, I would only visit one location.

Attached is my 35 page Provence & Cote d'Azur itinerary, and my shorter Dordogne itinerary.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2021, 06:58 AM
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Thanks StuDudley! I will look into those documents!
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Old May 12th, 2021, 09:04 AM
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If you decide on the Dordogne then you might look into your flight options to fly into Bordeaux instead of CDG Paris. And Bordeaux itself is a lovely city these days and an easy place to pick up a rental car (either at the the airport or in town) which you will probably want if you are exploring the Dordogne.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 09:39 AM
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Nine days. Sigh. So much to see, so little time.

First of all, Stu's itineraries (and Stu!) are gems. So do review all those.

But I'm sure as others have or will say, you could easily spend your nine days centered in Paris with some daytrips to Normandy or Chartres or Versailles or Giverny and more. Tons of history.

So it boils down to which France of your own imagination do you really WANT to see the most? I made up a "Hollywood Paris" route for a friend, an extreme Audrey Hepburn fan, because that was indeed the Paris she wanted to explore--and she was perfectly happy just doing that for days. I had another friend who only wanted to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris but desired to see Loire Valley castles. Since her husband wanted to explore Loire Valley wines, they were happy with that Loire Valley focus. For some, it's seeing that lavender fields and the light that inspired so many artists in Provence.

So think about it--what is it that draws you to France?

Happy planning,
AZ
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Old May 12th, 2021, 09:56 AM
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If you visit the Dordogne you could fly into Toulouse also - our second favorite city in France. Toulouse is a little closer than Bordeaux, and the drive there is more scenic (IMO) than the drive from Bordeaux. The Toulouse airport is on the Dordogne side of the city, while the Bordeaux airport is on the "other" side of Bordeaux from the Dordogne. We got into several traffic jams driving around Bordeaux on the way to the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2021, 09:59 AM
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It is fair to say the big roads around Bordeaux can get to be a real PIA at the wrong times.
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Old May 13th, 2021, 11:02 AM
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So think about it--what is it that draws you to France?

So I visited Paris rather fast few years back and it was great. Since then I've seen such a great pictures about French castles (which I love) and country side that decided to go there next when I can. Don't have anything nailed down yet but got some good ideas from here. Maybe I need to get more time off though
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Old May 13th, 2021, 11:57 AM
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""So think about it--what is it that draws you to France?""

Diversity - both cultural & terrain. Provence is completely different from Brittany, and both are different from the Pays Basque, and all are different from the Dordogne, and all are different from Alsace, and all are different from the Alps, and all are different from the Auvergne, and all are different from the Nord, and then there is Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Franche Comte, Pyrenees, & the Cote d'Azur. When I visit these regions, I get totally different experiences.

And then there is the food.

I can't say this about Italy, Germany. UK, Spain, etc.

More people visit France than any other country in the world (I've read this many places - including National Geographic). Second most is Spain.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 18th, 2021, 05:55 AM
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[QUOTE=StuDudley;17241207]""So think about it--what is it that draws you to France?""

"Diversity - both cultural & terrain. Provence is completely different from Brittany, and both are different from the Pays Basque, and all are different from the Dordogne, and all are different from Alsace, and all are different from the Alps, and all are different from the Auvergne, and all are different from the Nord, and then there is Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Franche Comte, Pyrenees, & the Cote d'Azur. When I visit these regions, I get totally different experiences.

And then there is the food.

I can't say this about Italy, Germany. UK, Spain, etc." *

*(please note that I added the Bold and underline - progol)

SERIOUSLY????!!!

While I love France and have enjoyed our travels there, so have I also loved our trips to Italy, the UK, and Spain. We have never been to Germany.

As for "DIVERSITY", a very subjective term here as StuDudley just references his own experiences, I would not argue with his description of France -- but our last trip, pre-Covid, was a 5-week long trip in Italy from north to south andthe contrasts could not be greater, and the experiences more different! We LOVED it all, and relished the "diversity" of the Veneto region (with its fabulous architecture and cultural history), to Bologna (and the food - WOW!), to Umbria (such a different experience from the other places, and what a gorgeous region!), to Naples (now that is a different experience!) and again, to the Amalfi Coast (beautiful!!, friendly, and amazing food). And other trips took us into the Cinque Terre and to the Aosta Valley and to Milan. And each region's food is very distinct, though I'd pose the idea that the food in Italy might be, in general, simpler preparations with an emphasis on local ingredients. Of course this is a broad generalization, but I much prefer the food in Italy to that of France.

