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12 days in france

we are traveling to france first week in november this year and would like input on a reasonable itinerary. we have a friends flat in paris so thought we would stay there 4 or 5 nights and do day trips from there as we have seen alot of the common sights there such as eiffel tower, notre dame, arch d triumph, d orsay, and the louve. Day trips under consideration are D-Day beaches, Loire castles, champagne, versaille or fountainhead.

From there we considered renting a car and heading to bordeaux, then eze where we have a prepaid hotel for 2-3 nights (could do day trips to provence and south beach towns...dont need to see Monaco as we did that on another trip), then drive up toward lyon-dijon-beaune regions and return to paris where we drop the car and take the train to amsterdam for 3 additional nights where we fly home to the US.

Is this reasonable or NO? What do you suggest we either omit or add? We like driving so we have some freedom to stop or not but not opposed to mix up modes of transportation if it helps move things along. We are middle aged very active couple that prefer a local vs tourist travel experience.

Thanks for advice and suggestions.
Terri and Craig

Posted by
39 posts

To me, it seems that you will be extremely busy on this trip. Day trips from Paris - good choices are Versailles and Fontainebleu. D-day beaches are really more than just a day trip from Paris, so I would save that for some other time when you can spend a few days in Normandy. If you want to see the Loire region, spend a night or two in the region and see what interests you there (and there are a lot of wonderful options). Otherwise, save the Loire for another trip, too.

With the trip being in November, you are losing some serious daylight time and many places open later and close earlier than the rest of the year. Paris being the exception to the rule, but you may want to re-consider some of the other places until another time. Do your homework about what will be open while you are there.

Good luck
Lisa

Posted by
10237 posts

You can do "Champagne" as a day trip from Paris, if you limit it to Reims and take the high speed train. You'll be able to tour one of the 15 champagne caves in Reims, plus the cathedral and other sights, and be back in Paris for dinner.

Versailles is normally done as a day trip from Paris.

I agree with the first posters on the other "day trips" you are considering--doesn't allow enough time for enjoyment of the destination.

Posted by
7124 posts

Forget Bordeaux - it's too far out of your way on such limited time.
It appears you really only have 2-3 days between Paris and Eze that need filling.
I would choose from ...
1) Strasbourg+Colmar
2) Dijon+Beaune
3) Lyon
4) Avignon+Arles
Use trains for your long distance travel. Perhaps hire a car locally for touring.
Definitely fly from Nice to Amsterdam. (You realize its approx 600 miles from Paris to Eze?)

Posted by
13927 posts

Use viamichelin.com to estimate driving times (and costs). Remember that in November sunset is around 5.15-5.30 p.m. which means a lot of your driving in rural areas would be at dusk or at night.

Posted by
5700 posts

Are you open jawing into Paris and out of Nice or are you flying round trip to Paris? If the latter then I would finish with Paris rather than begin there if possible. Otherwise you waste the day before you leave on rushing back to Paris -- better to use the initial jet lag day to get to your furthest destination and work back.

There are dozens of great day trips from Paris; the D day beaches are not one of them and the Loire castles are not a great day trip from Paris either. Consider instead Auvers sur Oise or Vaux le Vicomte or Moret sur Loing or Giverny or a couple dozen others. If you want to do D day beaches, consider doing a few days in Normandy before taking the train south to Provence where you pick up a car.

Posted by
347 posts

Agree with previous posts. Day trip to the D-Day beaches is not enough time to do it justice. Either spend a few days in that area, or save it for another trip.

Posted by
4194 posts

I agree that Normandy and the Loire aren't practical for day trips. Reims, Versailles, and Fontainebleau would be. (Fountainhead? Is Ayn Rand coming with you? ;-))

It's hard to guess whether yours is a "reasonable itinerary" without knowing what your total trip time is. If you have plenty of time, then driving to Bordeaux would let you spend time in the Loire and maybe Dordogne, then Languedoc on your way east to Eze. If only a few days, I'd agree with David that a shorter route through Burgundy and Lyon and Provence would make sense, then flight from Nice to Amsterdam and home -- or flight from Paris to Nice and drive back from Eze through Provence-Lyon-Burgundy to Paris for your train to Amsterdam.

Terri & Craig, can you clarify what your total time window is so we can help you better?

Posted by
84 posts

Just looking at your itinerary makes me exhausted....

I would stay with your friends for 3 nights, go to Rodins museum, tour the catacombs, just hang and get outside of the first 7 arrondissements. take the additional 2 nights and go to Chablis or Burgundy.

Posted by
215 posts

And I thought my plan for our trip at the end of Sept was ambitious:)
We are flying into Nice on Sept 28th, driving and stopping along the coast down toward the Camargue, then over to LaRochelle, then leaving from Paris on Oct 11.
Starting in the north then driving all the way to the med coast, then all the way back to Paris in 12 days is a LOT of driving. I'd fly or take the fast train one way- Paris to Nice or vice versa. I picked a random day during the first week of November you can fly Air France CDG to Nice for $44