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Where to spend 3 additional days

Old May 18th, 2020, 01:42 PM
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Where to spend 3 additional days

We (family of 4) are looking at places we might want to visit in France during our 2022 trip. We plan on starting in London before heading to France. Other places we plan on visiting in France are: St. Malo/Dinan area, Loire Valley, and ending in Paris. Depending on where we decide to visit in France will help determine how we get from London to France. We may take the train, maybe a ferry, flying is a possibility (although probably not likely). Thinking we could spend 3 days somewhere else in France. We plan on having a car while in France, however, we'll drop it off before Paris. Travelling with my wife and two daughters. They are not really interested in D-Day beaches (I have been once before). Figure we'll get to see plenty of churches and museums along the way so not at the top of our list. Thinking a circuitous route is best, from London to St. Malo/Dinan to Loire to Paris. Where would you squeeze in 3 days? At this point looking for ideas that we can research further. Thank you in advance for the help. -Robert
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Old May 18th, 2020, 02:17 PM
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Dijon! Plenty of history, architecture, good food and wine. Easy train trip from Paris.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 02:30 PM
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Burgundy is to the east of the Loire valley, with some plus beaux villages and a castle in the making:


The castle itself must be finished but there were rumors that a village would be built around it, using only medieval techniques.

As for the villages:


or Montreal with wonderful carved pews in the church
or towns:


and Sens with its covered market.

From Sens it's a fairly short drive to CDG, by-passing Paris altogether to return the car and take the flight home.



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Old May 18th, 2020, 03:03 PM
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You don't mention how long is your trip, but Bretagne and the Loire Valley are so rich in sights that I'm sure adding 3 extra days will not be a waste of time. I wouldn't look for another area of France when you have only 3 extra days. OK, how long is your trip after all?

I'd take the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo. Brittany Ferries

I'd recommend the tiny village(with castle and nearby dolmen) of Sainte-Suzanne sort of between St. Malo and the Loire.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Suzanne_(Mayenne)

Plus the castle of Chateaudun between the Loire Valley and Paris.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%...h%C3%A2teaudun

I guess these places were not on your plan, so 1-2 of your extra days is already filled and it won't be difficult to find something for your 3rd one.



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Old May 19th, 2020, 01:25 AM
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I would be sure to have a fair amount of time in London and also Paris. There is such a huge amount of things to do and see in these cities. You could add a day or two to each of these places, depending on how long you have allocated. If you added the extra three days to London, you could also do a day trip outside London, maybe Cambridge, Brighton, Windsor etc etc.

We caught the ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo, it was an easy trip but took a while. We had a small, basic cabin for the overnight journey. You could travel by ferry from a port in the UK to Jersey or Guernsey, stop there for a couple of days, then go on to St Malo by ferry. You might have read the book or seen the movie "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" which was an eye-opener to me about the war and how it affected the islands.

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Old May 19th, 2020, 06:44 AM
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I also wonder the total length of the trip, how long in each place already mentioned. Often when people are referring to "extra" days, seems to me they could add them to the places they will already be visiting, for a better paced trip, rather than adding more stops.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 07:36 AM
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Let me fill in the gaps. Sorry for leaving out info. We are teachers and will be traveling during the summer. Is June better than July? We plan on 6 days for London, 3 days St. Malo/Dinan, 4 days Loire Valley, and 8 days Paris.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 10:02 AM
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June is better than July, because it is still a bit less crowded and if you're lucky less hot than July.

4 days is very short for the Loire Valley, adding those 3 days there is the best idea.

3 days for only St.Malo/Dinan is more than enough, but there is so much more to see in Bretagne, not to mention Mont-Saint-Michel which is very close to St. Malo, although it is in Normandy, not in Brittany.

You're spending too long in Paris and London. There is no doubt that these cities have so much to see and do that you could easily spend there not only 6 or 8, but even 16 or 18 days. On the other hand keep in mind that God willing this will not be your first and only time to see them. Both cities are among the main hubs of Western Europe and chances are that whenever you'll travel again to Europe(even if not to England or France) you can easily add a few days stopover in London or Paris. JMO
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Old May 19th, 2020, 12:42 PM
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I disagree. I think your time for London and Paris is perfect.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 01:19 PM
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As was recommended on your other thread, spending those three days in or near Vannes in southern Brittany could be the best bet. On the other hand, you may need to add those three days a day here and there to your other locations to cover closure days. Also, keep in mind that three days somewhere is a lot less than three sightseeing days, as it takes at least a half day and maybe a whole day to leave one place and get to the next one, especially if you want to see something or eat a meal along the way or check out of one hotel and into another.. Travel takes time, whether it is by car or train or plane and has it's overhead time in addition.
By the way, don't worry that le Mont St Michel is just across the border from Brittany in Normandy. There is no border control after all.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 01:40 PM
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AJ, I realize I posted a very similar question on another thread, but since I was opening up my question to more than just Brittany I reposted. I have been looking at Vannes, but right now with some extra time it's fun to look at places that might be new to me.

Thank you suze and BDKR. We plan on some day trips from both London and Paris (and I agree we could spend a much longer time and not get to everything each city has to offer). I have been to London and my wife and I have both been to Paris. This is the first trip abroad for the girls. I posted another question and some people weren't too hot on the Loire Valley. To each his own. I think we might get burned out on castles if that's all we do every day. It's kind of the main reason for the time there. I'm sure there's much more to see, but I think we'd rather add another location since this is probably the only time the four of us will travel to Europe together for a long time.

