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between Paris and Lyon without a car

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My sister and I are planning on a trip to France in the latter half of September for 2 weeks, and I am interested in visiting cities/town where there’s great food and interesting sights (good museums, cathedrals, etc.). The challenge is that neither of us drives, so we’ll be entirely reliant on public transportation. I’ve checked the board and a few guidebooks and I know that areas like Dordogne and the general SW are not practical without a car. I will be missing that foie, but hopefully I can get my fill in Alsace.

So far I’m thinking:
• 6 days or so in Paris-which I know pretty well and will include day trips
• a few days in Lyon, with the possibility of day trips to Avignon/Beaune/Dijon from there (not sure on these towns - I do know that I’d prefer to not schlep my bags every day or two, but will need to compare costs of r/t train tix and cost of apts/hotels in Lyon vs other towns).
• Strasbourg for a couple of days, with a day trip to Colmar

I'd thought of Brittany for the seafood and crepes, but that might not make sense time-wise.

Any other suggestions along that general route (or not!)? I’d also considered ending in Switzerland or Belgium, but that might be unnecessary and overly ambitious.

We also don’t really drink, so wine isn’t of great importance. Any help appreciated!

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  1. No car and no wine: boy you're a refreshing challenge.
    Dijon has a few outstanding restaurants (there's a thread here somewhere) but it's best place does require a hefty taxi ride and it has good TGV service; Brittany is hard to "do" without wheels; and since my best friend lived in Geneva for 25 years, I "commuted" there and was never blown away by the food, unless you count Giradet, where I had some of the best meals of my life, but Fredy is retired. Alsace is also not so fun when confined to public transportation. You know, learning to drive is not that hard.

    1. You can reach the Loire valley by train. Although having a car would extend the radius of places you could visit, staying in Amboise would provide a base for good food and chateau visits, reachable on foot, bus, or taxi.

      1. Day trips to Colmar from Strasbourg are quick and very easy. Train stations in both places are conveniently located and trains run frequently in both directions.
        Also it's quite easy to visit some smaller Alsatian towns using trains. Here is the link that you may find useful:
        http://www.getalsaced.com/villages-al...

        1. 6 days in Paris, 3 days in Lyon, and 2-3 days in Strasbourg pretty much fills your time allotment, especially when you remember that:

          a) your first day is pretty much lost to airport logistics and jet lag,

          b) your last day is lost to getting to the airport (3 hours) for the interminable lines at security,

          c) that it takes two nights in a single place to win you a full day of sightseeing in that place, and

          d) it will take you at least a half a day to up stakes, travel, and get resettled in a new town.

          1. Thanks for all of your suggestions - they are very helpful.

            I actually did get a driver's license over ten years ago, but since I live in the middle of a big city where having a car is more of pain than not having one, I don't have easy access to a car for practicing. France is not the place for me to get behind the wheel for the first time in a decade!

            1. I do drive, but I have done Paris and Lyon many times w/o a car. I think you will find so much to do in Lyon this trip you won't need to day-trip elsewhere. It really is a major city, both economically and historically. It's older than Paris, and you could spend weeks just visiting the incredible churches!

              Since it's also France's gastronomic capital, there's no dearth of wonderful places to eat/dine. and a whole food history to explore.