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2 weeks in France - Family of 5 with 17-22yo kids

Help! Planning on taking family to France for first 2 weeks of July 2024. Active couple with 3 daughters 17-22. Looking for itinerary suggestions. Wife and I have been to Paris and Alsace. Travel window is really only those 2 weeks in July due to school and work, and I know it'll be warm and busy.

I'm the only one really interested in Normandy beaches. We're trying to keep the budget in check. Probably flying in/out of Paris since open jaws are pricey (remember, I'm buying 5 tickets!). We like to move around and take Rick's advice that the first day in a second-tier city can be better than the third day in a first-tier city. I've driven in France a number of times so renting a car doesn't worry me. Looking at a 13 night itinerary that includes 3 nights in Paris then 3 nights in a few different locales. Would like to see wine country, castles, chateau and nature. We rarely do a "big trip" like this.

Thoughts on:
Paris 3 / Colmar 3 / Chamonix 3 / Beaune 3 / Last night in Paris
or
Paris 3 / Loire 3 / Dordogne 3 / Beaune 3 / Last night in Paris

Are the northern coast areas worth it w/o Normandy? How about Brittany (I hear it's only an unladen swallow flight from Paris)?

Mercy Buckets!

Posted by
8464 posts

Going for the Olympics?

Mercy buckets = Merci Beaucoup.

“ unladen swallow flight? “

Posted by
12 posts

Ah, yes, the Olympics. Part of the reason we're going in early July. Olympics are 7/26 - 8/11. Need to dodge the TdF, but I hear that's not too difficult.

Posted by
792 posts

the Olympics aren't just singular events, it's equipment and management and coaches and athletes coming in weeks early to climatize, etc.

Posted by
8464 posts

Tdf?

Set up for the Paris Olympics will start months in advance of the actual ceremonies.

Posted by
177 posts

We have traveled with our now 20-22 yo "kids" to France many times, the last being this past July. If Beaune is high on your list, I suggest your first option: Paris/Comar/Chamonix/Beaune. If you want to head to the SW (Dordogne area), I suggested dropping Beaune as that will be a pretty far drive, spending more time in Paris and an extra day or two in the Dordogne region OR adding on Bordeaux to your trip. My kids loved the Bordeaux/Dordogne area as there is a lot to do for young adults (well, really anyone.) There are also a lot of local night markets and soirées in the greater area where bands or DJs play into the night. Some food for thought...

Posted by
424 posts

I think your daughters could find things to like in Normandy. - right in Bayeux there's the tapestry and I would think that Mont St. Michel would be something memorable for them. On the way, there is Monet's home and gardens in Giverny. In Falaise, a castle of William the Conqueror. But, would I go to Normandy without doing anything related to WW2 - probably not.

Posted by
12 posts

Haha yes - they're not really kids, but they're MY kids ;) Even though I lived in Atlanta just prior to the 96 games, I hadn't considered that Paris may be all walled off and crowded with crew in the weeks leading up. Something to consider. The other venues are a bit spread out so not really a worry, to me.

TdF = Tour de France
Unladen Swallow - travels approximately 20mph, sometimes used to bring coconuts to the King of the Britons

Posted by
4663 posts

I think you may regret your casual dismissal of the impact the Olympics will have on your trip. Consider the athletes, coaches, team support personnel, games officials, and media who will be flooding into France in the weeks and months prior to the start of the games. Look at the venue maps and realize there will be disruptions in each area as preparations are finalized. Also look at the numerous areas outside Paris which will host events. Those areas will also be affected in the run up to the games, although perhaps not as much as Paris.

If you are still determined to visit France, and not somewhere else , then at least avoid Paris and it's environs.

Posted by
4604 posts

You have 13 nights on your schedule. Your arrival day (depending on arrival time) will only be a partial day and that may be one during which folks are in a jet lagged, dazed state. Your last day will be the departure day so it will not really be a day of seeing and doing things. Unless I've counted wrong, you will have 11 full days and perhaps part of one day for seeing and doing things. For that reason, you might want to consider limiting yourselves to just three places the entire family can agee on. And getting everyone involved in the decision making will make for a better, happer trip for all. If the idea of three places sounds like too much in one place, consider day trips from those places. This suggestion is because you will want to minimize lost time relocating from one place to another. It might take more time than you want to lose even with a car. Don't mean to rain on your parade as it sounds like a great trip. Just offering food for thought.

