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Jan 13, 2014 03:04 PM

A wild ride around the countryside...need some suggestions on the sprint to CDG from Nice. We'd appreciate suggestions on any other aspects as well.

My wife & I are staying in Paris with friends dropping in here and there. Then we will join another couple and take a wild ride around the countryside as described below. We need some help in three areas for sure and any suggestions beyond these are certainly appreciated: 1) The sprint north is sketchy with doubts as to how to best get from Nice to CDG...stop overnight in Lyon or Dijon and where? 2) Should we take the market tour or the shop tour in Aix? and, 3) Are we missing something we should change our plans over?
The grand plan below shows where we have overnight reservations and places we hope to tour with no eating commitments yet because we know NOTHING about food in these places.
The Plan
May 11th to June 4- Downtown Paris Apt rue du General de Castelnau
June 5-10: Thursday-Tuesday – Paris with side trips to Giverney, Versailles, Chartes.
June 11-12: Wednesday/Thursday—Normandy. Sights: Arromanches D-Day Museum, American Cemetery, and Pointe du Hoc (and Caen World War II Museum, if time allows). (2 nights in Bayeux).
180 miles from CDG Airport to Bayeux on route A13
• Relias Saint-Loup, Bayeux
June 13 Friday—Bayeux Tapestry (This famous 230-foot-long tapestry was created in 1000 AD. It depicts the Norman Invasion/Battle of Hastings) and St. Michelle. Spend night at St. Michelle.
Distance from Bayeux to St. Michelle: 57.06 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 65.62 miles to 71.32 miles
• Chambres d'Hôtes Les Vieilles Digues
• Route du Mont Saint Michel, Beauvoir
June 14: Saturday: Drive through Loire Valley. Spend night in Chateauroux.
Distance from Mt. St. Michele: 195.12 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 224.39 miles to 243.9 miles
• Ace Hotel Chateauroux
Zac de l'EcoParc - Avenue Gustave Eiffel, Déols, FR

June 15: Sunday—Dordogne region, Aquitaine. Stop at WWII ruins at Oradour-sur-Glane and painted prehistoric caves. Stay in a Souillac. (1 night). Dordonge is a hilly region lush with medieval hamlets.
Souillac is 240 K from Chateauroux. 132.83 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 152.75 miles to 166.04 miles
• Le Pavillon Saint-Martin,
• 5 place Saint-Martin, Souillac
June 16: Monday— Head to the Languedoc region, Carcassonne, a perfectly restored medieval town complete with walled fortification. Spend night in Carcassonne
Souillac to Carcassonne is 259 K (2 hours and 20 minutes)
• La Bastide Saint Martin
• Address: Avenue Saint Martin

June 17-20: Tuesday-Friday— Head to Aix en Provence via Montpellier area. Wednesday-Saturday—On to Provence with a stop at the Pont du Gard aqueduct, Roman amphitheater in Arles and Avignon. Spend nights in Aix en Provence.

Carcassone to Montpellier: 1 hour 32
Montpelier to Aix en Provence: 90 minutes
Arles is 57 min.
Arles to Avignon: 44 minutes
Avignon to Aix en Provence: 56 minutes

• Soft Mirabeau
• •30 Place Barthélémy Niollon , 13100 Aix en Provence
• located in the Allées Provençales

Luberon. head to Lourmarin for coffee (sit at a café in Place Ormeau & watch the people go by) - & then go to le Castelas in Sivèrgues for lunch. (See various discussions on Chowhound & be sure to book.) See Saignon, Bonnieux, Roussillon before heading back to Aix for a light dinner. Saturday night (the 21st) will be la Fête de la Musique, so the town should be bustling with music. Recommended restaurants in Aix: le Formal (rue Espariat), le Poivre d'Ane (Place Cardeurs), l'Incontournable (rue de Montigny). Also on Saturday will be Aix's biggest market, which is worth visiting. A nice spot for lunch would be la Fromagerie du Passage (hidden in the Passage Agard just off the Cours Mirabeau).

Thursday: market tour is very recommended on Trip Advisor. See
June 21-23 Saturday/Sunday— Depart for the Riviera, possibly in Villefranche-sur-Mer or Nice. (2 nights).
Aix en Provence to Nice: 1 hour 47 minutes
• Nice Excelsior Chateaux & Hotels Collection

June 23: Monday — Head north. Overnight
Distance Nice to Dijon: 6 hour drive.
Distance Nice to Lyon, 4 hours.
June 24: Reims via Verdon Overnight
Dijon to Reims: 2 hours 39 minutes
Lyon to Reims: 4 hours (overnight
)June 25: Wednesday- CDG - Fly home

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  1. First correction of the above...we have a fairly good sense of food opportunities in Paris, and will lay out a plan for that aspect of our trip at a later time. Please comment on places outside of Paris.

