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Itinerary Suggestions please Paris and the countryside

Hi All,

Thank you in advance for your help.Plan is to arrive Friday am 5/18/18 and depart 5/27/18. So on the ground me my wife and 2 adult female children 26 and 22 have nine days to spend.I have been to Paris 2x's my wife 1x the kids never. looking to give them a few days in Paris ,rent a car and see the countryside which would be new to my wife and I,Provence,maybe the coast etc.I would prefer to start in Paris , but am not held to it as I am going to make flights based on suggestions here.I hope this is enough info to get started.Originally I was hoping to maybe squeeze in a little of Barcelona but am not sure if we will include that this time.We are ok with taking trains,but I am traveling with 3 ladies ,so you know who is going to be stuck with luggage moving duties! Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.Thanks.

Don

Posted by
2499 posts

Well, the first thing is to make up your mind whether or not to spend any time in Paris. I can't imagine young ladies such as your daughters not wanting to see Paris. At least 4 days, since your arrival day will be complicated by jet lag. Then take a high speed train to the south of France, if that is where you'd like to spend the rest of your time. Use a guide book to decide which towns and cities you want to explore. My advice would to pick a town (not a city, where parking could be a headache) that is central to these places, then rent a car to day trip around. Fly out of the most convenient international airport.

And what's the deal about females not being able to manage their own luggage? It's the 21st century. Women have been travelling on their own for quite some time now. Unless they are physically infirm, they can carry their own bags.

Posted by
2347 posts

I assume you are flying RT Paris? If so, you really only have 8 days (I am discounting day 1 for jet lag). Really not enough time IMHO to rent a car and do what you are suggesting. Instead, spend your time in Paris, take a day trip to Versailles, consider a day trip to Chartes. We’ve been to Paris numerous times and there is certainly more than enough to fill what is essentially a weeks vacation. Or, if you want to see Barcelona and your flights are not booked you could fly into Paris, spend a few days, take the high speed train to Barcelona (6 hours) fly home from there. We took that train two years ago, it was great. Teach your gals how to carry a suitcase. If they can’t manage their own bags, they packed too much.

Posted by
954 posts

I agree that Paris, Provence AND Barcelona would be too much for 9 days. You could do Paris for 4 and train to Provence for 4-5 (rent a car for Provence at the train station) and fly out of Nice or Marseille. Or you could do Paris, Versaille, and train to Normandy for a few days (Mt. St. Michel, cemeteries, Giverny...) and return to Paris for flight home. Or you could do Paris and Barcelona and something shorter in between like the Loire for 2 days (rent a car, visit some Chateau's), then continue on to Barcelona. I would give Paris 4 days if this is your girls first trip. The nice thing about the Paris - Provence plan is you get some country in the villages of Provence and then if you fly home from Nice (and return the car there) you get a more jet-setting locale, and coast, for a day before departure...

Posted by
4264 posts

I suggest splitting your time between Paris and a nearby region, like Burgundy or the Loire or Normandy, that's easy to reach. Take a fast train from Paris to Dijon or Tours or Caen, then rent a car and explore the area. This might also work for Provence, but I don't have experience there. Don't try to fit Barcelona into this trip.

It's also true that you could spend the whole time based in Paris, with a few day trips to places like Versailles or Chartres or Reims, all easily reached by train. Then you wouldn't need a car, or to schlep those bags around. There's plenty to do in the big city, May is a lovely time of year.

EDIT: May is also approaching fast in terms of hotel reservations in Paris. If you want to spend time there -- and who wouldn't? -- you need to get going on that front.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks All!
So in looking at flights best prices look to be in and out of CDG Paris .Refining this a bit after spending 4 nights in Paris I could then rent a car and drive from Paris or train it to Provence then rent a car as suggested . Any suggestions on post Paris to tour a little bit of vineyard see some chateaus on the way to Provence/Nice and get back to Paris for a 9:45am or 1:10 pm flight. Thank you.