Posted by
332 posts

If Paris crowds or prices appear to be too much of a hurdle consider to fly into Geneva, Frankfurt, Marseille or Bordeaux (the first two may be direct flight from where you live, the last two have connections from US through a number of other European cities) and adjust your itinerary in France slightly accordingly. For example Geneva is about 1 hour from Chamonix, Frankfurt is about 3 hours from Colmar and Bordeaux is about 2 hours from Tours. You could fly into one and out of the other. Be sure if you are looking for open jaw flights like that you are using "multi-city" ticket option on search engines and not two "one way" tickets option.

Posted by
1609 posts

From a travel point of view I don't think it's a good idea to combine Loire, Dordogne and Beaune on the same trip due to the fact that Beaune is located too far east compared to the other two.

If you go to the Loire from Paris, then to the Dordogne, stay in the south west of France.
You can then return to Paris by train from Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Biarritz...

There will be very few Olympic Games events outside Paris. Some football, handball and basketball events in big cities like Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Nice.

The impact on prices and availabilities outside Paris will be minor in a summer context where in any case in July all the tourist places where you want to go are already usually fully booked, even without the Olympic games

As for the Tour de France, it will be in the Beaune and Bourgogne region on July 4 and 5 (Macon→Dijon stage and Nuit-Saint-George→Gevrey Chambertin stage)

Posted by
1213 posts

I would ditch Beaune, maybe one less day in Paris, and add Normandy so you would do Paris, Normandy, Loire, Dordogne. Your daughters could get a taste of Paris and perhaps come back on their own someday. Being a major city it would be easier for them to do on their own. If you want to see the D-Day beaches WWII stuff etc..., do it. Your wants matter too. And there is Bayeux Cathedral, the Bayuex Tapestry, and Mont St. Michele as well as so much more.

Posted by
2315 posts

We have not found what is called open jaw tickets more expensive than round trip. Maybe a slight variance but nothing to worry about. When pricing be sure you are not booking one way tickets. That would send price thru the roof..we just flew to Edinburgh and home from Paris and no price difference. You could fly into London, stay a few days then Eurostar to Paris, enjoy France and home from Paris for example. We enjoyed Bayeau so much we are returning in early spring.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks everyone for the constructive advice. I am going to carefully consider Paris due to Olympic prep. There are some other threads on this with little info. Hopefully see if I can find some info about venue impacts etc… I’ll certainly take Beaune off of any loire itinerary and look into jaws.

Posted by
12 posts

I’ll probably cross post to one of the Paris Olympics threads, but I did find some info on the games at the official Paris Olympic site and a pretty good YouTube video from Today: https://youtu.be/azJGBCHz34Q?si=dbYoA6x55gw9DPbm

Looks like the Games will be awesome, with events held right in the midst of the monuments. What this means for visitors before and after is views of the Eiffel Tower, Place du Concord and Seine filled with grandstands and sports facilities.

Posted by
499 posts

dallairelj,
I agree with those who suggest skipping Beaune as it is a bit of an outlier for the time you have (really only 11 days). For my part, I would fly to Bordeaux from CDG (give yourself 2 hours to transfer...buy a ticket from your US airport to Bordeaux...Air France has some good options). Stay 2 full days in Bordeaux (nights 1,2 and 3), then rent a car and drive to the Dordogne region (about 3-4 hours, depending on which type of road you take). Stay there for 5 nights (minimum), (nights 4-8) That gives you 4 1/2 days there. There is LOTS to see and do there that all of you will enjoy. From there you can drive to the Loire Valley and spend nights 9, 10, and 11 there). It would be a longish drive, but you could route yourself through some scenic areas. As you are probably aware, there will be some nice little towns and villages to have a meal at along the way. This gives you two full days in the Loire and you would have time to see 3 or 4 chateaux without rushing. Depending upon where you base in the Loire, you could return your car there on day 12 and train to CDG for your last night in France.This, of course, eliminates Chamonix and Colmar, but with your time constraints, I would choose either eastern France or western France, simply because of the time involved in travel.
(I don't list your last night in Paris, but depending on your flight time home, you could stay in Paris on night 12. But as others have said, you may want to stay at an airport hotel and take a taxi or public transport into Paris for dinner, then back to the hotel.
I wish you a bon voyage and happy times with your family in La Belle France!

Posted by
12 posts

I want to thank everyone again for the suggestions. So far I’ve booked 3 nights in Paris and 3 nights in Beaune. I agreed with the advice to skip it, but then realized that seeing a TdF stage is a unique opportunity and there are two in Burgundy during that time. Now planning the last week of the adventure!