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10 Days in France during March

My wife and I will be traveling to France in early March for 9-10 days. We fly into Paris on a Thursday and fly out of Paris the next Sunday. We will spend several days in Paris before renting a car and visiting Normandy for 1-2 days. We are then left with 4-5 days left to fill. Due to the sheer number of possibilities, we are struggling to decide. We heard/read wonderful things about the Loire Valley & Bordeaux. I am a history buff and would love to visit Verdun. We have also considered driving into Belgium. Any advice/suggestions would be most appreciated!

(P.S. My wife loves sheep. We visited Ireland last year with the intention to visit a sheep farm, but weren't able to make it. Is anyone aware of anything similar in France? I recognize that this is a long shot. Please don't let it distract you from the more important questions above.)

Posted by
2926 posts

I remember reading about "agneau au pres sal'e" (lamb raised on the salt meadows) at Mont St Michel as a local dish that is highly praised. Don't know if your wife's fondness for sheep includes eating them, but you might get to see some flocks alive grazing in the meadows if you go to Mont St. Michel.

With just 9-10 days in all, I would stay in the north, perhaps branching out either westward to Brittany (beyond Mont St. Michel) or, as you mention, eastward to Verdun. The latter would take you through LeHavre where you could see Honfleur. How many centuries back does your history interest go? Not too far from Verdun is Compeigne, which was Charlemagne's capital.

In March northern France is likely to be chilly, but you can just dress for it and enjoy the fact that it won't be overrun with beachgoers.

Posted by
5221 posts

eptld has some good suggestions. I'd give Normandy more than 1-2 days. There's Rouen, Honfleur, the beaches, Caen, and Bayeux, then you could go on to Mont St-Michel and look for those sheep. Then on west to Brittany or (not and) south to the Loire, full of history, and back to Paris. East would be another direction, to Compiegne (historic also for both world wars) and Verdun. If you drive into Belgium, bring the car back to France before you turn it in to avoid a big dropoff fee.

I'm sure I've seen sheep in France, but don't recall where. (The French eat lamb and wear wool, after all.) Here are some to tide you over till you find the real ones! ;-)

Posted by
7124 posts

I would look at 3 nights in Normandy after 4 nights in Paris.
Perhaps a night in Reims (Champagne) and 2 nights in Strasbourg (Alsace). Take a day to visit Colmar.

Posted by
12767 posts

You're interested in history? East of Paris is loaded with historical WW 1 events, after all this was the direction and area the Schlieffen Plan went instead of west of Paris in 1914.

For WW1 see Meaux, (the big WW1 museum, the other big WW1 museum is in the Somme area in the town of Perrone, next to Albert, see Chateau-Thierry where US troops were injected to stem the German advance in 1918, (the American monument is located on the hill, you can see it from the town, plus the US Army 3rd Inf. Div big monument is in the town, Belleau Wood is nearby ()part of the US Marines legacy), Reims (for the WW2 surrender museum), ...all the way to Verdun and beyond to Metz, which was fought over 4 times in three wars. There are monuments, museums to the Napoleonic events here in the eastern part of France when the Allies invaded France in 1814, such as Montmirail, Vauchamps, Chemin des Dames, Brienne (near Troyes).

Since you'll have the rental car, you be able to track down these WW1 sites, (cemeteries, monuments, museums), esp the Napoleonic sites, the 1870 sites....all a matter of priorities.

Compiegne is northerly from Paris, en route to Arras, (Nord Pas-de-Calais), way on the opposite side of Verdun, which is part of Lorraine. Check out the museum as well as the rail car. Notice when you are inside the rail car, there is no seat at the table for an American representative, either civilian or military.

Posted by
37 posts

If you have never been to Paris before, then you could use the whole 10 days in Paris alone! Especially if you plan to do Versailles which is a full day trip out of the city.

I would definitely want at least 3 nights in Bayeux in order to see the D-day beaches and the tapestry. With an extra day/night to see Mont Saint Michel, if you are so inclined. As a history buff you may want to visit Ste-Mere Eglise which is in the vicinity of Bayeux and the D-day beaches (brief visit, probably not more than 2 hours). We discovered Isigny sur-Mer by accident when we got lost driving around the countryside, looking for the D-day Beaches. It is a tiny village that is well known for its fine milk and cheese. You will enjoy its wonderful wares all over Normandy, and perhaps even in your home town, as we were delighted to discover when we returned home. I am not sure if the milk is all from cows or if some of it is from sheep (side note: you must take your wife to Scotland for sheep, they are absolutely EVERYWHERE, especially on Skye!).

We only did Paris and Normandy in a 14 day trip and were glad we did not add on any other regions.