Tips on France + Paris


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
This thread is meant to share tips, info and experiences with France.

Sights first:

Paris - sights

Sights - well I think you know most of them...

if you want to enjoy Paris, do walk. it's small enough so that you can walk around the top spots

- Eiffel tower (Tour Eiffel in French)

- Montmartre, the Sacre “Coeur” church and the “Place du Tertre” where there is a lot of painter, cartoonists.

- Notre-Dame cathedral

- In the middle of Paris, “le quartier des Halles”

- Père Lachaise cemetery

- Take a boat near the Eiffel tower

And if you have time, “le jardin du Luxembourg”, “les Buttes Chaumont”, Orsay museum (a museum in an old train station), “Saint Martin canal” (you can take a boat and go from 1 lock to another one); the pub where they filmed the movie “Amelie”

The perfect Paris picnic comes cheap: a crusty baguette ($1), a thick slab of Camembert ($2.50), a modest Bordeaux ($5). Take it to the sprawling park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, spread a blanket and dine with a view that is priceless.

Paris has more than its share of high-end luxury, but plenty of this city's famed culture and romance can come free -- or at minimal cost. There are all kinds of tricks to enjoying Paris without busting your budget.

The opera has cheap seats, museums offer reductions, churches hold free classical concerts, walking up the Eiffel Tower is cheaper than riding the elevator -- and a good way to work off all the croissants and mousses au chocolat. Plenty of fun can be had for under $20, even in the capital of haute couture and high-end cuisine.

Start perhaps with a stroll. Wander through the meticulously manicured Luxembourg Gardens or the elegant Place des Vosges, Paris' oldest square on the edge of the boutique-and-gallery-packed Marais district.

A pair of comfortable shoes is key in this utterly walkable city so full of parks and monuments, stunning architecture and charming cobblestone lanes that ducking underground to the Metro means skipping sights.

That said, public transport is excellent and cheap. A single subway or bus ride costs $1.75, while a book of 10 tickets -- a "carnet" -- is a saving at $13. There is a full-day pass -- the Carte Mobilis -- for $6.70; and a weekly pass -- Carte Hebdomadaire -- that costs $20.

Serious sightseers should consider the "Museum and Monument Card," sold at museums and major Metro stations. It allows unlimited access to 70 of the city's attractions and lets cardholders skip lines. A one-day card is $22.

Another cost saver is the Paris City Passport, newly minted this year by Paris' Tourism Office. The $6.20 booklet is filled with $370 in coupons for savings off admission to museums, Seine River boat cruises, city bus tours, cabarets and night clubs. It is sold at tourism offices, select train stations or online.

To view the City of Light from above, it's tough to beat the Eiffel Tower. Skip the top level -- the lines are long and it costs $13.30 to get there. The second platform is plenty high at 380 feet; it can be reached by elevator for $9.30 or on foot -- up 704 steps -- for $4.70.

Otherwise, for a spectacular and free Paris panorama, head to the steps of the great white Sacre Coeur basilica in Montmartre.

After walking up a good appetite, the question arises of where to eat. For a splurge, pick up a Michelin guide and follow the stars -- but do it during the day. Michelin-starred lunch menus often run half the price of dinner. Reservations are a must, often well in advance.

Otherwise, buy a baguette sandwich for lunch at any boulangerie or a crepe from a streetside stand. Supermarkets sell wine and cheese for one-stop picnic shopping.

For dinner, go ethnic. Some of Paris' tastiest and most affordable food comes from its former colonies: great couscous from North Africa, hearty noodle soups from Vietnam, specialties of Senegal. Best bets are the immigrant melting pots of Belleville in northeastern Paris or the city's main Chinatown in the southeastern 13th arrondissement around Metro station Porte d'Ivry.

For French fare, just pick a neighborhood -- the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, St. Germain des Pres, the Marais, Bastille -- and read the menus in windows. Brasseries are cheaper than bistros and offer French classics at reasonable prices with a variety of wines by the glass. Fine wines are best bought in shops -- not restaurants where markups can be enormous.

For an outdoor aperitif, do as the French do. Take a bottle with paper cups and head to the Pont des Arts, the wooden-and-iron footbridge connecting the riverbanks between the Latin Quarter and the Louvre. In the city of romance, it remains a favorite of canoodling couples and Parisians who never tire of gazing at sunset over the Seine.

For an elegant evening out, mingle with the tuxedo-and-gown crowd at the ballet or opera -- where these days any attire is fine. The Bastille Opera just opened a 62-person standing-room area for a mere $6.20 a head. Sales start 45 minutes before the curtain goes up, so arrive early and brace for lines. Otherwise, nosebleed seats with limited visibility start at $11. The glorious Garnier Opera, with its recently renovated grand Baroque foyer, is Paris' main ballet venue and offers velvet seats in upper booths for as low as $8.70.

For $1.25, visitors can enjoy the Rodin Museum's gardens.

Pick up a Pariscope magazine for 50 cents at any kiosk for weekly listings of concerts, films, plays and exhibits. Note the music section, which gives a daily rundown of classical concerts in churches and cathedrals, many for free, especially on weekends. It also gives museum addresses, hours and admission fees.

Museums offer a variety of discounts, with most major ones free for children under 18.

At the Louvre, which unveiled its new, roomier gallery for the Mona Lisa earlier this year, admission is $10.50. But ticket prices drop to $7.70 on Wednesday and Friday nights after 6 p.m. when the museum stays open late.

Entry to the Musee d'Orsay, home to Paris' great Impressionist collection, costs $9.30 but drops to $6.80 on Sundays and everyday after 4:15 p.m. (or 8 p.m. on Thursdays) -- two hours before closing time.

For art en pleine air head to the Rodin Museum, where the real bargain is the $1.25 entry fee to the gardens. Tucked amid the linden trees are some of Rodin's greatest works -- large bronze casts of The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais. Bring a picnic lunch and stay awhile. The museum itself charges $6.20.

Eagerly awaited this fall is the return of a Paris architectural jewel, the Grand Palais. Its grand central hall reopens after a 12-year structural overhaul that restored the building's glass-and-steel cupola, a glittering landmark in the Paris skyline. The work cost $124 million but visitors get to view it for free until October 1. After that, the Grand Palais resumes its function as a cultural center for festivals, exhibits and fashion shows.

Paris - Food

Some restaurants I near the Champs Elysees:

there is 2 African restaurants named Gazelle, 9 rue Rennequin ( and Impala lounge, 2 rue Berri
a good French restaurant names “Chez Clement”, 123, Avenue des Champs Elysées ( like it and not too expensive !)

