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Lovely town in France to spend a couple of months???

Lovely town in France to spend a couple of months???

Old Oct 14th, 2020, 02:11 PM
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Lovely town in France to spend a couple of months???

Can anyone suggest a town in France to spend a few months perhaps in spring of 2021 or 2022? We would like to be able to walk to the town centre which ideally would have a some kind of grocery store, bakery and cafes or restaurants. We have been to France a half a dozen times and love all the areas we have visited. Ideally we would fly in from Canada and be able to drive to that town so the town should be not too distant from that airport! As we would possible arrive in March looking for a town fairly temperate for that time of year! Any suggestions welcome!











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Old Oct 14th, 2020, 05:11 PM
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Where have you visited that you enjoyed, please? There are several Fodorites who have made longer visits. And a couple who actually moved.

DH and I enjoyed Aix and Lourmarin but these were very brief stays so not the best way to make a choice. I really really liked Menton.
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Old Oct 14th, 2020, 06:35 PM
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I'm a fan of Nice, especially early in the year.
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Old Oct 14th, 2020, 11:49 PM
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La Rochelle, or its outskirts given that you will have a car.


In one direction you have the sea and the Île de Ré


and in the other you have the small towns with their Romanesque churches

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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 04:50 AM
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I'm with Michael on La Rochelle. Though it's on the ocean and gets plenty of tourists it seemed infinitely livable to me. I think you could fly into Nantes and drive the two hours to get there without great difficulty. You would be able to explore both the Loire Valley and Bordeaux and areas of the Dordogne from there. But you might also consider basing in La Baule, a smaller city, still on the ocean but closer to Nantes airport for your initial drive and giving you the southern coast of Brittany to explore easily.

Other ideas:
Alsace--Flying into Strasbourg and basing in one of the delightful little towns between it and Basel (which may be another option to fly into) and giving you options to explore not only lovely areas of France but also some in Germany and Switzerland
Provence--Flying into Marignane out of Marseille, and staying in St. Remy de Provence, Tarascon or other small towns, giving you the chance to also explore Montpellier, Arles, Avignon, and the coast from Marseille to Cassis, and beyond, even on to the Rivieria for some short overnight (or two) trips.
Rhone and Savoie--flying into Lyon and putting down in Chambery or Bourg-en-Bresse and exploring Perouges, Aix-les-Bains, Annecy and Geneve.

I envy you all the wonderful options and the tough decision. I would be tempted to split things up and do a couple of stays affording even more possibilities. Thanks for the opportunity to dream along with you.

Last edited by JulieVikmanis; Oct 15th, 2020 at 04:55 AM. Reason: typos
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 05:02 AM
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The OP said "spring". Depending on the definition of spring, I think northern France might not be the best idea.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 05:28 AM
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As JulieV suggests, try a few different towns or cities. You might start out in the south if you arrive in March, then work your way north as spring heads north.

Most of the places I could recommend are small towns since we don't spend much time in bigger towns. We like the French countryside very much and enjoy staying in rural B&Bs and driving on country roads.

Chateau-Gontier is one our favorite small cities. It's north of the Loire, in the Mayenne. In early spring it won't be at its floral best, but later in the year all its public gardens are outstanding. It's gotten the national award for best flowery town more than once. The town doesn't get a lot of tourists. We like that in a town because we can discover things for ourselves, and also we always get a very warm welcome in such places. Its Thursday market is great. The architecture runs from half-timbered houses through grand town houses to modern buildings. There's a cafe with charming faience wall tiles of birds and flowers, plus a romantic painted ceiling, which put the place on the historic buildings list.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 08:03 AM
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We enjoyed all of France, except maybe driving in Paris!!!! We have visited or stayed in the following places: Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Dordogne Region, Provence, Burgundy, Alsace Lorraine, Languedoc, and Bordeaux. We have always rented a car so had no problem seeing all those destinations! Always love the hill towns (Gordes) but some are just too small for a lengthy stay! A friend also mentioned Menton so that may be a serious contender. Our problem is we have seen so many lovely towns it makes it hard to remember any specific town we would choose!
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 08:11 AM
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Thanks Michael, I will check those towns you suggested!

