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France: Nice, Lourdes, Paris

Hi Everyone,
I'll be in France Sept with hubby and 4-yr-old in 3.5 weeks for total of 2 weeks. The following is my planned itinerary for our Day 5-Day 7. Please pass on your advice. I need it. (I detailed our Day 1-Day 4 on a separate previous post):

Day 5: Take early morning Nice tour (Are there still a lot of tram construction from the new tram?) and/or walk Promenade des Anglais and maybe hit beach. (Juan Les-Pins, Eze, and Monaco have also been mentioned, but not sure if we will have time. What do you think?) Wanted to sleep in hotel and make drive/train to Lourdes in the morning, but it looks like 9-hour+ train ride to Lourdes. Should and can we take an overnight train to Lourdes from Nice to save some time?)
Day 6: I'd like to arrive in Lourdes early for 8:30AM pilgrimage service there, but not sure if train schedule from Nice will allow. (Need to be in Paris on Day 7 since that is my husband’s birthday.) Have list of things I want to do in Lourdes on Day 6, but doesn't interest my hubby.
Day 7: Morning:
Wake early to do Baths in Lourdes; Check-out of hotel, leave Lourdes for Paris via train at approx 10AM (Perhaps, if there’s time visit Lascaux and surrounding area on the way?)
Day 7: Afternoon: Check into Paris apartment at 3PM. I think we’ll need late check in if we’re to see Lascaux. Please post any advice on what to do for my husband’s birthday with my son, evening of Day 7 on a budget. Maybe take a Seine night boat tour from the east side to the west side, disembark at the Eiffel tower and find a picnic spot in front of the Eiffel tower. Does anyone know what time the lights go on? Many thanks!
Day 7 – Day 14: Paris. I have lots to do here.
Any advice for Day 5 to Day 7 would help. Thanks so much! I’ve shortened my post due to space and placed previous questions on separate post. Thanks so much for your time an help!

Posted by
4129 posts

Lyn, I don't really know how to respond to your remarkable itinerary (including part 1), but you might think carefully about the transportation connections and in general how long it actually takes to do things, e.g., rent a car, drive into Paris, return a car, ride the train, unpack, repack, etc.

I think your plan has you spending your first week doing rather a lot of those things!

Posted by
79 posts

It seems like you're really trying to squeeze in Lourdes when it doesn't fit. If you really want to go, but DH doesn't, maybe you should rethink this: either give it another day if he is willing to appease your interests, or skip it and have another day in Nice or Paris. There is a TGV that runs from Nice to Paris which if I remember correctly, should take about 4-5 hours. By skipping the middle city, you'll greatly decrease your travel time (getting to Paris will take half the time of getting to Lourdes, and that's just one leg of travel), which will actually give you more time to enjoy the places you are going! Think about if it's worth it to try to squeeze in Lourdes.

Also, regarding the twinkling Eiffel Tower: the lights go on when it gets dark. They twinkle on the hour every hour for about 10-15 minutes. And as for other suggestions: make sure you get an amazing birthday cake from a bakery! Get a selection of pastries or a beautiful cake, whatever looks best.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Guys,

Yes Adam and Kent. I think I am being too ambitious. I really need to ck on the transportation times! I’ll be on the Michelin site soon for drive times. I’m sure to cut some sites out of itinerary. Though Becca, I’d hate to get ride of Lourdes. I may cut a day from Paris just to be able to travel to Lourdes. But you are right. It takes quite a bit of time to get to and from Lourdes (sigh). And thanks for the tip on the cake. I will do that!

Posted by
131 posts

Hi, Lyn! What an amazing trip you have planned! Is your 4-yr-old a boy or a girl and in either case is s/he interested in castles? I recently was in Nice and also the Dordogne region. Maybe it is Nice that is complicating your plans (I relied on trains, too)-it sounds like Lourdes and Paris is where you have a lot of definite activities. The beach in Nice would be enjoyable, albeit rocky- I see you post from southern California, so you've all "done" beaches anyway- what about Beynac? The castle was incredible What about a canoe ride? We stopped twice on the way. Rick has lots of info and it would be a nice active "break" from all the cities. Just a different concept to consider! It'll be wonderful no matter what!

Posted by
4129 posts

Lyn, I think Karen's suggestions are worth considering. You could drive from Normandy to the Dordogne in one (long) day--see Beynac or Lascaux--then continue to Lourdes (another very long day if you drive).

Or if a beach is imperative, spend a night on the Atlantic coast somewhere, perhaps the Cote d'Amor or Biarritz.

Bahn rail shows a night train from Biarritz that arrives in Lourdes at 8 a.m. If that is cutting things too close you'd best arrive the night before.

Either way, though, a lot of driving--probably worth a train, or a night train, back to Paris. You might also look into flights into and out of Pau--there seem to be connections to both Paris airports plus Lyon and London.