For Foie Gras:

Fauchon is a nice traiteur. It's in Madeleine.

If you have time, you can go to Honfleur (2h drive from Paris in the north-west): nice village near the sea.

Paris - Shopping

Les Grands Magasins as well (Printemps, Galeries Lafayette. I think Printemps was the first mall on earth)


Place Vendome then Rue du Faubourg St-Honore.

Not so far from Cassis, Bormes-les-Mimosas,

St Tropez (many French actor like to come at this place for vacation. You will see a lot of big yacht).

Near St Tropez, Grimaud ( a small town build on the water)

Aix en Provence (bigger city ; more for shopping)

Arles and its amphitheater and Van Gogh foundation

Orange has also a nice amphitheater

If you have enough time, Monaco (small town in the middle of the France but it is not a part of the France; they have their own “Prince”)

Food to try: Ratatouille, Nougat, Tapenade

Wine to try: Muscat from Beaumes de Venise (sweet white wine)

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Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
- sights
A useful link:

Unlike Paris, you will need a car for Provence, or join a tour.


- Palace of the Popes
Outside Avignon:

Pont Du Gord
St Remy - asylum for Van Gogh
if you get lucky some Lavender fields...
Provence (I really like this area !):
- Mont Ventoux (it is like the moon when you arrive at the top. The "tour de France" cycle up this montagne but of course you can use your car.
- Near this mountain, you can visit some very nice "village": Bedoin, Caromb, Carpentras, Beaumes-de Venise, Vacqueras The best place to see the "Dentelle de Montmirail"), Vaison la Romaine, Seguret, Sablet. All these places are near Orange city. Try to go to the street market. You can buy some nice good food and nice products from Provence. Most of the markets are during the week end but check the tourist office.
- Fontaine de Vaucluse is another very very nice place. A spring at the bottom of a 230 m high cliff. In the summer the water level is so low that you can see the abyss. Just beautiful. Take your time and a drink

Then you can drive more in the south, direction CASSIS.
Ahhh Cassis is a romantic, beautiful place. A little expensive but in any case cheaper compared to Paris.
From Cassis you can walk in the "Calanque" or take a boat or a Kayak or just stay on the beach.
Marseille and its harbour ; eat in 1 of the restaurant on the harbour and try the "bouillabaise" soup (fish soup).

Your friends have to be careful of robber, especially in Marseille and Cassis.

- Food
In Bollene, there is a wine school and you can visit it and try to recognize the different taste you can found in the wine.
- You can go for a wine degustation in Rasteau, Gogondas, Chateauneuf du Pape
- You can buy Olive oil in Nyons

- Shopping
plenty of little towns to explore shop etc...
Loccitane has little branches here and there...
One of the nice things I did was to hang out in those little towns in Provence, buy little trinkets like door clappers, hooks and sip coffee looking at the world go by, perhaps not as nice as the place in South England, but not bad....


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
PARIS - Got 48 hours in Paris?

The city of revolution and love has endless things to do. If it's the end of a busy business week and your first time then throw yourself into the heady mix of heritage, culinary delights and entertainment.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a visit to the French capital.

5 pm - So where best to start than overlooking the city. Perched 130 meters above Paris, Montmartre in the north will give you ample scope to build your appetite. From Pigalle metro wander up to the Basilique de Sacre Coeur, a Byzantine-inspired cathedral originally planned as a memorial for the lost soldiers of the Franco-Prussian war. The views from the top will give you a taste of what the city is all about. Head north to Place du Tertre to encounter artists sketching away, bustling cafes and a rabbit warren of cul-de-sacs with aging edifices.
7 pm - At the steps of Montmartre in the red-light district of the boulevard Clichy, lies the infamous Moulin Rouge. While a little touristy these days, the once favorite hangout of French society has a pricy menu that includes foie-gras trimmings, the finest bubbly and, of course, the famous dancers.
8 am - It's an early start, but how often are you in Paris? Exit your hotel, enter the first bakery, pick-up a mix of croissants, pain aux raisins and a brioche and take a seat in a cafe. Enjoy a creme or noisette with people-watching.
9 am - It will be a long day, but well worth it. Take a metro to Bir-Hakeim. Book your ticket online to avoid the hordes of tourists at the Eiffel Tower and then, be it by lift or foot, head up the 324-meter high structure. Originally supposed to be a temporary fixture for the Universal Exhibition in 1889, the tower remains the emblem of France.
11 am - Time for a cruise along the Seine river. Pick your transport. The options depend on your level of laziness: City bikes (Velib) are spread across the city and are much like a hop-on-hop-off system. The Batobus or traditional Bateaux Mouches moored by the quay at the foot of the tower stop at major sites along the river. Or go on foot to give yourself versatility to roam.

Take a cruise down the Seine River.
11.30 am -Head along the river's edge by the Quai Branly. The museum of the same name on the right hand side and a pet project of former president Jacques Chirac offers collections from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Wander about 10 minutes further down on the right to Les Invalides. The complex of buildings houses museums and monuments relating France's military past, including the tomb of Corsica's most famous son Napoleon Bonaparte.
Continue along the Quai d'Orsay past the Foreign Ministry and the Assemblee Nationale (Parliament) before turning left and crossing over the Louis 16th-built Pont de la Concorde on the Right Bank. From here enter the Jardin des Tuileries and amble through the gardens leading up to the Louvre Museum.
If you fancy a slight shopping detour, turn left at rue de Castiglione. The Westin hotel has an antique-styled courtyard for a tea or a glass of fine wine, while a bit further down toward the Place Vendome and rue Saint Honore the fashion conscious have a chance to experience the likes of Christian Lacroix, Hermes or Pierre Cardin first hand.
If shopping isn't your thing, then carry on through the gardens to the Louvre and its controversial glass pyramid. Remember queues are often long and it's best to pick one or two exhibitions of the time or select a specific collection such as the jaw-dropping ancient civilizations of the Near East.
Favorites such as the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo will mean hours of queuing no matter how early you get there and for many De Vinci's smiling 'La Jaconde'is often a disappointment.
3 pm - Time for a late lunch. Cross the Pont des Arts at the end of the Louvre, where the lovestruck often attach padlocks on to the bridge showing their deepest affections. You're now in the St Germain des Pres area. Stroll along the river and then turn right heading toward the Notre Dame metro.
On rue Saint Andre des Arts is the Creperie Saint-German. A cozy atmosphere with an eclectic selection of music welcomes you to a world of sweet and savory pancakes and a goblet of cider.
4 pm - Cross over Paris' oldest bridge the Pont Neuf dating back to the early 17th century and made famous by the film Les Amants du Pont Neuf starring Juliette Binoche. It takes you on to l'ile de la Cite, one of two mini islands home to some of Paris crown jewels.
About 200 meters ahead on the left is Sainte Chapelle with its unforgettable stained glass windows, while on the right is the Cathedral of Notre Dame tracing its history back to the 12th century. Behind the cathedral, its gardens lead to the second island l'ile Saint Louis where often the bridge linking the two islands will have accordion players and a raft of free entertainment. Have a seat and soak in the atmosphere.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame
From here head north into the Marais district. The heart of Paris' Jewish community includes the Picasso museum, lots of trendy craft and fashion boutiques and an increasingly vibrant Chinese community. Once at the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, turn left toward rue Rambuteau and the futuristic Pompidou Center. The vibrant Beaubourg area is a den of restaurants, cafes and bars so the choice is vast for an evening out, but for dinner why not try something completely different on the rue Quincampoix - Dans le Noir? (In the dark?). The restaurant, bar and lounge offers top notch food served entirely in the dark. The waiters are blind and without their help you're not allowed to move anywhere within the restaurant.

