We’re going to France

Old Jun 21st, 2021, 05:36 PM
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We’re going to France

This past year was crazy. It was also the year my dh retired and we had a big trip planned. A now canceled trip left us with a credit at a hotel in Paris, We are both vaccinated and with things getting better (fingers crossed) I booked a flight with.miles to France. I have come up with the following itinerary:Reims 2 nights

Beaune 5 nights

Chamonix or Annecy 3 nights

Apt 5 nights

Aix en Provence 2 nights

Paris 5 nights

Transport:

Train from CDG to Reims

Train from Reims to Beaune

Rent car when leaving Beaune

Return car before stay in Aix

How does the itinerary look?

I am wondering about the train travel. Do you purchase ahead of time? I have looked at the Man in Seat 61 site. I have always used Europcar and have looked at the rental for this trip, I just need to finalize things,

Any thoughts on Annecy vs. Chamonix? We both like to do hiking or walking and the plan is to do some and some exploration of the town.

Any hotel recommendations for Reims,Annecy or Chamonix? I have looked at Booking.com and Google. For a trip to the Dolomites I had read about Hotel Grones from one of Bob the navigator’s report and Loved it.

Thanks in advance for all your help and guidance.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 04:18 AM
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auto europe is a safer broker

i'd rent bicycles or a car for part of my Beaune stay

Long distance trains I'd book ahead.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 04:34 AM
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We stayed in the Accor hotel by the train station in Reims, nothing special but we could walk to most everything. Taittinger English tour because the caves were my favorite. We book longer trips ahead to get better seats, short trips the day of travel.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 05:20 AM
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Book train tickets well in advance for best pricing. Allow at least 3 hours between your arriving flight and departing train. There is an 8km difference between Reims and the TGV station, just be careful which destination you book: Reims or Reims TGV.

To avoid booking fees and miscellaneous charges, purchase tickets at either https://www.saveatrain.com/ or https://www.oui.sncf/ (use oui.sncf in French only)

If you attempt to use oui.sncf in English, you will be transferred to Raileurope which will not display all train options nor will you see the discounted trains. If you need to book in English, use saveatrain.com
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 06:57 AM
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Here's my TR for Aix (it's sandwiched between Paris visits, hence the title) for ideas. We made Aix a base and stayed longer. For sure ditch the car before you get to Aix...the ring road was daunting until one got familiar. At that time, Amex travel person made our hotel and TGV reservations. For shorter hops, we just made a stop at the Gare in Marseille for Nimes the day before. We loved our Aix hotel, https://www.aquabella.fr/en

Trip Report: A Provence Sandwich

Really looking forward to reading about your trip.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 08:36 AM
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The SNCF completely changed its pricing system this month. I'm not sure what that will mean for casual travelers.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 01:31 PM
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I should of said that we will be traveling in September.

bilboburgler- Thanks, I will look at auto europe. We are hoping to do some bike riding in and around Beaune.

Macross- I will check out the hotel and definitely making reservations for the champagne tour. Thanks.

Sarastro- Thanks for the links and info on the two stations in Reims.

kerouac- I am going to Google the pricing changes.

Tdudette- Thanks for sharing your trip report. The info on the train station in Aix was really helpful. I am looking forward to the crepes.

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Old Jun 28th, 2021, 06:05 PM
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1) we have used Gemut.com for our car rental for 5 trips in France, and others in Germany. They're based in Oregon, yet get great deals on car rentals (from Avis, etc, and AutoEurope and Eurocar and others....better than I could find trying to book direct thru those firms) and and hotels. They were very helpful in eliminating ALL problems when a nutty driver sideswiped us in Slovakia. I recommend them highly.
2. Re Aix: been there twice;first time rented a car at the TGV station, drove into town, stayed at Best Western (which I would guess was about 1/8 from the first exit of the ring road)....no problem finding it, accessing it, or parking at it. 2nd time rented the car at Avignon, and when we eventually came to Aix, the same ease. We also took the ring road around the town to get to Cassis on the Mediterannean. Easy peasy. In September.
3. 5 nights in Beaune? yawn.
4. Consider the Luberon
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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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Tomboy. They are planning to stay in Apt - which is in the Luberon. It is not my first choice for the Luberon (we've stayed in the Luberon for 6 weeks), but it is OK.

Attached is my Provence/Cote d'Azur itinerary and something I posted a few years ago about the weather in the Mt Blanc area.

Stu Dudley
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Mt Blanc area weather.doc (31.0 KB, 9 views)
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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the info Tomboy.

Stu- The itinerary is very detailed and something I will enjoy reading tonight. I thought Apt would be a good place for our day trips in the Luberon. I did find a really neat apartment in an old Italian convent for our stay. I will look at your recommendations.

Does anyone have any garden recommendations?

How about a place that you enjoyed for lunch or dinner?




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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 11:33 AM
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Attached is my Alps itinerary which contains stuff about Annecy and also restaurant recommendations

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 11:42 AM
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Re meals: best meal of my entire life, hands down, was at L'Oustalet in Gigondas. Pricey, but for once in a lifetime.......(oh, maybe thrice).
Other memorables (can't remember names) were in: Vaison la Romaine; St. Remy; Aix; Isle sur la Sorgue; .... the list goes on....and on....
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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 12:23 PM
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""best meal of my entire life, hands down, was at L'Oustalet in Gigondas""

Ditto. Maybe not the best meal - but among the top 5%

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 29th, 2021, 12:32 PM
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I think the September train schedule is not published yet.....also trying to book Paris to Provence for mid-September.

Second recommendation for l'Oustalet in Gigondas.
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Old Jun 30th, 2021, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely look at l'Oustalet and make reservations.

I hope you have a great trip Judy. How long will you be in France?
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Old Jun 30th, 2021, 04:23 PM
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We'll be in Paris 9/11-18, Gordes 9/18-25 then back to Paris for a week.....using apartments booked and postponed. The train schedules I mentioned yesterday were published today!
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Old Jun 30th, 2021, 05:05 PM
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Note that Gigondas is about 1 1/4 hrs from Apt. That's too far for dinner, IMO. But l'Oustalet has an excellent outside dining terrace among the plane trees, which makes it a great location for lunch. We've stayed in Bedoin for 10 weeks (which is 30 mins from Gigondas), and we've had perhaps 2 lunches there and about 5-6 dinners at l'Oustalet (all inside - which we actually prefer for dinners). It was pouring rain with thunder & lightning in late June when we were there last. Quite an experience!! The lightning killed the WiFi unit in our Gite.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 30th, 2021, 05:24 PM
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I am currently looking at the train schedule from CDG to Reims. Our flight arrives at 7:20. We only do carry on so no luggage to collect. There are not a lot of choices 8:58,11:24 are the first choices. So you think it’s possible to make the 8:58? Or am I kidding myself?
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Old Jul 1st, 2021, 05:32 AM
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I had the exact same situation in 2019. I purchased tickets for both trains. So if I missed the first, I could take the second. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the trip because my father in law had a stroke 1 1/2 months before the trip, and my wife is his only caretaker.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jul 1st, 2021, 05:47 AM
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Flights can be early or late, covid rules can change. I'd book the later one, go to the basement of CDG and grab a shower and take it slow.
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