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2 Weeks in France - Should we spend the last night in Reims??

We are traveling to France in September and need to fly in and out of Paris. We are planning:
4 nights in Paris
3 nights in Nice (Nice area)
3 nights in Provence
3 nights in Burgundy

Should we spend our last night in Reims?? We want to be within 2 hours of Paris.

Posted by
11613 posts

I love Reims! If you can give it two nights, even better.

Posted by
784 posts

What time is your flight? Will you be returning a car or going by train? If you need to be at the airport before noon ( 3 hours before flight time), I personally wouldn't be comfortable being that far from the airport. We spent our last day in Reims, driving in from Epernay, drove on to CDG in the late afternoon, and spent our last night at an airport hotel. Just some things to think about.

Posted by
2266 posts

It would depend on the time of your flight out of Paris. I am always paranoid about missing my flight; so I would be staying in Paris the night before my flight. That's just me. You know your comfort zone.

Posted by
1130 posts

We've been traveling to France and other countries for years, usually for two weeks, three or four when we were younger. We learned over the years to get a hotel near the airport and spend the last night there, relaxing, organizing our luggage, and going to bed early after an exhausting 2-3 weeks. Like many others we never leave to chance getting to the airport the day of departure regardless of our departure time. All sorts of things can and do go wrong with transportation and missing a long flight home is a disaster.

Posted by
4125 posts

Thanks to the magic of fast trains, Lyon is 2 hrs from Charles deGaulle. And the trains go directly to the airport. And Lyon is closer to both Burgundy and Provence than either are to Reims. And it is awesome.

A warning about Lyon, though: If you just go for a night, you will regret not having spent more time there!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your input it is helpful in our planning. Our flight is at 1:00 pm. We thought this may give us time for a stop between Paris and Burgundy. However a last night in Paris works too!

Posted by
8293 posts

Yup, anything can happen to mess up your plans. One year we had to get a taxi from Rouen to Paris (!) because the SNCF went on strike and we had a plane to catch. Cost us 1000 francs, at that time CAD$300.

Posted by
5977 posts

Never plan to return a rental car just before a flight; never be more than a cab ride away from the airport the night before a flight. Car rentals are not efficient operations like in the US -- it can take an hour to get a car and it can take awhile to get a receipt when you turn it in and you want that receipt to prove it was returned gassed up and undamaged. And all sorts of things can get in the way -- traffic, car breakdown, slow rental car processing of meeting time deadlines.

For a flight to the US you need to be in line checking in 3 hours ahead; we have had situations where that was barely enough and others where we had time for coffee after security; it is not entirely predictable. I'd book an airport hotel for the last night and plan to come in fairly late but I would not be rushing for the airport that morning. You need to be in line at 10 for a 1 pm flight and that is the busy time of the day at airports.

You didn't ask but spending 2 days in each of 3 very distant spots is going to make this a trip mostly about getting there with no a whole lot of being there. With so little time, you would be better off with 3 at the most locations closer together e.g. Burgundy and the Loire or even Riviera and Provence and then Paris. You would also be well advised to fly open jaw if you want to do this and finish your trip in Paris rather than beginning there. Even if you have round trip tickets in and out of Paris you would be better off taking the train to Nice your first day and beginning the trip there and ending in Paris so you don't waste your last day rushing back to home base. Your arrival day is sort of miserable jet lag day so use that one to get to your most distant point and you don't waste the day before last rushing back for the flight. Learned this the hard way.

Posted by
18705 posts

You can get very reasonable rail fares (as low as 47 euros) from Paris to Nice if you buy a non-refundable/non-changeable ticket way in advance. The trick is deciding how much time to allow after your flight is scheduled to land (which may not be the time it actually does land). Then you must check SNCF daily as the on-sale date approaches. Tickets are currently on sale for travel through March 5.

There seems to be a 1:58 PM direct departure from CDG every day, plus of course many other possibilities involving a change of trains in Paris.

Posted by
2690 posts

I would stay in Paris for my last night unless my flight was leaving in the evening or was a short-hop flight and there are subsequent flights on the day that I could afford. I would be so anxious worrying about traffic and the time needed to return my rental car etc. that I would end up planning to leave Reims at 5 AM, which I would just as soon avoid having to do. Is the list of days, the chronology for your trip. If so, consider switching it around and going straight to Nice and working your way back to Paris so you do 3 nights in Nice, followed by 3 nights in western Provence, followed by 3 nights in Burgundy and then ending in Paris. Reims is out of the way of the other places on your itinerary. Maybe you can do a day trip there during your time in Paris.

