Hello fellow travelers,
I'm in the very beginning stages of planning our first road trip in Europe. We spent 3 weeks in Rome in 2007 and 4 weeks in Paris 2010/2011, but we mostly remained in the city and relied solely on public transportation. This time we want to explore the French country-side with a rented car, but I'm getting overwhelmed and confused by the options! I would appreciate it if the more seasoned travelers and road trip experts could look over my initial itinerary and see if it is even feasible!
For some background on us: we are a married couple (no kids) I'm 28, my husband is 38. We love culture (cafe's, museums, art, meeting locals and practicing French), history (especially Roman), wine, great food, would love to cycle a bit, we prefer to absorb and explore an area rather than whiz through and say "we've been there!" So, if any of this seems rushed, please let me know. We own a business, so we could add days, if necessary, but this works best for us financially. We're also looking at a total budget between $12,000-18,000 US.
As far as lodgings, we'd prefer small villages as bases to explore, please let me know if you have any ideas! (I will also post on regional forums once I have a route planned.)
We have 35 nights--- arrive June 13 fly out July 18, 2014.
So far the plan is:
June 13- 18 Paris
June 19 AM Train to Versailles half day (been before, but in Dec no fountains!) then on to base (B&B etc in area accessible to next stops) rent car for Chateaux???
June 20 Vaux-Le-Vicomte all day
June 21 Fontainebleau all day, return to Vaux-l-V for evening candlelight tour
June 22 Train to Toulouse (viamichelin makes it seem too far to drive in one day??) rent car drive to base village
June 23 Carcasonne and Norbonne (too much for 1 day?)
June 24- 27 Avignon Area- Arles, Nimes, Uzes, Pont du Gard, Orange, Aix-en-Provence
June 28-30 Grenoble, Chamonix, St-Etienne, Lyon-return car
July 1-3 Train to Colmar, Strasburg
July 4 Train to Mainz begin KD Rhine River Base in Bacharach/ Boppard/ Bignen
July 5 Explore Rhine and Castles in Day, Rhine in Flames in evening
July 6 More Rhine and Castles
July 7 KD Koblenz to Cochem
July 8 Cycle Along Moselle? Train? Boat? to Trier
July 9 AM Trier then Train back to Koblenz
July 10 KD to Bonn, explore, then onto Cologne
July 11 Dusseldorf
July 12 Train to Amsterdam
July 13- 18 Amsterdam
Also, I've been having difficulty with viamichelin route planning (maps are fine). It works great for about 10 mins then says "error due to long-running script" any ideas?
Thank you so much for your time. You are all an invaluable source of knowledge...thanks for taking the time to share it with the rest of us! :-)