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Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

Sydney, Australia
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Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

We are a family of 4, our kids will be 6 and 10 when we plan to travel in August next year.

We will have 3 weeks, and I just don't know where to start with my planning.

Here's what I want: as few transfers as possible-

I'd like to spend, say a week in 3 destinations, hire a car and explore from wherever we are staying. I think this will be easier on the kids.

We'd love to go to Paris, of course.

I'm planning on us staying in holiday rentals, although a few days in a seaside resort may be nice to finish.

I'm also interested in some time on a canal boat- no clue where.

Can anyone give me some ideas on which regions or towns I should look at? We're not into action sports etc- just normal sightseeing, food and wine, etc.

Thanks to anyone who can give me some ideas!

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Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

First, get a good guide book and some maps and study them. From that you can get an idea of where you'd like to go. One idea would be a week in Paris, followed by a week in Burgundy where you could do the canal boat as well as enjoy the wine, then a week on the Mediteranean, enjoying the beach and day tripping into Provence. You could fly into Paris and fly home from Nice. There is a lot of information on the web for just about every destination in France, so planning is pretty easy once you figure out where you want to go. You are smart to limit yourself to 3 destinations rather than trying to cover the entire country in 3 weeks. Enjoy the planning process - it can be as much fun as the trip itself. I've had good luck renting houses in France from VBRO and Homeaway. BTW, be sure to learn some basic French phrases while you are planning - especially important when you are outside of Paris where you will find fewer people speak English, and it would be full for the kids to learn, too. Bon chance and bon voyage.

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Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Burgundy
Burgundy
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, France
France
France
Europe
Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

Thanks so much for your advice. I saw a travel agent today, and she suggested a similar outline to what you say! My daughter is learning French at school, but I'm sure we will all benefit from learning a few phrases!

Thanks again for your reply.

Metro Vancouver
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3. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

There isn't much I could add to the very good previous post.

My only advice is that the Cote d'Azur in July-August is a mad house. Hotels, houses etc. are much more expensive than at other times of the year. Even the back country will be expensive. Unfortunately it is pretty much the same on the other coasts (Languedoc, Atlantic. near Bordeaux, Brittany and Normandy) though their beaches are a bit less crowed.

Edited: 12 November 2013, 05:41
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Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Gironde, France
Chesterfield...
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4. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

Unless you book accommodation and hire car at the earliest opportunity you may find it extremely difficult to get either.

'France' goes on holiday in July and August and every type of accommodation is booked up well in advance, roads are a clogged with holiday makers, eating establishments are overflowing, prices rise accordinly and beaches are taken over by every family in France.

I'm not trying to put you off France but everyone seems to go away during those months and if possible August is best avoided for travelling around and staying in.

France, and especially Paris, are a wonderful experience to savour but unless you're happy with sharing them with 99% of the population on holiday at the same time then I'd think twice about the time of year you visit.

Having said that you will almost certainly enjoy all that France has to offer – we do; and return every year!

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Paris
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Ile-de-France, France
Warsaw, Poland
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5. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

Hello Ellen !

I would add for some beach fun, the Camargue in the south and if you're into horse riding, it can be a lot of fun for the whole family. The town of Arles isn't really far by car, it's a Unesco sites full with Roman vestiges, but also with a rich history of art, with Van Gogh and Picasso. Aix-en-Provence also can be reached by car...

For renting a place, you can also rent from Gites de France, directly from a French landlord and have your very own French house for the holidays :)

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The Camargue
The Camargue
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Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
Arles
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Los Angeles
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6. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

Our first trip to Paris was 12 days and that was barely enough, so suggest perhaps 10 days in Paris, canal boat from Burgundy for 2-3 days, then perhaps someplace in the (very crowded at that time of year) south of France. If it were me, I'd probably go to the Loire Valley and minimize the beach time (you've got lovely beaches in Australia but hardly any castles).

Paris is less crowded in August, they say, which can be a very good thing.

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Ile-de-France, France
Paris Canal
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7. Re: Planning a trip to France, no clue where to start!

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