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First Time To France

Las Vegas, Nevada
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158 posts
3 reviews
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First Time To France


I am planning a trip to france with my wife for our 20th wedding anniversary next June. Of course we want to spend about 9-10 in and around Paris, but we would also like to get out and spend an additional 8 days or so seeing other parts of France. We would like to see the riviera and 1 0r 2 small towns as well as any other destinations you might suggest. It's our first trip, actually to Europe and we are unsure of what choices there are. We are well traveled out of Europe, having been to Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and Australia. Can you help with some suggestions please. Also soem smaller, quaint but nice and clean hotels in the left bank in Paris, and we're not sure what citie(s) to visit in the south by the beach as well. Thanks. Keith

Lyon, France
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for Lyon
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1. Re: First Time To France

Hi Keith,

You might make a stopover at Lyon on your way south to the Riviera. The whole city center is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and Lyon is also famous for the number and quality of gastronommic restaurants.

Have a look on this website, also at my recommandations on this forum and tell me if you need more info:


Chantilly, VA
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41 posts
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2. Re: First Time To France


Very long post.

That's such a great idea to do for your 20th Anniversary! :o) Your plan seems to work well, spending 9-10 days in Paris, and about 8 Days outside of Paris.

However, I would "suggest" you plan traveling from the south and moving up north towards Paris as your final destination, as I believe you'll be flying back to the US from Paris, right?

My family & I did this tour last year in June as well & we had less time then you did, but it was really fantastic. I planned the whole vacation for a party of 7 people. We only had 8 days to do the whole thing. We will definitely go back again though.

Anyway, we flew in from Copenhagen, Denmark to Lyon. We spent the evening in Lyon & had dinner at this really Fabulous restaurant. It's called Le Layon on Rue Merciere. We did a little walking around & checking out the little shops. Great area, many other restaurants around as well. It had rained earlier while we ate, but it ended after our dinner & the rest of the evening was great weather. We had rented a car, so after our mini tour/stroll, we drove to Nice. It was a 6-7 hour drive. (I would not recommend driving. It was OK, but looking back, we should have taken the train to Nice, less worry, & more relaxing.) We checked in to our little apartment rental. We did not stay at a hotel. The apartment had all the amenities we needed, like kitchen, clothes washer, & close to the beach - two blocks away. We needed the washer b/c we had two weeks of dirty clothes we wanted to clean. (If you would like more info, please email me.) We went grocery shopping about two blocks away as well. Bought bread, condiments, etc & made sandwiches for our time at the beach. The Beach at Nice is all rock. Water is pretty cold, for June, but bearable. We went parasailing. Great Fun. We drove to Cannes (20 minute drive) & spent the day there at the beach, walking around town & do a little shopping, no tax. Had lunch at one of the many restaurants. Its quite expensive, as you can image b/c of the Cannes Film Festival hype. Worth a day trip though. We also went to Monaco. Had dinner at one of the many expensive restaurants. We were there during the World Soccer Games. It was very lively & b/c the French had won one of the games, the streets were jammed w/cars & people. There are a lot of shops to window shop. Again, prices are very high.

On our third day, we drove to Lourdes. Very long drive, but we saw a lot of the countryside of France. Lovely. We drove by many beautiful fields of sunflowers. This was one of the MUST stop for my family. So, if this is not a part of what you’re looking for, spend an extra day in Nice or Cannes, although I would prefer Cannes, as there is sand & water, or you could visit Antibes. We spent one night in Lourdes & the next evening, we took the overnight train to Paris. I highly recommend you try the overnight train b/c it saves you one night/travel time & you’ll experience going on the TGV & sleeping in a train. We all loved that experience. We took the last train out (22hrs & arrived in Paris the next day @ around 7am).

Paris is a Wonderful city. I’m sure you’ll want to do all the famous monuments, like Eiffel tower, Place de la Concorde, Notre Dame, Champs Elysees, The Louvre Museum, Sacre Coeur, Les Jardines des Tuileries, Palace of Versailles (but that’s outside of Paris) if you need any specific places to go, let me know.

If you are looking for small towns to visit & experience the way the French live, just drive outside of Paris & you’ll find many little towns. My family has lived in Meaux. It is East of Paris & about 45 minutes drive away. It’s a very cute little town. Go on a weekday b/c most shops are closed on weekends.

As far as car rental, it’s a 50/50 with me b/c if you drive in Paris, you’ll see all the sights & experience the different view of the city, but sometimes hard to find parking. If you don’t rent a car & use subway & save money, you’ll miss all the nice sites & views. You could also use taxi, but I’m not sure what the costs are as I’ve never taken taxis in Paris & only have rented every time we visit.

If you need more info, feel free to ask specific questions.

Good Luck & Have Fun Planning Your Trip,


Worcester, MA
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for Dordogne
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3. Re: First Time To France

I have been to many areas of France and appreciate all ot them. Here are some of the places I might choose on a trip south from Paris to the south.

I would go towards Burgundy and stop for a 2-3 days in Beaune, hitting Vezelay (Cathedral, Roman salt mines) or Semour en Auxois(old walled town) Alsesia(ancient battle site of Julius Caesar vs Gauls-near Alise St Reine)along the way. The wine routes from Beaune are easy and interesting and Beaune itself is a great small town(walled city, easy to walk, Hospice de Beaune, wine museum, wine tastings). Beaune is about 3-4 hours from Paris.

from there I would head down south towards Provence area. It's hard to say where to stay and visit - there are so many places that are fantastic. personally I would use Arles (about 4 hours from Beaune) for a couple of days (St Remy, Les Beaux, Aigues Mortes, Avignon each within an hour's drive) and then head towards Nice/Antibes- both are on the ocean and Nice has easy flights back to Paris.

In Paris we stay at hotel du Palais Bourbon in a neighborhood type location inthe 7th 49 rue de Bourgogne - It's located near the Invalides, Rodin Museum, Pont Alexander and easy walk to just about anything.It's small (26 rooms), large rooms, tiled private bathrooms and very resonable rates. (www.hotel-palais-bourbon.com).

There are many other routes you could take down south depending on what you decide you want to see. This would give you economy of drive time and time spent getting from place to place

Whatever you decide you will love your time in France


4. Re: First Time To France

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