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2 weeks in October

Hi all! We have option paralysis and need advice. We're 2 adults, no kids, flying in and out of CDG, want to spend a few days in Paris (on exit, I think), Provence/Cote d'Azur, and then we go off the rails: Dordogne? Languedoc/Carcassonne? San Sebastian/Pyrenees?? We have 2 weeks total, are open to trains, planes, and automobiles, just need a little help narrowing down our itinerary. We're saving Loire and Normandy for another trip. We're not averse to cold weather, and while we're not looking to set any fitness records, would like to bicycle, or canoe/kayak at some point. 5 days Provence/Cote d'Azur, 4 Dordogne, 4 Paris, with flex days? Provence 5, Carcassonne 2, San Sebastian 2, Paris 4?
Please tell me your perfect trip in October?
Thank you in advance for saving our frazzled brains!

Posted by
18733 posts

Lost of interesting possibilities, but I think 5 days is short for visiting both Provence and the Cote d'Azur.

Posted by
2086 posts

I would say the main sights of Provence alone deserves a minimum of 4 nights, and preferably 5.
As I'm not a fan of Carcassonne (which I find a bit artificial), I would suggest you spend most of your time exploring southeastern France.
- 5 nights somewhere in Provence with a car (Like St Rémy or Uzès)
- 2 nights in the Verdon area (like Moustiers Sainte Marie), still with a car
- 4 nights on the French Riviera, car becomes very much optional.
- 4 nights in Paris

Canoeing/kayaking can be done on the Gard River, right under pont du Gard ! And also in the Verdon Gorge.

Posted by
14267 posts

Are you going next month? One thing to consider is where you can get lodging - depending on your minimum requirements and your budget.

Posted by
5 posts

Yes, next month 😬
Which towns do you recommend the most? We're thinking about Nimes as a home base in Provence, then Nice/Antibes Cote d'Azur.

Posted by
505 posts

Check out Arles as Provence home base. We were just there and loved it. Lots to see in town, some great restaurants, and easy to get to other areas such as Nimes, etc.

Lots of folks like St Remy, it was a bit too ritzy for us. Felt like mainly shopping areas, rather than historic. Just our 2 cents.

We went to Nimes for arena. Not sure it has enough for several day stay.

Posted by
5 posts

Everyone, thank you. Keep the recommendations coming! Best place to rent a car in Provence??

Posted by
11798 posts

San Sebastian is a summer resort. In October it's likely to be rainy, cold and mostly shut down.

I'd pick something else, away from the Atlantic coast, in October.

Provence should be nice. I went in mid-September and felt it was still a little hot. Loire was nice in September and Dordogne down to Carcassonne was nice in June but haven't been to either in October. Maybe just give yourself a little extra time and save the trip to San Sebastian?

Posted by
4125 posts

For planning purposes, nights make much more sense than days. Remember that 3 nights = 2 days etc.

I think you are eyeing too many places. I don't mean that such a plan is physically not possible, just that your best trip is probably more time at fewer destinations.

This is especially true because your wish list includes three blockbuster destinations: the Dordogne, Provence, and Paris. These are places where you could spend a week without reaching the point where you could say you'd be having a better time someplace else.

The Dordogne is far enough from the beaten track that it is a poor choice to go there for just a few days. It's also a fabulous place and should be pleasant in October (though you never know).

Also keep in mind that in October, there is less daylight and some sights have reduced hours. So you'll likely see less in a day than you would in June or even May. (So, more days in those places.)

Based on that, I would suggest any 2 of the 3 biggies plus a third stop. These are all open-jaw itineraries. All caps = 5+ night stay (6, 7 even better).

1) Nice > PROVENCE > PARIS. or PROVENCE > Lyon (an amazing city) > PARIS. Or PROVENCE > Burgundy (great for cycling) > PARIS

2) Lot > DORDOGNE > PARIS. DORDOGNE > Loire > PARIS. Or just DORDOGNE > PARIS.

3) PROVENCE > Carcassonne > DORDOGNE. DORDOGNE > PROVENCE > Taste of Paris.

What grabs you?

Posted by
14267 posts

For car rental, if you need an automatic, an airport location will usually ensure that you get one, while a city location may not have one, even though you ordered in advance.

In March, I rented from Europcar in Nice. First they tried to sell me an upgrade and when I refused, they gave it to me with no extra charge, so obviously they didn't have the small car I had ordered. I would have preferred the small car since I stayed in a walled village with very narrow streets, stone buildings on one side and 6-foot-high stone walls on the other.

Posted by
5 posts

I like the Lyon, Provence, nice, Paris path! We're proficient manual car operators, so thanks for the info on rentals!

Posted by
6380 posts

Easiest to take the TGV from Lyon to Avignon and simply rent your car there at the TGV station in Avignon.

(After having taken the TGV to Lyon from Laris as well)