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Planning for France trip in October 2016

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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:06 PM
  #1
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Planning for France trip in October 2016

Hello everyone,

My husband and my sister are planning to go to France in October for about three weeks. We are in our late 20's, our first time in France. We definitely would like to visit Paris and stay for about 6 nights. Upon my perusing of fodors, Dordogne keeps coming up and seems to be a beautiful place to visit. Were also considering Nice. So far. those are the 3 places we would like to visit. We like to sight see, walk, experince the food, culture and views. We would probably hit up only few places and stay there and possibly do day trips. Were from Toronto so will likely fly from there but dont know if its a good idea to fly out from CDG as well. My questions: Are Dordogne and Nice good places to visit in October? I know that trains regularly run between places, but I have also read that you need a car in going places in town, i.e. Dordogne. What are some accomodatons you can suggest? How much money should we set aside for our trip, excluding airfare? I know that its very subjective but I'd say for an average person that wish to have a great time to experience France and does not want/expect luxury. Any advices and help are welcome. Nothing has been booked yet. Many thanks in advance!
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:26 PM
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Well I since you are flying out of Toronto you can catch a flight into Paris and out of Rome... ( Airtransat has such a flight.. leaving Oct 3rd. returning October 23rd.. for only 903 dollars !! ) Its usually best to fly open jaw.. into one city and out of another then back tracking.

Or..choose Barcelona ( 964 dollars for same dates) .

As for Nice.. its a good center.. you can jump on a local bus or train and be in Monaco in less then an hour.. and cheap cheap cheap.. we paid one euro for the bus!.. Train runs under 5 euros.. you can also visit Cannes.. and about a half dozen other small towns along the coast.. so, its a good base city. Nice in October.. well it should be nice.. but perhaps past beach time by then..

You could then just jump on a cheapo flight to Rome or Barcelona.. look at Vueling and Easyjet .. flights would be short and if booked well in advance surprisingly affordable.

I suggest the other departure cities because if you allow 6 days in Paris.. I doubt one would want to spend the next two weeks in Nice,, 4 days works there sufficiently.

As for Dordgonne.. you would need a car, I have not driven there myself.. so can't help with that..

The train from Paris to Nice is 5 hours and 50 minutes and tickets ( once again) can be dirt cheap if you book WELL in advance.

You could also take the train from Paris to Lyon.. spend a few days there.. then hop back on train to Nice.. Lyon is a lovely city, worth two or three days.

Anyways.. sorry I wasn't more help with the Dordgonne part of your wish list.. I have only been there once.. many years ago.. and I was a passenger in a car driven by locals ( so they knew where we were going) and we travelled in summer. October weather may be cooler and rainier.. perhaps not as nice for some activities like canoeing the Lot river..
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:32 PM
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You really need to hunker down with some guidebooks to get a sense of what you're getting into. And maps.

The Dordogne is beautiful in October. You absolutely need a car here, or don't come. Nice is also nice in October, and you don't need a car there, at least unless you don't want to go inland.

Nobody can suggest accommodations at this point because you haven't specified how many euros you wish to spend per night and what kind of accommodations you're looking for (hostels, hotels, B&Bs, gîtes, rental apartments, etc.).

Neither can anyone tell you how much money you should set aside, because apart from the vagaries of exchange rates, we have no clue as to what your daily travel habits are - do you subsist on supermarket sandwiches and water? Nice lunches and dinners in restaurants? Street food? Market food cooked at home? You haven't given us any clues, so there are no answers.

You really need to do a LOT more research.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:36 PM
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Nice would be great in October, and you can visit some other places in southern France/Provence. YOu don't need a car there as you can use the train to go a lot of places, and there are buses from Nice to some others you might want to try.

YOu can take the train from Paris to Nice.

Dordogne is pretty far away from Nice. The weather is going to be different there in OCtober than Nice, for sure (cooler, foggy, etc). Some things may be closed up for the season if you are talking end of October. And you would need a car. And then it is more difficult to leave the country from there as you aren't near a major international airport.

I can't imagine why you'd want to leave from Paris and go back there, seems a waste of time. YOU can easily fly out of Nice or Marseille, they are major airports even if you have to connect in Paris. But you personally don't need to go back to Paris someway by train, etc. to get a flight home.