Don

Posted by
5715 posts

Why go all the way to Provence? If it were me I would choose one area -- Burgundy or the Loire or Normandy and go there on arrival and spend your handful of days there and then return and finish with 4 or 5 nights in Paris and be there to fly home. You waste an entire day rushing back to Paris the day before your flight home; use the first miserable jet lagged day to get to your furthest point then pick up a car the next day. Burgundy is gorgeous and full of chateau, vineyards and beautiful towns.
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/category/burgundy/
Normandy is also full of beautiful sites including the incomparable Mont St. Michel
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/category/normandy/
If it were me I would get an apartment in Paris and do day trips to small towns, chateaux etc in the Ile de France.
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/category/day-trips-from-paris/
You don't have a whole lot of time and going clear to the south of France and back wastes a lot of it on logistics. Paris takes a week to see much of what it has to offer and it is surrounded by interesting towns, chateaux, etc. A day trip to the Champagne houses of Reims, day trips to Giverny, Versailles, Chartres, Auvers sur Oise just to name a few would be varied and wonderful and not require either a car or a journey to the opposite end of the country.

Posted by
14007 posts

Alan's right. You only have 8 days. Friday morning will be spent getting through the airport and to your hotel. After a night flight with little sleep and jetlag, you won't be able to accomplish much on your first day. And some of you may still be hazy on your second day. On the 27th you need to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure so even with a 13.10 flight, you only have time to pack and have breakfast, maybe a last walk around, so you really need to spend your last night in Paris. While you could conceivably drive to the airport on the 27th with the later flight, it means getting up pretty early. Unless you are within a couple hours' drive, will you be comfortable with the risk of some kind of impediment - remember you need to allow extra time to drop the car. It will take you about 1/2 day to get from Paris to ??? and another 1/2 day back to Paris.

That leaves you 6 full days and 2 half days. Now think about how much you can see and do. Most reasonable for me would be a fast train from Paris to Strasbourg or Dijon and then explore either Burgundy or Alsace by car. Stay in one location and day trip. There are vineyards, wineries, chateaux, abbeys, cathedrals and churches, medieval ruins and quaint villages in both areas. Plenty to charm your womenfolk while you play chauffeur and porter.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks All,

How about this itinerary:
I need some more additional advice please .We land 5/18 in the morning and leave about 1:00 pm on 5/27. How about we go straight out to the Burgundy/Dijon region rent a car for some wine tasting and Chateaus visits and day trips further afield maybe day trip to Provence or at least further east from there and stay in the Burgundy/Dijon region for 4 nights ,then head to Paris for 5 nights?Thank you.

Posted by
5715 posts

Provence is a giant arid area and not a reasonable day trip from anywhere in the north. If you want Provence, train to Avignon and pick up a car there and then spend a few days in Provence and then come back to Paris. I would choose Burgundy or the Loire over Provence, but it is entirely a matter of personal taste. It is not a day trip.

Posted by
2347 posts

You land on 5/18. Get to train station and high speed to Beaune. Then, find your accommodations rent a car, (all on the day you are jet lagged.) Tool around 5/19-21. 5/22 return the car, train back to Paris. Then you have 5 nights in Paris. Another consideration would be stay in Paris for a few days, then train to Beaune. Then when you finish there, train back to Paris, overnight on 5/26, fly out the next day. Doable but, once again, I see a trip where in trying to squeeze in a lot in a small time you will have frayed nerves, blurred memories. But we are all different so have fun!

Posted by
57 posts

Argh!.. trying to get this right..Thx again,i'm sure I will be back with some questions.. any particular area that is quiet and scenic you can recommend to stay in Burgundy? and would 4 nights there and 5 nights Paris seem more relaxed and doable?

Don

Posted by
14007 posts

There are lots of small towns and villages in Burgundy that would make a good base with a car. I wouldn't stay in Beaune or Dijon - too much traffic to drive in/out of every day. I stayed in the western part - in Avallon, but Vezelay would have also been nice or Auxerre. Maybe Autun, nearer Beaune.

Also look into taking the train to Dijon and getting a car there.

Posted by
4125 posts

Burgundy is a good choice. However, Provence is only an hour further (because the train is so fast) and will be lovely in late May. It would be my pic, frankly, and I love Burgundy.

For Provence, you could set up in a single location and take day trips. Arles, St. Remy, and Isle sur la Sorgue are justly possible bases on this forum. For Burgundy, Beaune can play a similar role, but you might be tempted to spend your last night in Vezeley and catch the train back to Paris in Auxerre. (See a guide book to learn if that appeals to you.)