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Where to go in France for a week.

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May 16th, 2016, 12:34 AM
  #1
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Where to go in France for a week.

We are a healthy and energetic couple in our mid 60's. Next July we will be spending 11 days on a yacht visiting small islands in and around Malta, Corsica, Italy, and ending in Monte Carlo. We would like to spend an extra week somewhere in France, and would like suggestions on where to spend this time.

We have been to Paris a couple of times, and have cruised the Rhone river and visited the beautiful towns around that river. We have not been to the Dordogne area or to Normandy. We enjoy visiting both buildings and the natural landscape. There may be other areas of which we are not even aware of, and which we will happily consider.

Please tell us where to go for approximately a week, which will be pleasant in mid to late July, where it is reasonably easy to get around either by hire car or public transport, and which will be memorable.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
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May 16th, 2016, 12:46 AM
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Normandy.
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May 16th, 2016, 12:51 AM
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Buy a map and play darts. Go where the dart goes. Can't be wrong.
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May 16th, 2016, 12:52 AM
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But what if the dart hits Paris?
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May 16th, 2016, 01:29 AM
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Your choices are unlimited. If it were me I would spend a week in one of these areas:

Provence - Luberon
Burgundy
Dordogne
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May 16th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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+1 Provence -- Luberon.

Keep in mind if you want to stay in a gite, they usually rent by the week, starting on Saturday.
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May 16th, 2016, 07:28 AM
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Provence & the Dordogne are our two favorite regions in France. Normandy is a waaaaay far away from Monte Carlo - but if you have your heart set on it - there is a train that goes from The Avignon TGV station (Provence) to Rennes (Brittany) with no train changes. Then a couple of hours drive to Bayeux/Normandy. But you would loose a valuable day making this trip.

If this was my trip, I would stay in Provence for the duration, then depart from Nice to fly home or take the TGV from the Avignon TGV station to Paris or CDG & fly home.

If you could stretch this into a 10-12 night trip, I would:

- Stay 4/5 nights in Provence
- Drive towards the Dordogne area, stopping in Carcassonne for a 2 1/2 hr visit, then on to Rocamadour.
- spend 2 nights near Rocamadour, visit Rocamadour early the first morning, then visit the Gouffre de Padirac, the villages of Autoire, Loubrassac Carennac, and Martel.
- Drive to the Sarlat area and spend 4/5 nights in the Dordogne.
- Drive to Collonges la Rouge, visit, then drive the short distance to Brive la Gaillarde, return the car, and take one of the many trains to Paris before your flight home OR
- Drive to Toulouse (our second favorite city in France), visit, spend the night & fly home from there.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2016, 07:31 AM
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In the Rocamadour area, also visit one of our favorite villages - St Cirq Lapopie and also the fabulous Pech Merle cave with pre-historic drawings & stalacatites & mites.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2016, 07:35 AM
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DH and I enjoyed Aix and a relaxing hotel there. We made some day trips which might not appeal to you, but FYI:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-sandwich.cfm

Provence section is sandwiched between 2 Paris visits.
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May 16th, 2016, 10:26 AM
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It really depends what your idea is of "pleasant" in mid to late July. I really like Provence but it is quite hot at that time of year and lots of tourists. I also like the area around Toulouse but it is also hot in July, and I've been there then. Really hot.

most of France will be hot then, actually, at least every place I've been. And if you are willing to rent a car, any place is accessible.

Normandy isn't a bad idea. Provence also, of course, if you understand it will be hot. It can cool down at night and be pleasant, but depending on your accommodations, it may not feel that great in your room. I've spent numerous sweltering nights in Provence in July when I was in a place without AC even though outside it was pleasant with a slight breeze. Being right on the sea can help as in most places with the heat, so maybe Nice? Haven't been to Dordogne so don't know how pleasant it is there in July.
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May 16th, 2016, 11:15 AM
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We love the Dordogne region. If crowds aren't a deal-breaker, to us it is truly a remarkable area for natural beauty, history & pre-history, food, and to feel transported by time. Our two cents.
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May 17th, 2016, 06:28 PM
  #12
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Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, esp Stu Dudley for your very detailed suggestions. When we cruised the Rhone, we visited some of the beautiful towns in Provence so would like to see a different part of France this time.