I'd drop Dordogne and do southern France, you could end up in Marseille and leave from there, that would work.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:36 PM
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You can't canoe the Lot River in the Dordogne, LOL. You can canoe the Dordogne or the Vézère. And all the canoë/kayak rental places shut down between the beginning and middle of October. It's rarely rainy here in October, though - usually warm and sunny.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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If you want to spend a week in the Dordogne - consider renting a Gite where you'll have a full kitchen, multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, LR/DR, garden, washer, dishwasher, and a lot more room to spread out. We've rented 65 Gites in France. Here is something I wrote up about Gites.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-web-site.cfm

Stu Dudley
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Jan 12th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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It's rarely foggy and cool here in the Dordogne in October. Most often, it's sunny and fairly hot. We don't get much fog until at least November, and then only in the mornings. Interesting how people who've never been here know about the weather patterns.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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Hot in Dordgonne in October.. hmm.. it seems someone may be a bit optimistically stating things.. it can be nice at beginning of October.. but half way through the month the average highs are about 55-60.. not hot to me anyways.. and rain chance increases to 40 %.. but then better then some other places I suppose.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 03:33 PM
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You have to make a decision: Either Dordogne or Côte d'Azur, because there is a great distance between both regions.

Dordogne is the quieter region: you have the Old Town of Sarlat, prehistoric caves, small villages...

The Côte d'Azur in October is gorgeous: The crowds are gone, prices have dropped, all the flowers have started their second blooming season, weather is perfect - warm and sunny but not hot anymore -, seawater temps are around 24°C - a piece of heaven on Earth.

We have been 20+ times on the Côte d'Azur and mostly in October, because it is the best month to be there. Of course, we never stay in Nice which is a big city but at more beautiful places. Travelwise, Antibes or the hinterland of Cannes make good bases, but when it comes to scenery, nothing can beat the Esterel Coast between St. Raphael and Cannes. We usually stay at Agay, but Theoule-sur-Mer is also a good place.
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Jan 12th, 2016, 03:57 PM
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Nice to the Dordogne:

- Nice to Carcassonne - 5 hr drive, mostly all Autoroute 9:00-2:00
- Visit Carcassonne for 2 hrs 2:00-4:00
- Carcassonne to St Cirq Lapopie 2 3/4 hrs 4:00-6:45
- Visit St Cirq Lapopie and stay the night

- Next morning visit Pech Merle cave (reserve in advance). Drive along the lovely Cele River visiting the many small villages along along the river. Visit Figeac (one of our favorites). Return to St Cirq along the Lot River & stay a second night.

- Next morning, drive to Rocamadour & visit. Visit nearby Gouffre de Padirac. Visit the villages of Carennac and Martel. Then drive 1 hr to Sarlat.

zz can decide if that's too much driving. An "older" Travel Forum friend drove from Nice to Cenac (Dorodgne - near Sarlat) this June with his wife, grandson, and grandson's friend - and had no problems and had a fabulous time in the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 12th, 2016, 07:46 PM
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Wow. You guys are fast and are very well informed. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply and give suggestions. I must say, planning a trip to Europe for the first time can be overwhelming. Our usual vacation spots are different places in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico, United States and within Ontario, Canada. I find those places pretty straightforward to plan. My husband and I are joining a family trip to the other side of Europe/ Balkans (Amsterdam, Bucharest, Chisinau, Belgrade, Budva and Croatia, Vienna) in June. My in-laws are planning that trip. They are seasoned travellers to Europe so we are in good hands.

justine paris, I was looking at the same airtransat flight out of Paris. I was not getting a lot of return flights from the other listed places in France tho. Thanks for pointing out the return flight from Rome.

StCirq, you are correct. I have only began my research and would definitely need to read more travel books (and maybe a map) to be more familiar.

traveler1959, you have said many good things about Côte d'Azur, which I am so excited about.

Stu Dudley, thank you for breaking down the hours of driving between Nice and Sarlat. I think I may have to skip Dordogne for this trip, just factoring in driving and that more places are closed, and the higher probability of a less nicer weather. (Which I understand that weather can be unpredictable anywhere).

This gives me a slightly better itinerary I hope? If we do Oct 3-23 (Arrive in Paris and out from Rome) how does this itinerary look?

October 4-11- Paris
October 11-17 Côte d'Azur
October 17-23 Rome

Would that be a good plan? I feel like its a good mix of exploration, relaxing and sightseeing? Can you suggest day trips for Côte d'Azur and possibly Rome?

Feel free to give me your honest advices and opinions.

Oh, and in terms of accomodation, were thinking hotel/bnb/ apartments? Is 100 Euro a night a reasonable expectation? In terms of food, we will likely buy our own breakfast with the occasional crossaints/ coffee/ cheap, fast lunch and some occasional dinner.

