Where to Travel in France?

Sep 15th, 2007, 11:07 AM
  #1  
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Where to Travel in France?

My hubby and I are interested in possibly going to France next May/June. We're into history (him), photography (me), art, old buildings, and good food. We've been to Prague, Austria, and Italy. We'd probably have up to 2 weeks to play with. Thanks for any suggestions you can give!!
littlehouse is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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Your request is very broad. It would help if you can read about specific places that may interest you.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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You can stick a pin into the map and and find destinations in France that have all of those things. Your question is way too broad to generate a meaningful answer! And you asked the same question about Spain!!

I suggest doing some reading about these countries and settle on a few regions that interest you..then come back and ask some questions...

The obvious starting point is Paris where you should spend at least 5 days..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Yes I know I ask the same thing about Spain. We're trying to decide where to go between the 2 countries. Having the different fave cities of other fodorites gives me an idea about where to investigate to see if it peaks our interests.

I got good responses from the Spain thread and was hoping for the same thing for France but I guess that won't happen .

Anywho, we do want to see Paris if and when we go there so that would probably be our starting point.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Sorry if I offended anyone by posting similar threads. We're just trying to figure out what places look interesting. France and Spain are on our lists.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #6  
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Franco-
Paris, Mont St Michel, Giverny, D-Day Beaches and Versailles are some of the areas of interest for us so far.

I'd even thought about doing both France and Spain but doubt we'd have enough time with just 2 weeks. I figured there's so much around Paris that we could easily spend 5 to 7 days there.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:33 PM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi L,

With two weeks, you could do a week in Paris and 1-2 locations in France,

Will you have a car?

Do you like mountains or beaches?

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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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littleh, I just used sightseeing tour buses to get around to the Mont and so forth. However, there are others here that have driven to sights in France so they can help you out there if you're driving.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Ira for responsing. We usually do trains and have never done a car in Europe. It kinda freaks us out to think of driving in another country. We've never done it but are willing to give anything a try.

We like both mts and beaches. Beaches really are our favorites though.

I figured a week in Paris would be a good amount of time. We spend 10 days in the Rome area and of course didn't see everything there is to see.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Thanks Franco. We've done that in England to see some out of the city sites. How far was it to get to Mont from Paris?
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Hi, Lh,

here's my suggestions for combining your joint interests into 2 weeks in France without a car.

fly into Paris, spend 7 nights there, including day trip to Versailles, and possibly the normandy beaches if you ust , by coach tour [I wouldn't but you may wish to].

Day 8 - take TGV to Avignon and spend a 4-5 nights in Provence - you can use the trains to get about, though it won't be as flexible as a car.

Day 12 - take tiain to Nice - chill out by the beach for a few days.

Fly home [open jaw from Nice or Marseilles if you can, otherwise train/plane back to Paris].

The exact amount of time in each place can be tinkered with, but do leave yourselves enough time in Paris to recover from any jet lag.

regards, ann
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Sep 15th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Thanks Ann your suggestions were exactly what I was looking for. We could try a car but just never have. What's it like renting in Europe?
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Sep 15th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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LH: I did not mean to be offensive. Since you have now given a bit more of a clue, I will chime in with the idea that you could have a wonderful trip split between Paris and Normandy..after your time in Paris, you could take in Giverny, the D-Day beaches, Bayeux, a few of the coastal towns, the Mont, and venture into Brittany as far as the picturesque walled medieval town of Dinan. If you decide to follow part or all of this plan, I would urge you to consider renting a car...the driving is very easy in this area once you leave Paris.

You say you love good food..well, who doesn't..?? But seriously, this route takes in some of the best eating in the country, heavy on cheese and seafood...in fact, although I have been in virtually every region of the country, I would have to say that the eating here just may top them all!
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Sep 15th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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hi, lh,

as I live in the UK, my experience wil be different to yours. It's actually more difficult for us - either we rent a car and the gear lever [stick shift to you] is on the wrong side, or we drive our own cars, and the steering wheel is!

You certainly won't need a car for Paris, nor for the journey south. if you plan to stick mainly to towns [and in Provence you have avignon, arles, Nimes, Aix, all reasonably accessible by train, as is Nice.

If you wanted to spend longer in the south and explore the countryside, then a car would be a good idea. The traffic in may/june shouldn't be too bad - not like July-Aug.

i would suggest perhaps exploring the train timetables first, before making a final decision, but for a first trip, I think I'd stick to the train.

regards, ann
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Sep 15th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Thanks Eks! So how is it to rent a car there compared to the US? Is there a lot of red tape?

Thanks Ann for letting me know about the trains. I think I still have the train schedule site saved from our other Europe trip.

This is exactly what I was looking to find out from this thread. I'm thinking that France is looking more and more what we're looking for. It's such a hard choice between 2 such great countries. Maybe we should just draw straws and go to that country !!
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Sep 15th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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No problem with renting a car at the airport in France and no problem driving. My sisters and I did this trip a few years ago. All SENIORS. Picked car up at CDG, I mapped out the trip using www.ite.fr, drive to Giverney, have lunch. Go on to Rouen, stay there one night. On to Honfleur, then Caen. Stay somewhere around Caen. D-Day beaches and Ste Mere English. If you go to MSM, try to stay overnight. It's not that pleasant during the day with all the tour buses. It's magical at night.
Then Dinan or even Vanne. You can easily spend a week in these areas. Lots of history, beautiful beaches, old beautiful villages, friendly people, great food. We dropped our car off in Rennes and took the train back to Paris. I would love to this trip again with my husband. But for some reason he will not go to France. The politics of countrys should never negate the friendship of people.
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Sep 15th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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ira
 
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Hi L,

>We could try a car but just never have. What's it like renting in Europe? <

Same as renting anywhere else. It's the driving you have to get used to.

Roads are very well maintained and clearly marked. You have to know how to negotiate roundabouts and who has the right of way.

RaB: As you approach there will be a sign showing where each exit goes, if you are taking the first exit, stay to the right; otherwise take the left lane.

Each exit will be marked with the name of the next town and the route number.
If you miss your turn, go around again.

The car in the RaB has the right of way, OTHERWISE the car on the right has the RoW.

Learn the international road signs, Do Not Enter, No Parking, Speed Limit, etc. It doesn't take long.

We very, very, very much enjoyed a visit to the Dordogne.

You could fly into Bordeaux via CDG (don't accept a connection less than 90 mins), rent a car and head to the Sarlat area.

There are several ways to drop the car and head for Paris by train. We drove to Libourne, just outside Bordeaux and took the TGV from there.

You might find my trip report useful:
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34676645

ira is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 04:38 PM
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Given your interests, I'd recommend Normandy, Brittany (for the megaliths and calvaries), and Burgundy--Roman ruins and more magnificent cathedrals. And the food and wine!
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Sep 15th, 2007, 10:42 PM
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Since no one else has mentioned it here, I'll suggest that you look at autoeurope.com. A lot of us use this US service to rent cars in Europe; they act as the middleman, providing easy-to-use English-language information, with the rentals being from large chains such as Avis, National, Europcar, etc.

After you've gotten a feel for what they offer online, I suggest using their toll-free number to make your reservation, as their customer service reps can be very helpful for determining your best locations (airport vs. train station, for example).

On our last three trips to France where we needed a car, one was a Ford Focus, one a Jetta, and the other was a free upgrade to a Mercedes - all automatic, as we are typical American drivers!

After that, it's just a matter of doing a little research online to see what French road signs look like, and you're off!
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Sep 16th, 2007, 05:13 AM
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Thanks ggreen, I'll check them out.
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