Paris and where else should we go?

Sep 6th, 2018, 11:05 AM
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Paris and where else should we go?

My senior in high school has taken French 4 years. Rather than take the crazy trip to the Bahamas or Mexico we opted to travel to France for ten days. We are thinking 4 days in Paris and then taking a train elsewhere. My husband and I love the small town feel. Paris is for our daughter. I did 4 days in 2016 and covered what we wanted to cover (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Monmartre, prom dress shopping LOL) We stayed in the 4th Arrondisement and would prefer to try a different location. Any suggestions on places to stay in Paris? Places to see? My daughter is 17. We are active and don't mind a lot of walking.

I asked my daughter her thoughts. I also asked the travel agent. My daughter said Greece? (On my bucket list) and my TA said Nice, avalon or Provence. Maybe find a central location and do day trips.

I would appreciate any thoughts. There are 3 of us traveling. Thank you in advance. BTW we are travelling mid-March.

Last edited by andreadee; Sep 6th, 2018 at 11:08 AM. Reason: left out season
andreadee is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 11:18 AM
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6 days from Paris- yes take TGV train south IMO - Avignon is probably what TA meant - a superb area for some of the best of Provence - rent a car and stay in a small town like St-Remy-de-Provence or maybe in a small village in a Gite (look up Gites de France) - country house usually in a small village - anyway great area with lots of neat sights like Pont du Gard, Avignon itself a very historic city, Les Baux-de-Provence, Arles - research those.

Or Nice but if July or August very crowded.

Try to fly into Paris and out of Nice in that case - if Avignon TGV trains back to Paris just take about 3 hours with some direct to CDG Airport.

Book TGV trains as early as possible - up to 3 months in advance I think at - French Railways site or - which is easy to use and always matches cheapest prices available - deep discounts available if early enough to get them as they are limited in number but much cheaper than full fare. has loads on booking own tickets yourselves online (TAs only book full fare tickets usually - be sure to book your own) - general info trains and where to go and what to expect onboard also and BETS-European Rail Experts.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 11:26 AM
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I like your idea of country house in a small village. When we travelled to Sicily we loved staying in the smaller places. So do I understand correctly? We would stay 4 days in Paris and then take a train to Avignon? I know next to nothing about the geography. March won't allow us to swim but hoping it won't be freezing! If you have a favorite place I'd love to learn about it. Thank you so much!
andreadee is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 11:28 AM
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Additional question...we have always rented a car and traveled to more remote locations. We did that in Sicily and worked wonders. We would not utilize a car in Paris but does anyone recommend renting a car rather than taking a train to our second destination?
andreadee is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 11:40 AM
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Well only if that destination is near Paris - TGV trains go about 180 mph and take under two hours to Avignon and about five to Nice - driving straight thru would take twice as long and be a real drag if just on autoroutes and you have little time to poke around. Getting out of Paris area can take a long time - if going to say Loire Valley or Normandy maybe but even then taking train could be cheaper with discounted tickets over car rental day and steep tolls on autoroutes. Time is valuable if going far south and you may want to spend first day or two in Avignon itself and save days on car rental - anyway picking up car at Avignon-TGV station is great - well out of Avignon - hard city to drive in - and head straight to a gite perhaps.

Too cold for swimming but could be nice enough in Nice area to lay on beach but on a first-time trip to France why do that?
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 12:02 PM
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You could spend the entire time in Paris: enough wonders to spend years exploring. You could consider day trips from Paris to Rouen, Chartres … it is an endless list.

Nice & Avignon are in Provence.

Personally, I am not a fan of Nice, but it is probably an exciting destination for a teenage, as it has beaches. You can do a lot without a car. You perhaps need to identify what type of vacation you want. For example: Do you want to replicate the Bahamas/Mexico beach-type experience in France?

OReilly64 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 12:38 PM
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Lac Leman (outside Geneva by train in the french-speaking area of Switzerland... Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux)
suze is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 02:40 PM
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Without knowing your interests, people are probably going to suggest every place they like in France.

