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May in France

st augustine
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May in France

I've been planning to spend my 50th birthday in Paris for as long as I can remember. Now, I'm thinking I may streych it out and spend the entire month of May exploring France. I've looked at Fodor's suggested 14 day itinerary and Rick Steve's 21 day kamikaze car trip, but think this forum has better ideas. We'll be flying in and out of CDG, and I'd prefer to spend the entire day of May 13 in Paris, looking at an apartment for at least a week. Any suggestions for itinerary? How about spending the best day of your life in Paris?

Also considering a Spa day at Evian, and SCUBA day in the Med. Thanks for any help.

Newcastle, Australia
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1. Re: May in France

Hi there

Try the homelidays website for apartments - have rented terrific places using that site. For ideas on what to see/do driving, buy the - DK Backroads France - book. It was invaluable for planning our driving holiday last year.

Kind Regards

Merran

Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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2. Re: May in France

Go for the month !!!

In order to make valid recommendations regarding places to visit while celebrating your 50th, we really need to know a little more about your interests - Roman ruins, Medieval sites, wine country, etc.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Liverpool
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3. Re: May in France

A month would be a good choice, and I think the best way to see the country would be to hire a car after your week in Paris, and then rent a gite for a week in three different areas. You need to do some more research though ino the type of places you want to visit. Do you want just a series of city breaks (in which case car hire may be a pain), or would you prefer to stay in small towns or villages? Do you prefer seaside, rural areas, mountains, vineyards etc etc? May be you want to pick one coastal area, one mountainous location and one other town or city - but you need to make these kind of decisions before anyone can help you with the details.

United Kingdom
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for Barnstaple, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby
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4. Re: May in France

As others have said some ideas on your interests would be really helpful in order to give you better pointers. I would agree with macfarrag that you may be best to concentrate on certain areas and could look at car hire and gites. I wouldn't really suggest spending too much time driving - French motorways tend to be very boring (if quick), so if you're interested in the Cote d'Azur and Provence you may be better to fly down?

st augustine
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5. Re: May in France

Thanks Meran, will look at both of those.

st augustine
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6. Re: May in France

Thanks everyone. You're right, I should have included more interests.

I'm more of a village and Medieval site person. My husband likes to stay busy, and likes big cities. We both love wine and good food. Foie gras is a must have on this trip.

We'll probably do a wine tour through Bordeaux and Champagne, as those are our favorite wines, other than Pinot Noir, which doesn't have its own region. :-) One of my crazy "bucket list" items is a day at the beach looking OK in a thong. was thinking maybe Plane De la Croisette?

One thing I need to figure out is where to stay in the areas to explore, and whether to go "clockwise" around the country, counterclockwise, or just several bases with asterisk like day trips. Was thinking about staying in Vieille Ville in Nice for the crazy beach day, a SCUBA day, and enjoying the area. It looks like Paris is a great base for all of Northern France, with fast and relatively inexpensive access to most anything we'd want to see. Is there anything on the Atlantic coast we should see or do, other than Bordeaux?

Should we do a couple of castle days when we leave Paris, heading toward Bordeaux? And I remember reading something about Dordogne area that made me want to spend a lot of time there, maybe they have lots of inexpensive fois gras? Should have written that one down. Any recommendations for "base camps"?

Thank you for your help, I'm enjoying the planning and anticipation so much!

Edited: 02 January 2012, 13:02
Paris
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7. Re: May in France

Be sure to factor in that May is the "mois des ponts" (month of long weekends) -- especially this year, with May 1, 8, 17 and 28 being national holidays. If you plan to be in popular vacation spots be sure to have booked your accommodation well in advance and try to avoid driving on big travel days.

…gouv.fr/fr/IMG/pdf/Calendrier_2012_Bison_Fu…

Tampa, Florida
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8. Re: May in France

Pinot Noir most DEFINITELY has its own growing region -- it's called Burgundy. (Pinot Noir is the most common grape used in Burgundy).

As m.giroux alluded, weekend traffic in May will be enormously congested and difficult -- try to avoid long-distance travel on the weekends.

It's about 2 hours from Paris to Reims for Champagne -- about 2-1/2 hours from Reims to Burgundy, and then the really, really long haul -- Burgundy to Bordeaux will take you an entire day of boring interstate driving -- and Bordeaux back to Paris will eat another entire day. (and these are tiring days with hundreds of miles of nothing to do or see but endless ribbons of asphalt, with minimal stops at rest stops as necessary).

You might consider the Loire, as its wines and castles are also spectacular, with the bonus of being 2-3 hours from Paris, depending on where you're headed.

st augustine
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9. Re: May in France

Thank you Sunshine. We'll be sure to add Burgundy to the itinerary. Should we take a train from Paris to Bordeaux?

I'm thinking now we may stay in Paris a little longer and use it as a base to Champagne, then maybe travel clockwise through the Alps, to the Cote De Azur, back through Bordeaux and then take a train back to Paris. Does that make sense?

Tampa, Florida
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10. Re: May in France

How long do you have in total -- it makes a HUGE difference. You've mentioned a 14-day trip, a 21-day trip, and staying for the whole month...and it makes an enormous difference in what we suggest for you.

From Burgundy, you're also not far from Western Provence -- home of Chateauneuf du Pape and all of the other wonderful Cotes du Rhone appellations.