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Aug 6, 2008 04:31 PM

Road Trip out of Paris without breaking the bank

I have been living in Paris for the summer and am trying to decide on a place or places to go in France for my last week here (which happens to include my birthday). I have been to Normandy and the Loire Valley so far. A few of us (including one Parisian) are looking to take a road trip somewhere, ideally in the countryside, with great food, wine, scenery, etc. The problem is we are all musicians and can't afford to stay in nicer places or eat at higher priced Michelin type restaurants. Any suggestions for a part of France (or a couple spots) where we could have a great experience and not spend a ridiculous amount of money (even though given the conversion rate, it's hard to feel good about buying a bottle of water!) ? I thought of the Jura since you can camp and the wine and food are supposed to be great. Have also thought about going to Provence and/or the French Alps (perhaps Annecy) and Gascony. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Alsace. Stay in Colmar or Ribeauville. Drink Riesling with tarte flambee and choucroute. Have a beer. Only problem for a musician is they roll up the sidewalk early up there.

    Province is great but it is relatively far away. Annecy is quite picturesque but the food is better in Alsace.

    1. I love Lyon. There are quite a few inexpensive hotels in Centre ville and the bistros are not expensive. There is so much to see and do there. The Roman ruins, the Traboules, a trip up to the Beaujolais... a side up to Perouge, the medieval village on the way to Grenoble.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        thanks for the suggestions! I've been thinking of Alsace as everyone seems to rave about the food. two questions about that: I will have just visited Germany (Munich and the Bavarian Alps) the week before. I know Alsace is still very french but would you recommend it on the heels of a trip to Germany? also, it might be the case that the trip will just be me in which case I will travel by train. Do you need a car to really enjoy Alsace or can I get by on foot? (or local trains) I'm interested in seeing Lyon especially because it is supposed to be the gastronomic capital..but I think I might want to check out less urban areas for my last week (I guess a mix between countryside and small towns) although that might be challenging without a car. thanks for all the tips.

        1. re: tummyache

          You might like Provence. I spent a week in Avignon without a car. There are numerous bus routes that can take you to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Carpentras, Isle-Sur-La Sorgue, and other nearby towns. Quite a number of the hotels in the Old Town are pretty inexpensive, and just "fine," tho not fancy. I got my room by stopping first in the Tourist Office on the Rue de la Republique.

          1. re: ChefJune

            Thanks for the help! It turns out we will have a car and will be travelling for three days trying to stay at campsites, chambres d'hote or gites. We're currently deciding between two options: 1) the Alsace wine route (stopping along the way and eating/drinking a lot of good stuff and 2) the south part of Brittany with a possibility of going to Charente/maritime places like Ile de Re, etc.

            Obviously these are two quite different options. I thought the wine route looks nice because it suits a road trip well (just following a road with stops when you like) will things in alsace be open this coming week? (do august closures affect restaurants outside of Paris much?) we'll be going from Monday through wednesday night. any more opinions would be greatly appreciated!!

            1. re: tummyache

              I would choose Alsace over Brittany. Beautiful scenery, charming towns, and many good restaurants, with interesting food that is different from standard French. I'm not sure about August closings but would think that as the French travel all over France (except Paris) on their vacations the restaurants should mostly be open.