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Trip to France

Just booked a Flight into Paris early spring. I'm a data junky when it comes to travel. Any information is much appreciated. Though we will want to enjoy Paris, we also like small villages where we can set up home base and venture out from there by either car or Train. For example in a recent trip to Italy loved the feel of Lucca as a home base. Any ideas for small to medium towns like that? We love wine and was maybe looking at Bordeaux or Reims. Thanks in Advance.

Posted by
21325 posts

Exactly when in the spring are you arriving in Paris and departing? And how much of that time do you think you'd like to spend in Paris?

Posted by
4125 posts

What Suki said. Burgundy is smaller than Bordeaux or Reims, easy to get to, and the wine scene is world class. It is also rural, so getting about by train is not a good choice. Bicycling is an option, and a happy one when the weather cooperates.

It can be cold and wet there that time of year, bring appropriate layers.

Posted by
1425 posts

Pick up a couple of guidebooks to France. Travel forums and reviews are great resources, but good guidebooks are better.

Posted by
21325 posts

Agree with FastEddie. There are lots of wine areas in France, but their architecture may differ, and there will be other sights that may tip the balance in one direction or the other. Personally, I love Alsace for its (rather Germanic-looking) half-timbered buildings. There's extremely fast TGV service to Strasbourg. I stayed in Colmar on my most recent trip, and it is lovely (with a good art museum, too); it is undeniably touristy, but not on every street. There are many picturesque wine villages around Colmar. This is northern France, though, and as already noted you aren't guaranteed warm weather.

There have been a number of earlier posts about historic towns that yielded information about spots within day-trip distance of Paris. Perhaps some of those respondents will return to share that information again. If not, I suggest scanning back through the France forum for likely-looking thread titles.

Posted by
11978 posts

I was in Burgundy early May. It was a little early to be there, still cold and the vines hadn't really started, early June would probably be great. Still, I felt like I had the place to myself. The exception was Beaune, fairly crowded, you needed reservations to get a seat in most restaurants. I didn't really like Beaune, it was on the big side and not medieval at all - mostly 17th century or later. My favorite was Semur en Axois. It has a nice look and feel and is centrally located for various places to visit in Burgundy.

Reims is worth visiting but not really central. If you go that way, you could continue on to Burgundy. I chose a loop including Burgundy, Alsace and Reims on the way back to Paris but you could start in Reims, see some of Champagne then head toward Burgundy.

It's probably irrational, but because of the Mistral, I only want to go southwest during the fall.