My family and I (wife, 9 year old and 6 year old) are planning a 3 week trip to France for July 2015. My wife and I traveled frequently before we had kids, but this will be the first trip out of the country for the kids. Over the years traveling with the kids in New England, we have developed our travel style, which can be categorized as (1) car trips of no greater than 3 hours in any given day; (2) accommodations with kitchens and 2 bedrooms when we can swing it; (3) swimming is loved. While my wife and I have eaten life-changing meals in French restaurants in the past, our youngest is allergic to eggs, so we plan to self cater for most of the trip. We will each have one bag and employ the rule that 'if you can't run with your luggage, you've packed too much'. Anyway, that is the setup. Here's the plans:
Week 1 - Fly Boston to Lyon, rent a car, rent a gite in Provence, likely in or near Vaison La Romaine. I can easily fill 6 days with activities and most of the Gites I've seen come with a pool - so this part is pretty straight forward.
Week 2 - Drive from Provence to Annecy, rent a gite in Annecy. Annecy is one of our favorite places we have ever visited and between the lake, Chamonix, Mont Blanc, etc. there will be a lot of things to do during that week as well. Again, pretty straight forward.
Now here's where I need help - week 3 has several options that all of pros and cons:
Option 1 - Rent a gite in Beaune for the week, spending the last day in Lyon, fly home from Lyon
Pro - we love Beaune, Burgundy is great, will be fun to drive around and explore the area, relatively inexpensive
Con - I'm not seeing my kids loving Burgundy for 6 days, it my lose some of its luster if we don't go out to eat, Swimming opportunities will be limited
Option 2 - Split Week 3 between Beaune and Paris
Pro - Paris is Paris, also get to see Beaune, can also squeeze in a trip to EuroDisney, driving between Beaune and Paris will be very much new for me
Con - Paris is expensive, likely not going to get 'self catering' options in Paris and Beaune costs will rise due to not spending a full week, also arrival in Paris and depositing rental car could be a very long and stressful day - also, is Paris necessarily fun with kids? When I take them to New York City, we spend most of the time in Central Park.
Option 2b - same as Option 2, but we drop rental car off in Dijon and train in - much less stressful but lose out on seeing stuff between Beaune and Paris - also would add costs to trip (I think).
Option 3 - We fly home from Switzerland and spend the last week in Switzerland. Details not yet explored.
Pro - lot's to do and see
Con - much more expensive, would likely not rent a house - no gite system, likely cost prohibitive.
Option 4 - ???? Any Thoughts (though note that my wife and I really did not like Nice when we visited and that while we love the Cinque Terre, the driving to get there and then to the airport in Milan or Florence would be prohibitive).
From a budget point of view, the costs look great if we do Option 1 and get stretched for the other options, depending on the choices we make.
I'm enthusiastically happy for any feedback that you provide - including providing information on things kids might like about Burgundy that I've not heard of. You can assume that I've read the Rick Steves France guide cover to cover and watched all of the shows pertaining to the places discussed here. We have been looking forward to this trip for 4 years and I'm excited to begin planning it. Thanks a bunch for the input.
-Matt From Somerville, MA