Five of us (2 couples +1) will be driving from Paris and would like to spend a Saturday night somewhere between Paris and Arles. Any suggestions?
To me, the logical choice is Lyon. Right on the route, great food and hotels.
Thanks Tex, we were thinking in the country away from the city
Another vote for Lyon and an opportunity to enjoy a meal there. Even 'reasonable' priced meals seem special there
I would suggest either Beaune or Semur-en-Auxois, both of which are in Burgundy. Semur is close to Fontennay Abbey, which is a great stop. Actually even if you only stop over for lunch, Semur is a nice stop itself. Beaune is also nice, the Hotel Dieu is a must.
Beaune or any smaller town or village around there. You could consult the Michelin, even on line at viamichelin. Levernois is a village 3 kilometers from Beaune with a hotel that has a Michelin one-star restaurant.
Stopping in Burgundy would work particularly if you're wine lovers. You could time it so that you have lunch in Dijon, then spend a leisurely afternoon driving down the Route des Grand Crus (N74) to Beaune. This is perhaps the most famous wine route in the world - 30 km of Côte d'Or great Burgundy wineries. Perhaps stay at L'Hôtel de Beaune. Alternatively, you could take a slightly longer route down through the Loire Valley stopping halfway at Saint-Saturnin, Puy de Dôme, which is off the A75 south of Clermont-Ferrand. This is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. The main reason for going this route lies further South - the spectacular Millau Viaduc, the tallest bridge in the world which you could visit the next day on the way to Arles. Approaching Arles from the West, you could stop in Nimes or visit Aigues-Mortes then take a drive through the Camargue. As always in France, one is spoiled for choice.
We have stayed in Macon, (Ma-sohn) which is a little village just above Lyon. French is predominantly spoken but we did find a helpful gent who spoke English and he guided us through our lunch menu. To our surprise off the small main street we found a Roman museum and a modern shopping area. On our first visit in 2000 we stayed at the Hotel d' Europe et d' Angleterre. 92-109 quai Jean-Jaures, 71000 Macon, Tel: 0385382794, Fax: 0385392254. It was run by the sweetest young couple who were honored we had chosen their hotel. The place is very old and not fancy but it IS clean and comfy and VERY quaint. The sleeping rooms are furnished in the late 1700's era of Marie Antoinette.
my vote goes for Loire valley, anywhere on train route.