In July 2014, my husband and I are traveling with our daughter (12) and niece (13). Here is the itinerary we are thinking about. I would love to get some feedback about our allocation of days.
7/7 fly from Washington D.C. to Paris to Barcelona. Stay in Barcelona 3 nights, probably in an apartment but maybe in a hotel since we will have just arrived.
7/10 Pick up a car at the airport, drive to Tossa de Mar, about a 1 hour drive. Stay 3 nights. (we'd consider staying only 2). Snorkel, hang out at the beach, eat seafood.
7/13 Leisurely but long drive to Sarlat le Canada (about 5 hours straight through, but we'd leave in the morning and plan to make some little stops on the way). Stay in that town or one nearby. 3 nights. See cave paintings, the archeological museum in Les Eyzies de Tayac, possibly canoe down the Dordogne. Our girls really want to see the cave paintings, and it sounds like this area of France is very beautiful.
7/16 Drive to the Loire Valley (?) as a stop between the Dordogne and Paris. I think the girls will like to see a chateau, but I could imagine them being less interested in several of them. Possible stay in Chenonceux or Amboise. Overnight only. Given the short time, we are thinking of staying right in Chenonceaux, walk to the chateau to tour, then get on the road.
7/17 afternoon, drive to Paris. Drop off car at airport. 5 nights in Paris. Fly home the morning of 7/22.
We are wondering: 1) whether to cut our stay in Tossa de Mar down to 2 nights to get more time in France, or 2) cut the Paris stay by one day so that we have 2 nights in the Loire; 3) Would it be better to stay somewhere else between the Dordogne and Paris if we can only give the Loire one night? I looked at Orleans, but that seemed like a much bigger city.
Our priorities are: plenty of time to see museums and sights in Paris, some "down" time at the beach, cave paintings and a more rural experience in France. We will be looking for apartments and villas where we can.
Thanks for any help you can give.