Based on the advice above as well as the geographical location, we are leaning in favour of the Dordogne region.
Stu Dudley, you sound like you really know the area, so we might remove the 4/5 days in Provence, but use the rest of your itinerary as a guide for about 6/7 nights.

I might be back with further questions once we have decided on a definite plan. But willing to consider any more suggestions.

Thank you
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May 17th, 2016, 09:24 PM
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Late July in the Dordogne has been sweltering in the past few years. We live here. It's also jammed with tourists. If that suits you, go for it. It is supposed to be a fiercely hot summer in the SW of France this year - at least that is what the farmers are saying, and they are usually prescient.

It might be more prudent to listen to people who live here than to listen to people who visit as tourists often and try to sell itineraries. No one needs an itinerary for the Dordogne - even the Tourist Office in Sarlat or Le Bugue or Les Eyzies has exclelent maps of the area.
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May 18th, 2016, 02:14 AM
  #14
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Thank you StCirq. We do like places where we don't need an itinerary. We would like to spend this last week of our travels just mooching around and being lazy. We are travelling in 2017, not 2016, but I suppose the heat in late July will still be the same, so that is a consideration.

Unfortunately we do not have a choice to come earlier, so either we put up with it or go elsewhere. We are open to suggestions, as nothing is yet decided, except that we will start from Monte Carlo on 14 July, and we want to spend the final week in a part of France we haven't been to before. We are not averse to tourists, since we are also tourists and realise that others may also want to enjoy the same things as we do. I appreciate any/all suggestions and advice.
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May 18th, 2016, 02:54 AM
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It could be completely different in 2017, but there will always be tourists, which is a good thing for the local economy, and probably hot, as it usually is in July. I would suggest renting a place with a pool or finding a rental nearby one of the many ponds or lakes (étangs) in the area. For the most part, these ponds/lakes are completely unknown to tourists, but they are all over the place and usually relatively hidden from sight (no signs on the roads...that sort of thing...you kind of have to know how to get there). They are very simple places, meant for locals who just want to get away and relax for a few hours or days, but the swimming is good, you can picnic and play ping-pong or boules, buy a simple baguette sandwich, etc....might be something to set your sights on. I'm guessing there are gîte rentals close to at least some of them. You can spot them on any detailed map of the area, even the Michelin "Carte routière et touristique" Périgord map.

This is interesting to me because I just last week discovered there is a big pond right up the hill from us that I never, in the 25 years I've owned this place, knew existed. I love hidden places. If you could find such a place you'd have the ultimate relaxation spot but still be within easy reach of many wonderful places tourists love to visit.
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May 18th, 2016, 06:47 AM
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Beautiful landscapes, great food, lovely weather, ancient history and a cool modern vibe... Brittany.
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May 21st, 2016, 07:51 PM
  #17
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Been caught up with work so had to put planning on hold. Still haven't decided between Brittany and Dordogne. Will check out StCirq's suggestions for gites close to ponds/lakes. Sounds really nice. Busy week again this week, but I check this page every few days. In about 2-3 weeks we will make a definite decision as will need to book flights soon, to try and get FF flights.

Is there some setting on Fodors so I get a message when someone responds to my post. I sometimes forget to check and a reminder would be so helpful.

Thank you.
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May 22nd, 2016, 09:04 AM
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no, they don't send you messages, you just have to check yourself
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May 22nd, 2016, 10:27 AM
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FWIW, here's a TR I did on a week or so in Brittany a few years ago. (Also includes some time in the UK and Strasbourg.) http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-movements.cfm

Photos - http://gardyloo.us/August%202010.htm
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