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Dordogne vs Provence vs Normandy vs Loire

Hi all....we have toyed with doing a week split between San Sebastion / Dordogne or Normandy / Northern France or Provence or even The Loire valley. I know it's really a personal preference, but for the well-seasoned France traveller, would love to get your thoughts!

Posted by
3861 posts

A week? 7 nights and 6 days?

Driving? Train and/or bus?

What time of year?

Answers to these questions may help us make better suggestions.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for your reply. We are traveling the third and fourth week or July with three cerebral teenagers. My wife and I spent a few says in Provence two decades ago and loved the area and the kids like Latin and Roman architecture as well as all things medieval. We plan on spending at least three or four days in Paris and the rest elsewhere. We plan to rent a car where needed. We are a family of foodies who all love to cook. Right now we are thinking of home-basing in Aix/Arles and spending a lot time in the Luberon with a few nights in Cassis ( for the Calanques). That said, San Sebastian / Dordogne would be quite the cultural event for the kids. Thanks again for any of your thoughts !

Posted by
5885 posts

I haven't been to Provence yet, my only thought would be that I've heard it can be very hot there in July. We loved the Dordogne for medieval towns and castles, great food, and prehistoric cave art. You could easily fill 3-5 days there. You'd need a car.

Normandy and the Loire are great places, but their strengths aren't so much with the medieval period (except Bayeux cathedral and tapestry).

Posted by
605 posts

Seems like you could fly into Bordeaux (or Toulouse), spend one week in the Dordogne, then drive to Provence, spend one week there and fly home from Marseille.

Posted by
150 posts

Hi Thecarders2. What you have suggested seems good and you will have a good time. As Dick says, in July Provence is quite hot, and it's also one of the months (along with August) where most of France goes on holiday and the south of France will be full of French holidaymakers, and the Calanques will be no exception to that. As you mention Northern France, it will probably be less crowded (because many of the northerners will have gone down to the south!) and there is a lot of beautiful historic architecture there. The weather will also be pleasant but less hot. They have some nice beaches but they are on the North Sea and the water will be a little chilly compared to the Mediterranean (albeit still swimmable).

The Dordogne will also be quite full of tourists. Having said that, all the areas that you are contemplating are perfect for a holiday so in my opinion you should take a look at what interests you in all of those regions (monuments, towns, museums, etc) and make your choice based on that. There will probably be one area that ticks more boxes for you than the rest.