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Our draft itenerary for anniversary trip to France & Barcelona

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Feb 1st, 2009, 02:34 PM
  #1
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Our draft itenerary for anniversary trip to France & Barcelona

We are headed to France and Barcelona for our 15th wedding anniversary. This is our draft itenerary.

July 4th Depart for Paris
July 5th - 7th Paris, still need to chose a hotel in district 4, 5, 6 or 7.
July 8th - 9th Loire Valley
July 9th depart for Bordeaux
July 11th depart to Tarbes, our staging area for viewing the Tour de France 2009 on July 12.
July 12th - Collioure for night of the 12th through July 14th. Considering Casa Pairal in Collioure.
July 15 Depart for Barcelona for 3 day stay. No hotel selected yet.
July 18th, depart Barcelona for home

We would appreciate any feedback or don't miss suggestions you might have for us.
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Feb 1st, 2009, 02:46 PM
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ooo, mxstanl, at the risk of being flamed for giving unwanted advice, I do think that this is a BIIIIT crowded.

personally, i would drop at least one of these destinations.

seeing Paris, Tarbes on July 12, and barcelona as fixed [do you have flights yet?] I would consdier the following:

Paris - you only have 2 days, max. I suggest dropping either the loire or bordeaux. you could get the train straight to Bordeaux from Paris, which would give you 4 nights in Paris - much better.

Collioure - will be VERY crowded, but so will everywhere else in this area as July 14th is Bastille Day. Book your hotel there asap.

Barcelona - ? - presumably you have a strong desire to see Barcelona. you do not have 3 days - more like 2. are you gonig by car? in which case you wil incur high drop off charges.

why not head back into France after collioure? Perpignan is charming and close enough to Toulouse for a return flight.

regards, ann

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Feb 1st, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Argelès-Gazost or Pierrefitte-Nestalas might be a better place for the Tour de France. In the old days it passed by Argelès two days in a row. The first time coming off the Col d'Aubisque and the second time going up the Tourmalet. I believe that Pierrefitte is between the Hautacam and the Tourmalet, so that you could see it pass by when going up the Tourmalet. But all this depends on the Tour's actual itinerary.

And how are you traveling between the indicated stops? If driving, you might want to stop by St. Bertrand de Comminges and through the Pyrenees from La Tour de Carol to Perpignan on your way to Collioure. But that would take two days.

There is a timing problem with your itinerary. If you plan to see the Tour de France in the Tarbes area on the 12th, I do not see how you willl get to Collioure comfortably the same day.
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Feb 1st, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Thanks for the feedback Micahel and Ann. That is why this is called a "draft" Nothing is in stone at this point. We certainly have thoughts of spending a day or 2 more in Paris and thoughts of changing our itenerary to shorten or lengthen the Boroeaux or Liore areas. You make good points for skipping Liore valley. As for Bastille day, we look forward to it! As for the tour, we simple booked a room for 2 nights, refundable, in Tarbes to give us a starting point. We have reservations there on the nights of the 10th and the 11th. Not sure if we will use either of those if we find a better location to see a stage. We need to do more research on the tour and specifics around the races on the 11th and 12th. Barcelona is not set in stone either, so your point about fling out of France is well taken. Thanks to you both and I will post back here with more questions/updates once we make some more decisions.
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Feb 1st, 2009, 08:19 PM
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Hello.

I would drop Barcelona and keep the trip just in France. In the Loire Valley (get a hotel in Tours)to see some beautiful castles in the area. While in Bordeaux, go to the little village of St Emilion to see miles of vineyards and try some wine in the area. Not far from Bordeaux is the town of Sarlat in the Dordogne river area. This place is really quaint. From Bordeaux to Collioure, I would make a stop to see Carcassonne. This castle/fort is impressive.
If you are driving, I would drive back from Collioure to Toulouse and drop the car and take a train back to Paris if your flight back is from Paris to the US.
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Feb 1st, 2009, 09:45 PM
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Thanks plind for the information. We are definately going to make some changes. I appreciate everyone here so far. We will likely loose the Loire Valley in favor of an extra day in Paris and then straight on to Bordeaux. Get a car there and spend a couple days. We are now diving into the Tour De France and where we really should stay. We want to try to catch the tour on Saturday the 11th where the route runs from Andorre la Vieille to Saint Girons and/or the 12th from Saint-Gaudens > Tarbes. Thinking of positioning ourselves with a car in the mountains where we could enjoy the activities in the mountains and try to catch the tour one of the days. Any suggestions of places we might want to check out in this region of the mountians? We need to get this leg of our journey figured out and then we will work forwards to the beach area. Thanks again for everyones help.
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Feb 2nd, 2009, 12:38 PM
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hi again, mxstanl

really I'm so pleased that you don't mind our comments on your itinerary - the last OP who posted a similar query got very sniffy when we said that she was trying to squeeze too much in.

we stayed near the andorra border a couple of years ago - there are lots of little mountain villages in the pyrennees, but it's difficult to know which one/s to point you in the direction of. the distances are very deceptive, because of the windy roads going up and down the mountains.

try to get hold of the cadogan guide to the langudoc - it has some excellent descriptions of this area. the only thing i CAN say is that andorra itself isn't much to write home about.

regards, ann
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Feb 2nd, 2009, 12:47 PM
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If you do include Collioure, we recommend Casa Pairal. You are right in town, but in a little oasis with a swimming pool. They offer a private parking lot for a fee.
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Feb 15th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Updated itenerary per all of your great feedback:
July 4th Depart for Paris
July 5th-9th Paris
July 9th - depart via train for Bordeaux/St. Emilion and pick up rental car
July 11th - Depart Bordeaux area to see Tour de France (could use help with this planning! We have hotel in Tarbes booked but it is refunable and we are open to other ideas.)
July 12th - stay in Tour de France viewing area or start drive to Collioure and stay somewhere on the way.
July 13-17- Collioure
July 17- mid or late morning train back to Paris
July 17- Hotel in Paris
July 18- Depart Paris

Again, we would appreciate your feedback! Thanks so much!
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Feb 15th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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It's better, but not by much. You're trying to cover too much ground IMO. Four days is too long in Collioure. A night or two would be nice, then head back up to Bordeaux or Toulouse to catch a TGV back to Paris. The Caisa Pairal is the place to stay, though.

I don't have the TdF schedule, but I'd follow Michael's suggestion and see it in some small village, not in Tarbes. And I hope you're aware that "viewing" the TdF takes all of 10 seconds. When they came through my village in the Dordogne, we sat for four hours curbside for the privilege of watching a blur of cyclists go by in a nanosecond. So I really wouldn't go driving for hours just to see it.

Also, FWIW, Sarlat is hardly "quaint," though it's certainly lovely. It's the most visited town in France right now. And it's 3 hours from Bordeaux, not what I'd call "not far from." I wouldn't even venture into the Dordogne on this trip - you need a whole separate trip for that. St-Emilion? Meh, an overpriced wine town, but I guess it has some appeal.

If you're trying to get "beach time" into this vacation, and you're heading for Bordeaux anyway, why not forgo the drive all the way to Collioure and just enjoy the Arcachon/Cap Ferret area? Then you can just dip down to wherever you want to see the TdF for a day or so, without going the extra distance just for Collioure (which is a lovely spot, but jam packed with tourists in summer)?
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Feb 15th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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If you catch the Tour going on a serious uphill, as over a mountain pass, it might double the viewing time.
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