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Your vote for the most charming village/town 2-3 hours outside of Paris by train.

Your vote for the most charming village/town 2-3 hours outside of Paris by train.

Jun 9th, 2008, 04:28 PM
  #21  
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Thanks for the reply's. I think of small as not more than 20,000. I realize that size is a different matter to all of us.
mokolea is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 10:05 PM
  #22  
 
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Well, that automatically removes the great majority of suggestions made.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 9th, 2008, 11:08 PM
  #23  
 
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Beaune, in 1999 had 22 916 people. Does it still count? ;-)
Many thanks to goddess, Judy and Ira who mentioned Dijon (the historic center is small!) I take the opportunity to show you the video they appeared on when they were in Dijon last year.
http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=yDSaNQT-Cho
coco
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Jun 10th, 2008, 04:33 AM
  #24  
 
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coco! oy! not that old thing again!
goddesstogo is online now  
Jun 10th, 2008, 04:45 AM
  #25  
 
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Pop. of Beaune dropped to 21,800 in 2006. Maybe it will get below 20,000 before mokolea gets there.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 10:46 AM
  #26  
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You guys crack me up. I love the video! Very "woody allen" feel. Ok, so maybe I shouldn't have said 20,000!! Being new to "talk" I now know that I must be very specific when asking my question. What I am looking for is a very small charming village that could be our base for 3-4 nights. Something romantic, maybe on a river. We have traveled throughout Alsace. we have seen most of Provence. I want to travel no more than 2-3 hours by train. Aloooha
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Jun 10th, 2008, 10:59 AM
  #27  
 
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Time to be specific again. "Charming village." What do you plan to do there? Walk around the town square several times a day, sit at the three cafés on the main street, walk in the nearby woods? The war museum of 1870 might be interesting for 45 minutes. And the rest of the time? 3 nights can be an eternity in a small village.

How about Etretat, a small town surrounded by chalk cliffs with walking paths on top, the town itself nestled in a cove facing the crashing waves -- which make a strange sound, because the beach consists of round rocks (galets). A bunch of seafood restaurants facing the ocean. Population 1,615.

www.etretat.net
kerouac is online now  
Jun 10th, 2008, 11:04 AM
  #28  
 
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It depends, kerouac. We spent three days in Auxerre and four, I think, in Dijon. We didn't feel bored by either place during those times.

While we were in Dijon, we hopped on a train and visited Beaune for almost a full day. Also, if there's a festival or a market day in any of the small villages or towns, that will take up a day. Small towns also have theatres and concerts, etc. Coco's place in Dijon is almost directly across from the opera house -- we just missed Madame Butterfly by one day.

That seems to be my lot in life. I travel around Europe just missing opera season everywhere I go!
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Jun 10th, 2008, 11:16 AM
  #29  
 
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I didn't think Auxerre was that attractive, actually, although it has some interesting sites. Dijon is not remotely a village, it probably has a population close to 200K (Auxerre isn't really a village either IMO).

So I understand kerouac's question, as there isn't much to do in a small village, and definitely not if you don't know French. Three nights in a village would be pretty dull, I think. Now I did find Auvers-sur-Oise very attractive, so I'd say that is easy. I liked Montfort l'Amaury, and it is a village (Ravel used to live there), but there isn't even a train station there.

Honfleurs is very attractive, I agree with that suggestion although don't think I'd even want to stay there 3 nights. It doesn't have a train station, either. Villages generally won't have train stations.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 11:30 AM
  #30  
 
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Really, Christina? We loved Auxerre! The architecture was so unusual and charming and we fell in love with a little restaurant so much that we had two of our three dinners there. We just happened to walk by the cathedral when there was a big communion or confirmation ceremony going on, so we sat through that, and we just walked, walked, walked!

I guess my idea of a small village isn't that small. Maybe I'm thinking of Dijon as small (or at least smaller than Paris!) because we stayed pretty much in the centre of town.

I haven't read through all that carefully but in mokolea's first post he didn't specify 'village' but 'somewhere charming, somewhat small and picturesque'. Both Auxerre and Dijon fit the bill for me with that description but I can see where others might not consider them small.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 12:02 PM
  #31  
 
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Auxerre and Dijon are most certainly NOT villages. Jesus, Coco has even been campaigning for the airport to reopen. Villages don't have airports.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 12:10 PM
  #32  
 
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Verneuil sur Avre, founded by the son of Guillaume le Conquérant, it have a lot of 16th and 17th houses and a feeling of vieille France (in the good sense of the term) nearby there is a fabulous inn "Le Moulin des Planches" complete with a great chef and peaceful normands fields.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 01:33 PM
  #33  
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Kerouac, thanks for the reply. What I am looking for is a small village to base ourselves in. We will have a car and be able to travel from place to place. We have traveled exstensively throughout the UK. You know when your in the Cotswolds and you meander through one little wonderful village to the next. Some without much of anything at all, Maybe a post office. I just love the feel of a very small place. We just recently returned from a trip to Capri where we spent a week in Anacapri. It was the most wonderful week ever. We just walked and walked and enjoyed the outdoors. It was just sublime. So I am looking for something similar in France. I am embarassed to say that I have been traveling to Paris as often as possible and have missed alot of what france has to offer. Other than the places mentioned earlier we haven't explored many regions. Thanks again ! Mokolea



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Jun 10th, 2008, 01:42 PM
  #34  
 
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Well, reading this description I'd have to say I now agree with kerouac. We've staying in places like this in Ireland (well, actually we stayed between two small villages). One village had:

1) a pub
2) a grocery store
3) a teashop attached to a second grocery store

That made the next village look enormous by comparison. It had a main street (one side only; the other side was the harbour) of about 20 shops and cafes.

We stayed in a lot of evenings and read books. Or we drove to the next biggest town which probably would have fallen out of the 'village' category.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 02:00 PM
  #35  
 
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Having a car changes EVERYTHING. Okay, I'll stick with Etretat for the moment.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 02:34 PM
  #36  
 
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Before finalizing your choice, you might want to do some research on the nearby regions and find out if any of them are having interesting festivals around the time of your planned trip. That could tip the balance in favour of one place or another. I'm trying to think about what might be happening in early October - apple festivals maybe?
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Jun 10th, 2008, 02:41 PM
  #37  
 
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I like Avallon,
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 08:18 PM
  #38  
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I would recommend:

l) Burgundy - stay in Beaune and see Vezelay, Semur, etc.
2) Normandy - stay in Honfleur and see some of the Normandy villages in the area - also Giverny (Monet's gardens)
3) Loire - stay in Amboise and see the Loire chateaus (if that interests you).

Those would be my choices of areas within 2-3 hours of Paris. My personal favorite is Burgundy.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 09:12 PM
  #39  
 
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hi
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Jun 10th, 2008, 09:34 PM
  #40  
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Thanks again everyone. At this point I am leaning toward Burgundy and staying in Beaune or somewhere nearby.
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