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Paris to Loire to Provence - Too Much in 10 days?

My SO and I are planning some last minute revenge travel after being cooped up at home for the last few years, and have landed on France. We are flying into CDG mid June and have 10 days before we need to get back to FRA for our flight home. The idea for the trip was to start off with a taste of the hustle and bustle of Paris (4 days), and then wrap up with a more relaxing and slower paced time in the Loire Valley and Provence. Was thinking of 1 night in the Loire Valley to see a chateau or two, and then 5 nights in Provence to explore some of the cities and towns coast. Then catch a flight from NCE to FRA to make our flight home. We've booked 4 nights in Paris and everything after that is open.

The initial plan was to rent a car on the way out of Paris, drive to the Loire Valley, and then drive down to Provence. Upon further investigation, that drive doesn't seem worth the time and we're thinking of using the train (or flying if necessary). How would you recommend getting between Paris/Loire Valley/Provence? Do you think seeing the Loire Valley and Provence is doable within 6 days?


Posted by
4830 posts

You need a final night in Frankfurt for the flight home, and with 10 days, it seems unreasonable to plan for more than 3 locations. I would be tempted to drop the Loire Valley: 1 night is not enough to even remotely do it justice.
I would add a night to Paris instead, that way you can do a day trip to, say, Chartres or Versailles.

And yes, the train is undoubtedly the best way to go from Paris to Provence.
By the way, you should aim to fly from Marseille to Frankfurt rather than Nice to Frankfurt, because Nice is quite a bit further east.

Posted by
2977 posts

I do think 10 days is reasonable to get a taste of the Loire Valley and Provence, especially if you rent a car. Seeing Loire Valley chateaux by public transportation is really difficult. I would advise renting out of Orly airport to get a good selection of cars. Orly is right by the Autoroute so you can get onto the A10 headed toward Orleans very easily.

It sounds like you only want to see a couple of chateaux, but it would be better IMO to sleep two nights at a Loire location before driving south to Provence. I don't know a lot about Provence -- obviously it's a large region with many choices of where to stay and what to see. For the Loire, we stayed in Azay-le-Rideau (which has its own chateau) and visited the Fortress of Chinon, which we loved. The chateau of Villandry is also not far. The Hotel Biencourt was lovely and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
7345 posts

Well there are day trips for sale to the Loire. And yeah are you staying in Frankfurt the eve before the flight back?

Posted by
591 posts

I feel like Loire is not a super fit overall. You’d want a couple nights there to see a few château and see a little of the area. Driving onward to Provence is like 7 hours so… no to that. But returning your rental to Tours and taking a train to Provence (likely Tours-Paris-TGV to Avignon) is also a lot of time lost. If you’re interested in a château, a day trip from Paris to Fountainbleau or Vieux-le-Vicomte is a good option. Pretty sure Vieux also has their fountains going in June along with candlelight evening hours, dinner and fireworks displays.

There’s a ton to see in Provence, and it’s a rewarding area to just experience some small town France. You could spend six days there easily and still leave things out. I would take a close look at building an itinerary here. Having a car is ideal, but you can see a lot via train, bus, and minivan tours.

Added wrinkle: You’re flying out of Frankfurt? Maybe Alsace makes more sense than Loire or Provence?

Posted by
27 posts

It’s a quick TGV train trip from Paris to Avignon for your time in Provence. If a castle or two are in your wish list, consider a day trip from Paris to one closer to the city than the Loire area. A car rental could allow you several days to explore, then as others have suggested, return the car and fly to Frankfort.

Posted by
8673 posts

I don’t think 10 days is enough time for all 3 when you factor in the time it takes to get to the Loire, and to Provence, check into and out of hotels, the time it takes to rent a car, return a car, etc.

I think Paris and Provence is more reasonable in the time you have and to have a chance to actually absorb what you’re seeing and more opportunity to relax and enjoy where you are.

The TGV to Avignon is the fastest route, most relaxing, and you get to see the beautiful scenery along the way. We stayed in St Rémy-de-Provence, about 25 min from Avignon. It’s the perfect, most charming Provence town of them all imo. It was our favorite by far. We stayed at Hotel du Soleil in the heart of town and loved it.

