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2 Week in April, trying to hit Paris, Loire Valley & Provence

Hi Everyone, my husband and I are trying to plan our delayed honeymoon to France for April 2022. We will have 2 weeks to explore and we are hoping to fly into Paris and depart Nice taking the time to explore the Loire Valley and the Provence area during that time. I have a couple questions that I'm hoping someone could help me with.
I know renting/driving in Paris isn't ideal so thought we could take a train to Tours and rent a car there for the remainder of our trip or would it be better to rent only for the Loire Valley and return it to take a train to Aix-en-Provence?
Would 3 days in the Loire Valley be enough time to explore some of the Chateaux?
In Provence we are wanting to explore the Luberon area so I believe a car will be needed in this area. I thought we would stay in Gordes as a base. I'm not sure how long we should consider staying in this area, any suggestions?
Since we are not traveling during peak tourist season will we run into difficulty finding hotels and restaurants?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Posted by
1995 posts

The basics of Paris take 4 nights, the Loire Valley 2 - 3 nights, western Provence up to 10 nights, and the Côte d´Azur (Nice) up to 4 nights. You have too much for 2 weeks.

Consider continuing to Avignon or Aix-en-Provence on your CDG arrival day, rent a car the following morning, explore western Provence for a week (between the Rhône and Aix-en-Provence), drive your rental to the Loire Valley for a couple of nights, take the train from Tours (St Pierre des Corps) to Paris for your final 4 to 5 days, departing from CDG.

I am assuming you have 2 weeks, all of which is spent in France.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you, I knew I was trying to do too much. Thank you for your suggestion, we will look at adjusting.

Posted by
4249 posts

I like Tocard's plan. If Loire is a priority, if you can carve out 2 nights from something else, you can see 2 maybe 3 chateaus and get a taste of Loire. Consider staying in Amboise and then return car in Tours and take the train back to Paris.

Posted by
5542 posts

Easter Sunday is 17 April next year, so places will be busy with school children until around the 20th and expensive, so the first three weeks of April are peak season!

With your timeframe, I would look for a week in Paris and a week in the Luberon. April is a bit early for the Loire to be at its best and all places open.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you, I hadn't realized that Easter was falling on that week. The information received so far has been great.

Posted by
1202 posts

For me 3 days in the Loire Valley visiting chateaux would be about right. We spent 2 nights in Amboise several years ago and wish we would have had a third.

Posted by
659 posts

It seems like a car is a must between Provence and Loire Valley. All the trains connect through Paris. Does that sound right?

Posted by
3814 posts

It's a fairly long drive so I would rather take the train between the Loire Valley and Provence or v.v. Even though you need to backtrack through Paris it still only takes about 5 hours, transfer time included.

Otherwise, I fully agree with Tocard's plan: in 2 weeks it seems best to skip the Nice area, which is the furthest.

Posted by
5463 posts

We have done all the places you listed.

I suggest curbing your itinerary, since two weeks is not enough. You need 5-6 days in Paris alone as a minimum. You can do the Chateux in the Loire in 3 days minimum.

You need two weeks ALONE to to Provence properly. Consider a Rhone/Saone River cruise for a week then more time in Provence.

Consider doing Paris, Loire Valley and Normandy or Alsace instead then later doing Burgundy and Provence.

Here is my review of our river cruise in Provence.

Posted by
4249 posts

I think as in life, travel is a balance. Many can't travel for a month at a time. Many have wish lists that are long of places they desperately want to see. Five-seven days in Paris, or Rome or Barcelona or London, may be ideal. But for some, it's just not possible, especially if they also yearn for smaller cities or the countryside. Maybe a traveler feels like they don't even like large cities and wants to devote time elsewhere? Now, I think people have to be careful or they spend more time on vacation in transit than they actually spend in their destinations.The first time we went to Loire, we had 3 nights. There was still more we wanted to see, but we enjoyed the area. I don't think people need to fully cover an area to justify going there. If the OP manages to give herself 2 nights in Loire, she can see some of it to get the flavor of the area. It especially makes sense if it is worked into an itinerary between Paris and Provence. The first time we were in Paris we had 4 nights. It was plenty to cover the highest sites on our list. We've been back a handful of times since. For many, Paris is a travel hub, that people may find themselves in as they travel over the years. Additional days can be added in the future, especially if the OP decides she really likes it.

Someone on another post is trying to do CT in a day. My first comment was, that I didn't think it was enough time to justify going there. But, what is enough? We did 2 nights there. Most would say that wasn't enough. What is enough is different for every traveler, just as people have different travel styles. When the person persisted in the desire to at least see part of CT, I think the job of forum participants becomes helping the traveler meet their goal, so I responded with what I think is a decent plan to meet the OP objective.

This OP is likely a younger traveler and planning a honeymoon. They can get back to France at a later time. They can have a lovely trip with 4 or 5 days in Paris, 2 or 3 in Loire and the balance in southern France, or however they decide to break it down. At some point the OP can allocate their days, and then the forum can help them travel efficiently.