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Spend more time in Paris or Provence

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Spend more time in Paris or Provence

We're a couple with 2 kids under 10. We'll be spending 8 days/nights in France later this month, so weather is certainly an important factor in our planning. Our intial plan was to spend 3 nights in Paris, 2 nights in Avignon, 2 in and around Cannes/Nice and 1 more night in Paris.

But I suspect this is unrealistic, particularly with kids dealing with jetlag.

One alternative is to spend more time in Paris and go on day tours to Chartres, Tours, etc., or rent a car and visit places nearby. Another one is to spend less time in Paris and go to Provence, stay in one place for 4-5 nights.

We're keen on the following:

- just having a relaxing holiday

- the experience of being in a different country, the sights and sounds, particularly for the kids

- landscape

- photography (for me)

What we don't care for:

- wine

- French cuisine (okay, please don't flog me for this)

- kids won't tolerate more than a museum or two

- we'll probably be chateaux-ed out after a 2-3

In our family only I've been to France before: a short visit to Paris and another short visit to the Cote d'Azur. I speak some French.

I loved the Cote, primarily for its light (which has a clarity that I haven't seen elsewhere), and would like my family to experience it. But at the same time we can't completely give Paris a miss. I suspect our visit isn't long enough to do justice to either, but too long to visit only one of the two places.

I realize that I can't ask someone else to make the decision for me, but given this information, what would you suggest?

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1. Re: Spend more time in Paris or Provence

I have been with my two kids in Europe last year. I rented a car to visit the Loire Valley, The french alps, Switzerland, Black forest and again Paris, where I dropp off my car and stayed there for one week.

It was very tough to change from one city to another, to take all things and to get the road again with children spending one night in each city. They have a different rithm from grown ups.

It was better for all of us when we were in Paris for one whole week.

I would suggest you to stay just in Paris and to rent an apartment. By this way your family will live Paris, not just visit Paris. Besides saving a lot of money cooking at least one meal at home.

There are so many things to do in Paris with your kids that one week will pass very fast.

Good luck

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Spend more time in Paris or Provence

I agree with y0da that you should stay in one place for the whole vacation, but I would go to the Côte d'Azur for the weather, and stay in a town like Antibes where you could either hang around and get the feel of life in a small town in France or take the train up and down the coast for day trips to explore the whole coast.

I traveled in Europe with my two daughters for two full years when they were little, and after the first 6 months we learned that as much as we liked cities and museums, the kids were happier and therefore we were happier in smaller towns in warmer climates.

At this time of year, the south of France is a real joy, and staying in one place will give your family the sense that you have gotten to know France from the inside out.

Just my humble opinion, but I have learned that time spent in a small town is never wasted, and that kids like sleeping in the same bed every night.

Montreal, QC
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3. Re: Spend more time in Paris or Provence

Since you only have 8 days and you can take for granted that the 1st one can be written off re: jetlag, you should also take in consideration the fact that Nice is 6.5 hrs away by train or 1.5 hr away by plane (the latter being more advisable in your case).

But still, knowing Paris has so much to see and makes lots of people walk all day long (either on the street and/or the Métro) you and your family may pretty well be dead tired every evening...

I'd stick to Paris but maybe (and I say MAYBE) would go for a day-trip, e.g. the Loire area for castles. Do your kids know anything about Tintin? The Cheverny castle is the one Hergé used to create the Chateau de Moulinsart. There is a special exhibition only for Tintin and his adventures. For me that is a good reason to go.

If you had 2 weeks in your pocket I would have suggested the Riviera but otherwise, stick to Paris.

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4. Re: Spend more time in Paris or Provence

We went 8 years ago with our then 8, 5, and 3 yr. old.s We spent 3 days in Paris took the TGV down to Avignon, picked up a car and drove to Gordes. Spent 2-3 nights, do not remember in Gordes (our base), drove around to the different pretty towns and then went back to Paris for 2-3 more nights. We all had a great trip and the kids were fine.

5. Re: Spend more time in Paris or Provence

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