My France Vacation

Nov 21st, 2017, 11:11 AM
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My France Vacation

Greetings, I am posting for the first time,however I have been following previous forum discussions. My wife and I travel mid September 2018 for a six week France vacation. We enjoy a mixture of architecture,history, food and quite honestly slowing down to watch the people and absorb the beauty of each town. The problem is we want to see so much. Here is what I have currently reserved. I would appreciate any comments. I am a little unsure of the Beaune, Annecy portion and have read alot about folks posting on Dijon.We are not big wine drinkers, it just seemed like a beautiful area and a natural clockwise flow to the trip. Thanks everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Paris 1 night day of flight
TGV to Reims, rental car pick up travel to Verdun then Eguisheim
Eguisheim 4 nights
Beaune 3 nights
Annecy 2 nights
Chamonix 2 nights
Nice 6 nights, ditch car in Nice for 5 nights then get new rental up to Paris
Isle sur la sorge 4 nights
St. Remy 4 nights
Carennac 2 nights
LaRoque-Gageac 4 nights
Chenonceau 2 nights
Fontevraud L'Abbaye2 nights
Bayeux 4 nights
Paris 6 nights
mcsles is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 11:45 AM
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Interesting itinerary, but I wouldn't spend 2 nights in Carennac. I'd add another night in the Dordogne proper.

I wouldn't spend 2 nights in Fontevraud unless you want to visit Aliénor and Richard more than once. They're adorable and historically important, but there's not much else going on.

4 nights in Ile-sur-la-Sorgue would be 2 nights too many for me.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 11:54 AM
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I only visited Beaune for a day and am not sure what you want to do there for 3 days. Obviously there isn't much to do there at all, it bothered me how focused it is on wine tourism. There is at least one other point of interest that I can recall, the Hotel Dieu. I suppose it's an okay small town and if you don't care at all about where you stay and just want a smaller town to drive in/out of for daily car touring, it should be fine. But if you would like more to do in the place you stay, I think Dijon would be a better choice. That's where I stayed and it has more to see/do right in town, of course. But with a car, you'd have to find a convenient place ot stay to park it for driving out. In fact, I stayed at the Quality HOtel at place Darcy, which isn't far from the gare, and I would think a hotel between the gare and it would be fairly convenient and not too much hassle for driving in/out. There is a garage right near it called parking Darcy that is only 10 euro a day.

just an idea, your choice may be what you prefer.

The rest is okay, I guess, I don't know some of those places. I personally wouldn't stay 4 nights in Isle sur la Sorgue and 4 nights in St Remy. They aren't that far apart, if I wouldn't to move, I'd probably choose some other place for variety and not Isle sur la Sorgue. maybe you were on that other thread, I just wasn't that crazy about the town so that colors my idea that I would choose a different one, but I'm sure others like it.

I would not move so much in the Loire, I'd probably pick one spot in the middle, or just choose one place. Chenonceau and Fontevraud are only an hour's drive apart, after all. I didn't even think Fontevraud l'Abbaye was a place to stay, just a tourist attraction, but never looked into it. Maybe there's some place you want to stay there, you could stay in Saumur or CHinon as alternates and at least have more of a real place with restaurants and stores.
Christina is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 11:55 AM
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I had a discussion here way back on whether to sleep in Beaune or Dijon. I picked Dijon with a day trip to Beaune and was glad I had as the weather wasn't great and there is more to do in Dijon. The weather in September will be unreliable. (Had the same discussion and a similar decision and result over Colmar and Strasbourg.)
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 12:00 PM
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We toured the wine villages outside of Beaune while staying there. Also liked Dijon.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 12:04 PM
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I found the northern part of Burgundy (north of Dijon) more interesting (more "old stones") than the area around Beaune. You could even use a small town like Noyers (a plus beau village as a base, or Auxerre if you like larger urban areas.

Unless you intend to spend your time in Nice in the city proper or right along the coast, a car might be useful. Transportation to the back country, even places like Saint Paul de Vence with its nearby Fondation Maeght collection and Vence proper a few kilometers away, is very slow.

The beginning of this album
Michael is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 12:07 PM
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Combine the Chenonceau and Fontevraud nights. Why bother changing hotels when the two are an hour away from each other?
Michael is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 12:46 PM
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I wouldn't stay the first night in Paris. I would take the TGV (or rent the car and drive 90 minutes) to Reims and spend the first night there. It's an easy drive, so I'd probably do that rather than deal with trains. But if you'd rather not drive, look for train connections from CDG to Reims via Champagne-Ardenne. Hopefully, one of the departure times will work for you.