Thank you all for the ideas. All are welcome.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 02:36 PM
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In the general vicinity of the Loire/Paris area is Chartres with it's magnificent stained glass. It may be worth a stop along the way.

Why not ask the girls to find a place that attracts them? Delegation of planning will make them more invested in the trip. Who knows what they may come up with.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 04:14 PM
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BDKR: "You're spending too long in Paris and London."

Huh? Hardly

rmoore926: "We plan on some day trips from both London and Paris"

Sorry, but IMO you really don't have time for any day trips out of London - assuming your 6 days includes your arrival day. And especially 'some' day trips meaning more than one. Six days will only leave you 5 usable days for London because you can't really do much if anything on day one. If anything I'd add a day or two to London and even then only take one of the nearby/convenient day trips like Greenwich or Hampton Court or possibly Oxford.

London is ENORMOUS - and there are soooooo many things for families to see/do - I would not cut London short

8 days in Paris is very nice and would give you time for a day trip(s) to someplace like Versailles or Chartres.

A good rule of thumb is to add at least one extra day to your arrival city to account for jet lag, logistics, etc.


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Old May 19th, 2020, 04:50 PM
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We like the Loire and not just for its chateaux. The region has several of the Plus Beaux Villages, some wonderful markets (Loches on Wed and Sat mornings is very good), and winding rivers with picturesque old mills and flowery bridges. I've already mentioned Chedigny on your other thread.

The chateau of Chenonceau is wonderful and overwhelming. Azay le Rideau is a smaller chateau, my favorite. Villandry is noted for its gardens. We resisted going there for years but our friends wanted to go so we did. None of us were that thrilled. If you have time for a smaller chateau, a private one is Chateau de l'Islette. The family moves out during the summer season and opens it to the public. You can walk through many of the rooms including a fabulous modern bathroom. There's a zoo at Beauval with pandas. Troglodyte houses. Vestiges of Roman occupation. Churches everywhere you turn. There are so many scenic drives, which you can see on the viamichelin.com website marked in green (also on any of the Michelin maps). We enjoy driving the back roads and coming across a chateau we'd never heard of, like Montpoupon, which is right alongside the road.

You have enough time to research that you can plan several interesting things every day. It's easy to overload on the chateaux, so allow downtime .
Just going into a boulangerie and ordering bread and some pastries is fun. I can do that day after day and never get tired of it. There's always something new to try. To me it's fun to shop in a French hypermarket, something we often do on a rainy day. You might not want a restaurant meal every day, but I recommend going to a nice restaurant at least once so you can enjoy a leisurely meal and watch other diners enjoying themselves.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:32 AM
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janisj - My wife in a HS English teacher so she wants to see some of the literary sights around London. Those are the day trips I was referring to. London was not originally part of the trip, but being that some of the places she wants to see are nearby London we added it.
AJ - Will add Chartres to the list of places to research. I have asked the girls and my wife for ideas, but planning for them is not as fun as it is for me I guess. I made them a doc with ideas and videos asking for their suggestions. I enjoy this, they are still somewhat busy with school right now. Perhaps during their summer break they get around to it. However, if I do all the research I get to choose where I want to go
coquelicot - I'm sure we could spend weeks just in the Loire Valley and not see it all. I'll also add Chedigny to the research list. I enjoyed your post of pics of France!
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:36 AM
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I really like and support the idea from AJP about getting everyone involved in the planning. I think it really helps when people are invested in the trip, have helped in the planning, and gotten to choose some things they want to do specifically, rather than just following what someone else has laid out.

Even traveling with friends I've done that, he planned Paris, I planned Venice, for example.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 09:48 AM
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The Loire Valley also has one of the top 3 tank museums of the world(the other 2 Bovington in England and Kubinka in Russia) which may be of interest for you, especially if you get chateaud out. The girls will probably find something for themselves nearby while you're inspecting all that hardware.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3...s_Blind%C3%A9s
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Old May 20th, 2020, 11:16 AM
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Which literary locations near London? If you want to visit places like Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Chawton, Bath etc. . . . It might make more sense to stay somewhere outside the city like in Oxfordshire or Hampshire or Somerset for a few days and only stay IN London 2 or 3 days for he British Library, Tower of London, V&A and so forth. Accommodations outside London are generally MUCH cheaper than in the city (Oxford can be very pricey though)
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Old May 20th, 2020, 12:35 PM
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You don't say what time of year, but I would consider the Marais Poitevin, aka the Green Venice. A former bay that monks canalised in the 14th century. Unusual villages with tiny inland ports and their own culture. Arcais, Sensais-la-Garette, and Coulon all are beautiful. You can try your hand at paddling a barque.... a unique landscape. The ruins at Maillezais, port city of La Rochelle, Puy de Fou (history theme park) are nearby.

https://www.google.com/maps/@46.3055...!7i7680!8i3840



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Old May 21st, 2020, 01:53 AM
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I have travelled with both my kids at age 14/15 and on both occasions took the opportunity to do some easy cycling, which I really recommend. Kids like to be active and it's fun for everyone. With my daughter, we did a cycling tour of central London (on a Sunday morning when it was a bit quieter) and with my son we went lakeside cycling in Germany. I have read that the Loire valley is great for cycling and that Paris has some good cycling tours. Doesn't have to be Tour de France effort. None of us are great cyclists - although they are both much fitter than I (not a difficult achievement!).
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