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Subject: Hey French people, help me out with my vacations. :) rss

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Zé Mário
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So, I got a trip to France as a birthday gift. surprise meeple

I've visited Paris, Toulouse and Carcassonne. I'm planning to go up there during next October, and it will be a week, around that.

I'm completely open to ideas, really. I usually travel backpack style, with my girlfriend, and usually stay in hostels. And avoid highly touristic (crowded) places. I suppose I'll be travelling by train between towns.

Where in France? Well, Ryanair can take us from Porto to almost any region in France: Bordeaux, Paris, Marseille, Poitiers, Lille... So, where exactly is also pretty flexible.

Should I go for Provence? Normandy? Alsace? What would you suggest?

Merci beaucoup
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Robert Wesley
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Might I suggest you travel further into Germany for "RheinCON" the first weekend in October instead? The last time when I attended that, then it was held in Wiesbaden, on an US Army BASE there and it even had BOTH kinds of "Games"; "War & NON"!
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desmodus
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Hi,
It's not exactly France, but in October you should go to Essen to visit the Spiel and if you have more than 4 days to spend then visit the region around Essen: Düsseldorf, Cologne, etc.

Even if there are a lot of interesting things to see in France, at this time, I would definitively prefer to go to the Spiel.

Oherwise I have to suggest to visit Alsace of course as I live there. You can visit Strasbourg, Colmar, have wine tastings (just the right season), Basel, Freiburg etc.
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Ze Masqued Cucumber
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Well, there are nice places everywhere here , it really depends on your tastes.
In october, holidays are over, so it's a good period if you hate tourist crowds (just don't pick Mont-St-Michel, it's crowded all year long, 24/7).

Though, weather might be rainy. If it's an issue to you, you might opt for some place(s) in the southern part of France, you'll have less chances of rain.
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Robert Wesley
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I've been to Strasburg also, so I can 'vouchsafe' on them even having decent 'espresso', well, the last "times" I had been there too. whistle
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Chris Stimpson
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If you're into historical sites, Normandy is a possibility. Also, many years ago I hit the Battle of the Bulge areas in Belgium, also a trench museum on the Belgium/France border, and WW1 cemeteries in the Champagne/Belgium area, such as Tyne Cot.

That may sound a little morbid, but for someone of my generation, born after WW2, I felt the need to understand what the previous two generations had gone through to give me my cushy life.
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What interests you?

Outside of Paris, my favorite region of France was the Loire Valley (which may not be ideal in October). The south of France would be an excellent choice, I think.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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My favorite place in France is the Pyrenee mountains. The GR-10 trail is a trail from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean (kind of their version of the Appalachian Trail). It goes in and out of valleys, so you can duck into little valley towns that are not touristy at all, that would only otherwise be accessible by car, no trains etc. They are also well set up with hostels on the trail. The GR-10 goes through some of the most beautiful places I've seen in my life. If it's early October this would be right at the end of the tourist season I think, so you wouldn't even run into many people on the trails. If it's late October, it would probably be too cold to hike in the Pyrenees. In that case: I've read great things about the region called "Le Lot," and I don't think that's too touristy either.
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Yours Truly,
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Roolz wrote:
(just don't pick Mont-St-Michel, it's crowded all year long, 24/7).



I second this. Looks beautiful from outside the city walls, but once inside it's like Disney-crowd hell.
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
Roolz wrote:
(just don't pick Mont-St-Michel, it's crowded all year long, 24/7).



I second this. Looks beautiful from outside the city walls, but once inside it's like Disney-crowd hell.

Well, after visiting it "normally", through the "Disney-crowd hell", several times in the last 15 years (many people coming wanted us to show them), we have rediscovered it already twice this year from a completely different point of view: crossing on foot the bay from the eastern coast to the Mont. It's paradise!

However, you should better do it this way in June-September (even at low tide you go through shallow streams), October may be already too late...
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unkle
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Come to Montpellier !


Joking aside, really depends what you like to see. If you are into museums, then Paris is still a no-brainer. If you like historical places, you have many choices. Then it will be weather dependent. If you do not mind possible rain, Normandy is quite interesting (I suggest to go to the Mont-Saint-Michel really early, as early as the sun shines (if it shines)), or Provence/Languedoc if want sun. Vallee de la Loire, with the French castles, is quite interesting too. Could be my first choice in Spetember, not sure for October though.

