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Where to go for 5 days? (after leaving Paris)

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Sep 16th, 2004, 06:27 PM
  #1
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Where to go for 5 days? (after leaving Paris)

My husband and I are going to be in France for 11 days (10/8-19). Plan to spend 6 in Paris. From there we want to rent a car and spend 5 days in different places. I have ruled out Provence and the Coast as I do not have much time. I am really looking for small, pretty and very French towns (I speak some French and would like to practice it so the less English they speak the better!) with great food. I love to eat and love to walk around. Any recomendations are appreciated!
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Sep 16th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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How about the Loire region, you can stay in different places like for instance BLois and from there visit Chambord and then moving on to different places. Also the region of Bourgone is fascinating and you can do an extended visit of 5 days.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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Good for you. I admire your determination to "escape" Paris. Don't get me wrong. Paris is fabulous, but the rest of France has much to offer too.

You'll find once you leave Paris you have many more opportunities to speak French. That's part of the reason I like to leave Paris.

The Loire has been mentioned and it is amazing.

For contrast how about a loop through the Champagne region to the east? I've been to Troyes and really loved it. Beautiful old town with half-timbered buildings, narrow streets, several museums and many churches to visit.

After that you could hit Nancy, Metz, Reims, Eperney, any number of towns and villages.

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Sep 16th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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The towns in Alsace are lovely and only a very reasonable distance from Paris, 4 or 5 hours driving time. The city of Strasbourg, the main city of the region, is a wonderful blend of a French experience that combines a sort of mixture of all things European. We went in March and had one of our best trips ever.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Wow , I have a question for Indy travel because we are on our way to Paris and Troyes....please tell me more about your stay there. Thks.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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I've posted the following before. I've not been in 2 years so that's the best I can do. I loved Troyes and want to go back but there's not enough time.

If you have specific questions Graziella5b ask and I'll try to answer.

Since I went I've found that Troyes has a couple of outlet malls on the outskirts of town. I'm not a shopper so I never visited but you could look around if shopping is your thing.

www.marquesavenue.com

I was in Troyes the end of April 2002 for 3 days and had a great time. It's an excellent little city with plenty to do in the old town. More than enough to keep you busy for a day-trip. You gotta love a city that's old walls were laid out in the shape of a champagne cork. Now the walls are gone, but the main boulevards still trace the outline.

I visited the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, the small apothecary museum, the fine arts museum, the modern art museum, Basilique St. Urbain, Eglise Pantaleon and the two museums in the Hotel de Vauluisant. One museum is a very interesting textile museum, the other is the History of Troyes museum.

I bought a combo ticket that gave access to 4 sites for one price:
1. Abbaye Saint-Loupe which contains the fine arts and archeology museums
2. Hotel de Vauluisant which contains the textile and Troyes city museums
3. Hotel Dieu-le-Comte which contains the apothecary museum
4. Musee d'Art Moderne

I did not see the inside of the following churches: St. Madeleine, Saint Jean, Saint-Remy, Saint Nizier, St Nicholas or Saint Martin. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get into all the churches. On the door of the churches was a schedule posted of when certain churches would be open for mass. Only the cathedral and basilica were open all of the time. I guess it's kinda tough with all those churches, a priest shortage and not many people attending them. I caught the end of a mass at Pantleon in order to see the inside of it. Your best bet would probably be to get to a church door early and see when and where masses will be held that day.

There is a tourist office to the right as you walk out of the SNCF station. It's at the corner of ave Joffre and blvd Carnot. I picked up a great little town map that had all the sites listed. You can walk from the train station to the Hotel de Ville in less than 15 minutes so it's compact and easy to get around.

From the Tourist office if you make the corner to the right onto Blvd. Carnot, you'll see the Hotel Royal on the right. I stayed there and had dinner on two of my three nights. It was excellent. I made a note of my first meal: confit of duck and duck foie gras with salted cabbage slaw, veal kidneys in black mustard sauce, cheese course and raspberry tart for dessert. The fixe-prix menu was about 25 euros. The waiter was extremely nice. I was discussing the kind of cheeses I like, strong as goat cheese but not as strong as blue cheese. He recommended a couple of goat cheeses then Langres. I really like the Langres and ask for it now. Here's the hotel web site www.royal-hotel-troyes.com
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Try Normandy.It's beautiful in October, especially if you're lucky enough to get a bit of Indian Summer.Start with Honfleur, about 2 hours from Paris, then move on to Trouville, Deauville and any of the many other very French and very charming towns.
In 5 days you can probably include Mt. St. Michelle, on the border of Brittany.

