Summer Trip 2018 Recommendations?

Old Oct 6th, 2017, 05:35 PM
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Summer Trip 2018 Recommendations?

We are planning to spend a month in Italy/France in late June/July in 2018. We have seen many major sites in Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence, Bologna, Lake Como, Puglia, Cinqe Terre), and have spent a good amount of time in and around Paris, but the remainder of France is unexplored to us. We are craving some small towns, some charming villages, scenery, day hikes, great food, and a bit of time on the ocean. We have friends in Piedmont, so about a week we will spend there with them (just outside of Turin). We love to sleep in a place at least 3-4 nights when we travel, and plan to have a car for as much of the trip as we need (although we are fans of using the rail system when we can).

This is our eighth trip to Europe, so we are comfortable with navigating. I really just can't decide and narrow things down, so any of your can't miss places or favorites of folks on here will help me shape our experience.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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Hi, I did like the Normandy part of France, around Bayeux. There is much WW II history in the area, Normandy Beach with German fortifications still in place, if you have interest in this. In Bayeux there of course is the Bayeux tapestry, which is pretty amazing. We also stopped at some very nice organic farms, like goat farms, snail farms, etc. This area seems to love Americans due to the history of the area. Also I saw an amazing fortification of Richard the Lionhart in Normandy, that is placed high up on a huge hill/small mtn, over the bend in a big river. this is definitely a important historical area. Don't recall the village, but a very pretty part of France. Sue
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 05:46 PM
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Fantastic suggestions. Thanks Sue!
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 09:08 PM
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I believe the fortification Sue81 mentioned is Château-Gaillard in Les Andelys.

If you are interested in both France and Italy, you might hit the triangle and ask to have a tag for France added to this thread. Otherwise, many people who know France won't see it.

If you haven't already done so, you might consult some good guidebooks, perhaps in your local library. You have MANY options, and it might be worth seeing what strikes you.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 10:17 PM
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"We are craving some small towns, some charming villages, scenery, day hikes, great food, and a bit of time on the ocean."

The area of the Riviera that is near the French border, and is in the hills about south of San Remo -- towns like Apricale, Dolceacqua, Perinaldo, Triora and Bordighera -- is an easy drive from Piemonte and has everything you are looking for. While it is very easy to visit popular parts of France from there, between the border and Nice, with a car or by train, this area has none of the jam-packed problems of the French Riviera in July.


https://www.borghimagazine.it/en/vil...1/IM/perinaldo

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...b062a6ac0ad00f

http://www.italythisway.com/places/dolceacqua.php

http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/t...ra-di-ponente/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ce...e-Liguria.html

http://www.hello-italy.com/apricale-...l#.Wdh9vq2B1mM

http://www.italyrivieralps.com/2015/...much-more.html


kja,

You don't realise that a lot of truly marvelous Europe is actually not in guidebooks found in libraries and the big chain bookstores. You repetitively post at people to look in guidebooks, often scolding with CAPITAL letters, hammering and hammering away at this in every thread, but in reality only some specialized guidebooks for Italy or France will include like the one I just described, despite their great charm and good opportunities for lodging and restaurants, or at most will give the entire area one paragraph. This is true of many of the most famous guidebooks for Italy or France.

