Where to go after Paris and Strasbourg
June 24, 2012 3:45 AM   Subscribe

I need some ideas on where to spend the last leg of our France trip (Details inside)

So ..we are planning to take a trip in Europe from Sept 8 to 21. The idea is to spend the first 6 days in Paris and then head to Strasbourg/Colmar for Sept 14 to 18. Originally we wanted to take the train back to Brussels from Strasbourg to spend two days in Brussels/Bruges before heading to a hotel near CDG on 20th evening for catching a flight back on 21st morning.

We have a toddler. So we want to keep travel simple and in small bites- if possible. Colmar to Brussels looks to be about 5.5 hours on TGV. The earliest viable direct train from Strasbourg to Brussel is at 2 pm. So we'll lose most of 18th if we try to travel directly. We can also change trains in Paris to get to Brussels by 330 pm or so (the walk from Paris Est to Paris Nord station seem simple enough) and reach a hotel in Brussels by 5 PM at the latest (any other idea for travel from Strasbourg to Brussels will be welcome!). But we are still losing the day travelling .. besides, we are worried that our son will be too tired to walk around with us the next day too...

So ..if we dont do Brussels - where can we go for 2 days within 1-3 hours of Colmar/Strasbourg? Do keep in mind that we are looking to fly back out of CDG on 21st. Lyon and Dijon seem logical and the Burgundy country side looks very pretty. But this will be our first vacation in France and we'll have already spent 5-6 days in Paris ... we are not sure that the best idea is to spend another 2 days in another city near Paris. Places like Annecy or Chamonix seem great, but we'll spend a bunch of time travelling back and forth. Head across the border to Germany or Switzerland?

It is entirely possible that we are now overthinking this. After spending the bulk of yesterday surfing for ideas, I am now a bit lost and slightly depressed. It is time to get some other perspectives!

I would love to have some suggestions and ideas from you on where to spend the last 2 days of this trip (sorry if this was too much unnecessary details; but I wanted to provide you with the context)
posted by justlooking to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I'd head east into the Black Forest. You've done the city thing, now hit the countryside. Freudenstadt is directly east and quite close. You can backtrack to Strasbourg when it is time to leave. I'm just looking at the map however, I don't know what the connections are like but if there is no train, maybe there's a bus.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:48 AM on June 24, 2012

I agree with Twinbrook8 that You've done the city thing, now hit the countryside. Since you don't want to travel much, I would go the other way, toward Paris, stop at Nancy or Reims, choose a small village near one of the "Parc Naturel" and stay there: walk around, buy cheese, taste everything at the bakery, talk to people at he local bistro, drink local wine, do nothing, just enjoy the place and the people.
posted by bru at 9:47 AM on June 24, 2012

Thanks Twinbrook8 and Bru.

I think you are right; a rural location nearer to CDG is probably a better alternative. A small village near Reims sounds appealing! I'll dig into it.

Much appreciate your suggestions.
posted by justlooking at 11:26 AM on June 24, 2012

I loved Dijon and there was plenty to do there. The food and wine are amazing and lodging is reasonable. The high street is awesome and the original Grey Poupon store is there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2012

Yes, Dijon increasingly looks like a good option. I was looking at photographs and travelogues on Dijon today. It looks quite atmospheric and seemed to stand out for almost everyone. And to Bru and Twinbrook8's point, it is the gateway to some really interesting Burgundy villages ..

Thank you for your note.
posted by justlooking at 5:09 PM on June 24, 2012

This is no help as to where to go, just a heads-up that September 15 and 16 is the weekend of the Journees du Patrimoine, a heritage weekend throughout Europe. Wherever we've been in France on that weekend, we're found really interesting and beautiful places to go. The offerings change from year to year. Some private gardens and houses will be open. Public spaces that usually charge may be free or at a reduced price. There are behind-the-scenes visits, and there are special events.

This year's theme is hidden heritage. The national website is usually up about August 15 but it only lists the big items.


Check the local paper on the Friday for what's happening near you.

Getting a tour of a 16th century manor house, or a private chateau, from the owner is a real treat.
posted by sevenstars at 5:46 PM on July 3, 2012

Thanks sevenstars! I had no idea ...
posted by justlooking at 3:16 PM on July 4, 2012

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