9 am - A trip to France wouldn't be complete without seeing the finest food on display. Take the metro to Denfert Rochereau in the 14th and amble through rue Daguerre. From oysters to horsemeat and the fruits of the season, some of the freshest foods are delivered to this market street often ahead of their local communities. Try some of the delicacies.
11 am - A stone's throw away from rue Daguerre is the entrance to the underground Catacombes, an ossuary that fills a section of caverns and tunnels that once were Paris' mines. Skulls, bones and tombstones adorn kilometers of passages.
1 pm - Keeping to the same theme, once out of the Catacombes take the metro to the north east to Pere Lachaise. Paris' biggest cemetery is home to the likes of Oscar Wilde and Doors lead singer Jim Morrison and its multiple alleyways offer the odd pastime of tomb-spotting. Just a few hundred meters away on rue du Chemin Vert is a little Kurdish restaurant Zagros. It offers simple, but tasty food from a family whose offspring starred in the 2009 film "Welcome" about a Kurdish refuge looking to swim across the English channel to reach his El Dorado.
4 pm - One last port of call -- the world's most famous avenue the Champs Elysees. Why not drop into the Citroen showroom, the first new building on the road in more than 30 years. If cars aren't your thing, then fight the hordes to get into Laduree to taste the creative pastries of some 40 chefs and where most walk away with at least a box of macaroons.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
For getting from CDG to Avignon, the main challenge involves the limited number of time options on this routing. As an example, from, there is the 11:50 am departure from DeGaulle airport, arriving at 2:46 pm at the Avignon TGV station. There is also a 1:10 pm airport departure, changing trains in Lyon and arriving in Avignon at 4:42 pm. You will not know exactly when you arrive at DeGaulle till it actually happens. Sometimes a plane get in early, sometimes late, many times about on time, plus there is the time to walk through this huge terminal, get your bags, pass customs, walk more, get to the train station, etc. You will probably have some wasted time waiting till you can catch your train south. I don’t know your exact air arrival time, but I would probably aim for that 11:50 am train. I assume that allows at least two hours from your schedule air arrival till the train departure.

Clearly it will be important to have an advance train reservation, even if you have a rail pass. From this RailEurope website, there are a wide variety of options, including a combo pass with a number of options on the days for both rail and car use. And there is better pricing if two or more people are traveling together.

Staying in an apartment in Avignon is nice, BUT, I would consider have a car for a little longer period in order to see, explore and fully enjoy all of the countryside in Provence that is outside of Avignon , its markets, historic sites, etc. Depending on your interests, that added time for the countryside could be important as there is only so much to see and do inside of Avignon .

Where else to stay in Provence before heading to Paris ? WOW!!?? There are so many great options. I would need to know more on your interests, past Europe travel experiences, history love, etc., etc. There are a wide variety of logistical questions with the three places you suggest. Collioure is a long, long distance from Avignon . Wonderful coastal area, but lots and lots of driving to get there . . . AND back. Train service is much more limited from that far SW part of France . Cassis is the closest and would make it much easier getting back to a quicker TGV train station without too many hassles for train scheduling. Villefranche-sur-mer is wonderful, but it gets you more tangled up in battling all of the traffic and congestion around Nice, etc. Clearly you don't have time for all three. Agree totally on the need and value of staying at a quiet village. As nice as the coast is near Spain , it seems that closer to Cassis along that less congested part of the coast might be more practical and relaxing.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006

Why do people love Provence ? It is a region having a love affair with the land, earth and environment. The landscape is lush and verdant. Open-air markets have baskets of fresh herbs, fruits, flowers, fabrics, etc. The colorful spirit of the Mediterranean fills the air. Provence is nature at its purest. The sky is a piercing shade of blue. Fields are abundant and the air is clear. The climate ensures that spring, summer and fall yield magnificent and varied harvests. Throughout France , Provence is known for the best of everything natural. People in the area take great pride in these natural traditions for what they grow and how it is prepared in each village and every kitchen.

LOCATION: Provence has at its southern edge the famed Cote d’Azur with its wonderful coastline along the Mediterranean Sea . Generally Provence is consider the area east of the Rhone River with the Alps being the eastern border. Provence enjoys a southern sun that shines 320 days yearly, giving the region blue skies and mild temperatures year round. It is most picturesque in the spring with its flowering trees and shrubs. Summer offers local markets full of fresh harvests. Mid July is when the lavender field are in full bloom, filling the country air with a soothing fragrance. The Mistral winds can bring icy temperatures on bright sunny days. Getting lost can be fun in Provence . You can stumble across a charming village, history abbey or great tree-lined roadway.

AVIGNON is "one of the great art cities of France". Its old part of town has the Papal Palace, seat of Popes 1309-1377, street musicians perform near palace; art museum in Place du Palais open Wednesday through Monday, population of 87,000, town is on Rhone River. Once the religious, political and financial capital, Avignon is today a cultural capital and plays host annually in July to the largest festival of live theatre in the world. It has some of the best example of Gothic architecture in Europe.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE (population of 125,000) with Cezanne's studio on the road to Entremont; university town founded 122 B.C. as first Roman settlement in Gaul , near thermal springs, dining at Gu et Fils. An elegant and beautiful town, the visitor will enjoy discovering its ‘thousand fountains’ as he or she roams through its labyrinth of narrow streets. Aix-en-Provence is also renowned worldwide for its unique classical music festival.