Also, people seeking ideas about what to pair with a fixed destination are really not taking a guidebook approach to travel, and social media can actually fill in where guidebooks fall down. Personally, I find today's guidebooks really annoying in their presumptions about what "typical tourists" will want out of Europe --- and recently noticed that most your own trip reports begin by telling everyone "I don't think other tourists should take the adventurous trips I do" -- so apparently even you'd rather be creative when traveling and follow your own instincts. So would other people. They are looking for something they can't find in guidebooks. I'd rather not see every corner of social media for travellers become as condescending as most guidebooks can be, assuming Americans need Europe dumbed down for them and only experienced travellers can figure out their own direction.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 10:43 PM
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@ massimop: I don’t dispute the value of personal input – quite in contrast, I value it, have benefitted from it, and hope others find some value in the input I provide. I happen to think the advice on social media (including Fodor’s) most useful when combined with the information in guidebooks, and I plan to continue to recommend them. You don’t need to agree. And BTW, my cautionary notes are generally about the pace of my travel and the ways in which I have tailored my itineraries to my particular interests -- not "adventuresomeness." I plan my trips with extensive reliance on guidebooks, and am grateful to be able to refine my plans with the generous assistance of many helpful Fodorites.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 02:44 AM
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I agree that guidebooks only cover so much (and frustratingly leave out lots of places that are wonderful) but they are pretty valuable as a starting point to get a broad overview of either specific places or regions. I agree that a lot of the questions on this board lately seem like the person hasn't even bothered to open a guide book to get started. But that doesn't seem like the case with this poster who seems more looking for opinion. So...

mainetrvgrl - The first thing that came to mind when I read your question was the Dordogne as a place that you might like. A few years ago I did a trip starting in the Dordogne (after an initial few days in Paris)and then moving on to Provence, then the hill-towns behind the Cote d'Azure, then the Italian Riveria (stayed in Rapallo). In my case I then went on to Switzerland but the Piedmont would work even better. I had about 5 weeks, only had a car for the France portion. It was one of my favorite trips. I also did it in June/July
Here's that trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...swiss-alps.cfm

Another summer I did a trip that included Turin so maybe that trip report will give you some ideas of things to include when you are there.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-castles.cfm
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 02:53 AM
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Yes, the first thing that came to mind when I read what you were looking for was (not surprisingly) also the Dordogne. Of course, it doesn't have an ocean, but it has plenty of rivers and lakes to swim in.
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Old Oct 7th, 2017, 10:18 AM
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Thank you all for the fantastic feedback-I certainly have guidebooks (several of the ones folks here mention as the most helpful ones), but I too have benefitted from the direct recommendations from you all as I have planned my trips over the years. The gems and jewels and off the beaten path places that you recommend tend to be my favorite parts!

Dordogne was on my list...watched Rick Steeve's episode from that region. It certainly looks like a beautiful place. We spent some time on the Italian Riviera last summer, and it WAS wonderful. I will keep you posted!

Thanks again
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 07:05 AM
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I would drive and do this, the Best Holiday i have had with my children, 12 and 16. Better than Florida and all that. The kids loved it and even the car trip's, see my car guide as to why.

My trip info.
https://www.eurocartrip.com/travel (travel log)
https://www.eurocartrip.com/carguide (car guide)

See the home page, is a pic I took at the top of Mont Blanc and the first near the 1st place in France and close to where they filmed "Chocolat".

1, place in in the middle of nowhere if France, amazing.
2, The Lake Lake Garda, pool, slides, swimming in the lake.
3, CHAMONIX, Mont Blanc and up the other side later that afternoon. Amazing hotel.
4, Strasbourg, OK and fab hotel.
5, Versailles , cheap hotel as your out most of the time at the palace on bikes, boats, electric buggies, its massive.
6, Lille (not very good), miss and do Normandy.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 07:13 AM
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Re: Massimo's suggestion of Italian coastline, close to Piemonte:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/t...nean.html?_r=0
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 04:24 AM
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I agree with the recommendations about Dordogne and Provence. For the Dordogne, we stayed in Brantome and Sarlat. I would also suggest the Loire Valley.We stayed in Blois and Chinon. Provence is filled with the small villages and beautiful scenery you are looking for! I think the lavender will be in bloom in July.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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We very much enjoyed a short stay in Nîmes, an interesting town, with ancient Roman sites, in an attractive area. It's adjacent to Provence, with fewer tourists; we visited Avignon on a day trip. We also visted the Pont du Gard while in Nîmes.


Of course, [the Dordogne] doesn't have an ocean

Neither does the Côte d'Azur have an ocean.
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