When you mention a small town, how small? Countryside, village, shops? Art, wine, fashion? What do you most want to experience?

How about a trip to the library for some colorful guidebooks of France for ideas?

I like the Cote d'Azur but maybe would stay in a smaller town than Nice. If you like a car, March wouldn't be a bad time for touring. It's such a lovely area with so much to see and do. Beaulieu sur Mer and Villefranche sur Mer were suggested to me here on these forums and we ended up between the two at Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat. With a car, we visited Nice, Antibes, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschilde, Eze, St Agnes, Monaco and more, and it was a marvelous trip.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 03:08 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the info. We have decided a car isn't the best option. Riding highways and heading south doesn't sound very fun and I didn't know how quickly the trains go....we will go the train route. When we travel we like small towns, tiny restaurants, we do tons of walking. We know swimming isn't an option and we are not trying to recreate a crazy spring break like the Bahamas. We want to wander, eat delicious local food, shop, buy local art work, and basically explore. We probably won't do museums. Definitely won't do the Louvre when in Paris. Not sure we will even do Versaille because of things I read here and elsewhere....It appears to be an all day event.

I'm thinking 4 days in Paris. Monmartre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. One day just exploring churches, shops, outdoor markets. Then hop on a train I have yet to research. Five hours on a train to Nice seems long...maybe a different location not quite as far? Or is it worth the extra few hours. We will fly from Nice home so maybe we just do it? Yikes. So much research I must do.

If anyone had an absolutely amazing time doing anything anywhere...please spread the news. We are also foodies....Maybe a cooking class somewhere. Who knows. No matter what it will be wonderful.

Thanks for all the tips and any additional info one might offer.
andreadee is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 05:52 PM
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How many more days do you have in March after seeing Paris? I ask because you mentioned Greece and it is just a short flight away if you want to do this. Plus the weather will be better than France.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 06:41 PM
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St Malo is just over two hours by train and is very different from Paris. It’s a charming walled city with an old fort and a huge beach. March could be awfully cold though. I went in August to escape the Paris heat wave and it was perfect. Amazing seafood.
Belinda is online now  
Sep 6th, 2018, 07:03 PM
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Skip the crowds at Versailles and go to Vaux-le-Vicomte instead, a beautiful chateau and garden near Paris. Consider a stay in eastern France where there are many lovely villages and towns with half-timbered buildings among vineyards.
Scootoir is offline  
Sep 6th, 2018, 07:22 PM
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If you are looking for a cooking class, I had a very good experience with Cook'n with Class - all hands-on, learned a lot, and the meal was terrific, including a discussion to choose the menu and a trip to the market to buy the ingredients. I also took a class from La Cuisine Paris and while it was fine I didn't enjoy it as much.
artsnletters is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 03:32 AM
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You are not looking at beach weather in Nice or Greece in March. See comparison here

Personally I would go with Avignon for March. Lots to see and do within an hour drive in all directions. If you get lucky with a warmish day, the Méditerranean is 90 minutes away.
russ_in_LA is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 05:02 AM
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You might also look at say Narbonne by train, down on the border with Spain, lovely old town and in Spain a similar special local feel, catch the train one day, go to Carcassonne another Figueres, Perpignan and of course in March the weather should be ok.
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 09:41 AM
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If daughter wants Greece for graduation trip why not Greece- in March nicer weather and Athens and a few islands.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 10:19 AM
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For a different experience, take the train to Strasbourg for a couple of days. It is less than 2 hours away from Paris by TGV. It is a remarkable place.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 7th, 2018, 11:01 AM
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Well possibilities are endless - OP what do you think so we can hone in on those places. Almost any region of France would be great.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 12:24 PM
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We will fly from Nice home

That part's really important (!!) and would eliminate a few of these suggestions that have you traveling a greater distance.
suze is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 01:49 PM
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OK - Yes could still do Avignon area for few days but car is really needed there to appreciate the area so I'd go to Nice - either fly or take train and car is not need to tour around Nice - trains and buses go everywhere. Maybe break up journey by a day in Avignon - a really neat city itself.
PalenQ is offline  

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