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8 nights base(s) around Lyon/grenoble/Annecy/Dijon

Hi !
We are planing a 2021 summer family road trip in France (fingers crossed !) We have 35 days. We are on planing our last leg (8 nights). We want to see some mountains (vercors massif and place like that) and nature and small easy hikes. We also enjoy history and good food (who doesn't !). We have 3 ideas, what would be the best ? 
a) 5 nights in Grenoble and daytrip to Lyon, Annecy, mountains sights around Grenoble, 2 nights in Dijon (or Beaune) and one night In Paris (near airport) to catch our 11:30 am flight the next day,. 
b) 3 nights In Vercors, 2 nights in Annecy, 2 nights in Dijon (or Beaune) and last nigh near CDG airport. That would mean to skip Lyon
c)  4 night in Grenoble (daytrip to Annecy and mountains sights), 2 nights in Lyon, 1 night in Dijon (or Beaune), and last night near CDG airport. 

We are also open to any other ideas ! Thanks a lot and happy new year !  

Posted by
24883 posts

Just a few thoughts from someone who cannot do rural walks/hikes.

There are a lot of sights in Lyon, including a river-side historic area (which Wikipedia calls "Renaissance")--though of course people's interests vary. I remember that you will have children with you, but not their ages. I wouldn't attempt to see Lyon on a day-trip. For me, 2 nights would have been seriously inadequate. Have you taken a look at a guidebook with good coverage of the city? Two nights might be the sweet spot for you since you also want time for a lot of outdoor, rural activities.

I haven't been to Grenoble, but I gather from guidebooks and an internet contact who lives in the area that the city has one or more interesting museums but isn't otherwise particularly attractive to tourists beyond its role as a jumping-off point for excursions. It doesn't sound to me like a place to spend 5 nights, but then I haven't been there.

I haven't been to Vercors and know nothing about it. I think 2 nights is OK for Annecy. You'll have time to walk around the very picturesque but smallish historic center and ride bikes along the waterfront.

I needed more time in Dijon (where I based) than in Beaune (to which I day-tripped), but I don't drink wine, which may have been a factor.

I have no idea whether the fact that you'll have a car should affect your choice of bases due to traffic and parking issues.

Posted by
103 posts


I haven't been to Annecy or Vecors, so I can't comment on them, but I've been to Beaune, Dijon, Grenoble, Lyon (at least 3X) and Paris (7X), so I would pick option (C), or a version thereof. I think 3-4 nights in Grenoble is just right - you could certainly do 3 and add another night in Dijon/Beaune as they're both worth 2 nights. Grenoble is wonderful: small, compact, beautiful and with great hikes available. As you may be aware, there are cable cars available that take one up to the mountain fortress/Bastille/citadel that overlooks the City. Not only does it provide great views, but also great hikes. I found the food there to be excellent, with a bit of an Italian influence. The river Isere weaves right through the City and provides great views and walks. Finally, there was a very, very good museum of arts as well as a Museum of the Resistance. They're not the Louvre, but were a surprise to find in Grenoble.

I think Lyon is one of the most underrated treasures of France: lots to do and see, great museums, great roman amphitheaters, the Church of Notre Dame, the Old Town, and unbelievable food. I love that City.

Dijon and Beaune are both very small and both very walkable. Unless you're huge wine fans, the only "must" see in Beaune is the Hospice d' Beaune. But the City has GREAT restaurants. Even if you're not a wine fine, you guys could certainly rent bikes and go for beautiful rides through wine country/vineyards which are literally ten minute rides from downtown.

Dijon has more to do than Beaune, some nice museums, churches, etc. Like Beaune it is in the heart of Burgundy and was the capital at one point, so it has plenty of Escargo, Coq au Vin, Beef Bourgonion (sp.?). Similarly, bike rentals are available to get you into the vineyards. Again, if you're not a wine fine, I would do two nights in Dijon and skip Beaune.

Good luck and best wishes: it sounds like a hell of a trip, regardless of which option you choose.

Posted by
349 posts

Hi and thanks for those answers !

We have thought of skipping Burgundy (we like wine, but are not expert on the subject) and do something like 3 nights in Grenoble ( or else) 2 in Annecy and 2 in Lyon and go back to Paris for the last night.