Car travel to such nearby areas as ARLES , highest priority area city with Roman ruins, including 20,000 seat arena where bull fights are held in the summer; founded 49 B.C. by Julius Caesar, population of 52,000, Van Gogh's former home. Tarascon has its 15th century castle. LES BAUX is a very neat medieval village with great views that has no major population now, but tourist flock to soak its history and great views. You should dine right near there at L'Outau de Beaumaniere for ONE OF THE BEST MEALS YOU CAN HAVE IN FRANCE (lunch is more affordable). NIMES has its Roman ruins and great old arena. Nimes was settled 121 B.C. and has a population of 140,000.

ST. REMY his its Roman ruins, a population of 9000 and is the setting of world-famous literature. Saint-Remy is one of the most representative of Provençal towns and allows the visitor to appreciate the true charm of this oft-celebrated region of the country. It comes as no surprise that Saint Remy, like Cannes or Saint Tropez, is a destination for many well-known personalities. This Gallo-Roman village is on the plains 20 km south of Avignon . Residents more recent than the Romans include Dr. Schweitzer, Dr. Nostradamus and Van Gogh. The picturesque, old village is protected by the circular 14th-century wall which is lined by its protective circle of buildings. Its dolphin fountain is located in the shaded square in front of a 16th century old convent. This is a busy, active village, with a good selection of restaurants and hotels for the traveller. Among the shops are a few with some regional pottery, including some beautiful sunflower plates influenced by Van Gogh. The road between St. Remy and the autoroute (at Cavaillon, 17 km to the east) is a scenic drive out of the past: the road is lined by plane trees .

PONT DU GARD (Roman aqueduct/bridge) to the west of Avignon is a must see; Saturday AM market at Uzes near Pont du Gard can be totally charming and wonderful.

Try good Provence website of:

COASTAL SUGGESTION: The old village of Eze , along the coast between Nice and Monaco , hangs up in the mountains above the water and crowds. It's wonderful to visit. Great, great views! Totally charming! Have lunch or dinner there at one of the two great eating places and feel like you're sitting on the edge of paradise!

CONGESTION, TRAFFIC WARNINGS: Be properly warned that Nice, Cannes , Monaco , etc. can and will be extremely crowded during their peak tourism periods. Lots and lots of people (both residents and visitors), too many cars, too few highways and limited land between the mountains and sea to hold all comfortably and easily. The movies have made these large cities seem attractive and appealing. Do not Cary Grant and Grace Kelly seem to be having fun there? So glamorous and exciting?! For movies, they make it seem so wonderful. If you are rich and in the “best, right” areas, it can seem and be wonderful. BUT, that congestion might be a turn-off. It depends on what are you expecting, seeking and willing to pay for to hang with the rich and avoid the mobs in these famed areas.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
Avignon, France
Designated a UNESCO heritage city, Avignon was for centuries one of the major artistic centres of France. Located on the banks of the River Rhône, this medieval city is dominated by the awesome Pope´s Palace. Although there are countless museums, chapels and churches to visit in the city, don't go home without seeing the lavender fields, neat olive groves and gnarled vines of the stunning Provence countryside.

Getting to and around Avignon
Both the gare SNCF on boulevard St-Roch and the adjacent gare routière are close to Porte de la République, on the south side of the old city. In addition to the main gare, there's a new TGV station (high speed train) 2 kms south of the city centre, which has cut travel from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport down to two and a half hours. The TGV also serves other major French and European cities. This is a convenient option as the TGV station is located directly under Terminal 2 at the airport. The nearest regional airports are Marseille, Nimes or Nice.

Regular shuttles connect the TGV station with Avignon Centre - passengers are picked up or dropped off next to the post office, a short walk from the main tourist office. The city's bus service is good. Tickets may be bought from drivers and at TCRA (Transports en Commun de la Région d'Avignon) kiosks throughout town.

While you can use the bus to get around, Avignon's Old Town is best explored on foot. You can also hire a bicycle to enjoy the recently renovated Rhône-side cycle paths along the former towpaths.

A free shuttle boat connects Avignon to the lush Barthelasse Island, straddling the River Rhône, between Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. In summer you can take a bus-boat round trip between Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon via Barthelasse Island or take a cruise to see Avignon's famous Pont, Fort Saint André and Philippe Le Bel Tower from the river.

If you're driving, the best parking option is the free, guarded car park on the Île de Piot, between Avignon and Villeneuve. From here a free shuttle runs every 10min from 7.00 to 14.00 between the car park and Porte de l'Oulle. Hiring a car is the best way to explore the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Avignon is well connected to major road axes: A7 (Lyon and Italy), A9 (Spain), N7 (Marseille and Cavaillon) and N100 (Arles).

The main supervised and 24-hour car parks are located at the stations, at 7 avenue Monclar, and underneath the Palais des Papes square. Free, supervised car parks (tel: (04) 9080 8102) are located at the Ile Piot (about 1,500 spaces), with free shuttle buses running to the city centre, and Parking des Italiens, avenue des Italiens (over 500 spaces). In peak season, an additional car park opens at the foot of the Pont St Bénézet. It is best to choose these supervised spaces, as car theft is all too frequent. Alternatively, there are good car parks west of the city centre.

Avignon Highlights
Immaculately preserved, central Avignon is enclosed by medieval walls, built in 1403 by Pope Benedict XIII, the last of nine popes who based themselves here throughout the 14th century. As home to one of the richest courts in Europe, 14th century Avignon attracted hordes of princes, dignitaries, poets and raiders, who arrived to beg from, rob, extort money from and entertain the popes.

The medieval city is dominated by the massive Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace). This red-bricked beauty was Christianity's power base in the 14th century. With its massive stone vaults, battlements and sluices, the palace was built primarily as a fortress, though the two pointed towers, which hover above its gate, are extremely graceful. The austere walls of the Palace enclose a rich interior, enlivened with Italian frescoes. Highlights include the Stag Room (where hunting scenes adorn the walls), the outsized Grand Tinel, where the Pope dined on a raised platform, and the ornate Pope's Bedchamber.

