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25 days in France. open to suggestions

I have seen much of Europe but not France just Paris for 2 days many years ago.

I am doing all train travel except Normady area.

3 days Paris
1 day Burussels
2 days Burges
4 days Normady/Vimy Ridge by car
7 days Provence bike tour of Van gough sites starting in Avignon
3 days Nice to see area especialy Matice and Marc Chagall museums
5 days left??? open to suggestions.
I was thinking of going back to Paris to do day trips?

Would it take to much to see Alace area/Strassburg?
Should I go see Amboise area?

thanks, I have until May 14 to work this out.
I was hoping to buy all train tickets before I leave.

What do you think of this.

Posted by
12040 posts

I'll let others comment on the feasibility of your proposed itinerary, but a few basic suggestions. Unless you take Thalys during a public holiday (the only segment of your itinerary that would suggest you might do this lies between Paris and Brussels), or a night train (none of the distances you propose are far enough to justify one) you don't need to buy your tickets before you leave. Getting your tickets on the day of travel couldn't be easier.

Second, if you want to visit some of the chateaux in the Loire, consider either renting a car or taking an organized tour. Public transportation doesn't work too well here for tourists' purposes.

Bon voyage!

Posted by
238 posts

I was looking at the French train site and you can get some good deals if you book ahead.
Like from Nice to Paris 48.00 E. compared to some prices are up to 110.00 E.
Does that seem right?

Posted by
4555 posts

Yes it is...just be conscious of the conditions regarding refunds or schedule changes,

Posted by
8700 posts

A Prem's fare for Nice-Paris can be as low as €25. As Norm indicates, be aware of the restrictions. The ticket is for a specific date and departure time and is non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Posted by
238 posts

I just wonder if the real good price on tickets like from Nice to Paris for 25E would be at late in the evening.

Posted by
8700 posts

The time of the day (peak or off-peak) can make a difference on standard fare tickets. For Prem's fares the key factor is the availability of seats allotted for those fares. The sooner you book (up to three months allowed) at, the cheaper the fare. As the number of discount seats available goes down, the discount fare goes up in increments. Eventually standard fare tickets will be the only ones left.

Posted by
238 posts

I think I will book most of the long trips a head of time. This makes for less flexability but if you have a good idea where you will be then I think it will be a money saver.

Posted by
875 posts

Going to Amboise would be worthwhile, but you will need a rental car to travel to visit the chateaux and the troglodyte caves. Amboise itself is a beautiful town.

Posted by
3551 posts

Just back from Alsace-Strasbourg this area is better done by car. And I would skip Strasbourg anyway, Big and creepy city to me. There is so much around Paris that is 5 star, ie Fontenbleau, Versailles, Chartres, Chantilly...

Posted by
286 posts

I really liked Strasbourg! Beaune is lovely too if you are wine drinker or simply enjoy good food. Dijon is just there too but nothing too exciting.

Posted by
238 posts

I like the idea of taking some day trips from Paris at the end of my tour of Provence on the bike.
I would also will have seen Paris at the begining of the trip so doing day trips from Paris might be a plan. And maybe more relaxed.

I may post more questions in the future as I get this trip sorted out.
everyone on this form are so helpful!

I realize I can't do it all in 24 days. I have to take into acount travel time and sleep.

Posted by
39 posts

When in Nice, you should take a day trip to Monaco. 30 minutes away by train. It was a great day trip!

Posted by
711 posts

Stew.. Have you explored the area between Provence and Paris.? This would require a car; however, this is some of the lovliest countryside we have seen. The area around Isle sur la Sorgue is lovely and you can see the Luberon villages and the Cotes de Rhone villages.Then on the way back up there is the west side of the A7 north and south of Lyon where there are lovely chateaus and wine routes. We are staying at the Chateau de Vaux. The n you could explore Burgundy which is lovely and rural with beautiful areas around the Burgundy canal. We always drop off the car at Orly. This drive is very easy and peaceful unless you are going in high season. We are about to photograph these areas and it is especially beautiful in the Fall. Send me a PM if you are interested in places to stay in any of these areas as we have been there before and have had lovely experiences.

Posted by
27 posts

Hi Stew:

If you want to do day trips, I recommend you the Region of Champagne, mainly Epernay. I just came back from there & I visited the Eugene Mercier Champagne House, the cellars are impresive & the guided visit was amazing. There are english tours, but they open at 9:00 AM & close at 11:30 & they open again from 2 to 4:30 PM. THe English tour is at 2:00 PM. Also I have never seen this Champagne in Canada. If you take a day trip it will take about 45 minutes from Paris in the TGV, to Reims, there might be trains that take you directly to Epernay. I stayed in Reims that is a bigger city, Epernay is smaller, I wished I stayed there.

If you decide to go to Mercier Champagne, if you are a little bit early, 1 block before arriving to Mercier you can kill time in a small Restaurant Bar call Le Chinois, & you can taste Champagne ahead of time, I recommend you to sit in the Bar so you chat with locals, people were so friendly, even my husband said as he does not speak a word of French.

Regarding the Alsace region, I was in Stratsbourg for the day it is so nice I find out that one day is not enough, specially if you want to visit small towns near the area & small wineries. The TGV will take approximately 2 hours from Paris.

Hope this helps. If you need more help please feel free to add another post.

Mrs. Pilar Harrietha

Posted by
131 posts

I used the train and buses exclusively for my travels, which included many of your same itinerary stops. Plan your days in Nice carefully to make sure that both museums are open when you are there (I can't remember, but their Websites tell you as does the RS book but check online to be sure). You could do both in a day. At the time I went to the Matisse museum it was all under construction in the area and I got sort of lost on foot- but used the bus. A great day trip from Nice was to go to both Vence and St. Paul de Vence (again, check the times the Matisse chapel is open since you are a fan)and the Fondation Maeght was a highlight. So you might need to add more time in Nice- that's two days right there! It was so very easy to go all along the coast by bus and train, as long as you are in Nice- but of course that's a personal decision!

Posted by
19 posts

I reccommend ilse sur la sorgue and fountaine de vaucluse (just outside avignon - if your french is good take trains/buses, if not, drive). its not much on the tourist route, but i enjoyed montpellier (stayed there a month). i recommend kayersburg in alsalce. loved mont saint michelle (normandy - definitely need a car)! another seemingly overlooked city is bayonne, on the atlantic spanish border - fabulous historic basque town, unlike anything else in france. how wonderful to spend 25 days in france!