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Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

Phila, PA
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Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

I will be in Paris for just 3 days in November. I have never been to France. Is there an quick (1/2 day) trip out of Paris that is doable and worthwhile to see a bit of France that is not urban? There's so much to see in Paris, but I would like to see a bit of the countryside.

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New Hampshire
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1. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

Half a day won't get you very far from Paris.

Unless you have some time to spend in a town/area elsewhere in France, the "countryside" looks pretty much like it does where you live.

On a first trip, you'd have to rush just to get around to the Top 10 in three days, so you may want to rethink 1/2 day in the "countryside", especially in November, when the scenery is more likely to be gray and gloomy than not.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

Hi, During my research for our trip to France in December I saw reference to a book by Annabel Simms 'An Hour from Paris'. Might be worth a Google search. Also I would consider a visit to the Loire region. I believe the fast train to Tours doesn't take too long. Enjoy your trip!

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

I agree with djk -- and a half day won't get you far enough from town to see much BUT urban -- Paris is as much urban sprawl as any other major city, so a half day will get you out to the sugarbeet and wheat fields, it won't get you far enough to see wide open spaces.

Three days is barely enough time to see Paris (especially by the time you subtract the airport logistics and jet lag -- I'd just stay in the city).

the big blue marble
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4. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

You're going to be so oveewhelmed with all that Paris has to offer that you'd be sick it you had to leave for even 1/2 a day....

New York, NY
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5. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

Countryside for half a day - that's a tough one. Chantilly may be the closest you get (or Versailles). If it just has to be nature and outside of Paris, I think a palace with gardens is your best bet. Alternatively, you could visit one of the parks around Paris. Another thought is to rent a car for the day to take you outside the city, but for half a day, not really the best bang for your money.

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

google Chartres and see if that sounds like what you're looking for. Maybe not a half-day, but a 2/3 day trip - and you'd still have the evening to enjoy Paris.

Versailles is probably the easiest day trip - it's a really wealthy suburb, and tons of really pretty architecture - if you skip the palace, that's about a half-day trip.

Have fun in Paris.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

I have done about half the trips in Simms book -- several of them e.g. Ecouen, Rambouillet, Sceaux, Villaneuve Triage and Champigny guinguettes, and Senlis are described with pictures in my travel blog www.janettravels.wordpress.com. I have also been to Chartres several times, Chantilly, Fountainebleau, Versailles and Ouvers-sur-Oise -- and also to Giverny and Vaux le Vicomte which are described in the blog.

When I think of 'countryside' I think of rural farm country like Burgundy with picturesque villages -- I don't think you get that in any of these spots and the countryside around Paris is not picturesque in the way that Burgundy and the Dordogne and Provence are IMHO as you pass through on the train. These are all worthwhile day trips but not at the expense of Paris.

And November is cold, dark early, likely to be rainy so that day trips out of town are not likely to be filled with sunny charm.

With only 3 days, I would stay in Paris -- if you want a hint of countryside opt for the Bois du Bologne if you have a nice day or settle for visits to some of the lovely local parks like Butte Chamont, Luxembourg Gardens or many others.

Trying to get out of town with so little time and in November is not likely to reward your effort and will suck up your time.

Mentioned in this post
Burgundy
Burgundy
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, France
Dordogne
Dordogne
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Phila, PA
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8. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

Maybe it wasn't a realistic idea. I guess I was thinking an hour train ride might get us somewhere worthwhile, but 3 days is not long at all. I'll check out a couple of the ideas and see if any seem realistic.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

I would have suggested Chartres which gets you a village, a good place to have lunch and one of the greatest cathedrals, but I believe it is currently covered in scaffolding

Tampa, Florida
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10. Re: Few hours out of Paris - small town/village suggestion?

An hour train ride WILL get you someplace absolutely worth your while...but an hour out and an hour back doesn't leave much out of a half a day.