Paris and Beyond

Old Feb 6th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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Paris and Beyond

My husband and I are planning a trip to Paris in Sept 03. We would like to spend around 3 days in Paris and then rent a car and tour France for about 7 days. Is this enough time to see some sights and not bankrupt us? Any suggestions about where to stay and what to see would be most appreciated. This is our first trip to Europe and we are real rookies.
Thanks
Diane P
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Hi: My first suggestion is to go to your local library and read some or all of the travel books there for Paris and France. The information there is invaluable ( to use public phones in France you must by a phone card at Post Offices or Tabacs). This will give you a place to start making your plans and also allow you to make decisions and judgements based on what you like.
I like the Loire Valley, Alsace Lorraine, Normandy, Brittany, Provence and the Champagne region, perhaps the Loire Valley best. Have a great trip!
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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What are your interests? History (e.g., 20th century, medieval), architecture, art, food, wine? Give that question a little thought, then follow Doug's advice and check out a few travel books at the libary.

Certainly, Normandy is worth a visit, especially if you want to see WWII sites, ancient history like the Bayeux tapestry, lovely countryside. On the other hand, if you want to visit chateaux and try some elegant cuisine, why not visit the Loire? Don't forget Chartres' lovely cathedral and old world neighborhoods. World War I and cute Germanic-style towns, including good wines and hearty food? The Alsace - Strasbourg, Verdun, etc., may be the route for you. You may want to go further south and explore Provence, as well. All are easily reached by train; you could rent a car in whatever city you make your headquarters.

For reasonable lodging, try logis-de-france (http://www.logis-de-france.fr/uk/)or gites-de-france (http://www.gites-de-france.fr/eng/). We spent five days in Normandy at a 350-year-old farm near Cahagnes at around $50 per night, and loved it.
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Old Feb 6th, 2003, 01:23 PM
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Hi Diane,
Since this is your first trip, I suggest you stay the whole 10 days in Paris with day trips to any or all of:
Versaille, Deauville, Chantilly, Chartres.
I think that three days in Paris will wear you out trying to 'see the sights'and leave you disapponted that you didn't see enough.
Save the rest of France for yur next trip.
My wife and I always stay at the Hotel Bonaparte, 61 Bonaparte in the 6th.
Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 04:45 AM
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I, too, think you should stick with Paris...with a side trip or two.

We took our first trip to France in October. Our itinerary was for a week in Paris, 8 days in the countryside and last night in Paris.

But a week in Paris wasn't nearly enough! After 5 nights on the road, we longed to return to Paris. The countryside was lovely, but Paris was calling. On day six we caught a train and returned to Paris...luckily our hotel could take us two days early.

I look back and acknowledge that, had we not taken the roadtrip, we would wonder what we had missed. But, having done it, I wish we'd spent the entire time in Paris with a few day trips. Paris is so beautiful you'll never feel you've seen enough.

I would save the counryside for a future trip. Introduce yourselves to Paris on this trip...you'll fall in love all over again.



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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 06:32 AM
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top for DianeP
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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Another vote for concentrating on Paris and planning day trips to Versaille, etc. Consider taking the train for your day trips as driving out of Paris is somewhat difficult. The train to Versaille only takes about 30-40 minutes and you can walk from the train station to the palace. You could plan to see Versaille in the morning and be back in Paris mid afternoon. I don't know what your interests are but my wife and I really enjoyed Bayeux in Normandy and seeing the Omaha Beach, American Cemetery and other WWII sites. We drove on that trip but you could catch the train to Caen, rent a car and see this area. Think about taking 2 or 3 days to see this area. You can do a search on this site for Normandy and gets lots of ideas. There is so much to see and do which makes planning a trip a challenge but also makes it fun. Good luck!
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Old Feb 7th, 2003, 08:37 AM
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If you don't want to spend all your vacation time in a big city, then consider spending half your time in Paris, and half your time in one more rural location outside Paris. The Loire Valley perhaps, or the Normandy/Mont St. Michel area. Or further afield, take the TGV to Dijon, or Avignon or Bordeaux, rent a car from there, and spend a couple of days in Burgundy, Provence or the Dordogne (though each of those areas could easily merit more than a couple of days).
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Old Feb 10th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Diane, Jeanne and Lexma raise a good point. Are you and your husband the type of people who really like cities, or do you prefer a slower pace? On our most recent trip, we spent about four days in Paris and about five in the Normandy countryside at a horse farm. We enjoyed just walking around little towns off the beaten path and seeing how average folk live, but then we're not into nightlife. There are a zillion things to see in Paris, but you don't have to see all of them if they aren't of great interest to you.
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