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What top destination for you in France besides Paris, Normandy, Reims?

What top destination for you in France besides Paris, Normandy, Reims?

Old Jan 4th, 2022, 10:02 AM
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What top destination for you in France besides Paris, Normandy, Reims?

Seeking advice from experienced France travelers..... If you could choose ONE city to visit for maybe 2 nights in France other than Paris, Normandy area or Reims area, which city would it be? And why? Do you have a favorite lodging there?
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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 11:45 AM
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My two favorite cities after Paris are Toulouse & Dijon. But I suggest staying there for more than 2 nights. Reims would not crack my "top 5".

My favorite areas are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by Brittany, Languedoc, and the Cote d'Azur. Normandy would not crack my "top 5" areas either.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 12:46 PM
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If you are looking at northern France as it seems by your choice of cities above, I would mention Rouen. I spent a day there but I think you could spend quite a few days there just working on the history (Joan of Arc, the Monet paintings of the Cathedral there). But if the gate is open for other cities then Aix-en-Provence would be another city, just because I liked the upmarket feel. I had an afternoon there but again, could have spent longer.

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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 12:49 PM
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My top pick would be Provence, followed closely by Bordeaux. Like Stu we also greatly enjoyed Dijon and the surrounding areas. But 2 nights only gives you a day, I’d allot 3-4 nights to Bordeaux and at least a week for Provence.
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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 01:20 PM
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My top picks after Paris would be Provence and Dordogne. St. Remy would be a good choice in Provence and Sarlat would be a good choice in Dordogne. I also love the Languedoc region.
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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 02:45 PM
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I'm a history nut and found the WWI battlefields absolutely fascinating. We stayed outside of Verdun in a chateau converted to a hotel which had been used as a hospital during the war. But you might want to stay IN Verdun... two nights would barely give you time to see a couple of the main sights in and around the town.

https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/hos...nthairons.html
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Old Jan 4th, 2022, 04:20 PM
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Love Aix-en-Provence, have been three times on very short trips, though two were overnights, would love to return. I also love the walled city of Aigues Mortes, would really, really like to return, but only if we again stayed within the walls. Arles is interesting too and was a good base for some day trips by train.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 12:25 AM
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I really liked Nice. It's attractive, not too big or too small. Lots to do, nice shops, it's by the sea which is a big plus in my book. Stayed there twice, once in a cheap motel and years later, in an apartment.

Also really like Dinan and La Rochelle. Both completely different from each other but oozing with history and gorgeous old buildings.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 12:54 AM
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In terms of cities I admit to prefering towns and villages but if I had to chose a city then Le Mans is fine, Narbonne is special and I like Cahors. Auxerre is probably border line city but especially beautiful and better than Chablis. Rheims is ok but I prefer Epernay. Strasbourg centre is fantastic and the periphery is full of parks and cycle lanes but I'm not so happy about the bits inbetween. Lille has some nice spots. Dinan is another Auxerre,, St Malo is probably less impressive compared to these two. Of Bordeaux, St Emilion and Bergerac I prefer Bergerac.

I was under impressed by Nice, by Lyon and even Toulouse which is a grand city with wide open spaces and lots of cycle lanes it is just too modern and technical.

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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 11:42 AM
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So many places to choose -- If you are stating destinations I would include western Provence (Arles, St. Remy though not a city --- the largest cities I don't prefer as much for seeing true Provencel countryside and key sites), Cote d'Azur (Nice as a base. The natural beauty and architecture, sea, light, art), Alsace (Colmar as a gate way to the villages, wine road), Lyon/Southern Rhone (Food and Wine), Haute Savoie (Annecy and the Alps), Bordeaux (and environs, wine), Bourgogne (I prefer Beaune, wine, countryside).

It really depends on your interests.

Problem is, most of these really need more than two days. If you are just going to do a trip, and want a city, Lyon has a lot just within the city and is a quick TGV from Paris.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 12:01 PM
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iLanguedoc-Roullssilon or the Midi-Pyrenées or the Corrèze if you really want to get to know the true France, but you have to have the language and the knowledge of the history and a whole lot of background and not just be pussyfooting around to tourist sites.

Last edited by StCirq; Jan 5th, 2022 at 12:04 PM.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 12:17 PM
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Totally Nice, although two days is woefully short. If you want somewhere more northern, Strasbourg. Or, if you an Art Nouveau fan, Nancy.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 12:38 PM
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I'll suggest Nancy, for its museum:

Le musée - Visitez le Musée lorrain à Nancy

its 18th century core:


its art nouveau in buildings in the center of town:



and its Art nouveau museum:


A two night stay would barely scratch the surface.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 01:32 PM
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Actually, less the Lorraine museum and more the Art Nouveau ones, including the Daum glass in the basement of the Musee des Beaux Arts.

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...-hot-in-nancy/
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 08:37 AM
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It would completely depend on time of year, my itinerary, etc., For example, how much time I was willing to spend in traveling to/from this place, where I was arriving from and stuff like that. Would I have to fly home from that city or go there on arrival, etc.

I would never want to stay in Rouen for two days myself, but I'm not even a big fan of Normandy.

For two days, I could see Dijon, Strasbourg, Nancy, Bordeaux, Lyon, Avignon, Aix, Bourges, even Marseille. I would say Nice but it takes too much time to get there by train from Paris. Ditto Toulouse, which I really like.

Of course there is the Loire Valley, but I'm just not a big fan of it.

If you really want cities in the northern half, I"d do Strasbourg or Nancy or Dijon or Bourges.
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Old Jan 7th, 2022, 08:21 AM
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Frankly, I am not a big fan of Normandy either and even less of Brittany, although i will not deny that there are spectacular things to see in both regions. I am of the north and the east and love the Hauts de France and Grand Est regions, not forgetting neighboring Belgium and Luxembourg when I am on the road...

This is the sort of road trip that pleases me: World War I cemeteries of the Pas de Calais (by kerouac2) | Any Port in a Storm (proboards.com)
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Old Jan 7th, 2022, 09:19 AM
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Do you have any criteria on what kind of city you are looking for? Size, distance from Paris, style, activites? If you are looking for a large city (like in the top 10 largest in France), I'd go for Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Lyon or Lille. All are within 2h15 from Paris by train, so not a lot of time wasted on transit, with plenty to see and do.

Last edited by russ_in_LA; Jan 7th, 2022 at 10:12 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 08:07 AM
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ATCBuses welcome to Fodors.

I guess we all have our own opinions on that particular site.
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 08:53 AM
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We spent several vacations in Provence and love the French Riviera. However, my favorite time spent in France was The Dordogne. We stayed in an apt. In Sarlat which was central to many fantastic small towns and sites
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Old Jan 10th, 2022, 09:05 AM
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Lyon is a delightful city and the food is the very best of France.
St. Jean de Luz would open up the treasures of the Basque region.
Marseille is gritty but also very beautiful and has excellent food besides.
I also second the vote for La Rochelle. The size of the place is "just right" and the position on the water is wonderful--not to mention their excellent dining options.
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