The Pont Saint Bénezet (Avignon Bridge), inspired the unforgettable 19th century jingle, "Sur le Pont d'Avignon, L'on y danse..." Legend has it that a humble shepherd built the bridge after a heavenly vision. From the 11th to 17th centuries the bridge spanned the whole River Rhône and river-island Ile de la Barthelasse. Today only four out of 22 arches still stand, the rest have been washed away by the powerful Rhône. What remains is hugely atmospheric, particularly the tiny crumbling Saint Nicholas Chapel, dedicated to the Patron Saint of Mariners.

Next to the Palais des Papes, the 12th century Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms is a Romanesque structure, whose interior was later was decorated in decorative Baroque style. From the Palais des Papes climb to the hilltop garden of the Rocher des Doms, where the first inhabitants - the Chaseens - settled in 4000 BC. It will remind you of a typical Victorian rock garden, with sculptures of Provenĉal poets, grottoes and lake. Here, there is a wonderful view of the River Rhône, Avignon's Bridge, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (over the river) and the gleaming spire of the cathedral. It's particularly beautiful at sunset, when the sun catches the red brick and turns it to gold.

Explore the winding streets of the old city, evocatively named after medieval trades. The rue des Teinturiers (once home to calico printers) is one of the most atmospheric streets. Its name refers to the 18th and 19th century business of calico printing. The cloth was washed in the Sorgue canal, which still runs alongside the street, turning the wheels of long-gone mills. The street is dotted with small restaurants and arts and crafts shops.

Many of Avignon´s museums are set in grand townhouses. The excellent Musée Calvet is housed in an impressive 18th century palace. The Galerie des Sculptures features a handful of languorous 19th century marble sculptures, including Bosio's Young Indian. The Puech collection displays a large selection of silverware, Italian and Dutch paintings and a Flemish curiosities cabinet, painted with scenes from the story of Daniel. There are works by Nicolas Mignard, Joseph Vernet, Jacques-Louis David, Géricault, Vlaminck, Bonnard and Chaïm Soutine, in addition to a good archaeology collection.

Time permitting, explore Avignon's other museums. You’ll find contemporary art in the 18th-century Hôtel de Caumont, quirky decorative art in the Musée Louis Vouland and Impressionist art - from Van Gogh to Picasso - at the Musée Angladon. Temporary exhibitions are also held at the Grenier à Sel (a 16th century salt warehouse by the Palais des Papes) and the curious Musée du Mont de Piété - France's oldest pawnbroker's museum, now home to the town's archives.

Avignon can be dauntingly crowded in summer and very hot. The town goes culture mad each summer at July's Festival d'Avignon, when Europe's best theatre (and music, circus and dance) is performed in every nook and cranny of the city - from the Palais des Papes' courtyard, to 18th century mansions, old convent buildings and secret gardens. The festival was founded by Jean Vilar in 1947. Be sure to book accommodation well in advance if you plan to visit Avignon during July or early August.

If time permits, rent a car and explore the nearby countryside of beautiful Provence. The "Pont du Gard" aquaduct is only 18 miles south-west from the city while the Roman City of Vaison la Romaine is 31 miles north-east of Avignon. Both are unforgettable and easy to reach in a day trip.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
Introduction to Avignon

684km (425 miles) S of Paris; 80km (50 miles) NW of Aix-en-Provence; 106km (66 miles) NW of Marseille

In the 14th century, Avignon was the capital of Christendom -- the popes lived here instead of in Rome. The legacy left by their "court of splendor and magnificence" makes Avignon one of the most interesting and beautiful of Europe's medieval cities.

The popes are long gone, but life goes on exceedingly well without them. Today this walled city of some 100,000 residents reaches its peak celebration time during the famous Festival d'Avignon, a 3-week stint of music, art, and theater when bacchanalia reigns in the streets. Avignon at any time of the year is a major stopover on the route from Paris to the Mediterranean. Lately, it has become well-known as a cultural center as artists and painters in increasing numbers have been moving here. Experimental theaters, painting galleries, and art cinemas have brought diversity to the inner city, especially rue des Teinturiers.

Getting There

The fastest and easiest way to get here is to fly from Paris's Orly Airport to Aéroport Avignon-Caumont (tel. 04-90-81-51-51), 8km (5 miles) southeast of Avignon (trip time: 1 hr.). Taxis from the airport to the center cost 21€ ($27). Call tel. 04-90-82-20-20. From Paris, TGV trains from Gare de Lyon take 3 hours and 30 minutes. The one-way fare is 94€ ($122). Trains arrive frequently from Marseille (70 min.; 23€/$30) and from Arles (20 min.; 6€/$7.80). For train information, call tel. 36-35, or visit

The bus station in Avignon is Gare Routière, 5 av. Monclar (tel. 04-90-82-07-35). The main routes connect to Arles (trip time: 1 1/2 hr.), costing 7.10€ ($9.25), and Marseille (trip time: 2 hr.), costing 18€ ($23).

If you're driving from Paris, take A6 south to Lyon, then A7 south to Avignon. To explore the area by bike, go to Provence Bike, 52 bd. St-Roch (tel. 04-90-27-92-61;, which rents all sorts of bikes, including 10-speed road bikes and mountain bikes, for around 9€ to 25€ ($12-$33) per day. A deposit of 150€ to 450€ ($195-$585), in cash or a credit card imprint, is required.

Visitor Information

The Office de Tourisme is at 41 cours Jean-Jaurès (tel. 04-32-74-32-74; fax 04-90-82-95-03;

Special Events

The biggest celebration is the Festival d'Avignon, held July 6 to 27. The international festival focuses on avant-garde theater, dance, and music. Part of the fun is the nightly revelry in the streets. Tickets cost 10€ to 35€ ($13-$46). Prices for rooms and meals skyrocket, so make reservations far in advance. For information, contact the Bureaux du Festival, Espace Saint-Louis, 20 rue du Portail Boquier, 84000 Avignon (tel. 04-90-27-66-50;


Even more famous than the papal residency is the ditty "Sur le pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse, l'on y danse." Pont St-Bénézet (tel. 04-90-27-51-16) was far too narrow for the danse of the rhyme, however. Spanning the Rhône and connecting Avignon with Villeneuve-lèz-Avignon, the bridge is now a ruin, with only four of its original 22 arches. According to legend, it was inspired by a vision that a shepherd named Bénézet had while tending his flock. The bridge was built between 1177 and 1185 and suffered various disasters. (In 1669, half of it fell into the river.) On one of the piers is the two-story Chapelle St-Nicolas -- one story in Romanesque style, the other in Gothic. The remains of the bridge are open daily November to mid-March 9:30am to 5:45pm; mid-March to June and October 9:30am to 6pm; July 9am to 9pm; and August to September 9am to 8pm. Admission is 3.50€ ($4.55) for adults, 3€ ($3.90) for seniors and students, free for children under 8. A visit to the small chapel on the bridge is part of the overall admission fee.