Last edited by BarbaraAllison7911; Oct 15th, 2020 at 08:13 AM.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 08:16 AM
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I will be a contrarian and suggest Metz or Nancy.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 08:17 AM
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Thanks Julie, you have provided lots of options, I will look at all of them!
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 08:27 AM
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There probably is a wide range of locations in the south that might appeal to you, for a March to May type of time. Just be aware that some smaller towns in certain popular areas shut down a bit and don't fully open until Easter (and by May, some will be crowded in normal years). So you might consider places within easy reach of Marseilles or Nice airports, but sizable enough to have a year-round life. That might be St. Remy, Arles, Vence, Menton --- for really small, perhaps something like Mougins, Cassis (watch for the Mistral), Villefranche-sur-Mer. Or you could go more sizable.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 09:45 AM
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This sounds like a perfect thread for a post by Stu Dudley. Haven't seen much of him for a while. Hope all is well.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 01:30 PM
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I would look to explore an area you haven't yet visited and then select a city as a base. For example, it doesn't appear you've visited the Pays Basque region of France. You could stay in Bayonne (or even Biaritz, Saint-Jean de-Luz or, farther east, Pau). It's also easy to visit the Spanish Basque area (San Sebastián) from there. We spent 3 weeks in that region in Nov 2018 and had a ball. Great scenery, great food! But probably need to avoid the summer months.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 02:37 PM
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I'm fine - although disappointed that we had to cancel 4 trips to Europe because of Covid & my FIL's stroke.

My wife & I usually make 2 trips to France every year for 1 month each. A typical 1 month trip is staying for 2 weeks in a single gite, then moving on to the next gite for 2 a week stay. We've also spent 4 weeks at a time in a single gite (Dordogne & Provence). We switched from 2-3 nights in 10 different locations, to 2 weeks in only 2 places in 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more.

Our 2 favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. We've spend 22 weeks in Provence & 13 weeks in the Dordogne. Our second favorite regions are the Cote d'Azur, Languedoc, and Brittany.
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Dordogne-revised.doc (171.5 KB, 49 views)
File Type: doc
Languedoc-revised.doc (260.0 KB, 23 views)
File Type: doc
Pays Basque.doc (58.5 KB, 16 views)
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 02:41 PM
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I'm fine - although disappointed that we had to cancel 4 trips to Europe because of Covid & my FIL's stroke.

My wife & I usually make 2 trips to France every year for 1 month each. A typical 1 month trip is staying for 2 weeks in a single gite, then moving on to the next gite for 2 a week stay. We've also spent 4 weeks at a time in a single gite (Dordogne & Provence). We switched from 2-3 nights in 10 different locations, to 2 weeks in only 2 places in 1999 when we retired early so we could travel more.

Our 2 favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. We've spend 22 weeks in Provence & 13 weeks in the Dordogne. Our second favorite regions are the Cote d'Azur, Languedoc, and Brittany.

For Spring, I would stay south. Perhaps 2-3 weeks in Provence & 2-3 weeks in the Dordogne. If you want to stay longer than that - start in the Cote d'Azur & spend 2 weeks in Nice.

Attached is my Cote d'Azur/Provence itinerary, and my Dordogne itinerary. I'll also attach my Languedoc itinerary and my Pays Basque itinerary.

Stu Dudley

When I first posted the reply, I receive a short message (which appeared on my screen for 8 seconds) that the reply must be approved by a moderator before it is posted.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 03:09 PM
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I tried posting something to this thread about 30 minutes ago, but I received a short reply from Fodors that stated my post was re-directed to the Moderator for review before it would being displayed here.

The post contained 4 attachments - perhaps that was the problem.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 04:42 PM
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Bill and Cindy, sorry, we did visit the Basque area and spent a couple of weeks there as well we visited Sans Sebastian! We even did a hike on the Camino de Santiago!
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 04:48 PM
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Stu, everything you wrote came through. Apparently Fodor's has been experiencing spam and they've set up some filters that catch even we innocents!

Barbara, would you please let us know what things you enjoy? People will have a better idea of what to suggest.
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Old Oct 15th, 2020, 04:56 PM
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Stu Dudley I have to say that we cancelled Austria this spring as well so I know how you feel! I must say that the Dordogne and Provence are probably the first choices in France for me as well and we have spent two separate trips in both. I will look at your attachments but I have looked at Menton already and it looks interesting and has a moderate temperature! It seems several views mention making a couple of changes in location for our “hoped” for trip. I guess it all depends on when we can safely travel again. I live on the east coast of Canada and we are good here, it it’s definitely on the “move” all around us so we have our borders all closed except for the Atlantic Provinces “bubble”. Thanks for all the advice, I will look at everything you provided!


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