We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
71 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

Hi All,

Please review my itinerary and let me know if there are any loop holes, too rushed, or non-achievable section.

Also, if I can save some time somewhere.

I am at very early stage of planning for France tour next June. Considering my bucket list is long, mostly I will not be able to be back to France for very long time even if I want to. I totally understand 15 days are too less for covering such a culturally, historically diverse country. So mainly I concentrated on must dos and tried to pick different kind of experience which are uniquely French. This is my Itinerary Below.

Also this is the first time ever I am going to set foot in Europe and I chose France… :). Very Excited.

Day 1: Toronto- Paris

Day 2: Paris

Day 3: Varsailes-1day-night at Paris

Day 4: Paris

Day 5: Paris

Day 6: Take train to Rennes for Mont st Michael overnight at Mont st Michael

Day 6: Rennes to Tours, Overnight at Tours

Day 7: Loire Valley (3 castles) – Will Rent a car here - Overnight Tours

Day 8: Tours to Strasburg- Overnight at Strasbourg

Day 9: Strasbourg surrounding (Wineries, Some Castles, Mostly interested in the villages b/w Strasbourg and Colmar) will a rent a car for this day. Overnight at Stratsbourg.

Day 11: Strasbourg to Montpellier (Provence)

Day 12: Day trip Avignon, pont du gard, Nimes (may be)

Day 13: Day trip Carcassone and surrounding

Day 14: Lavender field (if dates match)/St Guilhem le desert/canal tour??

Day 15: Back to Paris

Day 16: Flyout from Paris

I purposely kept French Riviera and Alpes out of this trip.

We are more interested in History, Architecture, Culture

Not interested in Shopping, Farmer’s Markets, Museums (Not enough time anywhere), Beaches

So here are some of my questions

1. We will be a group of 6 (2 families) so will it be economical to rent a van than public transport specially while visiting rural areas surrounding the cities?

2. Strasbourg?? Is it worth including?? Wanted to keep one Winery tour and got stuck by the beauty of Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé. Or shall I include 2 more days in Provence and do winery tour there.

3. Want to visit both Avignon and Carcassonne. What should be the base?? Not interested in Montpellier as such but chose it because it is middle of Avignon and Carcassonne.

4. Day 9: Overnight at Strasbourg or move back to Paris and take TGV to Montpellier next day??

Thanks in advance

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Europe
Europe
World
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Rennes
Rennes
Ille-et-Vilaine, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Bas-Rhin, France
Colmar
Colmar
Haut-Rhin, France
Montpellier
Montpellier
Herault, France
Provence Caffe
Provence Caffe
261 Reviews
Angers, France
Nimes
Nimes
Gard, France
Riquewihr
Riquewihr
Haut-Rhin, France
Avignon
Avignon
Vaucluse, France
Carcassonne
Carcassonne
Aude, France
TGV
TGV
1,388 Reviews
Paris, France
Best Seller
Eiffel Tower Summit Priority Access...
645 Reviews
from USD 72.90*
Best Seller
Eiffel Tower Priority Access Ticket...
702 Reviews
from USD 47.50*
Best Seller
Moulin Rouge Show Paris
3,267 Reviews
from USD 100.70*
8 replies to this topic
Paris, France
Destination Expert
for Paris, Loire Valley
Level Contributor
24,050 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

This is checklist tourism with little thought of what each area actually has to see. Far too much traveling and a lot of time wasted in a car. This looks like an itinerary planned out of a picture book - ¨Highlights of France¨, with an aerial photo of Mont St Michel, Carcassonne, a Loire Valley château, Pont du Gard, all of the clichés. You´ll need a month to see all of this, you have two weeks.

Ideally, in two weeks, choose 3 to 4 full days in Paris forgetting Versailles. Versailles is a madhouse of thousands of tourists. Instead, why not Fontainebleau, Vaux le Vicomte, or Chantilly? Better yet, just spend 4 full days in Paris and visit châteaux in the Loire Valley?

Next choose one or two regions and spend your time there: Normandy, possibly Brittany and the Loire Valley or western Provence/Langeudoc, or Provence from the Rhône to the Italian border. Get a Michelin Green guide for these areas. You indicate you are interested in history and culture, subjects included in the guides. There is a lot more to Normany/Brittany than just MSM. I could write pages on visiting just upper Normandy: the Invasion beaches, Honfleur, Auvers-sur-Oise, Giverny and one of the most emotionally moving places on earth, the American Cemetery.

Get everyone involved in reading and planning, including the children. Rethink your itinerary, cut down on the constant moving and focus on what each location has to offer. You ´ll be much happier on your vacation.

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
St Michel
St Michel
26 Reviews
Paris, France
Carcassonne
Carcassonne
Aude, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard
5,120 Reviews
Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Versailles
Versailles
Yvelines, France
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Seine-et-Marne, France
Le Vicomte
Le Vicomte
514 Reviews
Fecamp, France
Chantilly
Chantilly
Oise, France
Provence Caffe
Provence Caffe
261 Reviews
Angers, France
Honfleur
Honfleur
Calvados, France
Auvers-sur-Oise
Auvers-sur-Oise
Val-d'Oise, France
Giverny
Giverny
Eure, France
American Cemetery
American Cemetery
317 Reviews
Verdun, France
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,983 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

3 castles in a day, insane day trips, trying to visit the 4 corners of France. It's too much way too much. Just pick one or two areas besides Paris and stick to it. And not areas that are far appart. You do Loire Valley + Normandy, you can do Alsace + Burgundy, Provence+ the Alps, Périgord+Bordelais, that kind of thing. But not the Loire, Alsace, Provence and Carcassonne it's insane.

