I so desperately need some major guidance and help for our upcoming trip to France. After reading this forum, I know I will get some trusted incredible advice from you all travel gurus.
We will be flying into Paris and flying out from Nice. Total 11 full days on land. Our travel style is to explore the local true culture, the small towns, the food, but would like to see or do the major must also. We are not much of museum buffs, but I know we do want to see some famous ones such as the Louvre. We've been to Nice and Marseilles before, so it's not necessary for us to spend time there other than dropping off the rental car and flying out from there to save traveling time, instead of looping back to Paris.
So, with the time frame that we have, what would be your recommendations to see and experience as much as possible? We won't be traveling with kids and we are 40 years old active people. We like to explore towns by foot because we think we can see more. Like when we were in NYC, we barely take the metro. We are planning to rent a car also, but not sure what day and where we should pick up a car. I am thinking to do the followings but it maybe too ambitious...
Day 1 Arriving Paris early am (hire a tourbylocal guide for a couple of hours to get ourselves oriented, yay? nay?)
Day 2 Versailles (with fat tire bike tour? to get a better experience without waiting in line? Yay? Nay?)
Day 3 Reims (with Fat Tire tour again? Just not sure if it's easier to go with a tour or we can do this on our own), arriving Paris late and pick up a car, drive to Monet spend a night in Giverny
Day 4 (If we end up spending night 3 in Paris, will rent a car, drive to Monet Garden in the am instead) Tour Monet Garden, to Normandy, mid afternoon, Mont St. Michel by night
Day 5 Mont St. Michel.
Day 6 Loire Valley
Day 7 Drive into Strasbourg
Day 8 Strasbourg
Day 9 Geneva
Day 10 Lyon
Day 11 Provence
Or skip entirely the Eastern France. Just stick with going south? I really have no idea how many days to spend on different town. I just wish we had more time.
Thank you in advance for your input to help me to make this the best memorable trip.