France following RS recommended 3 wk tour

My son, daughter-in-law and my self are planning to do most of the recommended itinerary in Rick's book in October. We are probably going to go to Chartes and Versailles before heading to Giverny due to the Versailles fountain schedule. Would like feed back from anyone who has previously done this route.
Giverny , Normandy, Bayeux, Mt. St. Michel, Loire, Dordonne, Carcassone, Arles, Riviera, Alps, Reims then Paris to relax.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Best case, you're going to wind up skipping a few things and get to Paris just in time to head to the airport. You've got roughly seven areas plus Paris; some areas will have several stops/subareas. Looking at it, I see a minimums of twenty nights prior to Paris.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

The route you list, excluding Alps and Reims, and rather starting in Paris and ending in Nice, is essentially the route of the '17 Days in France' tour that Rick's company used to (but no longer) offers. Of course the tour had the benefit of a professional driver who knew the route like the back of his hand. I'll DM you something you might enjoy reading from when I did that trip several years ago.

Posted by Carolyn
Seattle, WA, USA
260 posts

We did a similar route several years ago, but confined ourselves north of the Loire. We did Paris, Normandy (2 nights Honfleur, 1 night Bayeux, 1 night Mont St. Michel), 3 nights Loire (Onzain), 3 nights Burgundy (Beaune), and 2 nights Champagne. Final night spent at CDG. Longest driving day was from the Loire to Burgundy. Your proposed route gives you a number of long driving days, as well as a number of one-night stands. I'd suggest tightening up your itinerary, covering less territory. I think you'd enjoy the trip more. My motto is to always leave a reason to return, and since that trip in 1994, we
returned to France 3 more times, covering much of the remainder of your itinerary. Good luck and bon voyage.

Posted by Adam
2923 posts

Our experience following Rick's literariness is that nimble travelers can do so at roughly 2/3 the speedand that is fast paced. At that rate you would need 4-1/2 weeks to cover his 3-week itinerary, plus more for Paris. You can have an amazing trip in 3 weeks, and cover a lot of ground, but I really think you need to scale back a bit or suffer a bit of frustration. Personally I'd skip the Riviera and maybe the Alps, since these are such logistical outliers. But you could work it in most efficiently by flying into Nice and working your way from there, or by flying home from there. One thing on your side is that in October you can travel essentially without reservations if you do not have your hearts set on particular accommodations. So you can change your itinerary on the fly.