Many thanks,
ZZ
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Jan 12th, 2016, 09:36 PM
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Leaving out the Dordogne is a good idea, as getting to that region from Paris and from there to Nice is a whole lot of traveling.

You'll really have only 5 days for all of the Côte d'Azur once you factor in travel time. I strongly recommend skipping Rome this time around in favor of more time in the Côte d'Azur; that would allow you to see some of both western and eastern Provence.
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Jan 13th, 2016, 02:06 AM
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Hi

I find it well balanced.
By cote d'Azur where would you go ?

Nice is a nice city and from there you can take trains (or buses ?) to Antibes, Monaco, Cannes, may be Grasse.

If you want to see small villages you need a car. If you stay more to the west (St Tropez, Ste Maxime, La croix valmer, Grimaud) etc you'll need a car too. But you'll be able to see the country side and take some walks which are fantastic along the seaside (le sentier du littoral runs almost along the whole coast) or inside (great walks too).

You have the possibility of taking a flight to Nice - lots of flights from Orly (Paris) to Nice.
Orly is easily accessible and Nice is not a big airport and close to the city.

Weather in ocotober can be miserable in Paris (can) but is usually still gorgeous in Cote d'Azur - I often swim in october there.

Enjoy !
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Jan 13th, 2016, 07:44 AM
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We were in Paris the first two weeks of Oct this past year and the weather was fine. A bit (abnormally) cool - but we only used umbrellas once. Same for 2008 - but it was warmer & no umbrellas at all.

My wife & I have spent 20 weeks vacationing on the Cote d'Azur. I developed a 30+ page itinerary for the Cote & Provence that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, restaurants, markets, etc. I've sent it to over 3,000 people on Fodors. If you would like a copy, e-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach one to the reply e-mail.

IMO, getting to the Dordogne after Nice is about the "same" as getting to Rome from Nice - maybe easier and there are things to see along the way. I certainly would not want to drive or take a train (9 1/2-10 hrs) to Rome from Nice and flying will eat up most of a day. It's only a 4 hr train ride back to Paris from the Dordogne (Brive la Gaillarde) - which is what we're doing this fall. I also have an itinerary for the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 13th, 2016, 08:16 AM
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Can I just add that Monaco is such a snooze. The Cote d'Azur would not be my choice (which is of no nevermind to the poster)--I am just not "into" the beautiful people thing. But these are 20 sometings. I would prefer Provence for a delightful trip.
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Jan 15th, 2016, 12:17 AM
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You can't tell what Mother Nature will have in store for us in 2016, and you can't rely on what happened last year - or even last month. But you just have to check the area weather reports about a week before your trip, then pack accordingly.

As far as lodging in Paris goes, you can find reasonably-priced hotels for around 100 - 150 EU in just about any part of town. Hotels have front desk staff who will help you with anything you need. For the first visit, most people prefer to stay in the more touristy areas (arrondissements 3,4,5,6,7) where there's lots to do - but hotels here can be more expensive. You can find good deals on hotels.com and booking.com. Most hotels have minibars, and many will provide coffee/tea setups, if you ask for them. "Breakfast included" might or might not be a good deal, since you can walk a few meters to the nearest cafe or boulangerie for less money. Paris is a safe city, and getting around is easy, either by walking or by Metro.

There is a crackdown on vacation rentals in Paris, so you might not want to bother with them - especially since you won't be cooking. Typically, you can't drop off your luggage if you arrive before the apartment is ready (as you can with a hotel), so will have to haul your luggage around until you can get the keys - definitely not fun if the weather's bad. In addition, you'll be left on your own to figure out the apartment and the city - not too simple, if you don't speak French. If you decide you need a kitchen, look for legal apart'hotels such as Citadines and Adagio, with several locations in Paris.
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Jan 15th, 2016, 01:47 AM
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>>>The Cote d'Azur would not be my choice (which is of no nevermind to the poster)--I am just not "into" the beautiful people thing. But these are 20 sometings. I would prefer Provence for a delightful trip.<<<

First, the Côte d'Azur is a part of Provence - the ancient Roman Provincia Narbonensis - and still has quite a few traces of Roman times, e.g. the arena in Fréjus, several aquaeducts, the thermal baths in Nice, several Roman bridges, the magnificent monument La Turbie above Monaco.