It's worth at least an hour to walk through the Quartier de La Balance, where the Gypsies lived in the 1800s. Over the years, La Balance had grown seedy, but since the 1970s, major renovations have taken place. Start at place du Palais, going along rue de La Balance, detouring into the historically evocative rue de la Grande Fusterie and the rue des Grottes. The main interest here is the restoration of the old town houses with their renewed elegant facades, many graced with mullioned windows. In the district are some of the ramparts that used to surround Avignon, stretching for 4km (2 1?2 miles). Built in the 14th century by the popes, these ramparts were partially restored in the 19th century by that busy restorer of medieval monuments, Viollet-le-Duc. The most intriguing section is along rue du Rempart-du-Rhône, leading east to place Crillon. After a look, you can return to place de l'Horloge via rue St-Etienne.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms

Hours Daily Dec-Jan 7:30am-5:30pm, Feb-May and Sept-Nov 7:30am-6pm, and June-Aug 7:30am-9pm; hours may vary according to religious ceremonies

Location Place du Palais

Phone 04-90-86-81-01

Prices Free admission

Near the palace is this 12th-century cathedral, containing the Flamboyant Gothic tomb of a few apostate popes. Crowning the top is a gilded statue of the Virgin from the 19th century. The cathedral's hours vary according to the schedule of religious ceremonies, but generally it's open during the hours noted. From the cathedral, enter the promenade du Rocher-des-Doms and its garden to enjoy the view across the Rhône to Villeneuve-lèz-Avignon.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006

Palais des Papes

Hours July daily 9am-8pm; Apr-June and Aug-Oct daily 9am-7pm; Nov-Mar daily 9:30am-5:45pm

Location Place du Palais des Papes

Phone 04-90-27-50-74

Web site

Prices Admission (including tour with guide or recording) 9.50€ ($12) adults, 7.50€ ($9.75) seniors and students, free for children under 8

Dominating Avignon from a hill is one of the most famous (or notorious, depending on your point of view) palaces in the Christian world. Headquarters of a schismatic group of cardinals who came close to toppling the authority of the popes in Rome, it is part fortress, part showplace. It all began in 1309, when Pope Clement V fled to Avignon to escape political infighting in Rome. His successor, John XXII, chose to stay in Avignon. The third Avignon pope, Benedict XII, was the one responsible for the construction of this magnificent palace. Avignon became, for a time, the Vatican of the north. During the period, dubbed "the Babylonian Captivity" by Rome, the popes held extravagant court in the palace; art and culture flourished -- and so did prostitution and vice. When Gregory XI was persuaded to return to Rome in 1376, Avignon proceeded to elect its own rival pope, and the Great Schism split the Christian world. The real struggle, of course was about the wealth and power of the papacy. The reign of Avignon's antipopes finally ended in 1417 with the election of Martin V in Rome, and the papal court here was disbanded.

Chapelle St-Jean is known for its beautiful frescoes, attributed to the school of Matteo Giovanetti and painted between 1345 and 1348. The frescoes present scenes from the life of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. More Giovanetti frescoes can be seen above the Chapelle St-Jean in the Chapelle St-Martial. The frescoes here depict the miracles of St. Martial, patron saint of Limousin.

Grand Tinel (Banquet Hall) is about 41m (135 ft.) long and 9m (30 ft.) wide, and the pope's table stood on the southern side. The pope's bedroom is on the first floor of the Tour des Anges. Its walls are entirely decorated in tempera with foliage on which birds and squirrels perch; bird cages are painted in the recesses of the windows. In a secular vein, the Studium (Stag Room) -- study of Clement VI -- was frescoed in 1343 with hunting scenes. Added under the same Clement, who had a taste for grandeur, the Grande Audience (Great Audience Hall) contains frescoes of the prophets; these are also attributed to Giovanetti and were painted in 1352.

Between two and four French-language guided tours are offered every day at schedules that vary widely according to the season and day of the week. Tours usually last 50 minutes, and aside from the exceptions mentioned, they are somewhat monotonous, since most of the rooms have been stripped of their once-legendary finery. Self-guided tours in English, using a hand-held audio device, are available anytime during opening hours.

Visiting Villeneuve-Lez-Avignon

The modern world is impinging on Avignon, but across the Rhône, the Middle Ages slumber on. When the popes lived in exile at Avignon, cardinals built palaces (livrées) across the river. Many visitors prefer to stay or dine here rather than in Avignon. Villenueve-lez-Avignon lies just across the Rhône from Avignon and is easiest to reach on bus no. 11, which crosses the pont Daladier.

For information about the town, contact the Office de Tourisme, 1 place Charles David (tel. 04-90-25-61-33; fax 04-90-25-91-55;

Cardinal Arnaud de Via founded the Eglise Notre-Dame, place Meissonier (tel. 04-90-25-46-24), in 1333. Other than its architecture, the church's most popular attraction is an antique copy (by an unknown sculptor) of Enguerrand Charonton's Pietà, the original of which is in the Louvre. The church is open April to September daily 10am to 12:30pm and 2 to 6:30pm; October to March daily 10am to noon and 2 to 5pm. Admission is free.

Chartreuse du Val-de-Bénédiction

Hours Apr-Sept daily 9am-6:30pm; Oct-Mar daily 9:30am-5:30pm

Location Rue de la République

Phone 04-90-15-24-24

Prices Admission 6.50€ ($8.45) adults, 4.50€ ($5.85) students, free for children under 18

Inside France's largest Carthusian monastery, built in 1352, you'll find a church, three cloisters, rows of cells that housed the medieval monks, and rooms depicting aspects of their daily lives. Part of the complex is devoted to a workshop (the Centre National d'Ecritures et du Spectacle) for painters and writers, who live in the cells rent-free for up to a year to pursue their craft. Photo and art exhibits take place throughout the year.

Pope Innocent VI (whose tomb you can view) founded this Charterhouse, which became the country's most powerful. The 12th-century graveyard cloister is lined with cells where the fathers prayed and meditated.


