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13 day London & France - OPINIONS, PLZ!

Hi Travelers - Any suggestions on my itinerary below would be so appreciated! 14 days is all we have. I've already attempted to persuade my companion to go for 30 days but, alas... By the way, we are thinking about doing this in reverse, as well. Either way, we will start in Nice or London and work our way around. Tips, please! I want this to go smoothly and I don't know if between train and travel time it is possible. July 14 – Flight to London July 15-17 – London July 18 – Early train to Normandy (730a) July 18-19 – Normandy (1130a) July 19 – Late train to Paris (8pm) July 20-23 – Paris July 23 – Late train to Riviera (6 hrs) July 24-25 – Riviera July 26 – fly home from Nice

Posted by
403 posts

Naomi: I would start in Nice and finish in London. That way, you arrive in the afternoon of July 15 in Nice, stroll around getting some sun, and then the next day get rid of jet lag by lounging on the beach. Now opinions of course will differ, but I would add more time to the South by cutting Normandy. You can easily do all the interesting places on the coast by rail or bus, and northwards in Provence you could do Avignon, Arles, Nimes, Orange, and Isle sur la Sorgue without a car. For what it is worth, here is my proposed itinerary
July 15 arr in Nice. Base in Nice July 16, 17. Do beach, Eze, Villefranche, Monoco. July 18 morning TGV to Paris. Base in Paris July 18, 19, 20, 21. July 22 Eurostar 2 1/2 hrs to London. Base in London July 22, 23, 24, 25, fly home July 26. If you have been to London or Paris before, cut down the days there and add days based in Avignon. Or, if you add any days to the total, add them to Avignon, which is a perfect half-way break between Nice and Paris.

Posted by
2000 posts

I would guess that it may be cheaper to fly into London than Nice. Also, even though London is a great, exciting city, I'm sure you will like Paris (and rest of France ) a lot more, so would suggest leaving the best part till last.

Posted by
2000 posts

Also, if this is your first trip to these places, I personally recommend skipping Normandy, and possibly the Rivera and just concentrate on London and Paris. Depends on what you want to see, but there is so much to see and do in these cities, why spend a lot of time travelling between places to spend only a short time there? My opinion anyway...

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks so much for your ideas! I, too, think it might be best to start in Nice. Take it slow while we are recuperating from jet lag. Now it's time to find the cheapest flight possible! :)

Posted by
1137 posts

Last September we did a similar excursion, flying into London, then Eurostar to Paris. Not sure where in Normandy you wish to visit but trains from Paris run about every hour or so to Caen or Bayeux. There is also a high speed train, Paris Gare de Lyon to Nice or even Monte Carlo, around 6 hours or more. My advice is like other posters, skip Nice and Normandy and spend time in London and Paris. We did take the train to Monte Carlo for two nights, which was plenty, but we'd been to Paris and London 4-5 times previously. We always fly into and out of London and you can spend your last 3 days there. Train travel is always so relaxing in both the UK and in France and mostly hassle free. Be sure and get your train tickets earlier, Eurostar 120 prior to travel dates, and TGV in France, 90 days, to get the best prices. Go to www.seat61.com for great train advice.

Posted by
803 posts

if you fly out of nice then you probably should skip normandy. your time is just about enough to cover london paris and the riviera. you can squeeze in normandy but you miss a lot of good sites that don't require additianother travel time. i'd save normandy for another trip, unless you have seen enough London and Paris.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi everyone - thanks for the ideas. As of now, we are thinking of starting in London... London (3 days) -> Paris (4 days) -> train to Burgundy or Avignon (2 days) -> rent care in Burgundy or Avignon and drive to Riveira from there, spend 2 days there. We've been to both London and Paris before. We'd like to spend most of our time there, but would also like some "country" time so we decided to cut out Normandy. Any suggestions on whether we should spend two days in Burgundy or Avignon? We will have 2 days there and a car. I've found some beautiful B&Bs that seem like they will be a nice change from the city. Btw, if any one is ever looking for great flight deals I've found that Vayama.com is EXCELLENT! Best prices so far. So any suggestions on choosing Burgundy/Avignon for a 2 day period would be great!

Posted by
4125 posts

I would choose Provence over Burgundy for logistical reasons. And I would not stay in Avignon, but in a small town or in Arles or Nimes. You don't have a lot of time, it is wise to streamline things.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi All – We bought airfare last night! Big, exciting step! As of now, this is our "final" itinerary. My most important goal is not step on the plane ride home feeling utterly exhausted. I know our time in Europe will be spent exploring and we will be moving a lot but I want to find the right balance for us. Any opinions and/or comments on my itinerary and suggestions for a nice B&B in St Remy and Villefranche would be greatly appreciated!! July 13 – fly out, MIA to Heathrow 14 – arrive in London (7am) 15 – London 16 – London 17 – early train to Paris 18 – Paris 19 – Paris 20 – Paris all day. – At night, EITHER, last train or overnight train to Arles 21 – Arles (Rent a car or by foot? Opinions?) 22 – Arles/St.Remy (if we rent a car, we can drive from Arles to Nice late afternoon – if not, last train) 23 – Nice/Villefranche 24 - Nice/Villefranche
25 – fly out from Nice to MIA

Posted by
3580 posts

Your itinerary gets an A+ from me. The earlier one looked ok, too. Depending on your ages and energy levels, I suggest you build into each day some "down time." A couple of hours resting in the afternoon, perhaps, would help keep your batteries charged. It helps to have a hotel room located conveniently to places you want to visit, so that you can easily get "home" for a nap, snack, etc. I'm not sure you can take a train to from London to Normandy in 3 hours (allowing for the 1-hr time diff between England and France).

Posted by
1280 posts

Naomi - Since your time in Provence is short, I'd rent a car so you can see what you want to more efficiently. You may catch the end of lavender season if you are interested in seeing lavender fields. Once you get to Nice/Villefranche, it's better to use the train or bus. I don't recommend driving in Nice.