Joking aside (2 times...), Provence/Languedoc can be great if you are into visiting old places with a lot of "feeling". Avignon is an amazing place to be (was the popes residence at a time), Nimes has Roman arenas/buildings which are wonderful, you have "Pont du Gard" (roman acqueduc still up), Tarascon (beautiful village), Carcassonne, Saint-Guilhem (wonderful small middle-age abbey),... Many options, and a possible nice autumn that would allow walking around.

Hope this is (any) helpful
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Zé Mário
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Hey guys, thanks for all the help!

What interests me: beautiful places filled with character (Toulouse and Paris are gorgeous), (ancient) history, local events...
The trip is to France. Essen would mean me getting stabbed in the chest by my loving girlfriend.

Most of you sound pessimistic about the weather. Now, I may be used to Iberian climate, but is it that bad in northern France? I lived in France for 6 months, but it was in Toulouse, which sort of has a microclimate of its own...

I'll be travelling by train from town to town though, so maybe it will be hard to go to most remote places, eg. a castle in the middle of nowhere (we have plenty of those around here).

So it's Alsace and Provence, until now. How's Normandy? Chris makes an interesting suggestion of visiting historical battle sites, but the area would have to be around interesting towns too, in order to add some variety to the trip.
Is the Loire Valley travelable by train?

How about the other big cities? (You bet I'll visit the local games group, if the opportunity arises)

Again, thanks for the suggestions!

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Fabrice Dubois
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Asur wrote:

Is the Loire Valley travelable by train?

Yes of course : you can travel by train to visit Loire Valley and its castles. More, in Amboise, Cloe Lucé's manor was the last house of Leonardo da Vinci and is now a museum where his inventions can be seen (models).

Here is two links :

http://www.intercites.com/ : look at the light purple route.

http://voyazine.voyages-sncf.com/idees_week_end/france/de_to...

Quote:

How about the other big cities?

Paris of course
Awesome town.

How about Corsica ? I don't know if Ryan Air go there.
I went 2 times : there is nothing more beautiful and more preserved.
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Andy Leighton
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Asur wrote:
Hey guys, thanks for all the help!

What interests me: beautiful places filled with character (Toulouse and Paris are gorgeous), (ancient) history, local events...
The trip is to France. Essen would mean me getting stabbed in the chest by my loving girlfriend.

Most of you sound pessimistic about the weather. Now, I may be used to Iberian climate, but is it that bad in northern France? I lived in France for 6 months, but it was in Toulouse, which sort of has a microclimate of its own...


I've been to Dunkirk (Dunkerque) a number of times. The climate is very much like southern England (which shouldn't be surprising considering how close England and France are at that point).

Quote:

So it's Alsace and Provence, until now. How's Normandy? Chris makes an interesting suggestion of visiting historical battle sites, but the area would have to be around interesting towns too, in order to add some variety to the trip.


Normandy is a bit warmer than Nord-Pas de Calais.

Rouen looked to be well worth visiting but I've really only passed through.

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If you are looking for cities filled with history, Strasbourg would be a favorite of mine, with Avignon a close second (Nimes is rally worth a day of visit, I think).

I mean Paris aside, of course (no way you can beat Paris in terms of things to do just walking...).

In terms of weather, October is not an easy month, because this is when things are changing.... So beginning of October will probably not be the same as end of October :-( On average, though, it is still quite good south, with optional huge rains (I mean huge). North of the Loire though, it gets worse and is quite rainy (I lived in Nancy, Paris and Montpellier, they are REALLY different in terms of climate, trust me).
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Fabrice Dubois
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Jérôme is right, as usual :
1/ it is well know that Loire is a climate frontier for France.
2/ Avignon and his surrounding deserves to be known :
- for the history of the town
- for the climat mainly in October
- for the gastronomy
- Arles, Nimes, Camargue, Saint-Rémy de Provence for Van Gogh, regional park of Luberon
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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The Normandy coast from Mont St Michel to Etreat cliffs is very beautiful: Granville, Nez de Jobourg, Omaha (Bayeux), Sword/Juno/Gold (Caen), Honfleur...