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Alsace
Alsace
Grand Est, France
Burgundy
Burgundy
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, France
Provence Caffe
Provence Caffe
261 Reviews
Angers, France
Carcassonne
Carcassonne
Aude, France
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
96,405 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

We have actually done a journey around France a bit like this, by car. But there were only two of us and we had 10 weeks.

Mentioned in this post
France
France
Europe
Toowoomba, Australia
Level Contributor
1,754 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

This is good advice. You are making the usual mistake that a lot of people make and trying to do far too much. You are not taking into account time travelling from one region to the next. You say two families so I am assuming there are some children. That makes it even more important to slow down.

Spend your time in Paris and then choose two other areas. NicolasB has given some good combinations. We have been travelling to France since 2006 and still have not been to Versailles. But we have been to Fontainebleau and Vauxhall Le Vicomte. We enjoyed them immensely and did not have the crowds of Versailles.

I like the combination of Western Provence and Languedoc. They are close together and could be combined easily. Look at car / van options to hire and have for the whole time. Divide your time between the two regions. You could stay in a smaller place and visit places such as the Pont de Gard as well as lovely villages and even lavender if you are there at the right time. Around Carcassonne you could also visit Cathar castles such as Lastours or down to Peyrepertuse or Queribus.

But I would also enjoy Alsace / Burgundy (this is one of our favourite regions), or Normandy/Brittany or Normandy /Loire Valley.

You are interested in culture but not a French market? We love our picnics in France with a fresh baguette, some lovely cheese, some charcuterie, some little radishes.

You are spending a lot of money to get to France. Make it about more than ticking boxes. We did not visit Paris until our third trip and we did not visit Mont Saint Michel or Carcassonne until our fourth trip to France. We decided on our first trip that even if it was going to be our only trip to France, we were going to take time to enjoy places. And our first trip was for five weeks. We did five regions. You are thinking about four or five in two weeks.

Think about what you want from this trip. Make it something to look back on with pleasure. For us it is often the small experiences that mean the most.

Edited: 11 May 2018, 19:02
Mentioned in this post
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
France
France
Europe
Versailles
Versailles
Yvelines, France
Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau
Seine-et-Marne, France
Le Vicomte
Le Vicomte
514 Reviews
Fecamp, France
Provence Caffe
Provence Caffe
261 Reviews
Angers, France
Gard
Gard
Occitanie, France
Carcassonne
Carcassonne
Aude, France
Alsace
Alsace
Grand Est, France
Burgundy
Burgundy
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel
Manche, France
Paris, France
Level Contributor
17,837 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

Agree with the others that you are trying to do way to much in too little time. Since you are flying into and out of Paris, I would end your trip there and head to your further destination at the beginning of your trip - this will make better use of your limited time.

I would plan to stay in 3 places at most. You're forgetting about the logistical issues of moving (6 people) around.

Mentioned in this post
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
71 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. I get the point. Going to remove Alsace and Loire Valley. If time and energy permit then will add a day trip to Loire Valley from Paris.

But cannot remove Mt St Michelle. It really caught my imagination for very long time. So even if it will be little bit wastage of time and energy in terms of commute/logistics, I am going there. I also read about other highlights/towns of Normandy but will leave it for this time.

For rest of the trip I will base either Montpellier or some smaller town at South and explore Western Provence and Languedoc.

Our travel style used to be extremely intense, sampler/ hightlights/checklist tourism whatever you call them. We used to have very early start and very late end of a day with some slower days tucked in between here and there. We enjoyed it that way. But obviously with a kid with us now, we will not be able to do that. Hence, slowing it down is a good idea. I did research/read about all the regions quite thoroughly and those 4 regions were the top 4 as per my choice of activities/interests other than Dordogne (I know it’s far out of the way). The only problem is even the top 4 are not doable in 15 days…. Looking at the train timings I was being hopeful. Like for example the total commute time from Paris to Strasburg is less than 2 hours but I think 2 hours in train will end up 3-4 hours door to door and make the whole trip pointless.

Also, to save time I am considering getting out of Marseille or whatever is the largest airport of that region but not sure at this point if the airfare will work out that way.

Mentioned in this post
Alsace
Alsace
Grand Est, France
Loire Valley
Loire Valley
Centre-Val de Loire, France
Paris
Paris
Ile-de-France, France
Montpellier
Montpellier
Herault, France
Provence Caffe
Provence Caffe
261 Reviews
Angers, France
Dordogne
Dordogne
Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Marseille
Marseille
Bouches-du-Rhone, France
London, United...
Level Contributor
7 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

Hello

I would only comment about Strasbourg as I just came back from there last week

You need to go in Alsace - do not miss it!

1 full day in Strasbourg and 1 full day Colmar-Eguisheim are still not enough for such a lovely region but given the fact that you have limited time...

Mentioned in this post
Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Bas-Rhin, France
Alsace
Alsace
Grand Est, France
Colmar
Colmar
Haut-Rhin, France
Eguisheim
Eguisheim
Haut-Rhin, France
8. Re: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

We ask all of our members to keep their forum messages free of self-promoting advertisements or solicitation of any kind - members affiliated with any tourism-related business should not include commercial contact information or URLs in their forum messages.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 31 May 2018, 21:13
 
Reply to: France in 15 Days. Please review my itinerary
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted