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France in April

brisbane
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France in April

I wish to take my daughter to France before she starts a family. I am thinking end March/ early April...we have three weeks...I don't want to hire a car, so I thought we may choose a couple of towns as bases....of course Paris will be one. Any suggestions ? We are into cooking and food and smaller towns with markets/

Thanks

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1. Re: France in April

In late March/early April, where the weather can often be a bit dodgy, I'd go for a place in the south of France (Languedoc, Provence or Cote d'Azur). I don't how small a place you are looking for. Montpellier/Nice type size or Uzès/Pézenas type size (or in between like Arles)?

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Toowoomba, Australia
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2. Re: France in April

Aussie, what a lovely idea. We travel out of season for a few reasons, but you will be told that it can be quiet until after Easter. We are going again at the end of March for several weeks and because we self cater [ that is , we stay for a week at a time in a holiday rental ], it is not an issue for us that hotels and restaurants may be closed. Weather can be unpredictable. We were in the Gers in the last week of March in 2012 and it was glorious - low twenties and brilliant sunshine. We returned home at the end of May from the Champagne region and four days before we left it was 12 degrees and we were wearing scarves and gloves. But then, here we are at home having had the hottest September on record!!.

Paris of course is easy. You could rent an apartment and visit some markets. We like to be able to just pick up some cheese, charcuterie, a baguette, bottle of wine and enjoy at home, as well have the plethora of choices for dining out. There are also lots of day trips you can do out of Paris e.g. Chartres, Reims, Versailles, Provins.

We especially enjoy country France, but we also always have a car. That early, I would suggest heading south. While we have not been to Nice, it seems to be good as a base if you do not have a car. Lots of accessible day trips by public transport. But it is not a small town.

The problem is that while you may enjoy the smaller town feel, if you do not have a car to go to other places, you may not have enough to do for more than a couple of days. Markets, for instance, are usually only once or maybe twice a week.

So you perhaps need to look at a base that also gives some options to do an organised day tour. e.g. Avignon - tours to the Luberon . hilltop villages, trains to Uzes, Aix en Provence. Someone with more knowledge of this may be able to help. Perhaps Tours in the Loire - once again, not a small town - with some tours out to chateaux. Dijon, in Burgundy, is lovely. Once again the option to do a few tours. Burgundy is one of our favourite areas. Lyon, of course, is renowned as a foodie mecca. You could go to Strasbourg in the Alsace and also do some tours . Having mentioned these though, I have no idea if tours into the regions are operating out of season. So you would need to do some research into areas that interest you.

We love visiting France. There are so many different regions which have different things to offer. I hope you can find what you want and that you have a wonderful trip.

Happy travels.

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3. Re: France in April

smaller towns are very difficult without a car.

4. Re: France in April

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5. Re: France in April

Diz, we stayed for a week south of Strasbourg in April 2006. It was around Easter and the villages were decorated for Easter, and that was lovely. But it was cold!! We stopped on a drive and have photos of me standing among pine trees with snow on the ground. Not such a big thing for some. But for us, coming from where we do, so exciting!!

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6. Re: France in April

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Toowoomba, Australia
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7. Re: France in April

sunshine has probably said it. If you want to experience smaller towns, you need to have a car. With three weeks, you could have a lovely trip visiting Paris, train to say Dijon [ now I have little knowledge of trains in France ], Lyon, Avignon, Nice. That would be a very nice three weeks for us. But not the small town experience you may like ??

You could spend a week in Paris, train to Avignon, pick up a car, stay in a gite for a week - keeping in mind they often run from Sat to Sat. - and explore. If you like cooking and want to make this part of your holiday, you need to stay in a holiday rental [ gite ] with a kitchen. Markets, lovely villages, kitchen to cook with whatever you bought at the markets. Not everyone enjoys this type of holiday, but we really like coming home from markets/shops with some fresh sardines or guinea fowl, gesiers de canard and cooking at home. You could then move on to Nice without a car before coming home. Or spend a week in Burgundy in a rental and a week in Provence .

Really it is up to you. Look at the areas you would like to visit and what you would like to do there.

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8. Re: France in April

I take so long to type and post !! Diz, we are very envious of you in the UK and your proximity to Europe but especially France. Our darling daughter in law is English and her parents never go !!! We manage every two years, but as we get older, who knows.

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brisbane
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9. Re: France in April

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions....I am just a little worried about the driving on the opposite side of the road. Phirhon my daughter is in Toowoomba this weekend with her sister-in-law visiting wedding venues as her sister-in-law is getting married next year. My husband is from Millmerran and many of his family now live in Toowoomba. We don't mind the cold weather, and yes I love staying in Apartments so we can visit the markets and cook our own food.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: France in April

I heartily recommend Dijon for one of your weeks. Excellent train connections and the station is very central. We would also seriously recommend an apartment we rented in the absolute center of town, maybe 50 yards from the Place de la Liberation, 10 minutes by foot from the Halles food market and street. This apartment is completely and very comfortably furnished, including an Apple computer and free international phone calls. The kitchen WORKS. Everything is supplied and is good quality. The landlord is adorable, speaks perfect English and is very helpful. It isn't cheap, but it is good. The apartment we recommend it the one called Benigne le Compasseur. It has two bedrooms and a large sitting/dining area. It also has a huge central open patio that well might be usable in the spring.

http://www.luxuryflatindijon.fr/benigne.php

Edited: 12 October 2013, 22:14
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