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trip next September advice

good morning, we need some advice. We are planning a 14 day trip next September. We want to do Paris and then the Cote D'Azur., Hopefully hit Loire Valley, Salat, Avignon, Provence on the way down. Can't seem to fit Normandy or Mont St Michel this time.

We had to cancel our trip this year, which include a 7 day Viking River cruise from Lyon to Avignon (already booked full next year). We would like to spend a week along the coast staying in Eze at our current choice Chateau de la Chevre d'Or and use that as our base for trip up and down the coast. Maybe 5 days there. We would like your thoughts
4 days in Paris, with Giverney and Versailles side trips
2 days Loire valley
2 days Avignon
5 days Eze

Thoughts??

Posted by
2393 posts

My first thought is that 4 days in Paris with two day trips is not enough. You lose the arrival day to jet lag, so don’t plan on doing too much that day. Maybe a river cruise and a stroll around your neighborhood. Then you lose a full day each to Versailles and Giverney. That gives you one day for the multitude of sites in Paris. If this is your first time to Paris, I would say that is definitely not enough time. Which Paris sites do you want to see? The Louvre and Eiffel Tower could take up a good chunk of one day. And you’d be pretty tired at the end of that day. I would plan 2-3 sites per day, and group them by location in the city to make the most of your time.

Posted by
6113 posts

Sorry, but you are trying to cover far too much ground for your timescale. It would be tight even with 3 weeks IMO as your timetable doesn’t allow for travel between the various regions. Do you have to spend the last day heading back to Paris?

As already stated, you have 2 full day trips out of Paris, a day to get over jet lag which only leaves you one day for Paris itself. You could easily spend a week in Paris. You are also going to spend almost as long in transit as you are visiting the Loire and Provence - each is worth 3-4 full days there.

The coast around Eze is my least favourite part of France that I have visited so far, but each to their own. Five full days there is a decent length of time to see something of the coast.

If you can’t extend your trip, I would suggest that you focus on Paris without any day trips then drop either the Loire or Provence.

Posted by
2590 posts

Have you included the time it requires to travel to these different locations? Generally, every time you change locations, you consume most of one day just for packing, moving, and finding and checking into your new hotel. The basics of Paris alone requires 3 to 4 full days, that is 4 to 5 nights. Versailles consumes one entire day, Giverney most of one day.

I might suggest the following; choose the Côte d´Azur and Paris or Provence and Paris or possibly the Loire Valley/Normandy then Paris. Any of these itineraries will easily consume 2 weeks. Arriving in France, push on to your first destination, leaving Paris for last. This leaves you in position for easy airport access your last day.

Posted by
27419 posts

I agree with the others--the scope is too large for a 2-week trip. Two issues not specifically addressed so far:

Two days in Avignon (and it's really just one full day plus some hours) is totally inadequate for seeing Provence. It's enough time to Avignon and maybe one other, easy-to-reach spot. Way too high a ratio of travel time to feet-on-the-ground time. I think Provence is worth at least five nights, and if you don't have a car you'll still miss out on a lot. With less time, what are you going to skip? Arles? St-Remy-de-Provence? L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgues? Nimes? villages like Roussillon?

I haven't been to Eze so I can't comment on its charms. But I don't think it's a good base for a bunch of day-trips (and Eze itself is too small to keep you occupied for long) unless you are going to rent a car and the places you want to see are up in the hills. You could certainly plan a trip like that (just be sure your lodging in Eze can provide reliable parking guidance), but do you not want to see some of the coastal towns? Are you going to skip places like Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton, Antibes, Cannes. Cap Ferrat and Monte Carlo? (I am not saying they are all musts; I myself skipped Cannes and Monte Carlo.) Those places are well served by the regional train running along the coast, and driving to them wouldn't be smart because of parking challenges and costs. Eze has only bus service, so for day-trips to the coastal towns you'd have to take a taxi or bus down to the coast and connect to a train. That would not be an efficient way to see the coastal towns.

Posted by
10401 posts

I agree with the others that this is far too ambitious for 14 days. Is that 14 days or 14 nights in France? Your arrival and departure days don’t really count. As Tocard expressed, 4 nights in Paris would only be 3 full days there. I always plan my trips by how many nights I’m in place to really assess how much time I really have, and then factor in how much time it takes to change locations. It takes longer than you think it will.

Are you flying round trip in and out of Paris. If yes you have already received good advice to leave Paris on arrival and go to your furthest destination. With 14 nights on the ground I would suggest limiting yourself to three places at the most, say the Riviera, Loire Valley and Paris. If you want to take side trips to Giverny and Versailles (don’t attempt to do both in one day) you should plan at least 6 nights in Paris. Two days for day trips and 3 for Paris itself. If you really want 5 days (6 nights) in Eze that only gives you 2 nights for the Loire, so 1 day. I’m not sure that would be worth the time. From Paris you could do an organized day trip in the Loire by taking a train there and doing a minibus tour of some chateau, then training back. It would eliminate more repositioning, which takes more time and effort.

