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2 Weeks in May- itinerary assistance

My husband and I are heading to France for our honeymoon in May- we will arrive in Paris in the morning on Sunday 5/5, stay there for 3 nights, and fly out of Paris on Sat the 18th.

We were thinking of taking the train from Paris to Arles and spending 2 or 3 days in that area to see Carcassone and Pont du Gard as well as poking around Arles. From there we want to go to Dordogne to see Font de Gaume and the market in Sarlat. We plan to rent a car (in Arles?) to head to Dordogne, eventually heading back to Paris by way of the Loire valley (spending Thursday night there and Friday night in Paris).

-we would like to do some hiking, so I'm thinking Dordogne might be better than Provence for that?
-is 3 nights too much time to spend in Arles? I don't want to cram too much into our trip since driving will likely take up a decent chunk of time.


Posted by
1524 posts

Here is a doable itinerary from 5/5 to 5/18:

Paris 3 days 5/5 - 5/8

Arles 3 days (Rent a car in Arles) 5/8 - 5/11 (Include a day trip to the town of Albi). It is 1 hr 40 min from Carcassonne by car.

Sarlat 3 days (Dordogne) 5/11 - 5/14

Amboise 2 days (Loire Valley) Drop rental car in Amboise and take train to Paris- 5/14 - 5/16

Paris 2 days 5/16 - 5/18 (fly home 5/18)

Hike in the Dordoggne or the Loire Valley

Posted by
11450 posts

Dont count days.. count nights..

ie : two nights in Paris is one full day only..

Posted by
21039 posts

Carcassonne is about 135 miles (one way) from Arles, which is farther than I'd want to drive on a day-trip. It is not in what I would call the Arles area, and the train schedule isn't tourist-friendly unless you are early risers. There's a 2:26 routing that leaves at 7:02 AM, a 3:17 option leaving at 7:09 AM, and all the other morning departures take far longer. isn't working for me at the moment, but Google Maps is suggesting a route from Arles to Sarlat-le-Canada (total driving time over 5 hours) that goes right past Carcassonne, so I think it makes a great deal more sense to see Carcassonne on the way to the Dordogne, possibly spending a night there.

You have rather a lot of moving around planned, especially for a honeymoon. I really don't think you're going to get a great deal out of such a short stay in Provence.

Posted by
4249 posts

We travel at what many think is too fast of a clip, but even for me, that's too much. France is big and you will spend a lot of time of the road. You've got Paris, Provence, Dordogne and the loire. Both Provence and Dordogne aren't super close to the Loire or Paris. I think you need to drop Provence or Dordogne. I think it will be too early for lavender, if you are into that, so I would consider dropping Provence.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the advice!
Font-de-Gaume is a must for me, so we don't want to drop Dordogne. I'm wondering now about dropping either Provence or the Loire area- we're not as interested in seeing chateaus.

Posted by
4249 posts

If you are not fond of the idea of visiting Chateaus, I think you are wise, then, to think of dropping the Loire. I love Loire, but I love chateaus and wine tasting. I think you, personally, would have more fun in Dordogne and Provence. Please do a trip report when you return. Would love to hear about Dordogne!

Posted by
4125 posts

Congratulations on your wedding. May is a perfect time for a trip like this.

The Dordogne is a worthy priority. There is so much to see, and the region is so difficult to get too, that I recommend at least 4 nights (5 would be better).

However, I wouldn't bother to go all that way just to see one cave and one town, even if the town is Sarlat.

I assume you've got your air tickets, which is unfortunate because otherwise you could fly into Bordeaux or Toulouse, both about 2 hours drive to the Dordogne area. Toulouse has a good deal of charm in its own right.

You might think of booking a flight to either city the day of your arrival. We did that once and it was like getting an extra day of our vacation.

If you stick to your plan and spend your first 2 full days in Paris, then you might take the TGV to Bordeaux, rent a car, and drive to the Dordogne.

From there you can reverse the trip back to Paris, or drive, spending the night in the Loire. I wouldn't want to do all that driving, but some people seem to like it. It really does work better open jaw; then you don't have to double back.

I suppose you could construct an itinerary that included Provence, too, if you wanted to spend most of your time enroute. I think that would be an inferior trip.