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Two weeks in France- itinerary

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Saint Louis...
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Two weeks in France- itinerary


My husband and I are planning a trip to France in June 2014. This will be our first visit to France and I would love some advice/suggestions about our itinerary. We are in the very beginning stages of planning, but we were thinking of something like:

-Fly into Paris, head to Strasbourg

-3 days in Strasbourg

-Travel to Semur-en-Auxois

4 days in Semur-en-Auxois

-Travel to Sarlat (or somewhere in Dordogne region)

-4 days in Sarlat

-Travel to Paris

-3-4 days in Paris

-Fly home

Does this seem like a doable trip? My husband and I are both really intrigued by the quaint, medieval towns which is why we are considering Semur and Sarlat. And we definitely want to see Paris for at least a few days, but don't want too much time in the city. Are there any other places we should consider? Or places we should cut out?

Also, would you suggest public transport or renting a car? I've heard gas and tolls are quite expensive, but it seems like a car will be necessary if we want to visit smaller towns and villages.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

8 replies to this topic
Palo Alto...
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1. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

A really helpful guide for you to estimate driving time and cost of fuel and tolls is www.viamichelin.fr/en. You can get pretty much the same information from google maps but some people find that the driving time is a bit aggressive at google. The website for the train schedules and fares is www.sncf.com/en. I have driven from the Burgundy region to Strasbourg and it will take you about 4.5 hours to drive from Strasbourg to Semur-en-Auxois. I suggest taking the high speed train (TGV) from Strasbourg to Dijon and then renting a car there for your days in Burgundy. Semur could be a great base for exploring other parts of Burgundy and a car would be quite helpful for that. Semur, if I recall correctly, does not have a train station so you would have to take the train to Montbard and connect to the bus. I happen to think that a car is a must for a stay of a couple of days in Semur unless you intend to spend all your time there, which by the way would be fine but very, very quiet. By the way, it will probably take about 8 hours to get from Semur to Sarlat.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 06:07
Saint Louis...
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2. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

Thank you for your suggestions! I might take the train like you said, and then rent a car in Dijon.

If the trip from Semur to Sarlat is over 8 hours, does anyone know if there is a nice town we might stay in for a night between the two to split up the drive? Or could we take a train?

And I will definitely check out that website to look into driving times and gas/toll prices!

England, United...
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3. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

There are two towns that immediately spring to my mind. Le Puy en Velay and Mende.

Allow about 3.5 hrs. from Semur to Le Puy en Velay and about 4hrs. to Mende. (You will, of course have to add on stops for coffee, lunch, etc.)

Edit: forgot to say allow about the same amount of time - perhaps a little bit more - for the next leg onto Sarlat

Edited: 05 September 2013, 22:41
San Francisco
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4. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

I strongly second the recommendation of JHH36 that you rent a car in Dijon for your travels in Burgundy. (We have done just that). With a car, you can explore as much of Burgundy as you want, and without a car, there is very little that you will be able to visit. While you are at Semur-en-Auxois, you MUST treat yourself to a lunch (or dinner) at restaurant Cheval Blanc (maybe listed as Auberge du Cheval Blanc), in Alise-Sainte-Reine, which is 17 km East of Semur-en-Auxois on route D-954. (Worth taking a taxi there, if you don't rent a car.) It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten in a french country restaurant, and not expensive. Plan on spending 1-1/2 hours for lunch there. (The french take their meals seriously.) According to Google, they are at 9 Rue du Miroir, 21150 Alise-Sainte-Reine , tel. +33 3 80 96 01 55.

Also worth visiting is the town of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, an ancient walled village, also about 16-18 km East of Semur-en-Auxois, but on route D-9.

Le Bugue, France
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5. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

Four days in Sarlat should be your absolute minimum (and now you really have only 3, even if you do that drive from Semur-en-Auxois, or 2 if you stop midway). And you will have to have a car in the Périgord or it's not worth going. I would honestly save Sarlat for another trip, as you are heading into "all over the map" territory with this itinerary.

Saint Louis...
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6. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

Thank you all for your suggestions. We agree that this is too many places to try and see in the two weeks that we have. We are thinking of cutting out Strasbourg and saving it for a future trip. Perhaps something like this would be better:

-Fly into Paris, travel to Sarlat

-5 days in Sarlat, travel to Semur

-4-5 days in Semur, travel to Paris

-4 days in Paris, fly home

Does this sound more manageable? We will definitely be renting a car... we will either rent one for our entire trip, or take a train between destinations, and then rent a car in Sarlat and in Semur so that we can travel around while there. We want to see several places, but do not want to try and pack too much into our trip either.

7. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

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Le Bugue, France
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8. Re: Two weeks in France- itinerary

Don't consider taking a train from Paris to Sarlat and picking up a car there. If you're going to go to Sarlat, take either the TGV to Libourne and pick up the car there,or the train from Paris to Brive and rent from there.

Agree that Sarlat to Semur by train is terribly awkward.

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