    1. La Vieux Logis in Tremlolat is a really exceptional meal in the Dordogne ( A bit further west than where you'll be, but worth traveling for.

      1. Just to be clear, your other post said you would be in Aix June 20-21-22, but you seem to have changed your itinerary. I had suggested Sunday (the 22nd) lunch at le Castelas in Sivèrgues because, as far as I know, Sunday is the only day they serve roast pig for lunch. It's a longish, somewhat winding trip back to Aix, so I hesitate to suggest you go there for dinner - but if you're up for the minimum 75 minute ride back to your hotel, you will hopefully be glad you went for that roast pig dinner.

        3 Replies
        1. re: boredough

          Yes. We have had a few changes and I apologize for quoting you without recognition. Don't know about driving that far given all our driving...we'll see.

          1. re: hychka

            From 11 to 25 June, in 13 days you will be in
            - northern Normandy,
            - southern Normandy/Brittany,
            - the Dordogne,
            - Carcassonne,
            - the Riviera
            - Reims
            Your driving estimate is way too optimistic. You need to find parking space everywhere you go. You have to look at road signs in another language. There may be traffic jams or slow-downs. Every time you change destination, let's say to a nearby destination (many of your destinations aren't) with the smoothest driving and valet parking, it will still take half a day.
            some of your destination changes will take all day. Forget restaurants. You should be asking for recommendations of freeway gas station cafeterias.
            If you love only commute and hate getting out of the car, this itinerary may work. -- Why not throw in Morocco and Belgium too ?
            It is difficult to recommend any place that will work unless it is a drive-in.

            We just came back from 10 days in Nice.
            - Found a socca that totally dethroned René's. If René socca was a 6. Chez Pipo is a 9.
            - Went back to our fave restaurant Flaveur. Only 2 years ago it had a great 38-euro menu that includes 3 courses a a glass of wine. Now the 38-euro menu includes 2 courses and no wine. The quality is just as good, but not better than before, and the execution a bit fussier. Hmm.
            - What is just as good as before if not better are two places, both of which are more for those staying in an apartment: the ravioli (truffle-stuffed and st-Jacques-stuffed) from La Barale, and the anchovy paste from the 83-year-old lady poissonnière on Marché St François.

            1. re: Parigi

              Michelin is your guide - but not the red book you need a large format Michelin road atlas....!

              Agree with Parigi it's a manic itinerary and your timings are badly out - it took me about 6 hours from Carcassonne to Aix as the road is busy with lots of Freight on the road coming up from Spain and North Africa - that said if you can average 110 kmh from Souillac to Carcassone your a braver drive than I.

              And if we assume you are interested in food (as this is Chowhound) you are not going to get the best out of the country.

        2. God, this is a lot of driving - take it from somebody who already does too many insane road trips across France for rugby, food, friends, festivals etc. Up to half your trip will not be on motorways and, to put it no stronger, you may have to adjust to a leisurely pace.
          Looking at just one day, Oradour and the Lascaux caves are two very popular destinations. The former needs 2 to 3 hours (not including a period of reflection) and the queues for entry to the latter should not be discounted. In June expect school tours at both of them.
          Take the morning to see Oradour by all means but then take lunch at the nearby Hotel de al Glane (this is a food site after all) - it won't blow your socks off but you will get ok provincial food at a relaxed pace. It will have taken you at least an hour and a half to get there so relax - you'll have to navigate Limoges traffic twice and Souillac is probably two and half hours driving in good conditions.
          I suspect that those who know other parts of France will give similar advice - lunches in France should not be rushed and you are going to hit places which deserve to be taken at their own pace

          1. I got tired just reading your itinerary, and you will have to check into a hospital, I fear, if you try to achieve it! You have given yourselves a good amount of time to enjoy Paris and environs. I hope you will consider your sanity and pare down the remaining time. If you especially want to spend time in the South of France, I'd suggest training down and renting a car in.... Nice? (choose your city) And spending your time enjoying that area. Leave the rest for another trip(s). Or, there's a lot to see, do and eat in the Dordogne. You could probably spend a couple of weeks there happily.