But the weather in October... It is not always raining, you can have a fantastic week, the only problem is that you don't know which one! I live here and I enjoy the good weeks when they come, but for people visiting us and booking tickets in advance is pure lottery!
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John Farrell
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So franchi, are you volunteering to be a tour guide for visitors to Mont St Michel? whistle
 
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fdubois wrote:

2/ Avignon and his surrounding deserves to be known :
- for the history of the town
- for the climat mainly in October
- for the gastronomy
- Arles, Nimes, Camargue, Saint-Rémy de Provence for Van Gogh, regional park of Luberon


While I agree with all this about Avignon, and while it's one of my favorite cities in France, the last time I visited I was a bit turned off by all the crowds. I showed up and there was not a bed to be found in the city (I only found a new hostelish type place on the far outskirts of town at the last second by accident, talking to another backpacker; I was on the verge of hopping on the train right back out of town). And this was in October so it wasn't due to the theater festival. Since the OP mentioned
Quote:
I usually...avoid highly touristic (crowded) places

I wouldn't point him towards Avignon.

Arles, on the other hand, might be more his cup of tea. The Van Gogh Museum is great (Van Gogh spent his last few years in Arles I believe), and they have some fascinating Roman ruins (IIRC, an amphitheater and Roman baths). I recall some excellent restaurants too, including a Moroccan one.
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Friendless wrote:
So franchi, are you volunteering to be a tour guide for visitors to Mont St Michel? whistle

Well, this year I already had my dose of Mont St Michel!
But I can give you the address of the one that guided us a few weeks ago:

http://www.aventure-et-vous.fr/

Highly recommended! When the tide is low it may seem easy to cross on your own, but don't do it! The sand is moving all the time, sometimes even the guides have to walk a few meters before you to be sure you can cross a stream or avoid quicksand (which the kids love...). It's 10 euros per adult, I found it very cheap, even cheaper if you are a group.

On the other hand, please tell if someone wants to visit the landing beaches, if I cannot "guide" you I could at least point you toward the sites I find the most interesting...
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franchi wrote:
On the other hand, please tell if someone wants to visit the landing beaches,


I'm planning to be there in October , so I'll be in touch closer to the time.
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JohnnyDollar wrote:

Quote:
I usually...avoid highly touristic (crowded) places

I wouldn't point him towards Avignon.

Arles, on the other hand, might be more his cup of tea. The Van Gogh Museum is great (Van Gogh spent his last few years in Arles I believe), and they have some fascinating Roman ruins (IIRC, an amphitheater and Roman baths). I recall some excellent restaurants too, including a Moroccan one.


For me there is no way you'd spend a week in Arles or Avignon: you need to split your time travelling between Avignon, Arles, Aix, Nimes,...

But I agree that Avignon is probably more crowded than Arles (though I thought October would be better), so maybe plan hotel there in advance ?

Anyway looks like a split between Provence and Normandy currently :o)
I still think Strasbourg/Alsace is a third option.
 
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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When possible, I would advice to visit Normandy in Spring/Summer rather than Autumn/Winter, weather aside the days are longer and the landscapes more beautiful.
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Chris Stimpson
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This isn't going to help.

In October 1972 I vacationed in France, taking my car and a tent. Slept the first night on Dunkirk beach. Merde! Too cold, so slept in car the next two weeks. But traversed the whole Loire valley, visiting Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceaux, Cheverney, Blois, and other chateaux, including Chambord, on the roof of which I met my first wife. ("Gosh, what are you doing here, first wife?") Passed through Bayeux on the way back, but didn't have time to stop to see the sewing job.

Weather was almost ideal; although cold at night, not unbearably hot during the day.

Back to 1966. I was in a party canoeing down the Rhone from Lyons to the Camargue. Great trip, took in Avignon (beautiful), Arles (Roman arena and amphitheatre) and the Provence coast. Met teenage girl whom - here comes the romantic part - I married 44 years later.

See, not a word about wargaming......
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Ze Masqued Cucumber
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cstimpson wrote:
See, not a word about wargaming......

A few words about womanizing, instead
 
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