Trip dates driven by free seats using Snagged Business Class Atlanta- Paris May 4 and First Class from Venice-Atlanta May 18. Thinking 1st week Normandy, Loire and maybe Versailles and then EITHER drive on to Nice OR come back to Paris and fly to Venice. I want to tour northern Italy ( Lake Como etc ) and then a few days at the end in Venice. Was driving to Nice mainly to drop car ( can't drop France to Italy ). At Nice we would train over to Milan, get car for Lake Como, and then drop in Venice.
Liberal but practical budget. I realize Venice housing will be very high; thats ok. Not much for B&B's prefer to pay for regular hotels with all the features as best possible.
As said, we like to sightsee from a car window, love poking around back roads, can get out to see major attractions. Don't hike, canoe or climb.