And Spain - now we have only been fortunate to visit twice -- the pandemic put a damper on our third trip -- but for diversity, Spain is pretty up there in its contrasts. On one trip, we spent 3 fantastic weeks in Spain, much of it in Andalusia, which could not be more different than Catalonia or the Basque region, which we were to have visited. And the food! Wow, if you want diversity in food, go to Spain - and creativity! My mouth still waters thinking about the amazing tapas we had in Seville!

So, I'm not badmouthing France - I love it, too - but to say that these other countries are not as "diverse" as France is one of the oddest statements I've seen to date. We haven't been as fortunate to travel as much as StuDudley has, but I'd be very hesitant to make such broad generalizations comparing France to other countries. And while I'm not going to say it's not, I'd say that these other countries might even be more "diverse" -- my experiences, anyway - than France!

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Old May 18th, 2021, 10:02 AM
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No diversity in the UK ??? (progol has done a good job with Italy and Spain, nothing to add there.)

I do wonder just how much time Stu has spent int the UK, and how recently, especially given how much time he spends in France. He certainly can't have traveled extensively there or he would not make such a wild generalization.

Compare the Scottish Highlands and the Fen country.

Compare the Cornish coast and the Kent coast.

Compare the Channel Islands and Yorkshire.

Compare the Midlands and Snowdonia.

Compare the Lake District and the New Forest.

And so on and so on, and I haven't even started on the cities.

It's true that the food used to be pretty bad, but that hasn't been the case for some time, and there is plenty of ethnic diversity as well. Where would I find really good Indian food in France?
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Old May 18th, 2021, 10:29 AM
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I had a "Dinde curry a creme" once, a "Moule a curry" another time but a real curry in Paris too.
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Old May 19th, 2021, 10:24 AM
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Sheesh, give the guy a little slack, folks
The poster said, "So think about it--what is it that draws you to France?" (apologetic note I added the bold and underline)

So Stu offered his opinion.......not the whole world's opinion, just his. After all, this IS a forum on France. If you prefer Moldova, go to that forum and gripe.
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Old May 19th, 2021, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by devops7954 View Post
I am starting to plan my next trip to Europe and France will be the destination. How ever I quickly understood that there SO many historically important/interesting locations I'm having difficulties to choose my route. I have been in Paris so that I will pass it this time and focus on other locations. At this point I'm planning to reserve 9 days for entire vacation and I would like to see as many historically significant places as possible (not being too efficient though). What are your TOP places to visit or old route plans to give?

What time of the year?

Everywhere in France has some historical significance. For instance, the Loire, all those castles, Da Vinci, etc.

I haven't been to the Dordogne but there's a reason Provence and Cote d'Azur are the next popular destinations after Paris. If you're going in the sunny part of the year, it's a no-brainer to do Nice. Take the trains along the coast, east or west for day trips. Or go into the mountains for the villages. If you have enough time, you could go further West, to areas around Marseille, but not necessarily Marseille itself. There you will find Roman ruins (how's that for history?) and the places Van Gogh painted.
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Old May 19th, 2021, 11:31 AM
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Besides opinions, which are always good and interesting, for yourself, the best you can do is look at pictures and do some research. My experience is more limited. I have been to Paris several times, the Loire Valley and Provence. The Loire Valley is pretty. I really enjoy three or four castles and three or four cathedrals, then need a break from that, but Provence was different. My first day, I cried because I had waited so long in life to go there. We spent a couple of weeks in Provence and really saw only a half dozen places, mostly because we are kind of slow these days. Aix en Provence is a very special little city, straight out of impressionists’ paintings with cafes, markets, flowers. There is a lot of Moroccan influence with great food. One place we really loved was Aigues Mortes. I recommend it though, only if you stay over night, and only if you stay inside the walls. You can feel history there, the start of the crusades. At night, it is eerily quiet. The landscape is not dramatic like mountains and waterfalls. It is gentle with birds and sea grass. The cowboys and ranches are wonderful. It is altogether a unique place and culture. Food in interesting and good. I much preferred this to Carcassonne, which seems almost Disney-like by comparison. It is very individual though. Have fun with your research.
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