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Places to visit in France other than Paris

Hello!

Planning a trip March 24-31 to Europe with my parents. We are staying in Paris the first 3 nights (have been multiple times so we aren't hitting up most of the tourist spots), and are looking for new places to visit the remainder of the week.

Was considering Amalfi Coast but the weather won't be warm enough, then was going to do Seville but was told it is Holy Week and that crowds would make it difficult to sight see (any experiences on this welcome), so now we are down to the wire to pick a place to finish our trip and was wondering if there are other places in France that are must see?

(have been to Nice, Eze, and Monaco)

Thanks in advance!

Posted by 75020
Paris
506 posts

"Must see" is a relative term that depends on many things such as your interests, study and background. At this early point in your planning, guide books would help you the most with such a general question as "if there are other places in France that are must see?"

But get to work as March is coming very quickly as you pointed out.

Posted by ntpolanco OP
21 posts

Hello!

We’re huge into wine and big foodies, enjoy walking and seeing sites. So any good vineyard recommendations, places to take cooking class perhaps, etc?

Posted by Suki
New York
2511 posts

Alsace is beautiful but in March the vines won’t have sprouted. We froze there in mid April.
There is more to Andalucia than Sevilla so study a good guide book. Also look at Sicily and Puglia, Italy and Crete, Greece. Morocco.

Posted by ntpolanco OP
21 posts

Ah I see.

We’ve done a lot of Italy, and wanted to do Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba but we’re unsure if it would be possible to move around in a car or train during Holy Week

Posted by Nigel
Northamptonshire, England
19367 posts

I'm not sure that the Amalfi Coast will be all that cold. For example you will have felt quite comfortable in Nice and Monaco at that time of year.

Posted by JS
Bay Area
3131 posts

I would stay in France and enjoy poss the following areas which i think are fantastic. Normany, Loire valley or further away perhaps Provence. All to me are wonderful and do not take alot of $ or time to get to.

Posted by darrenblois
Moncton NB
334 posts

I always say France gets better the further you get from Paris. I've been all around France (except to the northeast ... Burgundy, Alsace, Lorraine). My favourite places are (in no particular order): Mont St-Michel, Carcassone, le Pont du Gard, the Loire chateaux and the Dordogne valley. Rick covers these all well in his books.

Posted by Grace
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
136 posts

I loved the Loire Valley, the medieval fortress city of Carcassone, the beautifully preserved sandstone medieval town of Sarlat (market day was charming) and Arles.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
1599 posts

We’re huge into wine and big foodies, enjoy walking and seeing sites.

If you haven't already been to Burgundy, can you really call yourself a Foodie? A trip based in Beaune would tick most of your boxes and then some. Maybe Lyon if you want Michelin starred restaurants. All would be easy to get to.

Posted by jaimeelsabio
Maryland
1296 posts

With so much to see in France I don’t understand why you want to use the limited remaining time you have traveling to southern Spain.

Posted by ntpolanco OP
21 posts

That’s why I’m asking for suggestions in France because I’m lost. Besides that next on our list was southern Spain

Posted by jaimeelsabio
Maryland
1296 posts

From Paris, southern Spain is a long way away. You could spend a month in southern Spain and not see everything. With your limited time I’ll throw in a vote for the Loire valley and some of its chateaus. It’s east to get to (at least by car).

Posted by mike
shingle springs, CA, USA
636 posts

I would take the train from Paris to Avignon in Provence 2:05 and stay in Provence Region, there is a Lot to see and the weather will be wartest there,lots to see, look at Ricks book on France or Provence.We spent 7 days there in late April 2017.
Mike

Posted by Adam
Boston
3774 posts

For that time of year, Lyon.

It's a great walking city and rivals Paris for food and wine. There's tons to see and do, and if the weather turns rotten you can see, do, and eat indoors.

And logistically from Paris, the rail connection cannot be beat. You can even get a TGV from Lyon to Charles deGaulle for your flight home. So, very little time wasted in transit.

Posted by Jazz+Travels
Chicago
3684 posts

I am in Paris now. Just got back from 3 days in the Perigord region via a combination of TER train Sarlat-la-Canéda to Bordeaux then Ouigo high speed train to Paris. Great scenery, prehistoric cave art and food down there. You may want to consider that. There is the Cite du Vin wine museum in Bordeaux I highly recommend a visit as it comes with a glass of wine at the end.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
3106 posts

I'd say Burgundy, easy to reach from Paris, lots of great food and wine, vineyards, etc. Ticks all your boxes. Take a train to, say, Dijon, then rent a car. Beaune is a good base, with some sights of its own and small enough to drive in and out of easily. I believe there's a fast train from Dijon back to CDG, but best to do that the day before your flight in case of any delays.

If you don't want to drive, then I'd say Lyon, a big city where you can spend several days eating and drinking, also with a train to CDG.

The Loire and Dordogne are also fine destinations (one or the other, you don't have time for both). Normandy is great but not much for local wine.

Posted by Kathy
Atlanta, GA, USA
181 posts

Great recommendations from the fellow travelers. On my last trip, I took the train from Paris to Strasbough and used that as a home base and just loved it. We took the regional train to Baden Baden as I love the local thermal baths and we stayed there 2 nights. You could also go to Colmar which is charming and make your ways up to Strasbough. It will be cold but the Alsace region is charming.

I would pick a region and homebase there and explore. The Normandy region I have done twice and could do it over and over again. As RS says, the 4 C's: Camembert, cider, cream and Calvados! My draw was my father was in the Normandy battle but got to explore Rouen.

I am going on a river cruise on March 22nd to Bordeaux as I have only spent 1 night there a few years ago and love wine!

Enjoy,

Kathy

Posted by Chris
San Diego
171 posts

Have you considered the D-Day Beaches at Normandy? I spent a magical few weeks in Provence, Dordogne and Normandy last summer. Paris was wonderful too, but I think any time you can get away from the tourists, it makes for an especially memorable trip.

If you want more details about the Normandy part of our trip (tour we used, where we stayed and ate in Bayeux), check out my blog at https://explorenowornever.com/the-d-day-beaches-of-normandy-an-american-experience/
Chris

Posted by morvegil
Houston, TX
147 posts

PAris? Just hop on the TGV and hit these towns.

Lyon - Best food in the world. L'atelier des Chefs - Lyon offers cooking classes. Best ever.
Avignon - Explore the Rhone Valley Wines...tons of tours.
Nice - French Riviera...close to Italy so good fusion food and the ocean.

That would be the best bang for buck and easy to get via high speed train.

Posted by vftravels
S.F. Bay Area, CA, United States
1536 posts

It would be crazy to go to a whole other country with such limited time. Based upon your interests, Burgundy might be a good choice. Also, Champagne region, Loire and Normandy for proximity. You can get great wine and food most places in France, of course. With such limited time, Paris + one region would be ideal. Since you like cities Lyon (never been there but have researched it) and Strasbourg (been there, loved it) might be good. I would not spend four days in Strasbourg but it is worth two nights (one full day). I found the city of Chartres to be very charming--if you are at all interested in cathedrals and have not visited--that cathedral is one of my three favorites in all of Europe (other two are Salisbury and Strasbourg).

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
11063 posts

I think you're right to skip Andalucia during Semana Santa, but Barcelona is another matter altogether. The weather should be warm, there's lots to see and do. You can take the train or fly from Paris. The train is 6.5 hours and you'll see a lot of France through the windows. Flying won't save a lot of time when you include getting to/from airports and lead time at the airport.

The Amalfi Coast would probably be good as far as weather, but because of its remoteness, it's not worth it for 3 nights.