You can visit the landing beaches and the extraordinary American Cemetary. Or you can drive through the beautiful Normandy back country looking at horses, cows and trees full of ripe apples.

It's really a treat!
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:41 PM
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I would second either Normandy or the Alsace region. Normandy has wonderful little towns, very very gracious people, plenty of sites to see including the cathedrals, bayeux tapestry, mont st michel and of course all of the D-Day sites. If you go to Strasbourg, you can also drive their wine road and at that time of year, I think you may find some really great little village wine festivals. You can also cross the border into Germany and spend a day at Baden Baden - take in the spa, casino, bergbahn, etc.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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Did you say great food and pretty towns?
Burgundy has great food and very nice countryside towns.
Alsace has very pretty towns and very good food.
We've done a 5 day drive from Paris to a town in Alsace ( stayed for 2 nights at either Riquewihr and Colmar, but I would recommend other towns that are less busy with visitors)and then continued on to Burgundy (usually stayed at Tournus) for the next 2 or 3 nights.
Done this route 3 times before and looking forward to doing it for the 4th.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 10:15 PM
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Small pretty towns (or villages)? My criteria exactly! With only 5 days, I'd keep it close to Paris - Burgundy, the Loire, Normandy. Some suggestions:
Normandy - Honfleur, St Cenerei, Lyons-le-Foret, Gerberoy.
Burgundy - St Pere, Vezelay, Semur-en-Auxoire, Joigny.
Loire Valley - Montresor, Crissy-sur-Manse, Blois, and a village whose name I forget 6kms east of Vendome.

Don't forget nearer villages to Paris in Ile-de-France that could be done on the way to whichever of the above: Milly-le-Foret en route to Burgundy or the Loire, la Roche-Guyon and l'Isle-Adam en route to Normandy, and so on.
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Sep 16th, 2004, 11:09 PM
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The place near Vendome whose name I forgot is Lavardin - about 15k SE, not 6k E as I said! It's a good stop between Chartres and the Loire Valley.

Another along the Paris - Chatres route if you want to do smaller roads, is Rochefort-en-Yvelines. And the St Cenerei I mentioned is actually St Ceneri-le-Gerei. It's inland Normandy
and would make a good en-route stop if you were doing both Normandy and the Loire - which you could do in 5 days.

Ditto Burgundy and the Loire, with Apremont-sur-Alliers (near Nevers) as the midpoint stop. It would be good to do the Loire first, with its busy round of sightseeing chateaux, followed by Burgundy with its more relaxed emphasis on good food and wine!

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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Vincent
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You said you ruled out Provence because you did not have much time. Well, you know, Avignon is just 2 1/2 hours by TGV from Paris, and from the station you can rent a car, and off you go. Besides, this solution would avoid you the hassle of driving out of Paris (much of the train ride's duration might be devoted to getting out of the périphérique), that I know gets lots of American tourists on this board nervous. Just a thought, but don't rule out Provence just out of time reasons (plus, on the way back, you can catch a TGV that goes straight to CDG).
 
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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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How about Strasbourg? The wine drinking shouls be spectacular. From there you can also go to Baden-Baden.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Vincent has said exactly what I was going to. Train to Avignon, rent a car, see the countryside (unlike anywhere else!) and take a train directly to CDG to leave. No hassle of returning to the airport, etc. Easy easy. And the perfect time of year. I assume you already have your Paris hotel reservations.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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You have received some wonderful suggestions....ALL are great, and you will have a difficult decision. Epernay in the champagne region is nice and only a couple of hrs. from Paris...and can be combined with the Alsace region and "wine route" of 4 small lovely towns (Reibeville etc)!Strasborg and Colmar are JUST CITIES, but there are numerous villages around.
PRovence is wonderful and could easily be done in 5 days.(using the train to get there???)
We are driving from Paris to Annecy in the French Alps south of Geneva this Nov. ..stopping in Dijon first night, three in Annecy (Chamonix etc) and one back in Fountainbleu outside Paris.
Normandy Coast is great.....
AND the Loire Valley , wonderful! Wherever you go 5 days is plenty of time to drive and see any of the suggested areas.....and get the French flavor and use your French.!!!
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Sep 17th, 2004, 06:57 PM
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Thanks for all suggestions!
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Sep 18th, 2004, 06:39 PM
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Regarding Troyes, we spent 3 night last month in St Florentin, a few kilometers south. This is a cute little town, and our hotel was the ***La Grande Chaumiere. Reasonable prices and wonderful cuisine, which has earned them a Michelin star. One could take a train to Troyes or Auxerre and then rent a car. Pretty countryside with towns and villages to explore, plus a couple of major chateaus. Market day is Monday.
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