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3 weeks late July with two 10 year olds

Our family is traveling July 10-Aug 1 with two children. Have been to France before, but not with kids ( and not in the last 10 years!), so I'm planning more than usual. I understand that this is the height of the season, and don't want to battle crowds and high prices. We will be in flying in and out of CDG, and visiting friends in Rennes and Toulouse (by car). Is it advisable to skip Province and the Riviera altogether? It is my inclination, but I wanted some actual experience based info to help with this planning, (not just my instinct). We are looking to make this as relaxing as possible.
Thanks!

Posted by
340 posts

We drove from Burgundy to Avignon on a Friday in late July a couple of years ago. Took ALL day because of bumper to bumper traffic. I certainly wouldn't advise that. But once we got there, Provence was lovely and not overly crowded. I'm not sure about the Riviera itself -- I hope others will chime in.

Posted by
776 posts

In July, because of heavy traffic at the height of tourist season, I'd, for a relaxing trip, avoid the Riviera at all costs. At that time of year, although the scene can be busy, the beaches of Normandy and Brittany are delightful. Unlike the Riviera which except for Antibes I think, has rocky beaches, the beaches of Normandy and Brittany are wonderful sand. Ask your friends in Rennes about this.
From Toulouse, Montpellier, Sete and Collioure are possibles. Again, check with your friends. Possibles are also San Sebastian (Spain) Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, but I can't vouch for traffic there,.

Posted by
4125 posts

If in and out of deGaulle is a plan rather than tickets in hand, I would not do it--fly home from Toulouse instead (or into it). Otherwise look into flights from deGaulle to Toulouse the day of your arrival. You will save a ton of time, which will be available for actual sightseeing.

You might consider taking the train for the Rennes - Paris leg of your trip, if traffic is a concern. Plus the wicked fast TGV is a lot of fun.

Posted by
19217 posts

Last year I spent most of the period from June 14 through July 20 on or near the northern coast of Spain. I suspected that the Basque Country would be the busiest and most costly area in July, so I went there early on. I ended that part of my trip in Galicia before heading back east to Zaragoza and Catalunya (big change in weather--hotter there). I was taking public transportation (a combination of trains and buses, more often buses) and didn't notice significant traffic issues. The only place where I saw distinct masses of foreign tourists was in the historic area of San Sebastian. The tapas crowd was out in force by 1 PM.

The northern coast of Spain is quite nice in mid-summer, generally being substantially cooler than points south. In mid-June there were some cool days with very few people on the beaches. Rain is distinctly possible there in the summer. But it's not France.

Posted by
9 posts

I appreciate hearing about your experiences. Thank you. We have arranged to fly from Paris to Toulouse and I will look into dropping the car off in Rennes.