Time Management

Dec 9th, 2000, 09:21 AM
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Time Management

We have two weeks in April and tickets to Charles DeGaul (sp). Would you spend all two weeks in Paris, or would you split the time between the city and the countryside.
Dec 9th, 2000, 11:03 AM
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Definately split it. The countryside of France is very different than the city. Both are extremely romantic but in very different ways. Don't limit your experience to just the city. When I go, I need some of each.

Close locations are north to Honfleur * Mont. St. Michel, the Burgundy area is nice, but my favorite area is still the Dordogne.
Dec 9th, 2000, 02:03 PM
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I'm with Diane on this one. Definitely split your time. Though there is more than enough to keep you busy in Paris for that time, you would enjoy the differences the country offers. Close to Paris are the great palaces of Versaille and Fontainbleau,and Monet's garden's at Giverny. The Loire Valley is not that far to the southwest, with literally hundreds of interesting chateaux - Chenonceau and Chambord are only two of the many worth a visit. If you were heading to Mont. St. Michel, the Normandy beaches offer a wonderful history lesson. And these suggestions are just a start!
Dec 9th, 2000, 02:33 PM
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Spend 6-8 nights in Paris including at least one "field trip" like Versailles.

Then rent a car and do the Loire Valley or Normandy/Mont St. Michelle.

Or ... France has so many options.

You may enjoy, and get some ideas from the travelogues by a friend ... you'll find the articles listed at www.twenj.com/otherswrite2.htm#chateau

Dec 9th, 2000, 04:55 PM
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We considered renting a car, but figured that without French language skills (we're both very rusty) that the signs would be too hard to understand and that we wouldn't be able to ask for directions.

That said, we figured we were stuck with a tour bus and that doesn't sound very appealing.

Now I'm beginning to wonder....
Dec 9th, 2000, 05:31 PM
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Hey, Pat! To say that I speak French would be a vast overstatement. So what made me think I could rent/drive a car in the French countryside ALONE?? I was absolutely fine. Non-French-speaking hubby and I are headed out to France soon and will rent a car for the countryside. I've been studying the road signs (saw them on a website I can't recall) and verified routes with the kind proprietress of our hotel. I will guarantee that your French is superior to ours, and we've had no trouble in France (or Italy or Mexico). The countryside and its charming people are worth it -- plus it's an adventure!! ENJOY!
Dec 9th, 2000, 10:10 PM
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It's easy to spend all your time in Paris as there is so much to see, but you will enjoy your trip more if you take a break and see some of the countryside, either by taking day trips out of the city (Chartres & Malmaison, in addition to those already given), or by car. Have driven in France several times. The roads are excellent and well marked. (The tolls roads can be very expensive though.) It's the best way to see the country, especially the small towns.
Dec 10th, 2000, 09:25 AM
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My husband and I usually spend some time in Paris and then go to an area and pick up a car, so we are not starting off in Paris traffic! Plus it avoids a long drive just as you are getting used to the system. He speaks little French, but has no trouble driving because the signs are all pictures (I do help navigate.) But we would definitely advise seeing some other parts of France (I find big cities enervating after a while).

Here's our suggestion: train to Rennes, pick up car and drive to St. Malo, a lovely walled city on the northern coast. Next to Mont St. Michel (incredible 10th century abbey on spit which becomes island when tide comes in). A recent post said it was wonderful to stay on the Mont; we stayed in Avranches at Hotel des Jardin des Plantes 10 years ago and loved it. Then to Blois--with Blois as a base, you can see 3 beautiful chateaux (Blois, Chambord & Chenonceaux). (We liked Hotel Anne de Bretagne, close to chateau, but again many years ago.) From there drive to airport and drop off car. There is also the possibility of going from Blois to Chartres and from there to airport. You can divide up time however you want, but I'm sure you would return home feeling like you had seen tons and had a great adventure.

And there are lots of English-speakers in those areas, so you won't feel so intimidated.

Or you can split the difference; several days in Paris--week in countryside--several days in Paris?

Also, when figuring driving time, just pretend that the kilometers are miles because I find that makes it about right. (I usually figure 60 Kilometres = an hour.)

Feel free to e-mail us with questions; I realize the above might feel like too much of an undertaking. Anyway, good luck with decisions--get out your map!

Dec 10th, 2000, 09:50 AM
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Pat: You could do as I did twice this year. Take the TGV from CDG to Avignon, about a four-hour trip, rent a car (before you leave the States) at Avignon and drive to St.-Rémy (about 12 miles from Avignon) and use that as a base to explore Provence. Drop the car in Avignon, and take the train back to Paris' Gare de Lyon. Boots
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