Ok all you francophiles-need your help. 4 Women going to Paris-3 have not been before. We 4 will stay in Paris for one week in an apartment, and then 2 return to states, 2 stay in Paris. Do we stay in Paris and continue to live like a Parisian-OR-do we home base it and do day trips-OR-do we take ourselves outside the city for a few days-say the Loire Valley-or the Dordogne-and enjoy. It all sounds good to me, and want my best friend to really see it all, yet kick back and enjoy! Thanks, everyone.
As much as I love Paris ... if I had two weeks in France, I'd go exploring. Maybe do a couple of days in the Loire, then a couple of days in Avignon and get back up to Paris a day or two before your flight out. Have a fantastic trip!
Not! Take yourselves out of the city and experience the best France has to offer. So many choices open to you with the train services from Paris.
Def. get outa town!
I like the Dordogne and Loire idea. Or you could take the fast train south ( or fly) and chill in the south of France for a great change. You could roadtrip in a little car if that's your idea of fun, or sit on the beach for a few days. Lots of ideas in the guidebook- get your grlfriend to read it at the same time you do so you both get ideas instead of one person deciding. Sounds like a wonderful time- have fun! When are you going?
We are going mid-September. I am anticipating nice, moderate weather, and beautiful skies! Thank you all. That confirms it-get out of the city, and enjoy the beauty of the country. Any experience renting a car and driving in France?
Have the people staying behind for the second week been to Paris before? If not, I'm sure they could find more than enough to do in 2 weeks - and have a more leisurely schedule to do it, and they might like to "live like a Parisian". But not knowing ahead of time what you might like, you have to guess and book a rental car and possibly hotels elsewhere in advance. I would plan for at least one road or train trip out of the city to see a bit more of the countryside, but not commit to too much. I've been to France 8 times, and have only seen Paris! It's very hard for me to leave.
Driving is not hard, but don't forget that France is a big place, and the trains are ofter much faster than you can drive. So it makes sense to take the train to (say) Provence and rent a car there. If Loire-Dordogne is a priority, take the train to Amboise and get your car there for exploring and the trip to the Dordogne. Fly home from Toulouse or Bordeaux, without skipping St Cirq or the Grotte du Peche Merle. You don't really have much time for this itinerary, so if you can add a day to it somehow you would not regret it. Plan to spend most of it in the Southwest, beats the Loire any day. I'd say, 2 nights in Amboise, leaving early the 2nd morning.
I would take the fast train to Avignon and rent a car there and explore Provence. Driving is easy and gets you to all the wonderful villages on your own schedule. You could stay in my favorite town St. Remy, or in another little beach town on the Mediterranean of Ste. Maxime's. You can then meander your way back to Paris and drop the car at the airport, or leave the car in Avignon and take the train back to fly out. If you do not have your flight yet you could fly home from Nice or Marsailles. Have a great time! The south of France is wonderful and in Sept. will be perfect.
Thank you all. I had not considered Provence-what a treat that would be. And I do love the small towns, and my friend would expect to see the "picturebook" France. It is obvious you all enjoy France.
Linda, I would even consider taking the train into London (in just 3 hours) and exploring for a few days. See Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Maybe take a side trip out to Bath for a day of exploring Stonehenge, Avebury and Castlecombe ("the prettiest village in England"). You could also easily travel to Belgium (Bruges, Brussels and Gent would all be great choices) or the Netherlands (Amsterdam). I recently traveled to London, Paris, Bath, Gent and Amsterdam: http://missguidedtravel.blogspot.com/
I for one love France, as opposed to Paris. Suggestion to take train to Avignon and then hire a car to explore Provence is great advice.
Much as I love Paris, I really would suggest seeing a bit more of France. A Frenchman once described the capital to me as being as far removed from the 'real' France as a proud and decadent old lady is to her onion seller.
Hi Linda, you have received some good advice so far. What time of year are you going? What are the interests of you and the friend who will have the extra week? You could certainly find plenty to do in Paris, but going to Provence or somewhere else would be great too. A little off topic, but we have a monthly meeting in Sacramento of people that contribute to this helpline. The meeting information gets posted under the General Europe heading. You might like to join us, and then we can help you with your trip. If you would like more information you can PM me.
Take the TGV to Monte Carlo, about 6 hours from Gare de Lyon, stay two nights on the yacht harbor, then back to Paris. The train ride is delightful. Monte Carlo is, well, Monte Carlo. Get your 1st class upper deck train tickets at 90 days prior to travel on the internet, cheaper than 2nd class bought a few weeks before travel. Have a martini at the Casino and then watch the beautiful people exit their Lamborginis and enter while you are people watching from the nearby curbside cafes. Send me a private message about bargain hotel rates on the waterfront.
Wow-what wonderful ideas. After reading everything, I am excited to see other areas of France, after thoroughly enjoying Paris. Thank you!
I also think that Provence is a great suggestion! Basing yourself in Arles, Avignon, or even a smaller city like St. Remy would give you lots of options for day trips. Rick Steves' Provence Guidebook is a great resource for exploring the region including a list of the market days in each of the villages. You could even go so far as the coastal city of Cassis! September should be a perfect time to visit!
We just got back from France and took the train down to Avignon for 5 nights, rented a car from Avis and drove all over following RS Provence Book. We liked the charm of Isle sur le Surge. Many different flavors of France!
Seconding the Provence recommendation. While a car would be great for exploring there, you can do it on the train, too. My ideal itinerary would be a couple of nights in Aix-en-Provence, then a couple of days in Cassis, which is just lovely. (Well, I'd stop in Marseille, too, but I know most people aren't a fan of it's "unique" energy!)
Actually, I would do something way different for the second week ~ I would take the 5 1/2 hour train ride to Interlaken, Switzerland, and then the little "local" train high up in the Alps and stay a couple of nights in Wengen! NOTHING like staying "in" the Alps!!! Then you could take a day and go up on top of the Jungfrau ~ after visiting 25+ countries, that day still stands out as one of the most surreal experiences/views! My other idea would be an overnighter to Venice ~ that city is simply magical!!! Having that extra whole week really opens you up to adding something totally different to your European experience ~ go for it!! I have taken groups of women from ages 14-63 ~ they ALL still vote those two places among their favorites (along with Salzburg!). Have a blast!! ; )