Posted by
6370 posts

If your flight is at 1 pm, you need to be at CDG in the terminal to join the check out line at 10 am. If you go backwards from there thinking of time to turn in rental car, drop it off, walk to the terminal (after having driven to the airport and found the rental drop-off place), you'll get an idea of how early you'll need to arrive at the airport to be in the terminal at 10 am.

Posted by
5632 posts

I'm with George and Janet -- since we have morning flights back to SFO, we stay at a hotel right at/in the airport for the last night and avoid any additional anxiety about transit delays / traffic. (And twice travelling to CDG the day before we DID run into fairly substantial delays, once on RER from central Paris and once driving a rental car from Chartres.)
Ibis at CDG is a quick walk from Terminal 2, and reasonably priced.

Posted by
4650 posts

I'll just add my voice to those urging you to spend your last night at the airport, or at least in Paris. Since you won't want to drive in the city, it probably makes more sense to return the car at CDG the afternoon or evening before the flight. You could RER back into Paris for a last evening or even an overnight stay, or just stay at one of the airport hotels -- we too liked the Ibis. We're pretty conservative about getting to airports in plenty of time, maybe more than you.

I also agree that your overall itinerary seems rushed, with a lot of time spent moving around compared to actually being somewhere. But that's another thread......

Posted by
706 posts

I see no reason to spend the night at CDG with a 1:00 pm flight.

If you don't have your tickets yet, you could buy an open jaw ticket -- fly to Nice, make your way back to Paris via Provence and Burgundy, possible stopping in Reims on the way. Do Paris at the end.

Posted by
3113 posts

Here's a reason to spend the pre-flight night in Paris, at least, if not actually at the airport. In May, we took the TGV from Avignon to CDG to spend the night at the Ibis, before our homeward flight. Shortly after passing Valence, the train stopped; and eventually we were informed that an "incident" i.e., suicide had occurred and we would be delayed until the train could be rerouted. 4 hours later, our ride resumed. Things DO happen.

BTW, I agree that your itinerary seems rushed. I suggest adding a day to Paris and consolidating Nice and Provence. You could choose a base somewhat to the west of Nice and see quite a bit in 5 nights. Or, do 4 nights and add one more to Burgundy.

Posted by
5977 posts

We had the exact same thing happen on a Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris a few years ago. Someone threw themselves in front of the train near Rotterdam and we ended up being 5 hours late into Paris; we were due at noon. Many people on the train were planning to catch evening flights out of CDG and missed their flights. We have also had a tram break down on the way to the train station and a plane come in 5 hours late when we turned back to Gander due to a passenger issue. Stuff happens. Always be a cab ride away from the airport the night before a high stakes flight.

Posted by
99 posts

We try to book our flights later in the day, so we have more flexibility in where we spend the last night. I think if you want to be at the airport by 10:00 a.m. for a flight 3 hours later, then Reims is too far away. For earlier flights we've always tried to arrive late in the afternoon the day before and stay at one of the airport hotels. We can turn in the car that afternoon with more time to resolve any issues that come up, and then spend a leisurely evening getting ourselves organized for the trip home. It makes the morning less stressful too.

Bruce

Posted by
2916 posts

When flying out of CDG, we've frequently stayed in small towns a short drive from the airport, and then returned the car before flying. It's never even remotely been a problem, although I wouldn't do it if I had an early morning flight. Last Spring we had a 1 pm flight, and stayed in Senlis, about a 20 minute drive, where we've stayed before. It's a great little town. In the past we've stayed in Plailly, about a 10-15 minute drive, but it's small and there's only 1 B&B and one restaurant.

Posted by
7124 posts

Why not hop on a direct train to Lyon from CDG once you arrive. Finish up in Paris before flying out.

1 night in Lyon
3 nights in Nice
3 nights in Provence
2 nights in Burgundy
4 nights in Paris

Posted by
49 posts

Hi Mandy,
We are also traveling to France in Sep and are doing as advised above. We are heading by train from Paris airport to Reims and getting a car after a few days there to travel around ending in Chartres with train to Paris for the last 5 days. I cant agree more on the proximity to the airport the last night. Strikes are unpredictable so you have to have a cab backup to any public transport plan. Plus, after 3+ weeks, five relaxing days in Paris will be wonderful, cafes and people watching mixed in with Versailles and the Louvre.