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Paris, Lyon, and .... ? Christmas in France 2013

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Jul 23rd, 2013, 01:36 PM
  #1
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Paris, Lyon, and .... ? Christmas in France 2013

Hello All!

I (along with two other family members) will be taking our first trip to Europe, and visiting France. We have already booked our airline tickets, nonstop on United, departing from SFO on Dec. 17th (arriving at 10:00 am Dec 18th at CDG) and returning on Dec 31.I have spent a great deal of time on what we will do in Paris, so no help needed there but the problem lies elsewhere... I am having a lot of trouble deciding where else to go (really wanted to visit the alps, but extremely from christmas to new years). I want to visit Lyon, as it is a food capital and very historic. I also considered Strasbourg (Christmas Market could be fun), Dijon and the Riviera (Nice, Cannes, Monaco, etc). Also, I want to spend the last two days back in Paris. Below is a preliminary structure of the trip.

1. Paris (6 days, 5 nights)

2. Lyon (3 days, 2 nights)

3. Unplanned (4 days, 3 nights)

4. Paris (3 days, 2 nights)

I would enjoy good food, culture and museums, and a little shopping. I don't plan on renting a car and plan to primarily use the train for travel between places.

Thank you in advance for your help!
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 08:24 PM
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I also thought about Provence (Aix, Avignon, Arles, etc), but would think it would be dreary in the winter, and not everything would be open. How about Dordogne, Brittany, Normandy? I'm pretty overwhelmed.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 09:33 PM
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Most places in Provence will not be closed; it is an area where many people live, and life goes on as usual in the winter as well as other times of the year. I was there (Avignon, Arles) between Christmas and New Year's several years ago, and it was bustling with activity, with crisp but sunny days.

Normandy will be cold, probably rainy--talk about dreary! Don't know for sure but assume Brittany would be the same.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 11:03 PM
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I will add Strasbourg for the Christmas Markets, and visit Colmar from their for more Christmas Markets!
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Jul 24th, 2013, 01:26 AM
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Another vote for Strasbourg before Xmas...not sure if the markets are open after Xmas but we spent 4 nights there in 2008 and it was lovely in the winter time and there are day trips to other villages and small cities!
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Jul 24th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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How about 2 nights in Strasbourg and one in Dijon, and moving the unplanned section after Paris so we can see the Christmas Markets?
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Jul 24th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Dijon is charming as is Beaune. You could easily get from Paris to Lyon and then to Dijon and back to Paris by a couple hour train rides. There is a lot to see in Lyon. Check out my TR's on Lyon and Dijon.
Lyon http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-from-lyon.cfm and TR on Dijon http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...from-dijon.cfm
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Jul 24th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Nice is wonderful over the Christmas season, with an outdoor holiday market, ice skating, and absolutely amazing light displays. Just looking at the holiday foods in shop windows is a treat.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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@yestravel Thank you for your TR's, they really helped. Lyon is a must now for me, and I think I would like Dijon too. The current itinerary is as follows:

Paris: (5 nights)

Strasbourg: (2 nights)

Dijon: (1 night, take early train over and late train out)

Lyon: (2 nights)

Paris: (2 nights)

Also I have an extra night to put somewhere that I forgot to include in the start.

@Underhill As much as I would love to go to Nice, I don't think I would have enough time to explore what I would want to in the South of France.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 12:26 PM
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Would the Christmas markets be open after Christmas day?
The OP, I'm thinking will be in Lyon Christmas eve and day...
er...dont' the restaurants close early on Christmas Even (and reopen on Christmas lunch?)
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Jul 24th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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I just looked on the website and the Christmas market in Strasbourg is open until the 31st. Should I visit before or after Christmas?
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Jul 24th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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or during
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Jul 24th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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Or should I stay in Lyon, Paris, Dijon?
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Jul 24th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Lots of Christmas markets are open for a bit after Christmas.

I'm not interested in them at all, but I can only presume that it would be better to visit them before, not after. Surely they will have more stuff and wouldn't the vibe just be a little better if it were before Christmas? Most markets are not as good the longer they go on.

Personally, I think you are going to too many places, I would't bother with one night in Dijon.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Yeah I would also think the Christmas Markets are better before. As for Dijon, does it merit 2 nights (I mentioned before I had an extra night somewhere)? We aren't renting a car, and the town isn't too big.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 06:26 PM
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Dijon can be seen in one day. But you could also go to Beaume from Dijon. It's an easy hour or so train ride. I agree that you are moving around too much. With 12 nights I would pick three towns.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 07:26 PM
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Which three do you suggest sticking with? Suggesting Beaune makes me want to go there too! (By the way I have 13 nights)
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Jul 24th, 2013, 08:03 PM
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Paris and Lyon for sure. then pick between Strasbourg or Dijon/Beaune. I will say the Hospices in Beaune is pretty spectacular and Dijon is a very charming little town. But I have noit been to Strasbourg so can't compare.
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Jul 24th, 2013, 09:49 PM
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I think I can manage with 2 nights in Strasbourg and 2 nights in Dijon (with a day trip to Beaune), unless strongly advised. So the Itinerary would be as follows:

Paris: (5 nights)

Strasbourg: (2 nights)

Dijon: (2 nights, with a day trip to Beaune)

Lyon: (2 nights)

Paris: (2 nights)
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Jul 25th, 2013, 12:10 AM
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Two nights in Dijon will only give you one day so you won't have time to do a day trip to Beaune. I would pick between Strasbourg and Dijon to give you e ought time to enjoy the location and so you aren't rushed.

I have a trip report on Strasbourg I will post...

We also love Dijon and Beaune...don't think you can go wrong.
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