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Itineraries for 2 week trip

New Orleans
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Itineraries for 2 week trip

This is my first time ever posting anything- so i am very new at this!

My husband and another couple are planning a 14 or 15day trip to France. This is our first time and we are interested in seeing the history, gardens, food, culture- a variety.

Here is a sample of what we would like to see: (we need to know if logistically this will work- we don't want too many one night stops- we want to use the train to certain "bases" and then rent a car)

Paris-3 or 4 nights

Rouen or Bayeaux- 1night (visit Giverny-Normandy)

Mt. St. Michel- 1 night

Amboise- 3 nights (visit Chateaux)

Sarlat- 3 nights (visit caves, Rocamadour )

This totals 11 or 12 nights- where can we add more time? Would like to see St. Emillion and Carcassonne? Can either of these work? or are they too much?

Should we fly in and out of Paris or do we save time and trouble by flying out of Toulouse or Bordeaux ? Where do we rent the car?

We would love any help we can get!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

Hi Chiquitina!

Like you, I am new to TripAdvisor. =) I am also planning my 1st trip to Europe (Paris, Venice & Florence) so unfortunately I do not have any first-hand experience to give you. However, I did read (Rick Steves guide and various travel websites) that if you're vising multiple cities its better to fly "open jaw" -- fly into one city and fly out of another.

Happy planning and have a safe, fun, memorable trip!

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

Keep these things in mind as you plan:

-- your first day will be largely lost to getting from the airport to your hotel, and you'll be very foggy from the jet lag. You won't be settled and leaving your hotel until nearly noon, and you need to plan to take it easy and stay outdoors and mobile.

-- you need two nights in any given location to get one full day of sightseeing.

-- you lose at least a half a day, and usually more than that, every time you change cities. You can salvage a few hours, but it's a long way from being a whole day.

-- your last day tends to be pretty much a loss, too, as getting to the airport so that you're at the airport 3 hours before departure (necessary for North American-bound flights) pretty much eats the morning. Again, you might manage an hour or two, but it's mostly shot.

As to driving, you'll find routes and lots of other info at www.viamichelin.com -- you can choose from the recommended route, shortest, fastest, scenic, or avoid tolls.

When the small map appears, click on it to open an interactive map in a new window -- from there you can toggle hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and more -- pretty powerful tool with lots of ability to play "what about?"

Do add about 30% to the drive time, as it makes no allowances for breaks, fuel, traffic, construction, or weather.

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3. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

I think your itinerary looks generally well paced - but a few thoughts:

- why spend one night in Rouen or Bayeaux, and then another in Mont St Michel? It would make more sense to stay two nights in Bayeaux and go to Mont St Michel on a day trip, or the other way round.

- it may not be practical to rent a car for a few days here and there - it would probably be easier to rent one for the full ten days after you leave Paris.

- I would take the train from Paris to wherever you will be spending your first night, and pick up your car there and drop it off wherever you fly from - some charge a little more for this, but not that much if you are still within France.

- looking at your itinerary, open jaw flights would be a good way to save on more driving time at the end of your break if it doesn't cost you more to do this.

- if I were to add more time to any location on your list, then I would maybe add one or two to Paris - to give you more time to see the place, but also to get over your jet lag. I would also add one to Sarlat, as there is lots of lovely countryside to explore.

- if you decide to add in another destination for a couple of nights, I guess both Carcassonne and Bordeaux are possible, especially if you fly out of Toulouse or Bordeaux. I'm not sure that I would want to spend two nights in Carcassonne though. If you would like to see the place, maybe you could find a nice peaceful chambres d'hotes to the south of the city, and spend one day in Carcassonne and the other exploring a couple of the Cathar castles, then fly from Toulouse the next day.

Edited: 01 June 2011, 10:26
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4. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

I was going to suggest much of what macfarrag did...

- I'd add at least 1 or 2 days to Paris. Not sure if you are interested in seeing Versaille or any other day trips.. but with the time you have budgeted right now you wouldn't really have any time.

- I'd also recommend staying for 2 nights somewhere in Normandy/Brittany where you could visit all of your sights instead of moving twice. My husband and I did the one night thing in England last year because there were some distant sights we wanted to see, but we wouldn't recommend it. If the sights are close enough to visit from 1 home base, then stay put as long as you can before moving to another hotel.

- we are planning a trip this fall and are planning 6 nights in paris, 2 nights in normandy/brittany and 5 nights in the loire valley... so somewhat similar. For the rental car we decided to take the train from paris out to Rennes to save ourselves the long drive from paris and to maximize our time in Brittany (it is a 2 hr train v at least 5 hours driving I believe). Of course that depends on if there are things you want to see along the way... but something you may want to consider.

Good luck planning... I love the way a trip will change as you plan and get more info and change little things here and there. For me planning is as much a part of the trip as the trip itself! Have fun!

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5. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

I'd second what the posters above have said. I wouldn't try to squeeze in another destination further afield. If you haven't been to Paris before, it definitely needs an extra couple of nights.

Normally I like open jaw tickets and would definitely look into them, but since it's domestic in this case, that likely means an AirFrance flight connecting through Paris anyway, so it won't save you a lot of time (factoring in flight time and layover) or money (compared to an advance TGV ticket).

If you can return the rental car in a different location as macfarrag suggests, I personally would do the itinerary in the reverse order. Go directly to Sarlat (or a nearby city like Libourne or Limoges), then rent a car the next day. Others are different and wouldn't want to travel more after being on a plane, but I just assume spend my jet lag day on a high-speed train where I can zone out. It's a low-impact way to get acclimated to being in another country, so I frequently do this when I travel now.

The advantage of doing the itinerary in reverse is that you don't have to split your Paris stay in two, since as sunshine notes above, you want to be in Paris the night before to catch your flight.

6. Re: Itineraries for 2 week trip

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