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13 days in France/Proposed Itinerary

I'm planning a trip to France with my family in July for my son's high school graduation and want
to mix culture with natural sights & activities
1) What do you think of this itinerary:
-Fly into Paris
-Paris 4 nights
-Loire Valley 2 nights
-Dordogne 3 nights
-Provence 3 nights
-Fly out of Nice
2) Suggested special hotel in Paris and charming hotels along the route with a/c
3) Debating between driving and public transportation
4) Add Carcassone?
5) Suggestions to make this trip unforgettable?
Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
7574 posts

I wouldn't add any more locations unless you can add time.

Is this your first trip to Europe? How many people are in your family? Hotel rooms are rented by how many people are in your party, so if there are 3 of you you'll need a triple, or for four you will need a quad. If your family is larger you would need more than one room. There aren't a ton of larger rooms, so you should be booking now for high season. Another option would be an apartment. It will give you more space and can be a money saver. Some apartments can be rented for as few as 3 nights. I use VRBO and Homeaway for apartment rentals, and for my upcoming fall trip I am also using Airbnb. Whatever you choose, start looking now!

Posted by
4125 posts

You've got too much. Too bad because these are all great destinations. But you'll have a better trip if you pare things back.

Lets start with the Dordogne. one of the most amazing regions in France. It is far from the Loire, far from Provence. You propose a day there (2 nights = 1 day).

That's not enough time to justify 2 days of travel to see. You want at least 4 nights, 5 would be better.

Are you willing to do that? You could squeeze Paris > Loire > Dordogne and fly home from Toulouse of Bordeaux. And it would be a great trip. But no Provence or Cote d'Azure.

Dordogne very difficult without a car, btw.

On the other hand, if you leave off the Dordogne then the rest is feasible. I'd suggest another day in Paris, since your first one will entail settling in and coping with jet lag. But either way you could stick with Loire, Provence, and Nice, though busy. (To be less busy, drop either Loire or Nice.)

For this plan, you'll need to rent a car for the Loire. It's a miserable long drive to Avignon, so consider returning the car in Amboise and taking the train to Provence. You might want a car in Provence too, but you do not have time to drive there, the train is much faster. If you are only staying a few days in the Rhone Valley area you can get by seeing the sights that are on the rail line, otherwise wheels will get you out into the countryside.

July is high season, get your reservations in a row soon.