hubby & I will be going to France first 2 weeks in May. we are thinking 4 nights in Paris, with a day trip to Versailles. then renting car and 2 nights in Tours( Loire Valley). then to Sarlat in Dordogne region for 3 nights. then 3 nights in Provence and last 2 nights in Nice, where we fly out of. any tips would be helpful. 1 son has been to Paris, another son has been to France 3 times, but this is our first time. we are mid 50's.
Your plan would work. However i would make the following changes: In Loire I would suggest staying in one of the chateau villages/vicinities - Blois, Amboise, Chenonceau rather than in Tours. i go to the Loire to see the chateaus, not the major towns like Tours. Tours is good if you are primarily there to taste the regions wine. (I always stop by Chartres cathedral between Paris and Loire) Instead of 3 nights in Sarlat, this is the one part where I would keep travelling, staying one night in each location: consider a route with all or some of the following: Bayeaux (tapestry plus ); Mont St Michel; St Malo (great little walled harbor town); Rocomador, Dordogne; Sarlat; (Albi, Cordes?), Carcassonne. I would stay in any of these as per your whims and preferences. Provence- idyllic. i would go for a touch of the sea and the roman ruins (including Pont du Gard) I am not that fond of Nice- much prefer the hilltowns. Fly out of Nice, so maybe last night there. The scenery down the East coast and inland via Dordogne, Rocomador, Carcassonne is so different and rural. There are also the caves with pre-historic art. Enough variety to satisfy everybody and much too much to see in one lifetime
This is a fast-paced tour with a lot of driving. Personally, I'd do more by doing less. But, it is feasible, and these are great destinations. And May is a great time to travel.
this sounds a lot like our trip... funny huh. paris 5 days normandy 1 1/2 amboisse 2 1/2 sarlat 3
back to paris (no choice on airports for us) in salat, try to stay a villa des consuls... (firstname.lastname@example.org) david runs it and speaks/writes great english. he has been a life saver trying to help us with reservation, etc..
Sounds like a good itinerary with minor modifications; not sure if your sons who have visited France before are traveling with you? Have you read Ricks book? Brian's right about staying in another town than Tours for the chateaux. Carcassonne is worth an afternoon between the Loire and Provence.
Thought Sarlat was only interesting for an afternoon, tho the Dordogne is really lovely and you could spend a week there just absorbing the scenery. I like the south of France so would add time there. 3 nights in Provence sounds right. I like Antibes, tho the traffic all thru there could be difficult; dssidn't see Nice. Have a great time, take a GPS.
I also think that it's going to be a lot of driving. I would recommend as others have already, to stay somewhere other than Tours while in the Loire valley. I've stayed in Amboise twice, and it's a great base of operations, especially if you like to bike. The cycling is fantastic there ( and relatively easy, ie. very few hills ). As far as Sarlat goes, my wife and I both enjoyed it immensely. It's a great town. I do, however, think that the Lot River valley is even more beautiful than the Dordogne. Regardless, enjoy your trip! France is awesome!
Thanks everyone. Jan, I have booked a B&B hotel in Ambiose.