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Suggestions for a 10 day itinerary Nice to Loire

Hello,

Thank you and apologies in advance if I missed the posts on this topic. My wife and I are flying in to Nice mid-Oct and have 10 days to get to ORLY for our flight home. We get in fairly late so will want 1 night in Nice. We have just 2 destination goals: Provence and Loire Valley. I realize this are quite some distance by car but we are good bouncing around from place to place and have thought about driving up through the Dordogne area. We both love wine and slow travel but do like to see photographic sites...

A couple of things on my which list:

  1. Verdun Gorge (or something similar)
  2. Local markets
  3. Ruins
  4. Coastal views and mountains
  5. Châteaux
  6. Something extra special to celebrate 20 amazing years of marriage :)

We are both cyclists and like moderate hikes well.

I appreciate any suggestions!

Very Best,

Alex

Posted by
5256 posts

Via Michelin can help you plan this trip. Generally it underestimates driving time, though.

Using it to find routes between Orange and Tours (chosen arbitrarily as proxies for Provence and Loire), it shows about 700 km and 7 hours for the fastest route, which doesn't take you near the Dordogne. Inserting Sarlat (proxy for Dordogne) as a midpoint gives you a route of 869 km over 10-11 hours. The direct route could be driven in a long day, I guess, with time added for food-gas-bathroom stops. From Orange to Sarlat, and from Sarlat to Tours, would each take most of a day. Plus, I guess, your first day ends in Nice, and your last day takes you to Orly.

With only 10 days total, and wanting to see all you do, I'd suggest skipping the Dordogne this time. You'll have plenty to see in Provence and the Loire over the time you have. Trying to add a third area, worth several days in itself, seems to me "a bridge too far." It isn't clear whether your 10-day estimate includes your arrival and departure days, or whether you'll be flying out of Orly in the morning or late in the day. I wouldn't advise trying to drive from some Loire location to Orly on the same day as your flight, much safer to spend that last night at or near the airport depending on when it goes.

Posted by
3 posts

I am coming to the same conclusion - I think it will be best to split our time between Provence and Liore - but now I need to figure out the best way to bridge the 2. I see there's TGV to Liore (4.5 hours) which might not be a bad idea. We could then rent a car in Tours. Will plan on spending the night before flight in Paris.

I was also considering just spending the whole 10 days down south, but we have the tickets booked...

I am at the point where I'm totally open to ideas :)

Many thanks!

Posted by
5256 posts

The TGV might be a good choice to maximize your time at both sight-rich areas, and save the stress of driving. Might even save money vs. rental, gas, and tolls for that long day.

Posted by
16883 posts

I would prefer to drive one long day than to go through the rental car pick up and return process twice. With weekly price breaks, I think one rental will also be cheaper than two. You can make the drive a little shorter by stopping at the town of Bourges, on the eastern edge of the chateau region, with a fine Gothic cathedral and Medieval old town.

Posted by
724 posts

I think you've identified the problem with the Provence/Loire valley itinerary -- you have a long drive or a longish train trip with 2 car rentals.

The Loire would combine two things you want: chateaux and cycling. When I toured the chateaux (30+ years ago so this info is dated!), I rented a bike to see some chateaux. I couldn't afford a car at the time. The chateaux can be within a bike-able distance of each other. I'm not sure what the traffic would be like now but it was very pleasant when I did this way back when...

You could just stay in the south in Provence. That would satisfy your slow travel and wine goals! Provence is lovely. There is a ton to see. I'm sure you could find some nice hiking. France is full of trails! If you were to concentrate on Provence, you could take the train up to Paris. This would be a relaxing way up there and the trains are really fast. If you stayed in Paris 2 nights, you could do a day trip to see a close-to-Paris chateau.

Personally, I find many things in France to be more interesting than chateaux, so I would vote to stay in Provence, or perhaps combine Provence with a neighboring region and then TGV back to Paris at the end of your trip. But it's your trip, not mine! You have many good choices. (Bourges is a nice town and gets fewer English speaking visitors than the Loire or Provence)

Posted by
3 posts

Eef,

I think you nailed it. Removing Liore from this trip - less is likely more as you say! Any thoughts for where we should land as a base of operations? St. Remy or Aix seemed like good candidates...

Alex

Posted by
345 posts

As I read the title of your post, I began to wonder if I had missed going to "Liore". I did notice that same posters continued to use "Liore" instead of "Loire".

Hopefully, you plan to go to the "Loire" Valley to see the chateaux. It is well worth the trip. I have seen several but I do want to return there to see others.

Have fun!

Posted by
7124 posts

I would perhaps look at dividing the trip in two.
1) Fly in to Nice (1 nt), rent a car, explore Provence (5 nts), return car in Avignon or Nimes
2) TGV Train to Paris and then Tours, rent a car, explore Loire (3 nts), return car in Tours and train to Paris (1 nt).