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suea2 Mar 22nd, 2014 10:57 AM

travelling through France
We have 10-12 days in June and are planning to begin in Paris for a few days. We think we want to drive south and just need to end up near an airport! Is there any benefit to taking a train for any part of the trip? Does anyone have suggestions for an itinerary?

nytraveler Mar 22nd, 2014 11:40 AM

It would help to know:

Who and how many "we" are
If you have already seen Paris previously
What your interests are
If you have 10 days including day of arrival and departure or if you have 12 days plus the days of arrival and departure

Nice is a major airport and I believe Marseilles also has a number of international flights - but there are a million choices of what to do in between.

crckwc1 Mar 22nd, 2014 11:44 AM

What are your interests? We need to know more in order to help. There are countless possibilities but as an example, take a high speed train to Nice, rent a car, explore the area, fly out of Nice. Get a France guide book and do some research.

crckwc1 Mar 22nd, 2014 11:47 AM

Sorry, nytraveler, we were posting at the same time. Great minds think alike!

TPAYT Mar 22nd, 2014 11:58 AM

i'm of the same mind as the posters above
We'd never drive---take the TGV to Nice, Aix, Avignon, etc. and then pick up your car. It's a short train ride instead of a long drive. You can be there in about 3 hrs., have more time to enjoy the area, and it's very easy to do.

Give us more info and the Fodorites will be happy to help.
Also start reading trip reports on Fodors to get an idea of where you'd like to go.

Christina Mar 22nd, 2014 12:11 PM

It doesn't really matter if Nice or Marseille has international flights (of course they are both major cities and major airports), because to almost all places in the US, you would have to have a connection, anyway, so they will go back through Paris (if Air France or Delta) or some other city of your choice, depending on the airline. I imagine BA goes through London and United/Lufthansa might go through Frankfurt or Munich and KLM will go through Amsterdam.

I don't think there are any flights from MRS direct to the US. There are some direct flights to JFK from Nice on Delta.

I wouldn't find driving the entire length of France to be particularly enjoyable so would also take the TGV. It isn't that scenic or bucolic around Paris and most of the way, anyway.

StCirq Mar 22nd, 2014 12:32 PM

There are few things I find more unpleasant than the interminable drive from Paris to Provence/the Côte d'Azur. Of course, you can plot a route on N and D roads over 10-12 days, but that's for the OP to do, once he/she has read the requisite guidebooks, studied mapps, etc., as we're not travel agents.

Coquelicot Mar 22nd, 2014 12:52 PM

If you have only a week to ten days, you could have an enjoyable meander around the Ile de France, Normandy, Brittany, and maybe the Loire. With a car you'll see much more than by train.

But if your intention is to spend time in the south of France, then take the TGV south, rent a car, and do your meandering there.

Grindeldoo Mar 22nd, 2014 02:02 PM

Alternatively take the TGV to Lyon, stop a couple of nights there and explore the city - it's got a fascinating old town, excellent restaurants and some great museums. Then continue your journey south to the coast, again with the TGV. That way you'll get to see a bit more of the country than travelling straight through.

dulciusexasperis Mar 23rd, 2014 08:40 AM

Sometimes I wonder if people read what they have written before they hit the 'submit' button.

Read what you wrote suea2 and try to figure out how anyone could possibly begin to answer it. You have provided NO information other than ". We think we want to drive south and just need to end up near an airport!" on which suggestions might be made.

suea2 Mar 23rd, 2014 02:53 PM

Obviously I have never been on one of these forums. Thanks to those who answered with patience.

I think this is a specific start...
•Any suggestions for small B&Bs or boutique hotels in Lyon?

MarySteveChicago Mar 23rd, 2014 03:27 PM

We loved our drive from Paris to Beaune, about 2-3 hrs. We stopped at a lovely inn and had a memorable lunch. Beaune is a town, smaller than lyon and a destination for wine lovers. The town is cobble stoned with many shops in the central area.

We loved this in town apartment from

Sarastro Mar 23rd, 2014 04:23 PM

suea2 - Stick with it. It takes a bit of practice to both pose and respond to questions in an understandable and comprehensive manner.

Generally, when asking a question include dates (even if they are general and what you have given is good), number traveling, where it is you want to go, a budget window in euros for restaurant and hotel recommendations, and be patient while you wait for replies.

Forums such as this one are not necessarily used to have others plan an itinerary for you. It´s just too difficult to guess what someone´s else's interests and budget might really be. Take a look at a couple of guide books or read about specific destinations in France here on Fodors (take a look at the <i>Destinations</i> tab on the upper left corner of this page).

Allow others to make specific and meaningful responses by asking pointed question such as ¨Will I have sufficient time with 7 days in which to explore Normandy and the Loire Valley?¨ This way you will benefit from the input of many knowledgeable posters.

nytraveler Mar 23rd, 2014 05:44 PM

Again we need more info. How many people are you? Can you share one double bed (we don;t know if you're honeymooners, a pair of senior friends or a family with 3 kids). Also you have to give a budget in euros.

Underhill Mar 23rd, 2014 07:35 PM

What you really need is a good guidebook for initial research. I strongly recommend the Michelin Green Guide to France, which has recommended itineraries as well as a whole lot more (sightseeing, hotels, and so on).

StuDudley Mar 24th, 2014 09:04 AM

If I was leading a group of 10 first-timers to France who all had "average" interests and didn't have the inclination to do research themselves - and I wanted to "show off" France, I would do this - but only for a 12 night trip.

- Land at CDG and immediately take the 3 1/4 hr TGV to the Avignon TGV station (Provence), rent a car, and spend 4-5 nights in the Luberon (countryside) or in St Remy (village with lots of shops & restaurants).

- Get an early start and take the A9 west then the A61 to Carcassonne. Spend 2 1/2 hrs visiting the largest fortress in Europe. Then back on the A61 eventually to Sarlat la Caneda in the Dordogne and stay there 4-5 nights.

- Again, get an early start and head north towards Brive la Gaillarde - but first stop at Collonges la Rouge for a 1 hr visit. Then on to Brive, return the car, and take the 4 hr train to Paris.

- Spend your remaining days in Pars.

If this trip is in late June, do it in reverse - Paris, Dordogne, Provence, back to Paris for a 1-nighter. This might allow you to catch the Lavender in bloom in Provence.

This has the most diversity of stuff to do & see, IMO. Provence & the Dordogne are our two favorite regions in France.

Stu Dudley

dulciusexasperis Mar 24th, 2014 03:39 PM

Where did the group of '10 first timers' come from?

StuDudley Mar 24th, 2014 04:31 PM

I invented them. Designing an itinerary for "average" tastes in a sample of 10.

Stu Dudley

dulciusexasperis Mar 25th, 2014 10:01 AM

Ah, I see, so instead of the OP providing the information necessary for anyone to make any intelligent suggestions that might suit her, you have assumed she is the average unintelligent tourist and told her what to do.

Heck, she could just buy a Rick Steves guidebook for that. He tells them what to do just about down to the hour with his 'suggested itineraries'.

dulciusexasperis Mar 25th, 2014 10:02 AM

Should have said, I don't disagree with what you have done or am implying anything derogatory towards you Stud Dudley. You've probably got her sized up about right.

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