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May 3 Week Self Drive Itinerary Check

Hello,

We are fairly experienced travelers and have done European self driving tours before. We wanted some feedback on 21 Day driving tour. It’s just my wife and myself.

We’ve seen Paris over a few different trips but plan on spending a few days there for our anniversary mid trip

Day 1: Arrive at CDG, sleep at a hotel near the airport
Day 2: Pick up car at CDG and drive to Loire Valley for overnight. See Château de Chenonceau
Day 3-5 Drive to Dordogne and stay around Sarlat area ?
Day 6 Carcassonne
Day 7-13 Provence- unknown where to stay as a good base
Day 14 Car return and TGV to Paris
Day 14-17 Paris for our anniversary
Day 17-21 ? Normandy driving to D-Day/ MSM or Strasbourg ? We may have friends meet us in Paris/ France so we were going to keep this open for now
Day 21 late flight back home from CDG

I’m trying to keep driving to less than a couple of hours per day which seems doable at this pace.
We usually like to drive around and find a place to stop for the night but it sounds it may be a bit dicey that time of year so a good base in the Dordogne and Provence might be the best bets.

We like hiking and general city walks. We live around the Napa valley so we’ve kind of had our fill of touring wineries. We’ve budgeted enough for 150-200 euro a night for rooms. Obviously Paris will be more and we’ve taken that into account already

Any suggestions on the itinerary or recommendations of hotels or B&Bs to base in Dordogne and Provence would be very much appreciated

Thanks!

Posted by
537 posts

For Provence, If you stay in Avignon, then you can grab the TGV back to Paris.

I preferred Arles, though. We spent a few days in Arles and Avignon. You could divide your time. I actually wanted to try Vaison La Romaine as another base.

Posted by
22504 posts

The Dordogne is really interesting and you're going to have only 2-1/2 days there, vs. 6 days and change in Provence. I like Provence and certainly don't think 6 days there is too many, but I'd shift at least one of those days to the Dordogne.

I have never driven in Europe and don't have a good sense at all of how much ground you can cover by car. (I'd suggest using ViaMichelin.com to estimate that.) I think whether you can find a single base that works for Provence will depend on what places in Provence you want to see.

Posted by
333 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions. The 5 hour nothing to look at drive from Loire to Dordogne does not sound too great (sounds like HWY 5 in California). We might skip the Loire Valley on this leg and pick it up after Paris

It looks like we can TGV direct to Bordeaux and pick up a car there

Posted by
4125 posts

Only 2 hours to Bordeaux by train, so that is a good plan.

But why not fly into Bordeaux (or Toulouse, more interesting if you are going to spend the night to de-jetlag)? Sartlat about 2 hours drive from either.

Enroute from Toulouse: Cahors, St Cirq.

Add at least a day to the Dordogne, you will not be sorry.

Arles, or a smaller town such as St Remy, beats Avignon for a base, if you have a car.

Paris option: Stay longer, make day trips (to Vaux or Fontainebleu if you are craving Renaissance chateaux), Rouen daytrip for a taste of Normandy, Giverney, Versailles if you are a glutton for crowded palaces.

Posted by
333 posts

Thanks Adam!

A CDG to Toulouse flight seems to be a pretty good option for us. They look fairly cheap on AirFrance or EasyJet (rather pay the extra $25 and go on AirFrance) and it would save us a day+ of solid driving and we can add that time to the Dordogne

edit: booked it on AirFrance for $50 ea. Cheaper than driving