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Two Nights Out of Paris - Taste of Small Village Life

Two Nights Out of Paris - Taste of Small Village Life

Apr 20th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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Two Nights Out of Paris - Taste of Small Village Life

I have nine nights in Paris with my 17 year old daughter, her first trip. We plan to spend one night in Versailles, and I'd like to spend another two nights outside the city. My idea is a very small, very culturally French (not commuter town) village, preferably on a train line. Walled village would be great, vineyard nearby to visit would be wonderful, but doesn't need any real sites, no tourism draws. I'd love to find either a small B&B in a historic building or a room in a chateau. We are foodies, so having an assortment of cafes or markets would be good too. We like to walk, want to avoid bland suburban type destinations at all costs. Any recommendations out there?
KLJennings is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 05:48 AM
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I doubt there's anywhere in France that's on a train line, is a walled village, is culturally rich, and has a château-hotel - that has "no tourism draws," but Provins might fit some of the rest of your criteria.

I also wouldn't spend a night in Versailles if I didn't have to.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 20th, 2012, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 187
Pretty much, by definition, if folks are going to go to the trouble to set up a hotel in a historic bldg/chateau, it is because there is something of touristic interest in the area, so I apologize if it seems like I was not listening.
You could go to Beaune. There is great food, vineyards, Les Hospices (hospital from the Middle Ages-very cool visit).
Phread is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 07:03 AM
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Beaune is a good rec, but no shortage of tourists there. In all honesty, if there's a village within reasonable reach of Paris that meets all your requirements you will just have to live with either tourists OR commuters. You sound a bit sniffy with your list of must haves and must NOT haves. Rambouillet comes to mind - a pleasant, attractive small town with good restaurants, charcuteries, markets, cafes, its own culture, a chateau etc, but of course its residents include some well-heeled commuters - could you endure their presence for two nights?
FoFoBT is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 07:43 AM
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Wouldn't a commuter town be culturally French? I mean, it is French, isn't it? It would have the added benefit of not being a tourist draw. Oh, you mean the fairy tale, culturally French. Bon chance. As the others have said, part of the challenge here is that the requirements don't necessarily mesh - very small might mean not having an assortment of cafes & markets - you might get one of each. Or no market - as that might be in a larger town. No tourists would mean not much of the other things you want to see. Sorry, but if you want to go there, the rest of us probably do too.
dunia123 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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Try researching the town of Montfort-l’Amaury and this hotel-


You will want to take a taxi to the hotel from the train station. It's too far to walk.
zoecat is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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we spent a night once in St.Germain en Laye and liked it very much. it's not exactly to your brief but very pleasant and bourgeois.
annhig is offline  
Apr 20th, 2012, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Great question. I like your idea but have no specific places to suggest. The best I can do is suggest a search strategy.

First of all,pick a region where you'd like to spend time. Then see where the trains go in that region and the timing of trains.

Google any towns that appeal to check out population size. Browse Google images and the town's own website. I'd say you want a town of 5000 max. Though in my book 5000-pop is a town, not a village, it's small enough to be walkable and large enough to have the quality-of-life amenities you are looking for.

Use gites-de-france.com to look for B&Bs (chambres d'hotes), not gites. If you find a really nice B&B, that (to me) would be a good reason to go to a particular town. At a B&B you may find a good hostess/host who can suggest things for you to do and who'll know things about the town that the local tourist office may not think of telling you about. At a B&B you may meet other travelers with their own insights, and at breakfast you have a chance to converse.

If you have to make a choice among towns, use www.pagesjaunes.fr to look up the amenities you want--boulangeries, restaurants, parcs et jardins, musees, or whatever. Be sure your town has a few of whatever you want.

If you come up with a few choices and you aren't sure how to pick, come back and start a new thread here with specific names. Maybe you'll find somewhere we'd all want to go.

My final thought--don't leave Paris, just take a bike trip or two with FMT in the area around Paris. Have you read any of his trip reports on this forum? His photos make me long for France like nothing else on the web. You'd have the best of both worlds by biking between rural villages for the day and coming back to Paris at night.

Coquelicot is online now  

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