Want to "do" France in a month

Nov 14th, 2005, 05:15 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 8
Hello,
i suggest you to come and visit the Loire Valley and the town of Tours. I think it's a good idea for your children to visit this town which is very dynamic and wonderful. Moreover, you can visit many chateaux like Amboise, Chambord, Azay le Rideau, wines cellars in Montlouis and Vouvray,... I suggest you to spend nights in a maison d'hôtes (B&B) because it's very beautiful. You can visit the web site of La Touraine: www.plusdetouraine.com.
You can see all the description of the hotels, and activities that you can do during your trip.
For the next 2 weeks, this web site proposes a big operation: -50% in many B&B and hotels in the Touraine. Maybe in June they will do again an other operation like this!
mmandy is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 05:52 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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hi mandy, was it you I just read on the french forum auféminin.com talking about the same website? ;-)
how funny!
coco
cocofromdijon is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 06:01 AM
  #23  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi crepes,

Much good advice above.

Trains are good for getting from city to city (large or small), but it becomes difficult if you want to visit the small towns in the provinces.

You have plenty of time to pick the regions you want to visit, get your maps and plot your routes.

We found that driving in France was quite easy. The roads are well marked and in good repair.

You might find my trip report helpful.

Ira Does France
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34676645

Photos at http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-pla2au

ira is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 03:20 PM
  #24  
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Thanks all. I guess since I haven't posted here in a year, I should have stated that I am a French teacher who has been traveling to France at least twice a year since 2000.

Mandy, I studied in Tours for two months in the spring of 2004. While there, I was very fortunate to live with a wonderful couple who remain my good friends. I have been back to see them twice since. I have done the Loire Valley and the three of us will be doing it again with a group of 22 of my students and a few of their parents. They will go back to the US on 31 May and my sons and I will stay behind to spend the month of June touring France.

In addition to Paris and environs, and the Loire Valley, I have done Dijon and Lyon, but the boys have not so we will go there for sure as I loved both those areas. I am just having trouble choosing my areas. I want them to see some mountains - but the Alps or the Pyrenees? And as far as the Cote d'Azur, what city should I choose for a base?

I like the suggestion of using the train to get from one base to another and then short car rentals to explore the areas. That would not be a problem at all. I just didn't want to rent a car for the entire month and drive the entire journey.

Please continue to suggest some specifics - cities and places to stay and things to see there.

crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 03:36 PM
  #25  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi C,

>I want them to see some mountains..<

At the risk of sounding strident, please look at our visit to the Med and the Dordogne.

ira is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 04:42 PM
  #26  
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Ira, the pics are absolutely gorgeous. I skimmed the trip report as it is waaaaay lengthy, and malheureusement, I have test papers to grade this evening!
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 04:52 PM
  #27  
 
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I like Strasbourg. Not too far from Dijon and a beautiful city with its own charms and plentiful opportunities for daytrips: Mulhouse, with one of the world's great automobile museums (Schlumpf); Colmar, recommended by Rick Steves and others; and Basel and Zurich in Switzerland. Check out the art museum in Strasbourg, the EU buildings and take a ride on the Ill or Rhine rivers.

One week in the upper Provence area, preferably based in Arles which for my money has the best variety of sights. Avignon, Orange, Nimes, Montpellier would be good daytrips or alternative bases. The only place I don't like in the area is Aix-en-Provence - not a bad place, very pretty but very boring.

I like Nice for a base on the Cote d'Azur - equidistant from Cannes and Monaco (both about 30 minutes away) and easy train access to many other beautiful ports along the coast. Big enough that there is lots to do in the city itself: many superb museums and a great selection of restaurants and hotels. Citadines have three properties there.

Kinda short on mountains in these suggestions; while you are in Lyon consider a daytrip to Annecy - it is quite beautiful and near mountains.
derekflint is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 01:29 AM
  #28  
 
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HI COCO!!!! indeed, it's funny! and yes I mentionned the same website because I thnk it could be interesting for people who want to visit the Touraine. And I live in the Touraine so....
HI CREPES!!!! I lived in the town of Tours too,3 months ago,during 3 years for studies, and I love this town!!! it's very dynamic with pubs, shops, students everywhere you go,... I'm very disappointed of leaving Tours...
I just mention you that in the Alpes, I think it's more touristic, there is more people (but it's just my opinion), but it's very beautiful. I always go to the Haute-Savoie, in LES MENUIRES because there is many activities the afternoon and it's a wonderful area!!!
mmandy is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 09:53 AM
  #29  
 
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If you base in the Nice area--perhaps even up in Vence?--you will be near the mountains of the Alpes-Maritime, a lovely area to explore.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 10:03 AM
  #30  
 
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With two boys, and if you're watching your pennies, I strongly suggest you check out the Dordogne. Not only is it beautiful and full of great things for young boys to do, it's inexpensive. The Pyrénées would be another good choice.

