In July, my husband and I plan on flying into Paris, renting a car and begin touring, starting in the Normandy area, and driving counter clockwise around the country and then ending our trip in Paris for a few nights. We are not interested in Nice as I hear it is too expensive ). I am looking for suggestions on where to stay, ( we prefer villas in small towns) and how many nights in each place. Any suggestions who be greatly appreciated. Thanks
check out gite.com....the prices are sooooo much cheaper than a hotel it is ridiculous. With a car you can do day trips. They mostly rent per week so that way you can head a lot of directions but not have to waste so much time schlepping bags, checking in and out of hotels, and figuring out how to get to the next town. Pick an area and see it for a week and then move to another area and see that for a week. If this is a first time, a few days in Paris is definitely not enough. You'll want to see Versailles and Monet's Gardens which are easy trips out of Paris. Don't rent the car until you leave Paris...a car would be a hindrance. Metro is easy...car is a hassle!!
Driving through the Alsace wine route is a must do (after Normandy). So lovely.
How about a bit more of a clue than circling the country counter-clockwise? That's probably more than four thousand miles and leaves out all the stuff in the middle.
You say Nice is more expensive than Paris? Not where I go. You can find inexpensive or expensive anywhere in France, except within a hundred miles of Monaco for the week before and the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix when you have NO chance.
As you are nearing Paris, make sure you check out the little towns! Chartes is DEFINITELY worth a stop, and there's a convenient car park in the centre of town at Place des Épars. The city of MAINTENON, while extremely small, has one of the most beautiful chateaux that you'll ever visit-it has old aqueducts from King Louis the 14th's time., If you get the chance, visit the city of Nogent-le-Rotrou. It has such charm! So much to see, so little time!
Sharon, If you are renting a car you might want to consider a lease/purchase from one of the companies in Europe that offers that option. You'll find a lease/purchase is less expensive than a traditional car rental and gives you more bang for your buck. On our last three trips we have used Auto France. Check out their website and see what you think. They also have a toll free U.S. number on their website and are more than happy to answer all questions. www.autofrance.net. There are other companies too. Here is what you get: A brand new car every time Unlimited mileage Fully insured No VAT tax
24/7 roadside assistance If you get to southern France stop into Narbonne, it has a very old cathedral that rivals Notre Dame in age and gargoyles.
Re lease-purchase: Does that obligate purchase?
Nancy - nope. As I understand it, the "lease" is a means by which Renault and Peugeot turn new cars into slightly used cars, thereby side-stepping the quite high sales tax levied on new car sales in France. You pick up a new car, sign a short-term lease agreement with a minimum term of 21 days, and return it whenever and almost wherever. We'll be doing this in June, picking up a Kangoo in Paris and dropping it at Munich airport exactly 21 days later. Details for Renault: http://renaultusa.com/