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where to go

we are going to France next May and would like to make no more than 4-5 stops in 27 days (10 days in Paris). Which towns/cities do you recommend. We would like to rent flats in each locale.

Posted by
9110 posts

The nation's area is a quarter million square miles.
How about some clues?

Posted by
27 posts

We made 10 stops in 20 days, which was too many. 4-5 in 27 days may be too few. 10 days in Paris sounds like a lot, unless you plan on making lots of day trips out of the city.

In addition to Paris, the two other locations in France that are clearly worth an extended stay are Dordogne and Provence. Both require a car to really enjoy.

In Dordogne, I'd pick a place within 10km of Sarlat; ideally near either the Dordogne or Vezere rivers, along which you'll be spending much of your time.

In Provence, I'd pick a place between Avignon and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, since that's about as centrally located as you can get, and puts you within an hour of virtually anywhere you'd likely visit.

However, Paris, Dordogne, and Provence are quite far apart from each other; if you don't want to drive that much, consider picking some stops closer to Paris.

Posted by
2393 posts

I could easily spend 10 days in Paris! Or more! You could also spend time in the Loire Valley - you would definitely want a car for there - wineries, chateaux and lovely country restaurants.

Posted by
6573 posts

Susan -- Check out a couple of France guidebooks from the library and peruse. See what areas appeal to you most. With that much time you can go most anywhere. But you're right to limit your stops. With 27 days, minus two flight days, minus 10 Paris days (enough to appreciate the city and make a few day trips), you have 15 left, so 4-5 days per stop, minus travel days between them.

Posted by
1513 posts

Ten days in Paris is not too much. We spent 9 days in Paris on our first trip to France. Earlier this year we spent 10 days in Provence and 14 days in Paris. If you want to visit Provence you could fly into Marseille and out of Paris. This will give you flexibility to visit another part of the country. We spent 5 nights in Arles and 5 in St Remy giving us the experience of a small town and a village. We did day trips each day from each location and had a wonderful time. You could research Provence and see if that area appeals to you and then decide how many days you want to spend there. From Provence you could train to another part of France. On our first trip to France we enjoyed Normandy and Brittany where we did a 7 day driving trip. There are many interesting towns in that area - Honfleur, Bayeux, Mt-Saint-Michel, St Malo. Or you could go up to Colmar and Strasbourg which we plan to visit next year. You didn't say what you are interested in or what you want to see - scenery, small towns and villages, historical sights, castles. It's difficult to make recommendations without knowing what you are looking for. Above is what we're interested in but it might not work for you.

Posted by
14 posts

Normandy is nice. If you are interested in the D Day history I liked staying in Bayeaux as a hub. Neat little town with a nice cathedral and central to the area. Also the Bayeaux tapestry is there.
The Champagne region is also nice. You could use Reims or Epernay as a hub. Reims has a big cathedral.
There are so many possibilities and I am sure you will get many other ideas here.
Have a good trip.

Posted by
396 posts

I tend to like the countryside more than big cities. I just feel more relaxed there. Paris is truly a great city but I was happy we spent time elsewhere as part of our trip. We spent 3 1/2 days in Paris, which felt a little rushed, but I think 4-5 days would be enough. We had 3 1/2 days in Provence staying at St Remy; I would have enjoyed another couple of days or even a week there because there's simply so much to see in that area. With more time we would have enjoyed nature more, not just the sights, and done more hiking, plus canoeing and swimming. We had just three days in the Dordogne. I would spend 4-5 days there, especially in warm weather, again to enjoy nature and slow down. For all of the previous locations, the time we spent there allowed us to see the major sights that were on our list. BTW, for me the Provence area is large enough that I would spend the night in at least two different cities, to avoid the time driving spent on day trips. I don't really unpack so it's not a big deal for me to change hotels; I enjoy experiencing different cities especially in the evenings. Based on our itinerary I would have spent a night or two in Avignon or north-east of Avignon, or maybe in Gordes or east of Gordes, as well as a couple of nights in St Remy.

Posted by
16894 posts

One of my visits to Paris, neither the first nor the last, was 11 days, and I was happy. But every new stop usually also makes me happy, which prompts moving on every few days. Does that leave you 17 days more for the rest of the trip? You are well advised above to do some more reading and perhaps video viewing to identify which other couple of regions most draw your attention. Planning is half the fun of the trip.

Posted by
1 posts

Well, its a good thing youre on the Rick Steves website!(lol). Either get the France guidebook, or watch the shows (great way to see whats interesting)....thats the way we were attracted to the Dordogne 14 years ago, because of his description and the footage on the show....have fun!