The Côte d'Azur and Provence are pricier. If you need beach time, the Atalntic coast just north of Spain, around St-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, is lovely and a good bit less costly than the Riviera.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 10:15 AM
  #31  
 
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St Jean-de-Luz is a terrific beach town and a nice place to just hang out. There is good rail service and no car is needed.
RonZ is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 10:37 AM
  #32  
 
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To experience the Cote d'Azur, in my opinion you really should rent a car for at least a few days. There's so much to see that can't be reached by rail, but the distances are nothing (at least compared to the US).
Gekko is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 05:05 PM
  #33  
 
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crepes_a_go_go, do you have a budget for this trip? I ask because we, too, are on a budget and trying to figure out how long we can stay on our trip to France. 4 weeks sounds wonderful!
Ronda is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 05:29 PM
  #34  
 
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I agree with St. Cirq about the Dordogne. Would be a wonderful area for the boys - beautiful, with such interesting sites. I would spend a week there for sure, of course renting a car.
Sue4 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 05:32 PM
  #35  
 
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Provence and Languedoc would be my choice.
tondalaya is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:01 PM
  #36  
 
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With the teens you may be interested in the caves near Foix. Niaux cave is one of the few still lopen to the public and very tightly controlled.Only 20 visitors at a time..Wonderful 35.000 yr old cave wall drawings..I think you will need a car for this although there may be tours but I doubt it..A car is no problem..We are 73 & 75 years old and if you don't freak out over poor signage you get to see much more..The Piage is excellent, fast and peopled with good drivers. You can get off and do the side roads any time you want..If possible buy your gas at super marches in the towns not on the Piage (toll road) The "N" roads are not toll and are just as good but not as fast. The "D" roads are ok but narrower and more rural. I know of a wonderful apt. in Samur (Chateau country) 2 bedroom, one queen ansd one with twins. We saw it but didn't stay as we were staying elsewhere The next time this will be our stopping place. Contact for email is [email protected] ..A delightful person.. his apt website is as follows http://monsite.wanadoo.fr/apartment_to_rent..Camapnile hotel/motels are a great bargin as is Ibis.Our car rental for 3 weeks was 1200 Cdn..Do not get a car for Paris!!!The metro is great and the train out to Versialles(spelling) is cheap.. You can take your time and figure out where you want to go and not have to look at a map all the time..Let the kids do the navigating and again Patience is the key word here. 3 years ago I went with my 2 daughters and 2 grand daughters(15 &16) in the summer. A great time, great bonding, only 2 arguments, several nice hostels( a surprise for Granny) "Sid's Mum's travellers retreat" ( on the internet) was one and the other was in Bruges in Belgium. Try to find a reasonable hotel with a pool for some respite during the trip and you will be grateful as churches, castles and museums get a little much for the kids. Have a great time.
amer_can is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:34 PM
  #37  
 
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Forgot to mention the Tour de France timing. Check the route and the dates andyou may be lucky to get a roadside seat (standing of course) in some little place along your tripping way. When I was in Fr. with the girls we got to see the start in Paris and just missed the bikers in one of the southern route towns by an hour...Pont du Gard is another must with the boys and Narbonne or L'Orange with the Roman ruins would be worth a stay..Arles has a bull fight ring from the Roman times. Cordes sur Ciel has medieval days which our girls loved.Avignon has a great cultural week unless the unions strike as they did while we were there but we did get to the night markwet just outside the gates.Check the web sites of the tourism centers and the towns for the best prices and dates... Again have a wonderful time...
amer_can is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 08:55 PM
  #38  
 
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EAt Drink and be Marie!
hypatia is offline  
Nov 17th, 2005, 05:06 AM
  #39  
 
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I have used St.Remy de Provence as a "base of operations" with a car for Provence and Cannes for the same in Cote D'Azure. I've done this more than once and they are wonderfully located not only for searching the surroundings but what they have to offer themselves for days that you don't want to get in the car or for eating on nights that you are too tired to search the dark country roads for the restaurant you reserved.
Bigal is offline  
Nov 21st, 2005, 11:33 AM
  #40  
 
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Hi crepes..posted a comment or several to you around the 16th.. Forgot to say that when @ Pont du
Gard the boys and yourself can go swimming in the Gard river as we saw many families doing while there. We did not have time and the granddaughters were not only disappointed but cross!!! There is also kayaking but @ a price. rivers in France are surprisingly warm and many are very clean..The Drome and the Gard are 2 of the ones we experienced..And perhaps with teeners you would be interested in taking along a couple of pairs of insoles to replace ones that need to be washed. Takes the phew out of close quarters. Aosl AA batteries they cost an arm and a leg in Fr. Unless of course you can amputate the game boys from the boys... Again have a great time. I envy you..
amer_can is offline  

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