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Itinerary help, please?

We are two couples who enjoy history, culture, scenery, food and wine. We will be visiting France either May or Sept 2018, pending work schedules. I have created an itinerary based on suggestions from this forum, in part to avoid any problems with drinking and driving in wine country (walking to dinner and wine tastings, professional tour to vineyards). What do you think of the following? Many thanks for your help and advice!

Day 1-3) 3 full days and nights in Paris

Day 4-6) 3 nights in Lyon

4 - take TGV to Lyon (2h), explore Lyon
5- explore Lyon
6 - rent car, day trip to Perouges

Day 7-9) Rhone Valley, stay in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

7 - leisurely drive from Lyon to CDP, stop at villages en route
8 - 1/2 day vineyard tour from CDP, explore CDP
9 - scenic drive through Cote du Rhone villages and/or explore Avignon
Day 10 - drive from CDP to Marseilles, return car, fly back home

Posted by Barbara OP
MA
119 posts

Thanks, glad the itinerary sounds OK to you. We had heard good things about Orange's Roman ruins and plan to stop there on the way south from Lyon.

Posted by Brad
Belmont Bay, VA
9974 posts

Have you been to Paris before? Are you counting your jet lag day as one of your days? For me you can live with two days in Lyon and two days in the Rhone Valley, I'm not sure you can live with only three days in Paris.

I agree about seeing the Theater in Orange, it's a one of kind sight because the structure behind the stage is the only one still standing (at least in the western world). You can stop at Vienne on your way south from Lyon, it has Roman ruins and a Museum. There is also Glanum, near St. Remy that is an interesting Gallic/Hellenistic/Roman ruin. Right next to that is the hospital Van Gogh stayed in for awhile. I didn't stop to tour it but parked there for free and took the short walk to Glanum.

Posted by Barbara OP
MA
119 posts

Fortunately, jet lag shouldn't be problem. We will be arriving from the U.S. in Barcelona, where our daughter and son-in-law live, and we usually spend a few days there to get over jet lag before moving on. At the end of the trip we will fly back to Barcelona from Marseilles or Lyon, depending upon where our home base ends up being in the southern Rhone Valley. I was thinking to fly back from Avignon, but there are no direct flights to BCN and it looks like more of a hassle.

About Paris... there are a couple of reasons to keep Paris down to three days (actually 3-1/2 days). The first is that 3 of us have been there before and that we all agree it will not be the last trip, so we needn't see it all on this trip. The second reason is, quite frankly, budgetary. We are trying to achieve certain aims with lesser costs. We are traveling with our daughter and son-in-law and they want to share costs, but they need to keep them down to the extent possible with such a trip as this (our Portuguese trip was really cheap by comparison). So in Lyon, we hope to have great meals but not quite at Paris costs, and in the Rhone Valley, really good red wines will be more affordable than in Bordeaux or Burgundy. Wines are an important part of our trip, so we do not want to short-change them, and we look forward to tours and tastings while we're in the valley.

Also, right now we really only have a day and a half in Lyon, because of the day trip to Perouges, which sounds really fun and a bit different. So Lyon is already absorbing half of our travel day from Paris, and we might skew it to even later in the day if we can store our luggage at the hotel in Paris until it is time for the train to Lyon. That would leave us with just one day and two nights in Lyon, which would be OK.

We will definitely stop by Orange for the Roman ruins on the drive from Lyon to the Rhone Valley. I have not been to Rome, although the other three have, and I would really like to see the ruins. They sound wonderful!