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Where can I add in France after Paris?

So my time is brief anyways but I was originally going to go to Paris for 5 nights but I recently found a way to essentially double my time to 10 nights. I will probably add another night to Paris, making it 5 days and 6 nights…but I don’t know what to do with my other 4 nights.

When you account for travel time, it’s really 3 full days. But still, 3 full days anywhere in France other than Paris, as I make my way towards Venice, Italy.

I tried watching the Rick Steves videos but it seems like Paris is that gem that makes me want to see France. Maybe I’m simply ignorant of the culture and the gems available to me? I would love suggestions but please be nice hahaha.

I’ll be seeing art museums and beautiful architecture while I’m in Paris (including a day at Versailles), so people can’t go wrong suggesting those sort of activities. I’ll be going in June so I’ll be too late for the Lavender fields.

I’m also a giant history nerd, which there is plenty of all over France. Maybe Normandy or Burgundy?

I just want to see something other than JUST Paris for my first time in France.

Posted by
222 posts

It's a short train ride to Chartres with its beautiful cathedral and then on to the Loire Valley, maybe basing in Amboise. Also, you might consider the Alsace region, namely Colmar or Strasbourg. You should be able to find small van tours to go out to the other small, beautiful Alsatian villages and maybe wine tasting. Normandy, namely Bayeux, is approximately two hours by train from Paris and there you should be able to book (ahead of time) a van tour with guide out to the beaches and other WWII sites. We have done all of these and think they will give you a broader appreciation of France once you have seen Paris. Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
3207 posts

Nice is a nice stop on the way to Venice. Last I knew, easily done by train…but this was way before Covid.

Posted by
6888 posts

Mid-June is actually the best time of the year for lavender fields, but it will not be easy to go to Venice afterwards!
Instead, Burgundy makes a lot of sense. You could spend 3-4 nights in Beaune or Dijon to visit these towns and their surroundings, including vineyards. It will certainly be more relaxing than Paris. Dijon-Venice is a bit time-consuming, though.

Or if you are OK with visiting another city, then Lyon is perfect for 4 nights. There is a lot of history there (all the way back to the Romans), good food, and a very different feel from Paris. Different cityscape too, as it is quite hilly! And Lyon-Venice is an easy journey, either by train or a flight.

Another suggestion, not in France, is the area around Montreux, Switzerland. It perfectly breaks the journey between Paris and Venice, and there is a good mix of history (Chillon castle, Vevey old town) and scenery (lake Geneva, Lavaux vineyards...).

Posted by
9420 posts

We were just in Paris for 17 days, grew up there and visit often, we didn’t want to be away from Paris for too long this trip so we took an early 2 hr train ride to St Pierre-des-Corps in the Loire Valley (it’s very close to Amboise), they have rental car agencies right outside the station which makes it so easy, and spent two full days in the Loire Valley. We returned to Paris the evening of our 2nd day. Three days in the Loire is good too. We’ve been there many times and never tire of it. We love other areas of France as well, especially Normandy, so you can’t go wrong wherever you choose.

There’s just so much to do and see in Paris, and so many wonderful day trips from Paris, that you could spend a month there and not see or do everything. For instance, if you don’t leave Paris, you can do day trips to lovely villages out in the countryside for a different experience. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Posted by
109 posts

If you are traveling to Venice by train, it probably makes sense to target destinations along high-speed train routes that will allow you to break up your travel time into manageable chunks. For example, Paris > Lyon > Milan > Venice.

To see more of the country, definitely consider day trips, such as:
Annecy as a day trip from Lyon.
From Paris: Rouen, Chartres, Reims....
If you are into chateaus, there is Fontainebleau, Vaux le Vicomte, Chantilly, Malmaison...
If you are into gothic architecture there is Saint-Denis

It really depends on your interests!
Consider looking through a Rick Steves France book to get an overview of each place and see what appeals to you.
He lists the connection / travel times between places, which can be helpful when planning your time and route.

Posted by
898 posts

From Paris we took a train to Epernay, the "capitol of champagne", and toured Moët & Chandon. Of course we had a glass of M & C and took a photo near the statue of Dom Pérignon. Stroll down Avenue de Champagne, with its mansions and homes occupied by famous Champagne Houses. Have a fantastic dinner with very reasonably priced champagne in one of many excellent restaurants there. The fast train is @ 1 hour and ten minutes.

Posted by
2948 posts

The most convenient place would be Nice since there’s a direct train from Paris Gare de Lyon (6h). I would then fly nonstop from Nice to Venice. Easyjet shows a flight for $56. Pack light and do laundry to avoid paying baggage fees.

Posted by
14507 posts

"...so you can't go wrong wherever you choose," How true !

Posted by
14507 posts

" ...Paris is that gem that makes me want to see France." Totally correct on Paris. C'est un endroit.

You have a good number of super places recommended here. It's a matter of setting priorities relative to time, interest, distance and means. That's the hard part.

My first two times to France included Paris (obviously) but it would take me another 4 years to get back to Europe, which again naturally included France with Paris, in particular. Going to France without Paris was unthinkable.

If you're deep into the history, I highly recommend Versailles and Fontainebleau, both of which are logistically doable given your time frame. There is also a Napoleon Museum in the town of Fontainebleau , ca. 35 mins walk from the Chateau.

Posted by
4313 posts

Susan, please give us more details about day trips from Paris to villages. Thanks.

Posted by
86 posts

We spent 3 days in Paris, then headed out to Normandy. Rouen, Bayeaux, St. Lo. I never thought much about the WWII Normandy sights until I was standing amongst all those white headstones of young men who fought and died on D Day. It was beautiful and moving. I recommend doing some of the larger cities. Don't miss the cemetery and Omaha Beach.