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Two Week Road Trip Itinerary - too ambitious?

Thanks to those of you who helped guide me with a decision on our stay in Provence. We are now rounding out our trip plans (two weeks, end of June in France) and I'm wondering if our itinerary thus far is too ambitious. We are struggling with how and where to end things in the Rivera region. Thoughts? Thanks.

Day 1 (Sat)
Arrive Paris - CDG - drive to Rouen - overnight in Rouen

Day 2 (Sun)
Drive to Normandy - stay two nights

Day 3 (Mon)

Day 4 (Tues)
Brittany - stay overnight in Dinan (perhaps try to see Mont St Michel)

Day 5 (Weds)
Drive to Loire - stay 3 nights

Day 6 (Thurs)

Day 7 (Fri)

Day 8 (Sat)
Drive to Lyon - overnight 1 night (treating this more or less as a rest stop)

Day 9 (Sun)
Drive to Provence region - stay 3 nights in Saint Dinian

Day 10 (Mon)

Day 11 (Tues)

Day 12 (Weds)
Drive to Aix-en-Provence and spend the day en route to Marseille / Overnight in Marseille

Day 13 (Thurs)
Drive to St Tropez / stay overnight there or Cannes

Day 14 (Fri)
Overnight Cannes, Nice, or Monaco

Day 15 (Sat)
Overnight in Nice

Day 16 (Sun)
Early AM flight home

Posted by
3104 posts

If it was me, it would be too -- well, I don't want to say ambitious, but too much moving around. One-night stays eat up a lot of time with "administrative" tasks (packing & unpacking, checking out & in, finding the new hotel), and it's hard to sleep soundly in a completely unfamiliar room.

Day 1 why not go directly to Normandy? You could either train to Caen and rent a car the next morning, or drive from CDG to Bayeux or wherever your Normandy overnight base is.

From there I would choose either Brittany or the Loire region, not both.

I'm not very familiar with Provence and the rest of the southern areas on your itinerary, but my advice there too is to set your priorities and eliminate some of the destinations.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks, we are stopping in Rouen first to eliminate 3 hour drive or long train ride from CDG after having arrived overnight.

We are paring down the Rivera to probably 3 nights in once place and then last night in Nice before catching flight out - an eliminating Marseille.

There's just so much temptation!

Posted by
791 posts

I agree that you are moving around too much. There are a few easy fixes:

  1. You could easily visit Arles as a day trip from Avignon, or the other way around.

  2. You don't sound very interested in Lyon. Why not take the train from the Loire to Avignon? Then rent another car? You could easily do this in a day. I'm not sure if there is a direct train but even if you have to change in Paris, the TGV to Avignon is fast and relaxing.

  3. I agree with your revision to stay in one place on the Riviera and cut Marseilles.

Good luck with your planning.

Posted by
24881 posts

CDG to Rouen is farther than I'd want to drive in a zombified state. It's probably going to take at least 2 hours to reach your hotel, and that's not counting the time it takes you to get through the arrival procedures at the airport and deal with the rental-car agency.

I agree with the others that you're planning far too many hotels. I liked Dinan, but I cut it and use the time to see more of Normandy (or apply the day to one of your later stops).

Posted by
4053 posts

Are you sure you want to rent a car right away? My thinking is that after a long flight you will be sleepy, tired, and somewhat jet lagged. Under those conditions it might not be the wisest thing to do. Even a minor fender bender at the beginning of a trip is a real bummer for the rest of the trip. Don't mean to rain on your parade, just something to think about.

Posted by
10 posts

I thought I would just give some feedback on our roadtrip in France that we did in June of 2018. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and we made some adjustments to the itinerary above.

-Ask for a small car even if you've been upgraded - we got a smallish SUV which we loved driving, but it was too big to park in city garages and we ended up dinging it in Cannes trying to navigate out of an extremely tight parking space
-Build in a relax/chill weekend - by the 2nd week were sick of being in the car and just need a day or two to decompress and do nothing, including drive
-1 get a good map of driving in Provence - we went on an endless search for lavender and it ended up eating our whole day
-1 Day in Cannes or 2 days in enough, we liked Nice much better
-Stay in a variety of hotels, AirBNBs, and B&Bs = this was something we did right!
-We did about 4-5 dinners with bread, cheese, meat, wine, etc. - great way to save $$
-Duty free - if buying pricier items don't forget to get your forms stamped for duty free - got my refunds within 3 weeks on my credit card!

Our itinerary in the end:
Day 1 - arrived CDG - got my rental and had no issues driving 2 hours to Rouen. Everyone is different, but I travel globally for work on a regular basis so can get up and go without much trouble. Stayed in nice hotel in Rouen - nice town, worth a visit and good pit stop en route to Normandy beaches.

Day 2 - drove to Port en Bessin where we stayed for 2 nights to do D-day beaches, visited Bayeux tapestry and cathedral - HIGHLY recommend

Day 3 - Overlord tour of D day beaches focused on American landings - excellent

Day 4 - visited British landings on our own in AM - drove to Mont St. Michel to purposely arrive after 3pm when all the crowds were gone! Read this in the Rick book on France and it was a GREAT tip. Also, we regretted not staying at MSM. We had a meal there that totally exceeded our expectations. If you arrive late, definitely stay late to soak it all in. Drove to Dinan for overnight.

Day 5 - AM walked around Dinan. Honestly, wish we had skipped this. Very touristy and I think staying on MSM would've been a more unique (if cramped) experience. Drove to Loire Valley. Stayed at La Vieux Manor in Amboise which I would NOT recommend.

Day 6 - Chambord Chateau - we spent the whole day there! You could do more chateux but we really wanted to soak in the best ones vs. do a ton of of them. Dinner in Amboise.

Day 7 - Chenonceau Chateau - my favorite. Definitely do the audio tour. Afternoon visit to Marc Bredif winery where you can get a private tour and tasting in English. Great stop. Dinner at Michelin star Chateau de Pray. Amazing!!!

Day 8 - headed south and stayed at Chateau du Vollore - family home of descendants of Marquis de Lafayette - great choice.

Day 9 - on the road to Provence, checked into Bastide Saint Didier in Provence - WONDERFUL. Highly recommend.

Day 10 - Drove throughout Provence region, visited Senaque Abbey and Gordes.

Day 11 - more driving in region, went to Isle de la Sourge and Venasque

Day 12 - drove to Cannes and visited Aixe-en-Provence for lunch/afternoon en route. Wonderful.

Day 13 - Visited Cannes, shopping.

Day 14 - Beach day in Cannes. Great dining in Cannes so seek out recommended restaurants!

Day 15 - drove to Nice, returned car - stayed at Hotel Suisse which has an amazing view. Highly recommend. Swam in sea - bring swimming shoes. Rocks are painful!

Day 16 - flew back to US

Again, wish we had a few built in days to just decompress. On our next road trip, we'll be sure to build in more relaxation. I would also consider ditching the car Provence as you don't need it in Cannes/Nice.

Posted by
1874 posts

Thanks for the feedback, gives insight how you like to travel. I see there is a lot of driving involved, but that’s actually the same I do most of the time too. Everybody has it’s own style of travelling so why not if this is the way you prefer it, it's your trip after all.