Posted by
125 posts

See my detailed response when you asked this question on my post.. I will also add - don't fly in and out of Paris. Fly into Paris and start there, fly out of Nice. Price difference is very small usually, especially when you add in the time and money you would spend getting back to Paris to fly out. Plus CDG is HUGE and takes a long time to get through, you really do have to be there 3 hrs early. NCE is small and easy to navigate. We had a 6:30 a.m. flight out and got there 2 hours early only to find that the check-in desk didn't open until after 5:00 a.m. Very easy to get from there through security and to the gate though because it's so small.

I agree with the poster on the wisdom of using Eze as a home base. You really have to have a car to get there however I don't recommend driving into Nice or Monte Carlo if you're planning on day tripping there. Eze does not have good public transportation so that makes day trips out without a car difficult. Unless you plan on taking a taxi to/from the nearest rail station each time.

Posted by
84 posts

Great info. No crusher we’re trying to cram everything in two weeks. We were considering flying in Paris it out of niece or vice versa. Thank you for the comments about our stay in Eze. We stayed at the Amalfi coast and loved it and wanted to give ourselves time along the coast. We do not like staying in the cities We prefer a bed and breakfast outside city limits where we could take day trips to the sites.

Based on all your terrific comments we will extend our stay in Paris perhaps select either the Loire Valley or Provence then to the coast. Or stay north and go to Normandy. It’s north vs South tough choice.

Posted by
7458 posts

I looked up your Eze lodging - wow, a gorgeous serene choice! I won’t try to talk you out of it because it would be a lovely, relaxing option. But, I would take any bus or train options up and down the French Riviera. They’re cheap and non stressful. I especially loved Nice (the old section) and Menton (the Italian section - wonderful for photos!). Be sure to see the Villa Rothschild - villa & gardens!

I’ve been to France several times. My advice would be to take your list and see which location you could drop. Maybe keep Paris with the Loire Valley & the French Riviera? But, if you’re planning to come back again to see Normandy, then it might make more sense to do Paris, Provence & French Riviera this time and save the Loire Valley for a Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley trip. Either way, don’t hurry Paris - so much to enjoy there!

Posted by
6670 posts

I think Jean has a good suggestion. Like everyone else, I think your original plan was too busy. You can have a good Paris+South of France trip or a good Paris+Loire+Normandy trip, but (IMO) not both in two weeks. Pick one and save the other for next time (including more of Paris, the gift that keeps on giving).

If you're going south, definitely consider multi-city flights, into Nice or Marseilles and back from Paris or vice versa. An alternative might be a fast train (TGV) straight from CDG to Nice or Marseilles on landing day -- but the low-price ticket commits you to a specific train so allow plenty of time for flight and/or border delays. There's also TGV service from CDG to St=Pierre-Les-Corps, near Tours, in the Loire valley if that's the choice you make.

Your original post mentioned Sarlat, which is in the Dordogne, a fair distance from any other destination you've mentioned. It's great but I wouldn't try to work it into this two-week trip.

Posted by
8230 posts

If you are flying out of Paris then reverse the order of your trip -- end in Paris so you don't waste a full day of prime vacation time on logistics of getting back to Paris. If you have not been to Paris before then way too little time there. I would drop Avignon and a couple days in Eze and add them to Paris. As itis now you waste two Paris days on side trips. so you basically have one day for Paris assuming '4 days' is really 4 nights.

I'd not do the south at all, but if you want to then start there with 5 nights in the south, then two nights in the Loire and 7 nights in Paris with the two side trips. Use that first miserable jet lag day to get to your furthest point and finish in Paris.

Posted by
3062 posts

I would buy Rick Steves FR guidebook 23rd edition; you can download an electronic version from his app.
I would fly into one location and out the other i.e., Paris / Nice or vice vs. Or, you can drop the riviera and fly round trip to / from Paris if you decide to focus on Paris and Provence only. You can take direct trains between the Paris Gare de Lyon station and Avignon TGV (2h 45m).
You can easily spend a week in Paris, Provence and the riviera. I would first research what to see in Paris and then you’ll know how many nights to spend there and do the same with Provence. If you have time to visit the riviera, you’ll need to decide what you need to cut out, etc. There are direct trains between the Avignon TGV station and Nice Ville.
If you add the Loire Valley it will make the logistics more challenging so I would stick with Paris, Provence and the riviera which is the best of FR before adding lesser sights. Remember, you can always return to FR and see what is still pending.

Posted by
41 posts

We just returned from a 3 week trip to France - 20 nights and 11 hotels - and would concur with many of the comments already posted. We flew into Marseilles and left from Orly (connected through Lisbon on both ends), so we didn’t do any backtracking....but we lost quite a bit of time traveling, packing, unpacking, etc. If I only had 14 days, I would 1) stay in a maximum of 3 places. 2) arrive and depart from different airports and 3) save either Versailles or Giverney for your next trip. You’ll be back to see the rest of the places on your wish list!