Second, I am aware that many Fodorites, mostly from the U.S., seem not to like the Côte d'Azur. I can't help but assuming they simply do not know the region. Many U.S. tourists know just Nice - a city with a population of 342,000. Cruise ship passengers may dock in Nice and take the tour bus to Monaco with a stop in Èze where they buy perfume in the Fragonard store which is recommended by the tour guide who gets a hefty commission from the store. And after the day, they think they can judge about the area. And even those who stay a couple of days in Nice think they know the Côte d'Azur.

I always read here do not rent a car, take public transportation. Yes, technically you can move around by public buses and trains. But you have to walk to the bus stop or train station, wait for a couple of minutes, sit in a burning hot bus or train for a while, deboard, walk to your destination.. and after that, your mood is certainly different than after a scenic drive in an air-conditioned vehicle (except in July and August, when congestions are rife).

The Côte d'Azur is a stretch of coastline that is 200 miles long. This stretch includes most beautiful coastline, dramatic mountains, countryside, picturesque hilltop villages, charming towns, vineyards and olive groves, canyons, rivers, Roman buildings, artists colonies, museums - whatever you want.

Third, what is the bracket for this 200-mile-stretch of coastline? It is the climate, one of the best of all Europe. It is the flowers and the palm trees. It is the sea which has nowhere else this deep blue colour that gave the coast its name. It is the scenic coastal roads. It is the views. The gorgeous villas (many are for rent). The old towns with their boutiques. The lavender. The wine. Fresh seafood. The light. It is no matter of incidence that so many artists (Picasso, Leger, Matisse..) chose to live here. And they left part of their work at the Côte in these wonderful museums (Chagall in Nice, Leger in Biot, Picasso in Antibes, Miro and many others in St. Paul, Matisse in Vence..).

Fourth, the Côte d'Azur is so large and so diverse that there are a few spots which are not so beautiful. I can understand that many people do not like Nice too much. I personally never chose to stay there but each time I was at the coast I made several daytrips to Nice, at least to visit some of the fabulous museums there.

The area around Villeneuve-Loubet with the high-rise apartment buildings, the traffic and the pebble beach is outright ugly. But it is just 2 miles out of 200.

There are areas with a high density of hotels (like Cannes), but there are also secluded coves in protected wilderness areas.

And why not Cannes? After a sightseeing tour, we enjoy strolling along the seaside boulevard and go into the bar of Hotel Majestic and have a glass of champagne there together with hors d'oevre which go along with the champagne.

And sometimes we spend an hour sitting on the terrace of a portside café in Cannes or St. Tropez and watch the billionaires crawling on their yachts. And the next day we would go hiking in the Esterel mountains without seeing a single other person for hours let alone "beautiful people". You can do all this on the Côte d'Azur. I do not know any other coast in the world which is so diverse.

And a final word about Monaco. Yes, it is extremely dense with its high-rise apartment buildings. And does not look pretty anymore. But again, it is just 2.5 miles out of 200. And Monaco has some charming spots - the Old Town, the Prince's Palace, the Cathedral, the Cactus Garden, the wonderfully quaint Oceanographic Institute. And the drive to Monaco is just spectacular. Certainly a worthy destination for a daytrip.

In other words, you can spend years there and never get bored.

Sorry about these frank words. But after so many years on Fodor's forum I am getting tired about all this "I-do-not-like-the-Côte-d'Azur"-posts.
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Jan 15th, 2016, 02:00 AM
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Traveller1959,, while I agree with most of your post.. I still maintain one does not have to rent a car to enjoy much of the area.. and for some the rental car experience or driving somewhere they are not familiar with is far more stressful then the bus/train scenario you outlined.. We used bus and train and found them relaxing and wonderful.. never had to worry about parking.. or missing turns.. so I think you need to remember while renting a car is a great thing for many.. and it does open more doors .. its not the ideal choice for many people and public transport is NOT that bad at all..
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Jan 15th, 2016, 02:16 AM
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Okay, Justine, just take it as a minor point.

"..que vous fussiez si prudent que de laisser à chacun gagner Paradis comme il l’entend.."
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Jan 16th, 2016, 05:00 PM
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It sounds like you a reasonably active and able , but if you are looking to break things up a bit, the day tour from Nice listed below is very good. It includes a stop at the village of Eze, with enough time to ascend to the veiwpoint at the gardens on top (spectacular views). I have been to Eze twice,once on the tour below, and once with a hire car, which was a pain. The carpark was full, and ended up parking on the side of the road before the bridge leading to the village. The tour is reasonably paced and may be appropriate for your needs.
Enjoy your trip

http://www.viator.com/tours/Nice/Mon...d478-2356NCE10
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