Mistral Les Indiens de Nîmes, 19 rue Joseph-Vernet (tel. 04-90-86-32-05), duplicates 18th- and 19th-century Provençal fabric patterns. Fabrics are available by the meter or as clothing for men, women, and children. Kitchenware and furniture inspired by Provence and the steamy wetlands west of Marseille is also for sale.

The clothing at Souleiado, 5 rue Joseph Vernet (tel. 04-90-86-47-67), derives from traditional Provençal costumes. Most of the clothing is for women. Fabrics are for sale by the meter. The name means "first ray of sunshine after a storm."

Hervé Baume, 19 rue Petite Fusterie (tel. 04-90-86-37-66), is for those who yearn to set a Provençal table. The store is piled high with a little bit of everything -- from Directoire dinner services to French folk art to handblown crystal lamps. Jaffier-Parsi, 42 rue des Fourbisseurs (tel. 04-90-86-08-85), is known for its copper saucepans from the Norman town of Villedieu-les-Poêles, which has been making them since the Middle Ages. If you're seeking a new perspective on Provençal pottery, go to Terre è Provence, 26 rue de la République (tel. 04-90-85-56-45). You can pick up wonderful kitsch -- perhaps terra-cotta plates decorated with three-dimensional cicadas.

Most markets in Avignon are open 6am to 1pm. The biggest covered market with 40 different merchants is Les Halles, place Pie, open Tuesday to Sunday. Other smaller food markets are on place Parking des Italiens on Sunday, and on place St-Chamand also on Sunday. The flower market is on place des Carmes on Saturday, and the flea market is in the same place on Sunday.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
Introduction to Gordes

713km (443 miles) SE of Paris; 35km (22 miles) E of Avignon; 16km (10 miles) NE of Cavaillon; 64km (40 miles) N of the Marseille airport

Gordes is a colorful village whose twisted narrow cobblestone streets circle a rocky bluff above the Imergue Valley. By the turn of the 20th century, as its residents migrated toward cities and factory jobs, it suffered from the kind of attrition that was affecting agrarian communities all over Europe.

The 12th-century village was saved by modern art. Cubist painter André Lhote discovered the hamlet in 1938, and renowned artists like Marc Chagall began visiting and summering here. The late Victor Vasarély, one of the founders of op art, became its most famous full-time resident.

Getting There

Gordes has no rail station. Trains arrive at nearby Cavaillon, where taxis wait at the railway station; the trip into Gordes costs around 25€ ($33). For rail information and schedules in Cavaillon, call tel. 36-35, or visit There are no local buses. By car from Avignon, take Route 100 east to the intersection to D2, at which point you head north following the signs into Gordes. The village itself is closed to cars, but large parking lots are along its edge.


Dominating the skyline, the Château de Gordes is a fortified 12th-century structure whose dramatic silhouette contributed to the town's nickname as "the Acropolis of Provence." The château was really a fortress with crenellated bastions and round towers in each of its four corners. This is home to the Musée du Château de Gordes (tel. 04-90-72-02-89), site of a collection of works by Flemish-born painter Pol Mora. This collection may be replaced with the oeuvres of other painters during the lifetime of this edition of this guide, including some by surrealist and geometric master Vasarély. It's open daily from 10am to noon and 2 to 6pm. Adults pay 4€ ($5.20) admission; students and persons ages 11 to 18 pay 3€ ($3.90). Entrance is free for children 10 and under.

Some 4km (2 1?2 miles) south of the village, surrounded by a rocky, arid landscape that supports only stunted olive trees and gnarled oaks (the Provençaux refer to this type of terrain as la garrigue), stands the Moulin des Bouillons, route de St-Pantaléon (tel. 04-90-72-22-11), an olive-oil mill so ancient it was mentioned in the 1st-century writings of Pliny the Elder. It's now owned by the stained-glass artist Frédérique Duran, and its interior still has the original Roman floors and the base of the olive press. The complex is open Wednesday through Monday from 10am to noon and 2 to 6pm. A ticket granting admission to the mill costs 5€ ($6.50).

Cousin to the trullis of Italy are the reconstructed bories in the Village des Bories, Les Savournines (tel. 04-90-72-03-48), 3km (2 miles) southwest of town. These mysterious structures are composed of thin layers of stone that spiral upward into a dome. The substantial buildings were constructed without mortar and are surrounded by stone boundary walls of similar construction. Their origin and use is a mystery -- some sources claim they're Neolithic. What is known is that they were inhabited until the early 1800s. Their form suggests they were developed by shepherds and goat herders as shelter for themselves and their flocks. To get here, take D15, veering right beyond a fork at D2. A sign marks another right turn toward the village, where you must park and walk 45 minutes to visit the site. The village is open daily from 9am to 7:30pm. Admission is 5.50€ ($7.15) for adults and 3€ ($3.90) for children.

Founded in 1148, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, a Cistercian monastery 4km (2 1/2 miles) north of Gordes on D15/D177 (tel. 04-90-72-05-72;, sits in isolation surrounded by lavender fields. It was abandoned during the Revolution, reopened in the 19th century, closed again in 1969, and reopened yet again (by the Cistercians) in 1988. The influential 20th-century writer and Catholic theologian Thomas Merton can be counted among those who found peace here. One of Provence's most beautiful medieval monuments, it's open Monday to Saturday from 10am to noon and 2 to 6pm, and Sunday from 2 to 6pm. Admission costs 6€ ($7.80) for adults and 2.50€ ($3.25) for persons ages 6 to 18. It's free for children under 6. Be aware that this is a working monastery, not merely a tourist site. You can attend any of five Masses per day, buy religious souvenirs and texts in the gift shop, and generally marvel at a medieval setting brought back to life.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
Introduction to Aix-en-Provence

755km (469 miles) S of Paris; 80km (50 miles) SE of Avignon; 32km (20 miles) N of Marseille; 175km (109 miles) W of Nice

The most charming center in all Provence, this faded university town was once a seat of aristocracy, its streets walked by counts and kings. Founded in 122 B.C. by a Roman general, Caius Sextius Calvinus, who named it Aquae Sextiae after himself, Aix (pronounced "ex") has been, in turn, a Roman military outpost, a civilian colony, the administrative capital of a later Roman Empire province, the seat of an archbishop, and the official residence of the medieval comtes de Provence. After the union of Provence with France, Aix remained until the Revolution a judicial and administrative headquarters.

The celebrated son of this old capital city of Provence, Paul Cézanne immortalized the countryside nearby. Just as he painted it, Montagne Ste-Victoire looms over the town today, though a string of high-rises has now cropped up on the landscape.

