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-   -   Travelling to France (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/travelling-to-france-1033211/)

crazy4vacations Dec 30th, 2014 08:36 AM

Travelling to France
 
Hi, my husband is going to Angers, France for two weeks for work. I was thinking of going along but what can I do while he's in courses all day?

Christina Dec 30th, 2014 08:40 AM

Angers is a nice city. But you could, in fact, do day trips by train from there if you wanted, it's right on the high-speed rail line.

I won't tell you what to do in Angers, I'm sure you can find that out from any guidebook -- several interesting museums and churches, etc.

But you can actually get to Paris by TGV in only 1.5 hours from Angers, you could easily go there or other cities for the day if you wanted.

sanderskn Dec 30th, 2014 08:57 AM

Definitely go!

greg Dec 30th, 2014 10:24 AM

Angers is at the western end of the Loire valley castle region. If you have a car, they are easily accessible. If using a train, there are several easy to reach ones: Amboise, Clos Lucé, Chenonceau, and Blois. There are also local mini bus tours to visit popular ones not reachable by trains.

If you are ambitious, you can also visit Mont St-Michel if you are not already thinking of visiting it together.

If you are heading there in summer, look up Son et lumière shows held at various castles in the valley.

nukesafe Dec 30th, 2014 11:11 AM

It would help if your profile let us know more about you. Where you live, your interests, etc. If you live in Australia or London makes a difference in making such a decision, for example.

crazy4vacations Dec 30th, 2014 11:33 AM

Sorry, I just updated my profile. I live in Canada. I'm debating going with my husband or possibly meeting up with him afterwards and touring together. I've never traveled alone so I'm a little skeptical?!

Kathie Dec 30th, 2014 12:11 PM

What are you skeptical about traveling alone? It's easy to do, and you are thinking about an area that offers lots of easy options for you to go places alone. Not knowing your interests or your husband's, I'd still guess that there are places you'd like to see that hold little interest for him. Having some time alone in a location give you an opportunity to do some of these things. You can also explore for places that both of you would enjoy.

This is also an opportunity for you to build your confidence as a traveler.

crazy4vacations Dec 30th, 2014 01:08 PM

Thanks Kathie, I come from a very small town, so travelling to a big city is intimidating and I can't speak any French so that alone makes me nervous. My husband loves History and Museums. I'm more of a lay on the beach type person but love travelling to different places so hate to miss out on France?! We are not sure when he will have to go but they told us likely "first quarter" so Jan/Feb or March.

Kathie Dec 30th, 2014 01:23 PM

You don't have to speak French to travel in France but a few phrases will build your confidence and make the people you meet feel like you are making an effort.

Have you traveled to big cities in Canada?

crazy4vacations Dec 30th, 2014 01:38 PM

I have but usually with a friend or family.

StuDudley Dec 30th, 2014 02:13 PM

Don't miss the opportunity - it may not happen again.

We spend 2 months in France every year. Easy to get around. We stayed for a week just outside of Angers - don't miss the tapestry in the Chateau. The town of Angers is quite nice. Our best meal was at Le Favre d'Anne.

Stu Dudley

nukesafe Dec 30th, 2014 03:14 PM

In our experience French is handy but not necessary in touristy parts of the country. A few polite phrases in French will have them responding in English or finding someone who will tell you where the toilet is. Even if you feel a bit timid at first you will find that almost any place you visit regularly will begin to treat you with recognition and courtesy.

You will kick yourself forever if you do not go, and I'm sure that folks on this Forum will be more than happy to give you advise on any sticky bits that may come up along the way.

Ackislander Dec 31st, 2014 04:37 AM

I venture to guess that you will come home from this trip s stronger, wiser, more confident person.

There are always problems in travel, always, and solving these, even minor ones, prepares us to handle the harder ones more easily. You will have memories to share with your husband from times together on evenings and weekends, and you will have time to learn about yourself during the days and on day trips.

I could write a lot more, but only if you want to hear it.

annhig Dec 31st, 2014 05:41 AM

Going would be a great idea, IMO. The centre of Angers is not that big and you will soon get the feel of the town, find a nice cafe that suits you for your morning cafe au lait, how to get to and from the railway station, your favourite bar for your evening de-brief with your DH, etc.

annhig Dec 31st, 2014 05:43 AM

and you've got time to learn a bit of french - try the library or e-Bay for a language CD. the Muchel Thomas ones are very good, and even a few basic phrases will help.

annhig Dec 31st, 2014 06:06 AM

that should be "Michel Thomas" of course.

crazy4vacations Dec 31st, 2014 10:00 AM

I would love to hear it Ackislander :)

Christina Dec 31st, 2014 10:15 AM

It isn't just the French, but I don't belittle the idea that all these day trips and navigating the French TGV system and Paris would be a bit much for someone from a small town who has never traveled. My sister is like that and that would be a disaster.

Perhaps a small train trip to a nearby town would be possible.

So other than stuff in Angers, I bet you can find some day tour companies from there, if you want. Just go to the main tourism office, they usually have brochures of that kind of stuff.

Ackislander Dec 31st, 2014 12:02 PM

This will be dead out of the tourist season so some of the suggestions above won't apply, like minibus tours through the local tourist office, which I would otherwise join in recommending. But the tourist office can help you sort out how to find local and regional attractions, how to buy bus and train tickets, and the like.

But there will be markets and churches and chilly damp walks in the country and the joy of seeing unexpected things every time you turn around, and riding the bus to the nearest town and back is an adventure if you haven't been there.

You can learn ten polite phrases a week, and because the French have in general extremely formal manners, this will get you a long way. Learn to order coffee, a meal, and ask simple directions, and you will be fine. I have traveled a lot in France and Italy with Canadian friends, and their only problems have revolved around things not being as, well, predictable as they are at home. Jumping queues is a norm, but so is always greeting the ticket seller, shopkeeper, or desk clerk, even if you have greeted them three minutes before. It is disconcerting, like not being able to get coffee with dessert in France or cappuccino after 11AM in less touristy parts of Italy, but learning how other people do things is what I love about travel.

If he is there for two weeks, I would let him get established by himself the first week, spend the second week learning things on your own, and then have him take a vacation week after the work is done for you to do things (Paris?) together.

He may have to do evening work, dinners, etc to which you won't be invited. A friend had the experience of going on a business trip of her husband's to a one hotel town in Switzerland, where she had dinner on one side of the dining room and her husband and colleagues had their working dinner on the other side! I occasionally joined my wife at the end of one of her many business trips to the UK, and I had to amuse myself while she was working or being wined and dined. But I had done a lot of business travel on my own and could rely on my own company!

Go, learn, enjoy!

crazy4vacations Dec 31st, 2014 12:03 PM

Thanks Christina! I have travelled a lot ... Just never alone :) I will most likely stick with Angers until the Hubby can join me!!!!


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