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2 Week France Itinerary Suggestions

Hello. I'm new to Graffiti Wall but it looks like a great resource. My wife and I are in our mid 30s and planning a trip to France August 4-19. It would be great to get some pointers from the forum. I went to France for a 3.5 week tour in 1998 during the World Cup but my wife has never been to France. In 1998, my friend (French) took me everywhere except the extreme eastern part of the country. It was a great trip filled with local knowledge. I should comment on other threads!

Anyhow, my wife and I cannot speak French (wife is fluent in Spanish) and we plan on using mostly public transit but we may rent a car for a day or two. We have a rough itinerary so far. We enjoy culture, relaxing, history, art, and good food. My wife is really looking forward to great pastries.

Here's the itinerary:
August 4-7: Paris.
Hotel Odeon-St.-Germain.
Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs, Arc de triumph... touristy stuff like that.

Any good restaurant recommendations? Typical stuff most days but we're open to spring for a Michelin starred restaurant one night. Recommended Patisseries? I think it would be great to see a good Cabaret one day.

TGV to Provence. 8-11: Thinking of staying in Arles. 3 star hotel. Wine tour, Ponte du Guard. Les Baux, Avignon.

Train to Riviera (Villfranche)12-15: We have a hotel in mind (Villa Vauban.) Pretty much the same recommendations. Hotel, food, entertainment.

Train to Annecy or Chamonix 16-18: Not sure which place would be the best. Annecy seems better, Chamonix could be packed.

Back to Paris night of 18th. Flight leaves CDG ~1:40PM.


Posted by
320 posts


For Paris restaurant recommendations there is no resource better than David Lebovitz's blog (just google his name).

Mr. Lebovitz is an American ex-pat in Paris. His blog on Parisian life is hilarious and informative. His website has many detailed restaurant recommendations all over Paris and from simple crepes to high end cuisine. Have fun.

Posted by
4125 posts

Maybe it's too late for this, but you could save yourself some time if you traveled Paris - Annecy-or-Chamonix - Arles - Villfranch, and flew home from Nice.

Otherwise, ending in Arles would let you catch an early TGV from Avignon direct to Charles DeGaulle, eliminating the need for a "hotel night" in Paris.

Either saves you time you could add to one of your great destinations.

Posted by
522 posts

I second Jon's suggestion. I am almost finished with David Lebovitz's book "The Sweet Life in Paris" and I plan on photocopying the back pages where he lists the referenced bakeries, cheese shops, wine shops, macaron shops, etc etc. He is a chef and seems to know his stuff about both food and Paris.

If not the blog - certainly check out his book. I plan on passing it onto my girlfriends for an airplane read when they head over to Paris.

It just sets the right tone for a trip to Paris!

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for the suggestions. I will certainly Google Lebovitz's book. Also, leaving Arles for Paris on the last day is a great idea. We would have flown out of Nice but I got a great deal on some business class tickets to Paris.



Posted by
689 posts

To choose restaurants (esp. since you're interested on one star dining), I'd get a Michelin guide--you should be able to find it online. The "Bib Gourmand" symbol is a good way to pick restaurants--it indicates a good value. And of course, you can see which restaurants are starred that way. However, many restaurants will be closed in August (every single one of my favorites is, so I can't give any recommendations), so your choices will be limited.

Posted by
196 posts

Love the itinerary. I prefer Annecy. The Venice of the Alps they call it and it is lovely.

In Arles I stayed at Hotel Le Calendal :
I highly recommend it. It's right next to the the Roman Arena so it is ideally situated. Friendly staff AC internet at reasonable prices.

The only critique of your itinerary is 3 nights is a long time for Ville-Franche sur Mer I would plan on a day trip to Nice, Monaco, Antibes, or points beyond...