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Please help with itinerary to Champagne & Alsace areas.

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Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:00 PM
  #1
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Please help with itinerary to Champagne & Alsace areas.

We are traveling to France, where we will stay in Paris just for a few days & then on to Champage & Alsace areas. I would appreciate comments on my proposed timetable. I'm traveling late May/ early June. At some point we will rent a car & I am thinking that would be best done in Reims. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Hotel suggestions are also appreciated. We do have some flexibility as to the number of days & can add a couple if needed.Thanks ! THURS: FLY TO PARIS.
FRI: ARRIVE 11:25AM;
LATE AFTERNOON TRAIN TO CHARTRES.
SAT: SEE CHARTRE+ IN DAY;
AFTERNOON TRAIN BACK TO PARIS.
SUN: Paris.
MON: Paris.
TUES: TO REIMS (BY TRAIN OR CAR?).
WED: REIMS & VICINITY.
THURS: REIMS & VICINITY.
FRI: TO COLMAR.
SAT: COLMAR & VICINITY.
SUN: COLMAR & VICINITY.
MON: TO STRASBOURG.
TUES STRASBOURG.
WED: STRASBOURG.
THURS: LEAVE.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:17 PM
  #2
 
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My little input.

I did a day trip form Paris to Reims. We took mid morning train (SNCF, now could use TGV). From station we walked to the Cathedral and toured interior. Outside of the cathedral is Torusit Booth, so we gathered some info there. Across street was large wine shop, browsed but decided to wait. Walked coupld of blocks down to pedestrian area to have lunch. Afterwards, about a 15-20 min walk to Taitinger cellars. Located under ruins of abbey, in old roman quarries. good tour, nice tasting, bought some champagne and company items there. Called cab, back to train station.

Train stopped at Epernay on the way, another champagne area to visit.

if you are exepcting to visit vineyards, car would be best. If you just want a day trip, could train. We really only docused on two locations (for example, could have seen some of the WWI stuff)
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 01:30 PM
  #3
 
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Having just returned from Reims-Verdun-Metz-Nancy-Troyes in September, my sense is that two full days in Reims (in addition to your arrival day) is a bit too much. Unless you are really nuts about Champagne cellars, that is. For me, one cellar is plenty. Also, I found the vineyard areas south of Reims to be not as interesting as vineyards in Provence, Burgundy, Bordeaux or especially Alsace (where the villages are world-class). A bit light on the picturesque-ness, for me.

So, my sense is that you take the train to Reims, spend the rest of that day and one more, and not rent a car. (Reims was badly damaged in WWI and rebuilt in a ho-hum style.) Then train to Metz and spend two nights. It is a very pretty city, with a new Pompidou modern art museum. From there, with a car, you could visit Nancy (45 minutes away, worth a day trip, not as pretty as Metz but worth it for the central Place Stanislas).

Finally, drive to Colmar and have the car for exploring the very picturesque villages of the wine region. You could easily spend two days doing that in addition to your arrival day, and Colmar is charming. Then drive to Strasbourg, turn in the car and spend two or three nights there.

Once you leave Champagne, the landscape and towns are much prettier.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:03 PM
  #4
ira
 
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Hi Mim,

I would add 2 nights to Paris.

I would also stay in one of the smaller towns in Alsace and visit Strasbourg and Colmar - 1 day each.

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Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:41 PM
  #5
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Hi all,
Thanks for the tips. We've been to Paris several times before but just can't be near without spending at least a few days.

We're going to the Pompidou in Paris so one modern art museum is probably enough. What else do you recommend in Metz?

I had planned to leave Paris for Reims later in the day & when I wrote "Reims & Vicinity" I meant to included the drive to Epernay & back. Is that worth the trip & is it still too much time there?

Any suggestions for hotels. Would you suggest staying outside Reims or in town. What town in Alsace do you suggest for a hotel?
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 03:11 PM
  #6
 
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I'd catch the train to Epernay, stay on the Avenue and taste up and down it.
Reims ok to visit the cathedral and the Forum
2 days in total

Colmar interesting but visit the wine route and stay in one of the little towns out there, far more interesting. If you do rent (there are buses) a car then the top of the Vosges is interesting. The Ballon d'aslsace has fine views and there are both a concentration camp and a chateau up there.
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Feb 4th, 2012, 07:26 PM
  #7
 
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We stayed in Turckheim for two weeks, which was a great base for the wine route villages,eg Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Kayserberg etc, as well as lovely day trips to Munster, Haut Koenigsberg, & Colmar. We also took the local train from Colmar to Strasbourg for a daytrip as it's quite a large city & saved parking stress.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 07:13 AM
  #8
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I have taken your tips into consideration and rearranged our itinerary and now I need some suggestions as to where to stay ing the Colmar & Strasbourg areas. Thanks.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 09:34 AM
  #9
 
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I wouldn't zoom right out to Chartres on the day of your arrival. Unless you're particularly stoic, the whole experience will likely be lost on you. In fact, I'd probably completely rearrange this trip. If you want to keep going once you get to Paris, head right to Reims. Spend one night (plenty, IMO) and then head to Strasbourg. Settle in there for a night or two, rent a car and do the Route des Vins and the Route des Crêtes, stay in Obernai or another town village for a night or two, then head to Colmar (one night there is plenty for me, but you might want two0, then ditch the car and go back to Paris (you need more time there IMO). Make a day trip to Chartres while in Paris if you like.
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Feb 13th, 2012, 02:58 PM
  #10
ira
 
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Hi M,

Alsace is small enough that you don't have to change hotels.

We very much liked our stays at
http://schwendi.pagesperso-orange.fr/ and
http://www.presdondine.com/

We highly recommend dinner at http://www.le-maximilien.com/ which is a 1*
We also very much liked the resto at http://www.frankenbourg.com/

Enjoy your visit.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 03:06 PM
  #11
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Thanks for all the tips. I am now working on the car rental. I've been reading all the posts on car rental horror stories. I've rented cars in Europe many times without incident & never bought the extrra insurance. I am now reconsidering this but find it all very confusing.
What's the concensus amoung Fodor posters - to buy or not to buy?
I appreciate the tips on rescheduling our trip to leave from Paris but this is only the 1st leg of the trip. We are visiting family & will end up in Salzburg & leave from MUC, so we don't want to backtrack.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 04:04 PM
  #12
 
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If you're unsure about renting a car, getting around without one is possible. We visited Alsace a few years ago entirely by public transport. Obviously, we didn't see everything, but we're slow travelers and had a ball just getting a taste of the area.

We based in Strasbourg for 3 nights, then took the train to Colmar and then a bus to Kaysersberg where we spent 4 days.

We spent a day exploring Kaysersberg, we visited Kientzheim (on foot), then we hiked through the vineyards to Riquewihr for the day. We also took a bus back into Colmar for the day (don't miss the Musee d'Unterlinden). Colmar was interesting for a day, but I'm glad we didn't stay overnight.

We stayed at the Hotel Gutenberg in Strasbourg and loved it, it was right in the heart of town: http://www.hotel-gutenberg.com/uk/index.php
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:52 PM
  #13
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Thanks for the hotel suggestions. I definitely will rent a car as we are traveling with several people and it makes more sense economically and is easier to schedule than trying to fit train schedules into our itinerary. I just have to decide if I need to buy the Damage excess insurance or not, and whether there is a drop charge. The sites aren't too clear on that.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 03:07 PM
  #14
 
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What extra insurance? The collision damage insurance? Surely you have a credit card that covers you for that.

What rental sites are you looking at? CALL them - it's always wiser to speak to a human when renting a car in Europe.
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