Italy/France, is this doable?

Feb 11th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #1  
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Italy/France, is this doable?

Hello,
We are planning a honeymoon in May and are wondering if this is doable?

Fly into Venice-spend 3 nights.
Pick-up rental car and drive to Tuscany-spend 4 nights seeing the area Siena,Florence,etc)

Drive to Chaminox-spends 2 nights
On to Beaune-spend 2 nights
On to Nice-spend 2 nights.
Fly home from Nice.

We have been to Italy several times before and have also driven 10 days thru Germany, but have never seen France or Tuscany.
Whacha all think? Any advice or experience driving these areas appreciated.
latenighter is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 10:44 AM
  #2  
 
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I guess you can do Tuscany to Chamonix in one day by driving through the Mont Blanc tunnel. Personally I do not find tunnels as interesting as mountain roads, but that would add an extra day to your drive. Rather than going to Beaune, I would drive south from Chamonix and detour through the Provence on the way to Nice.
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Feb 11th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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We've been to all the places you are considering - several of them for many months. I would not put Beaune in the same category as places you will visit in Italy (Venice, Siena, Florence, dozens of hilltowns). In May, you may get a "wash-out" in Mt Blanc where you won't be able to see a thing. So, all that driving just to see Mt Blanc, which you might not be able to see, would not be a good investment of your limited time. Chaminox is nothing special, IMHO. Save yourself a lot of driving and head into Provence from Tuscany. The weather will be better there than in Chamonix or Beaune. In my opinion, there is a lot more to do & see.

For 6 days, perhaps don't even go into the "heart" of Provence around Avignon/St Remy etc. Just stay on the Cote d'Azur. Perhaps 3 days in Nice, & 3 days in St Tropez with trips to Gassin, Ramatuelle, Bormes. My favorite beaches for "bagging rays" are in St Tropez (actually, out of the city along the famous Pampelonne beach).

I have a 20 page itinerary on the Cote that describes my favorite places, scenic drives, etc. I also have a 20 page itinerary on Italy, with a heavy emphasis on Tuscany. E-mail me at [email protected] if you want a copy.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
  #4  
ira
 
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Hi late,

>...have never seen France or Tuscany.

Not yet been to Paris?
ira is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 01:06 PM
  #5  
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Thanks for the replies. This is the last week of May and the first week of June if that changes anything.

No Ira, we have not been to Paris yet. We were saving that for another trip.
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Feb 11th, 2005, 02:18 PM
  #6  
blh
 
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We have also been to the areas you are thinking about - and I agree that it would be better to spend your time in France in Provence - you could split the time between the Cote d'Azur and either the Luberon or the area around St. Remy. However, I would suggest you turn in your rental car in Italy - and ride the train around the Riviera. It is a great train ride and then you could pick up a car in Nice. It's cheaper - you don't have to pay the drop off fees for another country - plus the rentals are less in France because of the insurance restrictions in Italy. We did a similar trip two years ago - spent the first week in Italy in Tuscany & Cinque Terre - then took the train to Nice where we picked up another car and drove to St. Remy for three days and then to Lourmarin in the Luberon for another three days. This past year we spent several days close to Nice in Vence then drove up to Beaune for a few days and on to Paris. We do love the Beaune area - Burgundy is beautiful countryside, but it's impossible to everything in a two week trip. We have also been to Chaminox on another trip - and I agree that it is not as interesting as the other areas you are considering.
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Feb 11th, 2005, 02:40 PM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi late,

The reason I asked is that I think that a week in Paris, a 1cl compartment on the night train and a week in Venice and vicinity would make a terrific honeymoon.

Not to mention a minimum of packing and unpacking.

ira is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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That is too far for my taste. Spend your time in the Lakes or Dolomites and end in Nice.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 12:37 AM
  #9  
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Ok,
We have decided maybe it is too much driving.
Here's our new plan:
Fly into Milan-4 nights in lake como area.
pick up car and drive to Tuscany area-5 nights.
Drive to venice-4 nights
Fly home.

We are still in the planning stages so we would love any info on places to stay in the chianti region and also lake como.

What do all think? I think this is a little better than driving into France.
we will do France on its own next trip.

Thanks again for any replies.
latenighter is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 05:33 AM
  #10  
ira
 
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Hi Late,

Much better.

Early or late May? It could be a bit cool for the Lakes if it's early.

ira is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #11  
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Ira,
We are planning May 20th-June 2.
I have read until my eyes hurt on places to stay in Tuscany and Como.

My wife to be is interested in a place in the countryside that offers some kind of cooking class. We are both in our early 40's and active. Love to explore, food, wine, etc.

We have found a place in Venice already, but any suggestions for a nice place in the Chianti region and also any ideas for Como are GREATLY appreciated.

We are not exactly budget minded, but also not into something too expensive.

Once again, Thanks all for any replies1
latenighter is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Your new itinerary makes much more sense. You will be passing a few areas I covered last May/June, so this trip report might interest you:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34522338

And these pictures:

http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?c=j4n04qu...6&x=0&y=eqqjaa
Michael is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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I have no personal experience whatever of the cooking courses offered at Badia a Coltibuono (with the participation of Lorenza de Medici, who claims to be a genuine descendant of the Medici and has written a number of Italian cookbooks):

http://www.coltibuono.com/0index.asp?lingua=ing

I suspect that they are on the expensive side...

However, there are dozens of agriturismi in Tuscany that offer cooking courses at a variety of prices. You say that you are already going blind reading about places to stay, and I sympathize, but if you google

"agriturismo" "Tuscany" "cooking courses"

you will get no less than 907 hits...
Eloise is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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>>>We are still in the planning stages so we would love any info on places to stay in the chianti region and also lake como.<<

I'm curious. Why did you choose Chianti over Southern Tuscany (Pienza area), which Bobthenavigator & I "push" quite a bit? Is it the "name recognition" that Chianti has? Both areas are beautiful, but I give a big nod to Southern Tuscany - especially in late May/early June when all the winter wheat is green & the wind blows through it. For a countryside hotel, you can't do better than La Saracina near Pienza. Believe there are cooking classes in Montepulciano (10 mins from La Saracina), and also in Montalcino (25 mins).

Stu Dudley
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Feb 14th, 2005, 04:24 PM
  #15  
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Stu,
We picked Chianti just for its location-we thought it would be easier to go to Florence,Siena,Lucca etc.

Nothing is set in stone as of yet. We will look into Southern Tuscany as well.

Thanks for the help!
latenighter is offline  
Feb 19th, 2005, 05:52 PM
  #16  
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Ok, here's what we have decided.

Fly into Milan, train to Varenna-3 nights at Hotel du lac.
Pick up car and drive to Castellina-7 nights at Collelungo.
Day trip to surrounding areas.
drive to Venice-4 nights at Ca'Angeli

Does anyone have any experiance at any of these places. I have read alot on here about Hotel du lac. It seems to get mixed reviews, but Varenna sounds more our speed. all 3 places get great recent reviews on tripadvisor and Collelungo gets great reviews on slowtrav.
I just wanted to see what any fodorites might have to add.

We have planned several Europe trips using advice from this board and have never been disappointed, so I want to thank everyone for their help, past and present.

(we always just used the search for answers but thought we would post this time)
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