10 Nights in France

Old Nov 30, 12, 3:05 pm
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10 Nights in France

Mrs. Trizzil and I will be spending 10 nights in France in the begginning of March. How would you split the time? Right now we have broken it down to three locations. Paris, Bordeaux, and Nice. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 11:57 am
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Can you tell us what you are looking for? For instance: why Nice? (Yes, I know, the Côte d'Azur fame...) And why Bordeaux? (Wine, I guess...)
Personally I would spend some time in Lyon, especially if food is what you are looking for.

And how do you plan on moving around? By TGV? Car?
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Old Dec 2, 12, 12:32 pm
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Is this your first trip? Do you plan on returning? 10-days spread over 3 locations doesn't allow very much time in any. If you don't want to spend all your time in Paris, I'd recommend only one other location, and then one which has a nice contrast to Paris. Nice won't give you that. I'm partial to the Loire Valley, which is on a couple of hours from Paris by TGV, or Provence. However, Paris is a city to be experienced slowly unless all you want to do is "collect" landmarks.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 3:39 pm
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i would spend 2 days in nice, 2 in bordeaux, and the balance in paris. bordeaux was not real special for us. nice i liked the cooking, i'm not a beach person, but the beach in nice is rocks not sand. cannes is also not special. if you are a beach person, you will have a better time at grapevine lake.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 6:38 pm
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I'd personally spend the whole 10 days in Paris. But having lived there, I might be biased! I agree with the person above who said that Paris is best enjoyed slowly.

In terms of other cities, I think Bordeaux is pleasant for an overnight or two, but certainly not critical for a first trip to France. If you go, head out to Dune Pilat, which is very neat. Nice was also nice, but it takes a LONG time to get there via TGV from Paris (something like 5.5 hours, I think, since the Marseille-Nice section is not TGV speed). Nice has some good museums (Matisse, Chagall) and also has the great Foundation Maegt nearby. Still, I would probably pass considering you only have 10 days in France and will spend half a day getting there and half a day getting back.

Also, I don't remember the SNCF route network offhand, but is there a good way to get Nice-Bordeaux, or do you have to go back via Paris? I know there are trains that could probably do Nice-Bordeaux directly, but not sure if that is "true" TGV on that line.

If you really want to get out of Paris, maybe a trip to Aix (which is under 3 hours direct on TGV) or Strasbourg (I think 2.5 hours) would be good for 2 nights.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 7:21 pm
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If this is your first trip to Paris you'll be sorry you didnt spend more tine there. I would spend all my time in Paris and, if you want to see another area, take day trips. For example, a day trip to Bruges, Belgium or Brussels would be a nice day trip. The town of Rouen with its half timbered houses and pedestrian cobblestoned streets is another suggestion.

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Old Dec 2, 12, 8:02 pm
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Originally Posted by b1513 View Post
I would spend all my time in Paris and, if you want to see another area, take day trips. For example, a day trip to Bruges, Belgium or Brussels would be a nice day trip.
While not impossible for day trips, Belgium is a little far for convenient day trips from Paris and would suggest something much closer instead such as Reims, Orleans or Rouen as mentioned.

MHO to OP would be to drop one of the 3 destinations mentioned perhaps leaving Bordeaux as a day long stop between Nice and Paris. I find that packing and unpacking several times during a shorter holiday is a pain and the less I can do it the better.
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Old Dec 2, 12, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
While not impossible for day trips, Belgium is a little far for convenient day trips from Paris and would suggest something much closer instead such as Reims, Orleans or Rouen as mentioned.

MHO to OP would be to drop one of the 3 destinations mentioned perhaps leaving Bordeaux as a day long stop between Nice and Paris. I find that packing and unpacking several times during a shorter holiday is a pain and the less I can do it the better.
I'll have to respectfully disagree about Belgium. It's only a 1 hour and twenty minute ride on the Thalys to Brussels and quite easy to do in a day. Bruges is an extra hour.

Check out this site, seat61.com, for day trips out of Paris (or from anywhere else). It's a very user friendly site.

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Old Dec 2, 12, 9:18 pm
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Originally Posted by b1513 View Post
I'll have to respectfully disagree about Belgium. It's only a 1 hour and twenty minute ride on the Thalys to Brussels and quite easy to do in a day. Bruges is an extra hour.

Check out this site, seat61.com, for day trips out of Paris (or from anywhere else). It's a very user friendly site.

