Last month we were able to take our thrice rescheduled trip to France. It was really a fabulous experience. I had been there years before, but my partner had never. I'm a rather verbose person, so I'll try to 1) keep it shorter, and 2) I will post in two or three parts, following this initial post. I hope it can help others with their planning. We found the “crowds” to be nonexistent- even in Paris. What a great time to go.
A little backstory: I am on immunosuppressing drugs, and have been for almost 2 years (including 18 years of low dose chemo). I had been vaxxed fully with Moderna, and avoiding people and crowds (neither of us are working right now) but I still tested positive and had a symptomatic case exactly 21 days before departure to France. Although 'mild' actually means no urgent care or hospitalization needed, I can say it didn't 'feel' mild. I lost all sense of smell and tasted on the 5th day and was freaking out that I wouldn't be able to taste anything in France! After about 14 days, I felt better, although very fatigued (my running really took a hit pace-wise when I returned) and it did end up causing other problems for me in France, combined with my drugs--which necessitated several visits to the pharmacies and one to a Dr. in Strasbourg. My thoughts on the medical system to follow in the post. (spoiler, very good)
We found France to be immensely beautiful, the people very friendly and welcoming, everywhere, even in Paris. The food was divine, the wine even better, and had very good weather, with just a bit of rain on the front end that didn't bother us at all (except for the drive from CDG to Amboise, where it poured for the first two hours of that drive.) The Pass Sanitaire was asked for 90% of the time, and we felt very safe on the occasions (not tons) where we ate inside. The weather was so lovely that we ate outside much of the time, and picnicked almost every day, either for lunch or dinner. My partner is already researching areas to 'retire' to, haha. A history major, he was in his element.
We rented a car straight out of CDG for 16 days, and it was great. A bit of tense driving in Paris at rush hour the am we landed due to some accidents on the autoroute that was a trial by fire 😆, but otherwise, very easy driving. A very small car, Fiat 500 but we travel extremely light and it was perfect. Very easy and fun to drive, easy to park, great gas mileage. Dropped car in Reims, took the TGV back to Paris, easy peasy. We used the Metro in Paris, and also walked a ton.
Our route was basically:
CDG to Amboise, 2 nights;
the Dordogne for 5 nights;
St Cirque Lapopie for 2 nights;
Carcassone, 1 night;
Nimes, 1 night;
Vienne, 1 night;
Colmar, 1 night;
Ribeauvillé, 1 night;
Strasbourg, 1 night;
then 6 nights in Paris.
It might take me a couple days to post all the info here, but maybe not ha. I'll see how wordy I get!