In/Around France at the end of May - help?
April 10, 2009 6:47 AM   Subscribe

I need to be in Lyon the first week of June, just for a day or so. I can take a week or so of vacation at that same time, but I'm having some sort of vacation paralysis deciding specifics. I am willing to consider all sorts of options.

I'm thinking of the vacation portion in the South of France? Mostly for variety, as I've spent time in Paris before, and while I wouldn't really be opposed to Paris I am thinking of doing something different. My French is rusty, but I think if I figure out how to brush it up I should be fine.

I like quirky and fun things to do, off the beaten path a bit, although I do like things like seeing Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc in Paris so I hit some of the traditional sights as well. I have no desire to see Obama on June 6th in Normandy.

Budget is somewhere mid-range. I need my own bedroom with a bathroom, but it doesn't need to be super fancy. I don't mind spending money but I'd rather not overspend on basics, if that makes sense.

I am open to almost any suggestion, specific and general, for where to stay, day trips, sights, and/or tips and tricks. I am seriously so open minded on this that all your ideas are welcome!
posted by KAS to Travel & Transportation around France (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go to Grenoble! It's an hour's train ride from Lyon. Attractions:
-The Chartreuse cellars
-La Bastille and the Telepherique
-The Automaton Museum

It's a shame you won't be in France for June 21. That was the absolute best experience of my time there.
posted by mkb at 7:40 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why not stay in Lyon for a few days? It's the second-largest (or third, I can't remember) city in France, and is known for the quality of its restaurants. I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure there is a lot of exploring that could be done there.

Also, if you think you might want to go to Southern France, Marseille is a spectacular city. It is one of the most diverse cities in Europe, and has a lot going on in terms of art and culture, etc.

You could go to more resort-y cities along the Cote D'Azur, such as Antibes, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, etc., but you're probably not going to get as much bang for your Euro there, and the experience is pretty similar to any beach resort anywhere.

Or, if you're not set on staying in France, why not spend the week in Amsterdam? You wouldn't have to brush up on any foreign language skills, and there's pretty much something for everyone there.
posted by ekroh at 9:35 AM on April 10, 2009

I like Nice. Accomodation is fairly reasonable, there are lots of eating and drinking spots and it's a good base for trips all along the Cote d'Azure from Marseille through all the resorts that ekroh mentions. In the other direction you also have Monaco and Ventimiglia within an easy train ride. Villefranche is 10min on the train from Nice and is a picturesque village with a nice beach. If you venture a bit inland there are lots of nice villages that are not quite so touristy as the coastal resorts, and some nice scenery, if that's your thing.
posted by Jakey at 12:00 PM on April 10, 2009

I was in Lyon last week and it was a lot of fun! I'm into the quirky too -- perhaps you would enjoy the Roman ruins here, the museum of Roman history, the Museum of Textiles, their beautiful Notre Dame (the most decorated cathedral I've experience outside of Albi), or the Museum of Miniatures (my favourite parts of Lyon). People there were quite friendly and it's a great place to just walk around. I would recommend my hotel -- Axotel near the Perrache train station (let me know if you want more details) -- for its economy and niceness, though it's not in the center of town. Also, the restaurant L'Instant Gourmand was heavenly and it's in the center of town.

Nice is lovely if you want a beachy vacation, but I didn't see much in the way of weird/funky there (though perhaps I just missed out). If you do want a seaside vacation at the other end of France, I highly recommend Saint Malo for its sheer beauty (rocky beaches!) and history. Plus, there is a bar there that is entirely decorated in dolls and doll parts, with swings at the bar instead of stools -- very, very cool.

Please feel free to PM me for more details and I'll be happy to provide! I'm spending my year abroad in France, so this is all fairly fresh in my mind.
posted by fantine at 4:54 AM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

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