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Where to go if it's France vs Switzerland and how long?

Considering a European trip Aug. 22 or so. Spouse never wants to stay very long, bit I want to stay at least 3 weeks.

We have been to France before, but just in driving up from Rome to Paris. Only spent 4 days at two B&B's on the way and 3 nights in Paris then. We spent 28 days in Europe that time with a private tour guide, including Austria, 2 nights in Germany, Italy and then the 7 days in France.

This time: Considering Champagne: Reims, Epernay; Normandy: Honfleur, Deauville, Bayeux; Bordeaux: Arachon, St. Emilian, Dordogne, Sarlat; Provence: Luberon, Alpilles, Les Beaux de Provence; plus Paris and perhaps Burgundy and Versailles.
How long do I need to stay? Don't want to visit a lot of cathedrals--have already done that in Europe. Don't want to just spend the time eating and drinking wine.
Spouse now concerned about Covid restrictions, possible shut downs, etc. Initially considered a visit to Switzerland but spouse didn't want to do Switzerland.
We both love good food and wine, sights, cropland, history, etc.
Need some ideas and time frame ideas!

Posted by
872 posts

A few days in Switzerland and I am done, ready to move on. YMMV, but it is as expensive as Scandinavia, and frankly I enjoy Scandinavia and the rest of Europe more than Switzerland anyway.

What covid restrictions is your wife worried about? Same thing with possible shut downs, nothing in the cards for that. Being concerned about catching Covid is legit, but not the above.

Posted by
4 posts

So, would you travel to France or Switzerland this fall?

Posted by
427 posts

I think you know the answer: " Initially considered a visit to Switzerland but spouse didn't want to do Switzerland." If you do go to Switzerland I will look forward to your trip report.

Posted by
4439 posts

Wow, who doesn't love Switzerland? Guess we found that person. Yes it's expensive, but it's worth it!

When planning a long trip, look into as many tours as possible to steal ideas. Meaning Tauck, Abercrombie, etc. As well as Rick's big circle tour. Only you know what will float your boat, there are lots and lots of options in France.

HOpefully you've watched all of Rick's videos. If so, branch out and check out Rudy Maxa and Burt Wolf, they travel at a slightly more, shall we say, elevated level. And Samantha Brown I suppose.

In fact, why not also visit the lists of upscale travel agents at Travel & Leisure and CN Traveler and reach out to a few of them? They might have already put together just the trip you're looking for.

Posted by
872 posts

So, would you travel to France or Switzerland this fall?

Assuming your question is directed at my first post, with 3 weeks, one could easily do both. I have expressed my opinion on Switzerland and how much time I need there, and on a 3 week trip split between France and Switzerland, I would suggest a max of one week in Switzerland, the rest in France. Probably stick to Provence and the south/southeast of France since it sounds like you would skip Paris anyway on this trip, so why spread yourself thin with Champagne and Normandy if Paris is not part of the plan.

It sounds like you are seeking either/or destination advice. While I can't fathom anyone spending all of a 3 week trip in Switzerland, you will hear from them if they find this thread. For me, Switzerland is worth a "passing through" visit of a few days on a trip from, say, France to Italy, Germany, or Austria or vice versa. But as a sole destination, it simply isn't for me, but I make exceptions of sole destination on a 2 or 3 week trip for France, Italy, Spain, and the British Isles. With 3 weeks and a given a choice of either France or Switzerland, I would spend every bit of it in France and be perfectly content.

Posted by
6921 posts

3 weeks would be perfect for an "eastern" OR a "western" tour of France, but not both.
By eastern I mean: Champagne-Burgundy-Lyon-Provence, then back to Paris. You could add Alsace too if it appeals (between Champagne and Burgundy).
By western I mean: Normandy (add Mont Saint Michel too) - Loire valley - Dordogne -Bordeaux, then back to Paris.
The eastern route could be done without a car. The western route requires a car, at least around the Dordogne segment and ideally from Normandy to Bordeaux.

Switzerland can take the place of Lyon+Provence in the eastern route. In that case, fly out of Switzerland. But in travel, there's nothing worse than having a reluctant travel partner, so make sure that they are on board with the destination!