Greetings! I just booked a roundtrip ticket to Paris for three weeks (Sept 14-Oct 5). I'm in the process of planning my itinerary and need some guidance. I'm in my early 40's, female, will be traveling alone, and will NOT be renting a car (this is non-negotiable). I've never seen France outside of a brief visit to Paris 15 years ago. I'd like to spend the first stretch of the trip in Paris (4-7 nights?) as well as the final night or two before flying home out of CDG.
To give you a sense of my traveling style: I like lingering in places for a decent amount of time in order to get a feel for the place. I'm not that into sightseeing for the sake of sightseeing, though I enjoy an occasional museum, historic landmark, etc. I like to walk A LOT (je suis une flaneuse!), sit at cafes, drink and learn about wine, watch people. I like to absorb atmosphere and I am not easily bored. I don't want to be traveling to a new place every 2 days, especially since I will have to negotiate public transport. My budget is pretty slim, so my plan is to rent cheap but charming airbnb's (with kitchens for cooking many of my meals) along the way.
Here are the places that intrigue me from what I have researched thus far (and seem to be accessed relatively easily via public transport):
Paris, St Emilion (biking the vineyards, exploring the town, overnighting in Bordeaux), Provence/South of France (not sure which town to choose - Arles, Uzes, Cassis, Aix? not really interested in the popular areas of Cote d'azur; I want to experience a good market, slower lifestyle, see the Pont du Gard and Cezanne's atelier in Aix), Beaune/Burgundy
So, maybe like this:
5 nights Paris, 3 nights Bordeaux, 7 nights Provence/South of France, 3-4 nights Beaune, last 2 nights Paris
I'm also intrigued by Annecy - biking around the lake, a change of scenery - but that seems pretty far off the beaten path?
And I'm open to including a neighboring country like Belgium - maybe 3 or 4 nights in Brugge and nixing time elsewhere?
I'm open to any and all suggestions! Is there a place that completely captured your imagination that you think I should include?
Thanks in advance for your help.