It's at least a 4.5 hour drive from Reims to Verdun and then to Eguisheim. Hopefully, you'd arrive Reims early enough in the day to see the town sights. But if you hoped to see WWI sights in/around Verdun, you should spend a night there before continuing to Eguisheim.
Jean is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 01:10 PM
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Please do NOT drive right off an overnight flight. If is dangerous for you, your passengers and the other road users, even if you got some sleep on the plane.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 01:45 PM
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I agree with what the others said. This is not a bad itinerary and it is nice to see one that is not comprised of one night stays.
Burgundy is one of our favourite regions and it cannot be seen from one base. I agree with michael about the northern part . You have Noyers, Semur en Auxois, Vezelay, Abbaye de Fontenay , abbaye de Pontigny. We also like the Maconnais region with lovely villages such as Brancion, Chapaize [ wonderful church ], Cormatin [chateau], Cluny [abbey]. Three nights in Beaune is fine if you do a day trip out into the countryside eg Autun and other villages. But it is a wine centre and if wine is not a big thing for you , you could look at another base.
With six nights in Nice, I would want a car to get up into the hinterland to some of the villages eg Peille, Peillon, a drive up the Roya Valley [ Saorge, La Brigue, Tende ] , Sospel , Luceram.
I also would not move from L'Isle sur la Sorgue to Saint Remy. I would stay in one place . Either would be suitable although not where we would choose. You could opt for self catering.
Ditto for Carennac and La Roque Gageac, although you could visit some of the surrounding villages near Carennac if you stayed there I suppose. The village itself does not take long. We stayed near Cenac [ down the hill from Domme ] and visited both from there. The same applies to the Loire - one base. There is a hotel on the grounds of the abbey.
Here is my report from our 2014 trip where we visited Provence [ pernes les Fontaines ], the Dordogne [ Cenac ], Loire Valley and Burgundy. You may get some ideas.
You will be in regions with lots of these.
Bon voyage.
rhon is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 03:16 PM
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Thank you all so much for your early responses and suggestions. One of the reasons I picked Beaune for 3 nights was to use as a base to drive from and explore Burgandy region. I need to look closer at these small towns to visit but didnt want to change my base. I was toying with taking a day from Annecy to add to Beaune and doing the following:
2 nights in Beaune
2 nights in Dijon or another area of Burgandy.

I remember reading a post by Stu saying the towns in Burgandy are more spread out then Alsace and Dordogne area.

Secondly, I thought staying in Isle sur la sorgue allowed me closer visits to the east of Provence and St. Remy more to the west.
I picked Carennac to visit the eastern Dordogne per Stu Dudley as my hotel choice outside Rocamadour is closed. This would allow us to see a bit of the Cele and Lot areas as well

Lastly, I split up the Loire to see the big castles to the east and Chinon, Villandry and Abbey to the west.

Thanks to all for your help and very much appreciate your advise
mcsles is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 03:19 PM
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mcsles is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 03:38 PM
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Isle sur la Sorgue would really fit best for visiting western Provence, as would St-Rémy. For eastern Provence (aka the Côte d'Azur) you wuld need to base somewhere around Nice: Antibes, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu, or Nice itself.

If would be helpful for you to consult the Michelin Green Guides for Provence and the Côte d'Azur--along with the related maps--so you can really see the lay of the land. It's more spread out than you might imagine.
Underhill is online now  
Nov 21st, 2017, 03:55 PM
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We spent 2 weeks in Carennac last year & loved the location. It will shorten the drive from Provence a bit. It seems like you already have my Dorodnge itinerary - but there is a lot of stuff to visit around Carennac. Figeac, Pech Merle cave, Cele River, houses & villages along the Cele, St Cirq Lapopie, Rocamadour, Montal chateau, Casteau-Bretenoux chateau, Curemont, Martel, Grotte de Lacave, Collonges la Rouge, Turenne, Brive la Gaillarde, St Cere, Grotte Presque. We were quite busy the entire 2 weeks.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 04:41 PM
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A couple of things-I agree with Michael that I wouldn't drop the car in Nice-there is much of the surrounding area that is hard to see without a car.

Secondly, if you are do keep the car for six weeks, you should look into the Peugeot Open Europe Program. We use it every year through Auto France:

This is lease program and it gets cheaper the longer you rent for the car (up to six months max). So check and see if for six weeks if it saves you money. We generally rent for 3-4 months at a time so we always find it to be a bargain. When you compare the cost of the lease to rentals remember that the price includes the cost of full insurance, all family members who will be driving, and you are able to choose the car you want and it will be brand new. They have multiple pick up and drop off points in France. So you could arrive at CDG, sleep near the airport and pick up the car the next day when you are rested. Or you could take a train to another city first and pick up the car there.
jpie is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 05:05 PM
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Secondly, if you are do keep the car for six weeks, you should look into the Peugeot Open Europe Program.

That will be more expensive if the OP is willing to use his credit card to cover the potential damage to his car--liability is always included in any rental contract.

The lease program can be obtained through just like rental programs (the web site switches you over to the Peugeot and Renault sites) so that it would be easy to compare the "basic" rental rate with a lease.
Michael is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 06:32 PM
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My provence thinking was Gordes,Roussillon,Oppede-le-Vieux, Aix and Orange from Isle-sur-la Sorgue location. I thought St. Remy woud be base for Arles,Les Baux,Pont du Gard,Uze, Nimes and Avignon? Nice would be Monaco, Ville Franche, Eze,St.Paul,Vence, Antibes etc.
Michael, thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and thoughts. Rhon, your travel log is wonderful. I appreciate your thoughts also on Burgundy. I picked Beaune based on reviews of town quaintness and ease of car travel. I plan on day trips from all of these locations. I am overwhelmed by all of these spots that warrant a visit but I don't feel like I have enough time to do justice to a location.
Thank you and thanks for helping make our trip amazing.
mcsles is offline  
Nov 21st, 2017, 11:58 PM
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And Stu is quite correct . We could easily spend time around Carennac and love it. We are planning our trip for Sept - Nov next year and it is a work in progress. We spend at least a week in one place and are never disappointed.
Have a lovely trip.
rhon is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2017, 02:21 AM
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Fontevraud is a good base for wine visits or Chateau vists (you are more likely to find Chateau {mansions} rather than Chateau-fort {castles}) in the area.

I've stayed there twice and there are enough good restaurants and stuff to see to fill three days.
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2017, 03:35 AM
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In your opinion, what are the top 5 villages not to be missed in Burgundy? The same for Dordogne.
mcsles is offline  

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