Bobette
I agree that Bruxelles isn't undoable, but I would be hesitant on Bruges. That would require roughly 2.5 hours each way of transit (assuming little-no layover), which is 5 hours transit in one day. I also wasn't wowed by Bruges, but I know a lot of people (especially a lot of people I know in France) really like it. I personally prefer Brussels, which I found to be an enjoyable city.

The suggestion of Rouen is also a good one I think, as it's under 1.5 hours from Paris. One other suggestion could be Mont St Michel if OP would like to see it (doable either by driving or by TGV to Rennes and then a bus from there).

My personal choice would be to book all 10 nights in Paris and then, if bored, do a day trip or two.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by aa4ever View Post
I agree that Bruxelles isn't undoable, but I would be hesitant on Bruges. That would require roughly 2.5 hours each way of transit (assuming little-no layover), which is 5 hours transit in one day. I also wasn't wowed by Bruges, but I know a lot of people (especially a lot of people I know in France) really like it. I personally prefer Brussels, which I found to be an enjoyable city.

The suggestion of Rouen is also a good one I think, as it's under 1.5 hours from Paris. One other suggestion could be Mont St Michel if OP would like to see it (doable either by driving or by TGV to Rennes and then a bus from there).

My personal choice would be to book all 10 nights in Paris and then, if bored, do a day trip or two.
A single day in Brussels? Yeah, did that, and what you come away most with is a wish that you had another day. I'd want to spend two days there; lots to see by foot the first day, just walking around, then on the second day you could make use of their public transit and see things a bit further out.

Paris is a tough one. It's not as if you can get much of a taste of Paris in just a few days. I think it's better suited for 3 or 4-day trips with frequent returns. Each trip plan on 2 or 3 really significant outings in different areas. Don't forget to see a flea market at some point! And when you hit the Louvre, either have a very strict time limit or plan on spending way more time there than you have time for. One or the other. It's going to wreck everything else planned that day if you let it. Or just plan the spend an entire day there if you want. Just don't think it will be easy to get away. If pressed for time, skip it entirely and see the Musee d'Orsay.

Mont St Michel is a long one-day trip. It's a must-see at some point, but in March it's going to be pretty cold and probably very wet.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 10:41 pm
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Not quite sure how we jumped from OP's plan to visit 3 cities in France to Belgium sidetrips but regardless I would counsel them that less is more and would try and simplify plans where possible.

PTravel has asked but we don't have an answer yet whether this is OP's first visit to France or any of the planned destinations as that would change things for me. If it is a first visit seeing more of a Paris should be a priority, at least IMHO.
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Old Dec 3, 12, 10:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Koby View Post
Can you tell us what you are looking for? For instance: why Nice? (Yes, I know, the Côte d'Azur fame...) And why Bordeaux? (Wine, I guess...)
Personally I would spend some time in Lyon, especially if food is what you are looking for.

And how do you plan on moving around? By TGV? Car?
This is our first trip to France. We are spending 5 nights in Paris to start. We enjoy wine, sights, food, etc...
We are very active and enjoy the best of day and night life. We love experiencing the true culture of the places we visit. We will have to hit the major sights but, can only look at art for so long. That said, all we have planned so far is we will be in Paris the first 5 nights. After that, we are open to any and all suggestions.

Last edited by trizzil; Dec 3, 12 at 10:53 pm Reason: update
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Old Dec 4, 12, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by trizzil View Post
This is our first trip to France. We are spending 5 nights in Paris to start. We enjoy wine, sights, food, etc...
I would drop Bordeaux (enjoying the wines without actually visiting the area is possible). (Also, once in Bordeaux you'll probably have to go back to Paris to make it somewhere else by train.)
But keep Nice (or replace it with Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon - all closer to Paris) to get a feeling for the north-south difference in France.

On the way from Paris to the south you can still stop in Lyon (which is the food capital of France) for 1 or 2 nights .

Last edited by Koby; Dec 11, 12 at 8:13 am Reason: grammar
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Old Dec 9, 12, 8:28 am
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go to monaco from Nice.
1 hr by cheap regional train...
everything France has...without the dog crap on the streets...
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Old Dec 9, 12, 10:32 am
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10 Nights Two Locations

Based on the feedback and more research we have changed our plans. We are now going to do Paris for 7 nights and Nice for 3. What are the must do's in each location? We are looking at doing some day trips from Paris and would like to hear some suggesions. Great feedback so far!
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