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GeauxTigers777
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2007
1350 posts

France Trip Help
We are looking at doing a France trip next May. Ideal, it will be a 8-10 day trip with 2-3 nights in Paris. We would love to explore some of the French Country side, maybe take a train to Switzerland for a couple of days. Can anyone give me a start on what they recommend? Any B&Bs in the countryside or upscale hotels? Would it be worth it to fly into London for a day or two and take a train to Paris? Just kind of lost, and there are a million possibilities


Gaston
LSU Fan
Dirty Coast
Member since Aug 2008
32255 posts

re: France Trip Help
Are you up for driving? I wouldn’t leave France.

Take the train out of Paris, say to Dijon, then rent a car and go for a good drive. Pick a destination, Avignon maybe, then just connect the dots with cities you want to explore. I’d skip the bigger ones...roll through Lyon and stop in Vienne for example.

Just some thoughts.
This post was edited on 8/10 at 9:49 am


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MusclesofBrussels
Member since Dec 2015
3143 posts
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re: France Trip Help
We did Paris -> Strausburg -> Colmar -> Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland last year over around 17 days and it was a great trip. Switzerland is amazing and was definitely worth the detour, highly recommended. The Alsace region of France is unlike the rest of the country. It's on the border of France and Germany and has bounced back and forth between the two countries, so heavy culture elements of both are mixed. The towns all look like something out of a fairy tale.

We took a train from Paris to Strausburg, then picked up a rental car at the end of our time in Strausburg and drove the rest of the trip. It was very easy, definitely no issues driving around France or from France into Switzerland.


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30
StringMusic
LSU Fan
Metaire, LA
Member since Dec 2006
179 posts

re: France Trip Help
We were in France in late September 2018. Did one day at the Ryder Cup. While in Paris, simply use the metro - clean, reliable, and easy. For anything outside of Paris consider a train to a large city then a car rental.

We spent 5 nights in Paris, then rented a van for 4 of us and drove to Normandy. Stayed in Bayeux (AirBNB) and drove to beaches, Mount St. Michel, and small towns in Normandy & Brittany.

If you can't find a decent rental in one of the train destinations, consider pickup and return at the airport. Driving in Paris sucks.

There is so much to see and do in Normandy that you won't get bored. Also, consider a trip to the Loire Valley if you are into castles and wine. Maybe two hours south of Paris - good day trip or stay in one of the towns like Blois or Amboise. Very laid back area - great food & wine.


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Pettifogger
Atlanta Braves Fan
Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone
Member since Feb 2012
61772 posts
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re: France Trip Help
Paris and Alsace with a day or two in Switzerland is easily doable. We didn't have a car in Alsace which limited us somewhat, but in the Uber era it's not that hard.

I would not fly into London unless you extend your trip. We do a lot of multi-city trips and never do the 10 days in the same city thing like many prefer, but France is one of the most difficult in Europe (IMO) to consolidate into a couple of trips. It's impossible to do in a single, normal-length trip with any breadth. So I'd save London and just focus on Paris + a region you're interested in.

FWIW we struggled to find great city centre type hotels in Alsace. They were fine, but fairly forgettable. Check out Maison Souquet in Paris if you consider the Monmartre area.


Epic Cajun
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Feb 2013
22554 posts
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re: France Trip Help
quote:

if you consider the Monmartre area.


This was our favorite neighborhood in Paris.

OP, we did an 8 day trip split between Amsterdam and Paris and it felt a bit rushed. We didn't leave the two cities outside of the train ride between the two, which I kinda regret now. Wish we would've just done either/or and explored the countryside of either France or The Netherlands. The train ride between the two was easy though.


SDVTiger
Hawaii Fan
Cabo San Lucas
Member since Nov 2011
48469 posts
 Online 

re: France Trip Help
We flew to London and got in a few days there then Eurostar to Paris. Stayed at the Park Plaza cause the Metor was right there

Was a great idea. If you get Eurostar that far in advance its really cheap

Stay in the Latin Quarter they have the best options and area to get everywhere


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WacoTiger
LSU Fan
Waco, Texas
Member since Nov 2003
2605 posts

re: France Trip Help
Delete
This post was edited on 8/10 at 3:15 pm


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WacoTiger
LSU Fan
Waco, Texas
Member since Nov 2003
2605 posts

re: France Trip Help
Here is my blog from The French Countryside in 2017. We flew in and out of Paris (only stayed 2 nights there) and drove about 1,700 miles through all of the 5 major wine regions:

1. Amboise/Loire Valley.
2. Margaux/Bordeaux;
3. Avignon/Provence;
4. Lyon/Rhone;
5. Beaune/Burgundy.

It is in reverse order, but let me know if you have any questions. We ate and drank very well.

The French Countryside 2017


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hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
11595 posts

re: France Trip Help
Have you been to Paris previously? On an 8-10 day trip, I personally would want to split the time between the city and smaller towns, and I would not go all the way to Switzerland when France offers so much to see and do within a couple hours of Paris.

And don’t fly to London if you really want to go to Paris and explore France. London and environs are stuffed full of things to do and see.....just plan a separate trip for that. Don’t try to shoehorn everything into one rush-rush sightseeing tour.

I’d fly to Paris, picking a flight with an early arrival, and pick up a car at the airport if you’re a seasoned traveler with some language skills. Hit the road and drive to Etretat, or Honfleur, or head for Giverny and Monet’s gardens. Spend the next few days exploring Normandy, then return the rental and take the train back to Paris for the remaining 4 days.

