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France: 15 Days w/Mom

TatertotsMom

New Member
I normally do not have travelers block, but planning this trip with my mom has given me just that. In 2019, I took my mom to Italy (her first trip int'l) and now am planning a 2-week Sept or Oct trip this year to France. My dad and sister both have multiple sclerosis and my mom has been unable to experience a lot of travel. Being able to take her, even if just to escape some of what is hard for her to witness with my dad and sister as they progress, on a trip is a gift. She is 70, but very mobile.

I'm in the beginning stages of selecting the general itinerary and trying to figure out if we should fly into and out of Paris as our best option or flying open jaw into Paris and out of another French airport to maximize our time; knowing she likely will not return again.

I was in France in the late 90s, but feel like this is my first time as well. I want to focus more so on her interests, as for me, my joy will come in seeing her experience all these new things for the first time; luckily, aside from outdoor activities, our interests align for the most part. She loves architecture, art, food, wine, charming towns. Her interests are not as much into hiking, beaches or the outdoors (simply because that has not been her lifestyle due to my dad's illness for so long). I definitely don't want to go to fast and wear her out.

I drove in Italy, so am open to driving and/or training this trip. I really want this to be a memorable trip for her and am simply stumped on how to build the itinerary.

Thank you for guiding me to any itinerary posted here, or elsewhere, that you have enjoyed and/or heping answer the question if flying into and out of 2 different airports was optimal (cost of the airline ticket is not important as we will be flying on points). Again, thank you for advice on helping with this.
 

Steve R.

10+ Posts
I am getting used to writing posts that might only be marginally useful, but that doesnt seem to deter me. So, here goes. First of all, my wife and I are your mother’s age and, as you say, very mobile. And, since we dont have someone like you, we’ve had to plan our own itineraries & get ourselves around from place to place in both Italy & France. It’s great that you’re doing this. In fact, you may be surprised how many posts about France & Italy are being written by others of our age as well. However, unlike many on these boards, my wife and I are also not beach, hiking or “outdoorsy” folk. We prefer mapping out our trips by looking at the markets, restaurants, wineries, cultural sights & social life of places we might visit.
That being said, and not knowing where your mom lives or what she specifically enjoys, here’s an itinerary my wife and I followed on one of our trips & that you may think about. I would guess that 2 weeks would be a doable minimum, although we were gone for longer. We flew in and out of Paris, spending days there on both ends. Although this didnt allow us to see (or feel) Paris life in any depth, it did allow us to see major sights (museums, churches) and eat at some great neighborhood places. We rented a car in Paris and returned it there as well. We then drove south, with our destination being Vaison la-Romaine, where we stayed for awhile. It is a great town in the northern part of Provence, with Roman ruins, and is close enough to Avignon and other larger cities for day trips. There’s a bit about it on these boards — take a look. Both on the drive down and then back again, our major stop for several nights was Lyon. This is a perfect city to explore architecture, food and wine. And, if you have time, the drive between Lyon and Paris is full of other great places to stop, like Beaune or Dijon. Now, I fully realize that this isnt exactly a “slow France” itinerary, and it does cover a lot of ground, but it isnt undoable with 2-3 nights in Paris on either side, 2nights in Lyon on either side & 4 nights in Provence. Its all pretty much highway travel, scenic at the time of year you’re going.
As an aside, I just want to say that the above is based on your comment that this might be the only time your mom gets to France & that you want a memorable, yet non-frantic itinerary. Obviously, you can fit in more by driving more, or can spend more time in Paris and less on the road. At any rate, have fun with your mom. Hope this was of some help.
 

TatertotsMom

New Member
Steve, thank you for taking the time to reply to my thread. This is so very helpful! To answer your question about where my mom lives/what she likes to do. My mom lives outside of Seattle WA on an island. Her view is water every day. She enjoys walking, learning about history, shopping, wine, exploring cuisines, outdoor markets, art and reading. In Italy, she really enjoyed the architecture, history, churches, food, wandering the streets with no agenda, etc.

Thank you again!
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
I planned all our trips to France with the help of a Michelin road atals. This marks'scenic' roads with a green line. It also has a star system against towns which helps identify thiose of significance either for their history, architecture etc. Many of these don't get mentioned in the guidebooks but a google search pulls up information as well as lots of images.

We based ourself in an area (booked S/C accommodation) and used that as a base for exploring.
 

TatertotsMom

New Member
Thank you so much! The Michelin Road Atlas sounds like the perfect companion. I will be sure to look into that. If I may ask, what areas did you base yourselves out of?
I planned all our trips to France with the help of a Michelin road atals. This marks'scenic' roads with a green line. It also has a star system against towns which helps identify thiose of significance either for their history, architecture etc. Many of these don't get mentioned in the guidebooks but a google search pulls up information as well as lots of images.

We based ourself in an area (booked S/C accommodation) and used that as a base for exploring.
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
We had three weeks in Brittany stopping at three different places.

Next time we spent a week in the Loire valley followed by a week in the cantal and a week in the Haute Loire.

The last trip we spent a week in the Midi Pyrenees followed by a week in the Dordogne.

All of the areas were very different and it would be difficult to say which I liked best. If she likes architecture, art, food, wine, charming towns you can't lose whereever you pick. Using the Michelin guide I found some amazing places, particularly the churches.
 

TatertotsMom

New Member
I wanted to post an update of our itinerary:
1. Land at CDG and take high speed train to Lyon
2. 4 nights in Lyon
3. 3 nights in Dijon
4. 4 nights in Paris

I realized I left out one night when I booked our stays, so I can either add a night to any of the above, or take a night off Lyon or Dijon, and stay 2 nights in an additional location. Thoughts?
 

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