In addition to Paris...

Feb 7th, 2002, 06:37 PM
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In addition to Paris...

Once we visit Paris for several days, we would like to visit another area of France for 4-5 days. The Loire Valley or Alsace - somewhere we could get to by train and not need to rent a car once there. Rick Steves recommends Colmar and it seems attractive, but a long way from Paris (I don't want to spend a lot of time getting anywhere). We will need to get back to Paris to return home. Any suggestions?
Feb 7th, 2002, 06:51 PM
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I would think that Strasbourg would be a better place for 4-5 days, and from there you could do day trips to Colmar, Ribeauville, Riqueviehr, and other towns/villages of Alsace. Hotel Rohan is a great place to stay in Strasbourg--right across from the beautiful cathedral, on a pedestrian street. It's a 3 star, attractively furnished, with modern amenities. It's been several years since I've gone to Strasbourg from Paris by train; at that time it took a little under 4 hrs.; not sure if the TGV now goes that route or not. It's a pleasant ride anyway. I think Alsace has more to offer than the Loire valley, unless one is really into chateaux. The German influence adds a whole different dimension to this charming part of France. It sounds like a wonderful trip; have fun planning and doing!
Feb 7th, 2002, 09:56 PM
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Dordogne valley: fast train to Bordeaux (not a bad city to spend a day, stopover in Amboise so you can see a chateau) then drive or train to St Emilion or Sarlat and all stops in between.

Normandy: D-Day beaches, Caen, Honfleur, Mont St Michel, anywhere (biggest dang cows you've ever seen!)

Loire: train to Tours (not a bad city to spend a day), then daytrips to the chateaux.
Feb 7th, 2002, 10:27 PM
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Normandy: Rouen, Giverny, Honfleur, Caen (Peace Museum), D-Day Beaches, Bayeux Tapestry, Mont St Michel. More than enough for 4-5 days. About 1.5-2 hr from Gare St Lazare. And the food, wine and cheese, not to mention the Calvados (apple brandy). Your stomach will be in heaven.
Feb 7th, 2002, 10:41 PM
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Great tips, Mr. Bear. Parallels our last itinerary, with the exception of the Peace Museum in Caen, which I regret we did not make it to. It's a UN site, is it not? Next time. Peace, k
Feb 8th, 2002, 05:23 AM
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Alsace is wonderful - my favorite area - but you really need a car to enjoy it, to get to all the little wine villages. It's very easy driving, small local roads winding through the vineyards. Slow, relaxed driving. It's a wonderful area. We loved staying in Colmar - I can give you the name of a very moderate, old hotel right in the center of the old town if you want it. Colmar is a wonderful Alsatian town - looks like a Hollywood set but it's for real. See Colmar and spend a couple of days driving out to the little Alsatian wine villages north of Colmar an hour or so - Riquewihr, Ribeauville, others. Stop for a lunch of Choucroute and a bottle of Riesling - super.
They give a recommended tour from Colmar -

Les Circuits d'Alsace
6, Place de la Gare
68000 Colmar
Alsace France
TŽl: : 03-89-41-90-88
Fax : 03 -9-41-90-99
E-Mail : [email protected]
For Paris information e-mail me: [email protected]
Feb 8th, 2002, 07:56 AM
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to the top
Feb 8th, 2002, 02:43 PM
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to the top!
Feb 9th, 2002, 06:50 AM
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Thanks for these suggestions - still looking for more.
Feb 9th, 2002, 07:16 AM
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I'm reading into your questions, my preferences. I was in the Loire valley last Spring and I hate to drive on vacation. Especially being in the Loire valley and wanting to taste wines as well as site see. Those little sample glasses do add up.

Train about 2.5 hours to Blois in the Loire valley. Beautiful castle and excellent Sound & Light show. Saw it in French, didn't understand a word but still loved it. I think the English show was on Wed. nights.

Blois has a funky magic museum, though the outdoor dragon show is a bit too Disney. The museum of the resistance WWII is fascinating with all kinds of photos.

Once in Blois you can easily train to Amboise and see their castle, Clos de Luce where Da Vinci died and quirky toy museum.

Another possibilty is staying in Tours about 3 hours by train. A gorgeous cathedral and nice little art museum. Their castle isn't much, but it's a good sized university city with alot of night life. The added bonus of staying in Tours is that it's a rail hub for the Loire valley area. You take the train directly to most anywhere in the Loire. I did this for Chenonceau and Chinon.

Other cities you can easily take the train to are Saumur, Anger, Amboise, Blois, etc.

Check rail connections at to see what else you can get to.

Besides the towns I've mentioned, I was also in Beaugency, Orleans and Anger. If you want more info, just ask.

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