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Nice to Paris in 7 days with my 11 year old

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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:10 AM
  #1
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Nice to Paris in 7 days with my 11 year old

This forum is an amazing, invaluable resource. Thank you, in advance, to all who reply. My 11 year old and I are taking a father-daughter road trip from Nice to Paris for 1 week, after a 2-week family reunion (Verona - villa - 1 week; Cinque Terre (hotel 2 nights); St Paul de Vence - hotel 3 nights). She and I plan to drive from Nice to Paris (where we will stay for 3 nights), stopping in Gorge du Tarn, Dordogne River, Lascaux II. This is her first time and I am definitely tending toward being overly ambitious in our travel plans. The problem I have is an embarrassment of riches. There is much I want to show her. I am fully aware of the axiom, "Less is More." So, I am trying to pare down to a sensible scale. She is a confimed museum hater, and will very quickly tire of castles, walled cities and the like (which I could personally visit endly). We recently met someone from San Sebastian who implored us to stop there on our way north. My daughter has studied both French and Spanish - I'd love dip into Spain together. I know it is overkill. Please help me plan a trip we wil talk about for years to come. With sincere appreciation, Steve and Hannah
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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>Please help me plan a trip we wil talk about for years to come.<

No matter what happens, good or bad, it will surely be a trip to talk about for years.

What does she like?

Why no Euro Disney?
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:49 AM
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Thank you. We are basically not a Disney family -- more about natural sights, culture and experiences. We've been to DisneyWorld in FL. Is it vastly different and worthwhile? The trip will be in mid-to late August, so assuming it will be hot and trying to stay close to water where possible. Very flexible itinerary, so we can change plans last minute as weather or events dictate.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Dunno, never been but I was surprised to see it wasn't listed in your itinerary because you said you were with an 11 year old.

I noticed that you used the word "we". Is your daughter into "natural sights, culture and experiences"? If you share your daughters likes, dislikes, and interests, the Francophiles of Fodors will not steer you wrong.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:58 AM
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The first think you should do is avail yourself of a good map or www.viamichelin.com or similar.

For example, San Sebastiàn is indeed wonderful but is at least an 11-hour drive from Nice (assuming 2-3 rest stops) and is not on the way to Paris.

If it were my trip, I would start with deciding how much driving I want to do each day. Do you have 7 days and nights on the road? If so, I would chose 3-4 stops at most, Dordogne and Loire Valley via the Tarn might make sense. Set some realistic targets are you're going to be all over the place.

Assume Disney is a joke.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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meant first thing but think works too
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Have Michelin maps and green guide books for the areas we are visiting. We are a fairly robust road trip duo, at least in the US; but I have driven (with my wife not daughter) through France and Italy in the past and realize it is different than US driving. San Sebastian is a whole lot closer to Sarlat and Lascaux II than it is to Nice. We were planning to make our way west from Nice and then head north (in a 1 day drivefest from Southwestern France to Paris). Expect to have 7 nights on the road. We will have done a certain amount of lower key hanging out before we embark on this road trip.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:11 AM
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Would you consider a shorter time on the road to have more than 3 days in Paris? There is much that is iconic in Paris that isn't museums. Will she love the caves?
more power to you for such a great opportunity--for both of you!!
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:17 AM
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I have driven extensively in both France and Spain/France trips and I would second Cathie about perhaps the Dordogne and Loire making sense.

In essence either a "western trip" like that makes sense or an eastern trip going to places like Annecy, Beaune etc. might make sense if you think that is more interesting for her. The one thing I will say is that once you get off of a main turnpike-the going can get VERY slow behind trucks, twisty roads etc. IMO trying to touch any part of Spain in the time you have would mean that you are going to have truck really fast which might mean too little time to really see anything.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Helpful suggestions and info. Right now I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed by all the choices. My daughter tends to prefer action-oriented activities, but can't pass up the opportinity to see a prehistoric cave (a parent has to put their foot down somewhere...). Thanks
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Jun 10th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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I would forget Spain, just for starters. It's a loooong way from Nice to Paris to begin with, with so many options in between that you're already on overload.

As for Disney, I'm not even sure why that topic arose. I took my kids, from the time they were infants to the time they were in their 20s, to France more than 50 times and no one ever even thought about going to Disneyland. Why would they, when all France was at their beckoning.

You only have 7 days, and that's limiting. I'd first rush a bit north to Provence and see the Pont du Gard, maybe a bit of Arles, and Glanum. Then race over to Carcassonne and spend a few hours on hour way to Sarlat. A couple of days in the Dordogne (gosh, you'll only be able to see a teensy bit of it!). Then north to Oradour-sur-Glane just southeast of Limoges and on up to the Loire for a couple of days of castles. Then to Paris, and whoosh! It's over. A LOT to cover in a week!
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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Thank you all. StCirq, one last time - Sarlat to San Sebastian seems doable from the map. Besides the fact that Nice is our starting point, would you tell me why that is a non-starter for you? Thanks
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Jun 11th, 2013, 02:18 AM
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Steve,

San Sebastiàn is just a long drive/detour with the time you have. Is your trip in August? Count on incredible traffic, particulaly on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. The estimated travel time via autoroute from Sarlat is 5 hours--very optimistic.

It's doable, of course. Up to you to weigh travel drive time vs on the ground. And, if August, have a hotel reservation somewhere, San Sebastiàn gets booked up.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 02:26 AM
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I have not done it, but I have read many people enjoy canoe rides in the Sarlat area. Oh, I see above you have mentioned the river. Perhaps this is already part of the plan?
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