As much as I lovvvve the Loire Valley, i agree a day trip to Vaux-le-Vicomte (note the spelling for research) is good. It’s one of my favorite chateaux. Versailles is also top of the list.

If you ever do get to the Loire Valley, i recommend staying in Amboise. It is the most central location for visiting the area and so easy to drive in and out of.
It’s charming, right on the Loire River, has a very historical chateau, the last house Leonardo da Vinci lived in, places to eat and shops.

You can drive from Paris to the Loire Valley or take a train to St Pierre-des-Corps (near Amboise) and pick up a rental car there, right outside the train station.

Posted by
8997 posts

Your last day will be shot, too, getting to the Marseille airport and flying to Frankfurt to stay the night before your flight. And, your first day in Paris after an overnight flight will be groggy and hazy. This reduces your useful time on the ground.

I agree with the above answer about visiting Alsace instead of Provence. June is a beautiful time to be there. Logistically, it gives you more time to enjoy your trip rather than packing, flying, changing hotels. You are only a couple of hours to the Frankfurt airport.

Posted by
1032 posts

From one who loves Paris as well as Provence, we also love Alsace. There is much to do and see there as well and you are Soooo close to Frankfurt. After Paris, you can take the high-speed train to Strasbourg which will only take shy of two hours. Strasbourg makes a great base to see all the beautiful small towns and wineries in the region. Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Kayserberg, Equisheim, Obernai, etc. You can also easily train in 30 min. into Germany to Gegenbach from Strasbourg. Gegenbach is a lovely little German town with ornate buildings and such. Baden Baden is another fun excursion. The train back to Frankfurt is less than two hours from Strasbourg. There is so much to see and do in this region. You will be much more relaxed having one base and not having to try to do it all. Rent your car in Strasbourg, or take the day tours to the towns. Renting a car will also allow some time to drive through the Black Forest of Germany, across the river from Strasbourg. If your heart is set on Provence, agree that perhaps save the Loire for another time. Provence will easily eat up those 4 nights in Provence, because your 5th night will need to be in Frankfurt the evening before. Depending on your flight time out of FRA, you could train or bus directly to airport morning of, from Strasbourg but that would be only if you had an afternoon flight. 4 days in Paris will fly by. There is so much to see and do there as well.

Posted by
2 posts

Appreciate the insights and suggestions from everyone! We're actually spending a week in Germany prior to Paris, so no issues with jetlag on arrival. And the flight home from FRA is Day 11, so thinking this is plenty of time to see our latest itinerary.

We took the advice and simplified by cutting Loire. We've settled on: Paris (4 nights) -> TGV to Avignon -> somewhere around Avignon/Aix-en-Provence (3 nights) -> Beausoleil (3 nights) -> NCE to FRA flight ->FRA (1 night). Wanted to get a taste of the Riviera after reading more about it.

Will pick up a rental car in Avignon with a return in NCE. Have heard the drive along the coast is great and looking forward to that. The Airbnb in Beausoleil also includes a parking spot.

Last part to book is the accommodations for the 3 nights in Provence. What are your opinions of staying in Avignon vs. Aix-en-Provence vs. a smaller town in the area (such as the Saint Remy de Provence suggestion)? Having a hard time getting a sense of how different the 2 cities are.

Posted by
4830 posts

With a car, I'd opt for a small town near Avignon. Saint-Remy-de-Provence is a solid choice, with plenty of accommodation and restaurants. Pernes-les-Fontaines or L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are also good options.
Avignon is convenient for trains and buses but a bit too scruffy in my opinion, and Aix is absolutely not car-friendly.
Three nights in that area will only give you a sample, so you will have to make choices of what you want to see.

Posted by
591 posts

That itinerary sounds good. Though I haven’t stayed in St. Remy, it’s a popular choice for a car on this forum and is convenient to an array of sights. Aix is kind of out of the way from a sightseeing perspective. Avignon was probably my least favorite place to stay, like… ever.

Make sure you check which towns have their market days nearby. These were a highlight of Provence for me. Enjoy your trip!