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I am looking for suggestions on which regions to go to in France

I am looking for suggestions on which regions to go to in France

Aug 26th, 2005, 11:05 AM
  #1  
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I am looking for suggestions on which regions to go to in France

StCirq's trip report and an article I read in this months National Geographic Traveler magazine about French villages has my husband and I considering a trip to France for next year. We will be going to Paris for the first time in November, so we would like to consider spending next year's vacation in the countryside. I have always imagined going to Provence, but I am also open to other suggestions. We like small towns, gorgeous scenery, and history. We aren't really foodies (both being way too picky for that). I imagine leisurely days of exploring small towns and perhaps biking along back roads. Would Provence be the place to go? We are also considering the Loire Valley or the Dordogne region. Any thoughts or other suggestions?

By the way, for those who may have noticed my posts about Croatia, we were planning on vacationing there but unfortunately we will only have about 8 nights for this trip (less than our usual two weeks) so I don't think we can do Croatia justice in that short amount of time and see what we want to see.

Thank you for any and all help!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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I'd go to Provence with a couple of days on the end for another Paris fix.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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I loved the Loire Valley and found it very charming, but given the choice it would be Provence hands down. You may turn into foodies after a few days in France. My husband (gourmet of hot dogs and BBQ) was converted almost overnight. Merci beaucoup, France!
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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Well, I've only been to Paris and some parts of Southern France (in winter!), but another area I researched and still yearn to visit is Burgundy: Vezelay, Auxerre, etc. I can't remember all the places, but I learned about anumber of them from some of the Francophiles on this board.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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Whoops, also meant to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in So. France. And the more I read about regions other than Paris, the more places I discovered I'd really like to visit. I don't think you can go wrong!
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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I have to say that I think I might prefer Dordogne in a slight edge over Provence, but for biking it would be too rough for me.

I'm curious. I thought a "foodie" WAS a picky eater. How can you be too picky to be a foodie?
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Aug 26th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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Since you'll be in France in November, I think Provence would be the best choice in terms of weather for outdoor activities.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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Thank you all for your helpful suggestions! They are very helpful.

Just to clarify, the trip to France that I was referring to in my post will most likely take place around May of next year. Paris will be our first trip to Europe, and is taking place this November, and I just wanted to mention that as I thought some may mention Paris as a suggestion.

Patrick, I am very picky, but not in the same sense that you are probably referring too. Not too offend anyone, but most of the food I've read about in France does not seem very appealing to me. I eat very little meat, and definitely no seafood. I'm one of those "if I don't know what it is, I'm not eating it" types, and not at all adventerous about trying new things. The picky eater trait that I captured in my childhood years somehow stayed with me through adulthood. Not the most flattering trait I have, but unfortunately its who I am.

Thanks again for all the advice!
Tracy
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Aug 26th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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I was sort of taken aback about being too picky to be a foodie, also, but it is one usage of the term picky -- meaning someone who won't eat anything very unusual or new or spicy or ethnic, etc. For example, 5 year olds may be picky eaters because they won't eat anything other than spaghetti-os, mac & cheese, hot dogs, pizza, and other junk food. They definitely aren't foodies but are "picky".

I suppose that's what is meant, there have been some posts about folks who don't like French cooking and just want hamburgers and pizza, that kind of thing, I suppose.


Well, I haven't been to Dordogne, but I think many regions of France are beautiful and have something to offer, I have only heard of a few areas that would probably not be of appeal to many. It depends what you want, I think you can tell by good descriptions. I love Provence, but wasn't crazy about Alsace (even though my ancestors are from there). I know there are some beautiful areas and villages and places in Alsace I haven't seen, I just didn't like the German/French thing and the cuisine.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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ira
 
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Hi Tracy,

>I eat very little meat, and definitely no seafood.<

In which case, go to the Dordogne where you will be offered Duck, Goose, Foie Gras, Duck, Goose, Foie Gras, and some more Duck and Foie Gras.

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Aug 26th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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I just have to jump in on this. I would suggest either the Dordogne or the Lot river valleys in southwest France. Rent a gite (house or apartment) and spend your time going to bastides, country markets, castles and old fortifications and so on. I did just this this summer and I am a history buff, prefer the country and while I am certainly more adventurous about food, you can spend your mornings shopping for fresh vegtables or even meat and then cook for yourself in the gite in the afternoon and/or evenings. The Dordogne is a little more touristy and as such I'd think you could find more accomodation for your picky eating limitations - cheese sandwiches or vegetarian foods. Northern Provence can provide the same experience with more Roman ruins and probably more tourists compared to the Lot area for example. Regardless, I think you can have a great time even being picky about food. Of the three areas I have mentioned I prefer the Lot because it is the least touristy and perhaps more rural in nature (and is only about 15-20 miles from the area St.Cirq writes so well of). But all three have history, wonderful markets and wine for all appetites. Enjoy your trip to Paris, but do follow up on your plans to see the countyrside too.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 08:03 PM
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Ira,

I think you just sold me on Dordogne for my next French trip... seriously no better diet for me.......



enroute is offline  
Aug 26th, 2005, 08:42 PM
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Hi, tcreath,

Some thoughts on Provence in November:

Nice and vicinity was wonderfully warm, 60-65F mostly, I did not need a jacket. Lovely Christmas decorations. Less crowded.

Haute-Provence, however, was less enjoyable than in May - Sept when it's drowned in flowers and sunshine. I probably would not go back there in Nov. Best year-round feature, IMO, are the phenomenal colors of the sky that were such a magnet for all the Impressionists living and working there. Signs on major roads point to Cezanne's and Van Gogh's paysages/landscapes......

It snowed in Aix at end of Nov. (although probably not very typical). We took a road trip from Manosque to Marseille and had to turn around in Aix, the road was completely snowed in. I learned the word "embourbee" then, (car half-buried in snow, wheels spinning). I am a Northerner and not easily intimidated by snow, but this time there was no way through, as the locals were not very well prepared to deal with it.

I would still recommend Cote d'Azur that time of the year. Probably any time of the year .... Avignon (Palais des Papes), Orange, Pont du Guard, and beyond Provence, Montpellier (Languedoc) is one of my favorites for architecture, a nice university town I always dream of going back to.

Best,
-e
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