Or, if you’re not as keen on driving and haven’t been to Paris previously, start there. Stay 3-4 days in the city, then take the train to Rouen. Visit Rouen, rent a car, and go to Honfleur, Etretat, and head toward Bayeux if you’re interested in WWII history. Plenty to see and lots of delicious food full of cream, butter, and apples. Return the car in Rouen, take train back to Paris for a final couple of nights.

Finally, if renting a car is a total dealbreaker, you can pack in a whole bunch of nice day trips or 1-2 overnights via train from Paris....like Reims and Chartres.

When trip planning, I find it helpful to pick a theme, or set a few modest goals: identify a couple of “must dos”, then build your itinerary around those. Figure out what you most enjoy.....food, scenery, sightseeing, hanging out with locals, shopping, history, architecture, art, local specialty foods, wine, etc. You can narrow things down a bit if you have priorities.


StringMusic
LSU Fan
Metaire, LA
Member since Dec 2006
179 posts

re: France Trip Help
"Plenty to see and lots of delicious food full of cream, butter, and apples."

And don't leave Normandy without trying the cheese, like livarot and camembert, and some calvados.


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30
MusclesofBrussels
Member since Dec 2015
3143 posts
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re: France Trip Help
quote:

Check out Maison Souquet in Paris if you consider the Monmartre area.



This is the hotel we stayed in last year. Really cool place, but our room was tiny to the extent that it was difficult to walk around the room with our luggage.


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Fun Bunch
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
New Orleans
Member since May 2008
76361 posts
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re: France Trip Help
quote:

This was our favorite neighborhood in Paris.


Monmarte is easily my least favorite

Different strokes I guess.

I would spend at least 4 nights in Paris, personally. Paris is too lovely and has too much going on. That is, of course, if you have never been before.


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
11595 posts

re: France Trip Help
Agree, Montmartre is not my favorite. I used to love the Marais but it’s full of international chains, to me, these days. Still love the northern stretches of the Marais, and the Bastille market is one of my fave food markets.

But I do recommend an apartment in Paris over a hotel. More space, a kitchen for some basic cooking, and often a washer/dryer so you can pack extra light.


TheGuitarMan1
Auburn Fan
LA
Member since Jun 2020
309 posts

re: France Trip Help
Do NOT skip Normandy D-day beaches. You can take a train from Paris. Schedule with a good Tour company. Find one that will pick you up at the train station. If your hotel is near the train station, it makes it easy.

Can;t say because of the pandemic, but typically you can fly cheap, or take a train to from London. After reading others post about London, skipped London on last trip. Trains are pretty good in Europe. The best part of last trip was scenic train from south Switzerland to a boat across Lake Lucerne (boat ride was awesome), but that may be further than you want to go. On that trip, flew into Paris, flight to Rome, train to Venice, train to Milan, train and boat to Lucerne, train back to Paris. Train trip to D day beaches... in 10 days, so it can be done.

Rome was a cesspool ... other the The Vatican. The Colosseum was good, but pick pockets and scams abound.

Better info on scenic train / boat ride ...
LINK


LINK /

... the nice Marriott and Hilton hotels in Europe did not blow me away. My favorite was the Hilton in Venice, despite not being the best location. BUT, I think this was before the Marriot - Starwood merger.
This post was edited on 8/10 at 5:57 pm


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GeauxTigers777
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2007
1350 posts

re: France Trip Help
Thanks. We enjoy the countryside, scenery, and intimate dining more than we like the big city hustle and bustle.. I am not a history or museum nut (the wife is), so would want those two in moderation.


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
11595 posts

re: France Trip Help
quote:

I am not a history or museum nut (the wife is), so would want those two in moderation.

Paris plus Normandy would make both of you happy. The coastal scenery of Normandy is charming; google pictures of Etretat and Honfleur to see some examples. The village of Lyons-Le-Foret, near Rouen, makes the lists of most charming villages in France. You could focus on Rouen/Honfleur/Etretat, or you could focus westward from Bayeux to Cancale/Mont St Michel. Cancale has oysters galore, if that’s your jam.

Bayeux is a large town, not really a city. Easy to find hotels or apartment lodgings there, and easy to navigate the region by car if you’ve got decent GPS. Cathedral is interesting, and of course there’s the famous tapestry, in its own museum. Lots of restaurants at every price range, and a charming Saturday market too right in the middle of town.

The DDay landing beaches are fascinating, and even for someone who doesn’t like museums. They’re outside, open air, with many adjacent museums you can visit (or not). So you can stand atop the cliffs at Point du Hoc and think about the rangers scaling the cliffs with the tide at their backs even if you never set foot inside a museum.


TheGuitarMan1
Auburn Fan
LA
Member since Jun 2020
309 posts

re: France Trip Help
quote:

hungryone


Well said. No way I would go to France and not go there. You can turn that day trip or overnighter into what ever you want it to be.


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RedStickBR
LSU Fan
Member since Sep 2009
14125 posts
 Online 

re: France Trip Help
If I were you I’d do Paris > Beaune/Burgundy > Lucerne or Paris > Strasbourg/Colmar/Route des Vins d’Alsace > Lucerne


hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
11595 posts

re: France Trip Help
quote:

If I were you I’d do Paris > Beaune/Burgundy > Lucerne or Paris > Strasbourg/Colmar/Route des Vins d’Alsace > Lucerne


In only 8 days?


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