The Université d'Aix has been attracting international students since 1413. Today absinthe has given way to pastis in the many cafes scattered throughout the town.

This city of some 150,000 is reasonably quiet in winter, but active and bustling when the summer hordes pour in. Summer brings frequent cultural events, ranging from opera to jazz, June through August. Increasingly, Aix is becoming a "bedroom community" for urbanites fleeing Marseille after 5pm.

Getting There

Twenty-seven trains arrive daily from Marseille; the trip takes 45 minutes and costs 8€ ($10) one-way. Twenty-five trains arrive from Nice; the trip takes 3 to 4 hours and costs 33€ ($43) one-way. From Cannes, 25 trains make the trip a day (3 1/2 hr.), costing 30€ ($39) one-way. High-speed TGV trains arrive at Vitroll, 5.5km (3 1/2 miles) west of Aix. For more information, call tel. 36-35, or visit Buses from Marseille arrive every 10 minutes; from Avignon, five times a day; and twice a day from Nice. For more information, call tel. 08-91-02-40-25. If you're driving from Avignon or other points north, take A7 south to RN7 and follow it into town. From Marseille and points south, take A51 north into town.

Aix's main street, cours Mirabeau, is one of Europe's most beautiful. Plane trees stretch across the street like umbrellas, shading it from the hot Provençal sun and filtering the light into shadows that play on the rococo fountains below. Shops and sidewalk cafes line one side of the street; sandstone hôtels particuliers (mansions) from the 17th and 18th centuries fill the other. The street begins at the 1860 fountain on place de la Libération, which honors Mirabeau, the revolutionary and statesman. A ring of streets, including boulevard Carnot and cours Sextius, circles the heart of the old quarter (Vieille Ville, or old town). Inside this périphérique is the pedestrian zone.

After touring Aix, you may consider a side trip on D10 15km (9 1/3 miles) east to the Château de Vauvenarges, the privately owned site of Pablo Picasso's last home. You can't visit the château's interior, but Picasso and one of his wives, Jacqueline Roche, are buried nearby. Stop for a meal at Au Moulin de Provence, rue des Maquisards (tel. 04-42-66-02-22), across the road from the château.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
From a previous post on useful websites:

1 -
Over 500 pictures shoot by 5 french-speanking landscapes photographers in 9 countries and more. Most pictures are full exifs.

2 - 2.html
Website of Frédéric Lefebvre, mostly about nordic lanscapes. Frederic is a good friend of mine. He 's very smart. Fell free to contact him for he knows nice landscapes spots in France. English version available.

3 -
Haut Rouergue landscapes by Arnaud Millot and some more noticeable links

4 -
Hautes Pyrénées landscapes by Isabelle Cardon

5 -
Pyrénées landscapes by Jean-Paul Falguières

5b -
Pyrénées landscapes by Jean Christophe Moudens

7 -
Mountain landscapes by high mountain professional guide and photographer Jean-françois Hagenmuller. Jean-François can take you for outdoor classes. English version available

8 -
Vercors and french Alpen landscapes by Guillaume Laget

9 -
Website of french Cédric Chassagne, a good friend of mine living in Tarn (south of France). Cédric can take you for outdoor classes : macro, landscape, digital darkroom training,...

10 -
French Alpen panoramic landscapes by Antoine Berger. Antoine can take you for outdoor classes too.

11 -
Numerous panoramic landscapes of France, including Paris, by Thierry Vallet

12 -
Panoramic landscapes of East of France (=Vosges) by wildlife photographer Bernar Bischoff

Panoramic landscapes, including Paris, by Arnaud Frich. English version available and exhaustive tutorials about panoramic techniques : a must.

14 -
Website and blog of the most famous french seasides photographer Philipp Plisson, «*the eyes of the sea*» and «*peintre de la marine*». You will find everything about the sea and its peoples all over the world, including Brittany, Normandy or either french coast landscapes. English version available.


New Member
Jul 25, 2010
hi, how bout safety there, my french friend said paris is the worst city in france in terms of safety, thanks


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
IMO, once you leave SG, be street smart. The tips for Spain can also apply to France, USA and most other places. Singaporeans tend to take safety for granted - just see the number of laptops lying exposed in cars locally or GPS stuck to windscreens.

No mater where you go, take pre-cautions against pickpockets, don't give your camera to a stranger to take pictures, stay away from crime zones and dark isolated places, and avoid putting all your $$ in a single place.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
I will be there in mid Oct, next month for 2 weeks, part work and part holiday.

What can u advise me to do in 2 weeks? I plan to spend 1st week in Paris and 2nd week in somewhere else... is this wise?

Will be there with my partner.

we like sightseeing and shopping.

Is it possible to do day trips to places from Paris? We are not planning to drive around.

So if i spend 2 weeks in Paris and do alot of day trips, is this wise?
Just answering this here for everyone's benefit.

Paris is what you make of it:
- food and shopping can take up a whole week or more.
- the main sights can take a week then the little nooks and crannies

As for day trips, some places are too far, and they are fun, like Avignon and South France. These are worth a few days and the trains are very convenient. Day trips from your hotel are possible.



New Member
Feb 24, 2009
excellent write-up. given me a lot to plan for during my next holiday in april. appreciate if you could provide some information out of paris. my trip is going to be for 10days and i'm hoping to include Strasbourg, French Alps and hopefully Rome. what do you think?


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
excellent write-up. given me a lot to plan for during my next holiday in april. appreciate if you could provide some information out of paris. my trip is going to be for 10days and i'm hoping to include Strasbourg, French Alps and hopefully Rome. what do you think?
Since this is the France thread and I don't have that many opinions on the other places, all I will add is that that's a lot to cover in 10 days. I would suggest you refrain from the typical Singaporean "Chan Brothers Refugee" type vacations, and take time to enjoy the nuances of each place.

Rome and Paris alone can take 10 days.
If you add the Alps, thats quite a lot to do in such a short time.

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New Member
Feb 24, 2009
thanks for the advise, though i don't want to spend too much time in paris, 3days max.

can you advise what kind of luggage would be fitting to bring, considering i have my parents with me during the trip. quite worried to have them lugging a luggage through train stations and along boardwalks, i tend to think they'll end up falling prey to pickpockets whilst fighting with the luggage and the crowd.


Senior Member
Oct 9, 2006
Well then, the lightest and easiest to handle trolley type bag that has wheels then!

There are plenty of ups and downs in Europe and the distance between the train stations and your destinations are not always near.

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