Hi there, I'm traveling into Paris and then to Saint-Dizier by train. I will be there for business where I then have Thursday-Monday free. I do have to be back in Paris to fly out at 1 PM. I would like to stay somewhere different each day and am open to traveling by plane/train to travel around. I'm looking for ideas on how to plan out those four day starting in Saint-Dizier and ending in Paris. I was also wondering if it would be better to go back up to Paris by train initially and plan it out from there. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
This website tells you all you need and more about train travel in Europe. This one provides train schedules. Your choice to spend each night in a different place makes it most sensible to explore a particular region so you don't spend too much of each day in transit.
St-Dizier appears to have train connections to Dijon, a good base for exploring Burgundy, and Reims, a good base for exploring Champagne. For countryside and small villages, a car would be easier and more flexible than the train, especially if you plan to stay in a different place each night.
Moving every day makes flying a bad choice, I think, unless you want your memories to be about airports and aircraft. Better to see Europe from ground level than from high altitude.
What time of year? Small towns are often best when the weather in nicer than it is likely to be in northern France over the next few months.
Have you been to Paris before? If not, I'd for sure spend the time in Paris. In any case, I'd want to be back in Paris or out near the airport the night before my 1 PM flight.
I would not be happy hopping around to a new city every night. The business of dealing with hotels and dragging luggage back and forth to train stations gets old. Now, if you want to rent a car, the simplifying of the transportation might balance the annoyance of never spending two consecutive nights in the same place.
If you've already done Paris and the Saint-Dizier you are referring to is the one east of Paris traveling in the direction of Nancy, you have some attractive options quite close by:
- Nancy: known for art nouveau architecture. Via bus to Bar-le-Duc, then a train.
- Troyes: very picturesque town with lots of half-timbered buildings; gets mostly tourists from France itself. Via bus.
- Reims: known for champagne houses. Via train.
You could also head over toward the German border, plunk yourself down in Colmar (probably less expensive) or Strasbourg, and visit some of the charming little Alsatian villages. But this requires a 5+ hour train ride, moves you farther from Paris, and means taking the potentially expensive TGV back to Paris if you are traveling fairly soon.
There are endless great destinations in France (though some would be less good in the middle of winter), but you have limited time, so I'd suggest staying fairly near Saint-Dizier or Paris. I wouldn't want to mess with planes.