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Side trip to the countryside.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Side trip to the countryside. Reply with quote

So, the time has come to plan our trip to France. I had planned to spend the entire time in Paris but now my thoughts are turning to the countryside. I am not sure where to go, I'm thinking Provence or Burgundy. Where have you been and where do you recomend? We are thinking of going in the fall or early winter so that will be a factor. Oh and not that I really need to say it with this crew but, wine and cheese are a huge factor in the decision.
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We went this past fall (much less crowded everywhere), stayed in paris a few days, then took the TGV to Dijon & rented a car there to drive through Burgundy & the Loire....excellent wine & food everywhere & easier than driving in & out of Paris.....we picked up car in Dijon & dropped off in Tours....shopped for a while online & got the best deal from Alamo (rentcar-europe.com i think) ..also called Alamo Citer....u really need a car to do the countryside...an easy but expensive way to get around! I'd be happy to oblige with other tid bits such as hotels (we were trying not to spend too much $$ but didn't want the "hostel" effect either)

Seeing the vineyards in Burgundy in the fall was breathtaking.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Melinda. I too, am quite enamoured of Burgundy and Dijon, and Beaune and the canals. But if you wanted to go further afield do some checking out of a little often missed gen in Languedoc, Uzes, the first Duchy of France, a remarkably charming and friendly small city about 45 miles west of Avignon (also a favourite city and you would be well off season so the crowds, which can truly terrify in summer I understand, are quite limited). If you wanted a larger city then Aix-en-Provence is a sophisticated and lovely city.

Again Melinda is quite right, take the TGV from Paris to a central point of your holiday and pick the car up there, driving in Paris is truly frightening!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the suggestions! We are definitely looking for somewhere quiet and romantic, but not over the top. As far as driving goes I have a hard enough time dodging cars on the Long Island Expressway! We will look into getting a car elsewhere.
If we were to visit Provence my motivation would be visions of lavender. I just am wondering if it is worth the trip from Paris just to stay two nights.

Do you have any hotel/restaurant suggestions?
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: side trip on the country side Reply with quote

fall and early winter can be chilly, rainy and quite melancholic, even in Provence. But if that's your only free time, the south is definitely your destination. Otherwise I would suggest the less crowded Dordogne and Perigord, where foie gras is "the"staple food. But not in winter.
Lavender , as far as I know, is at its best in may-june. Nothing matches the sight of infinite lavender "champs".
If Provence will be your choice, you can get tons of information about every little Provence hamlet in "Provence de Charme" - Guide de Charme, Rivages Edition. It's in french, but a gold mine of information.
Bon voyage!!

no more war, more Provence
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alternatively you could travel north to the champagne region. Do you mean you have only two days away from Paris? You will spend most of the time getting there and back. Bordeaux is three hours by train and lots of vineyards to enjoy. I have not stayed in the region but I'm told St Emillion is very nice.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I will take your advice and stay to the north. I am sure neither of us want to travel for full days after coming across the ocean, I get somewhat like a caged animal. The main reason I want to go in the fall of winter is to avoid tourists. Although I tend to stay away from tourist traps I just can't stand the crowds. New York City in summer on the weekend is like my biggest nightmare. I have no specific time away from Paris as of yet but I want to spend a large amount of my time there before we head to England.
Maybe Provence will be another time.

Barbara, what did you like about Bordeaux?
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin, I'm thinking this is a perfect excuse to go check out Clothilde's friend Nicolas (of La Table de Lucullus) new restaurant on L'Ile d'Yeu. Clothilde's descriptions of the food and goings on at Nicolas' 17th arrondisement establishment had me drooling on more than one occasion and by December he should easily have kicked all the kinks out of the new establishment. That said I have no idea how far L'Ile d'Yeu is from Paris. But I think a drive throught the country and a night or two on an island with a good restaurant nearby sounds lovely and romantic. Maybe find a nice place with a fire and a glass of Calvados!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
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Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry Erin I have not been to Bordeaux. It was on our plans last trip but we decided to stay with friends near Pau and never got back to Bordeaux. It's a definite next year and wine industry friends who attend conferences there recommend St Emillion.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:21 am    Post subject: side trip to counrtyside Reply with quote

hello Erin
if you decide to travel to Bordeaux country, wine will be of course the main interest ( though the food is fabulous too). Bordeaux, the city, is not very interesting in my opinion ( there are good restaurants, I believe) but if you are in the region, you may want to visit some Chateaux. For the most famous ones, you have to reserve several month in advance, but it's worth the trouble. I suggest Chateau Margaux - their web site: www.chateau-margaux.com, and email for reservations: chateau-margaux@chateau-margaux.com.
For an elaborate description of the area and its wines, I found a good link : www.fostertravel.com , search her articles on Europe and there you'll find a long article named: Pilgrimage to Bordeaux:The bordeaux Country of France.
P.S. If you have enough time, a visit to the Arcachon area will complete your wine tasting with wonderful oisters.
Bon voyage

no more war, more Bordeaux wine!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David, that is a lovely idea! I remember reading about La Table de Lucullus back when I first discovered the site, it sounded like just the sort of place we love. I will have to investigate locations further but your suggestions sound very romantic. I almost want to forgo the trip to England, our friends would be unhappy with us then.

Barbara, I will look into St. Emillion, it sounds like it comes with a good recommendation. My husband can't get enough of Bordeaux wine, so he will be in heaven. We served bordeaux at our wedding and had a case left, but not for long.

Simona, Thanks for the links, there is some great info, and the chateau is beautiful! Arcachon sounds like something I will be looking into.
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin....the TGV from Paris to Dijon took only an hour and a half and tickets were cheap....we stayed at the Hotel Wilson (next to Stephan Derbord's (sp?) restaurant that Clotilde loved) www.wilson-hotel.com
Then in Beaune at the www.hotelbretonniere.com where the owner was delightful & very friendly...it was an old coaching inn...I would recommend both of these....good food nearby & reasonable prices have fun planning
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, darn, Erin, i checked out L'Ile D'Yeu and it is too far from Paris,a good 5 hours it would seem, well 500 kms anyway. But I had another thought---St. Malo and Mont St. Michel, that gorgeous old castle on it's own rock---on the Normandy border.
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DC Francophile



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Arlington, VA (outside Washington, D.C.)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:16 pm    Post subject: Aix en Provence restaurants Reply with quote

Just in case you _ or anyone else _ decides to go there.

1. Chez Antoine de Cote Cours, on the Cours Mirabeau.
2. Icone (I've forgotten the street).
3. Autour d'une Tarte (a little tart restaurant almost across from the cathedral. Great lunch spot.)

Hi, all, I'm a newbie. Love this blog! Very Happy
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,
I was just thinking Normandy! The area is beautiful, and Mont St. Michel would be wonderful!
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