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Where to stay in France

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
17 posts
7 reviews
Where to stay in France

We are 4 seniors looking for a quaint town or village to spend 7 nights May next year. We have been to Paris and Provence so now looking for middle to southern to western France with train connections as we will not have a car. Looking for something with history, architecture and generally be able to wander about soaking up the atmosphere plus have train connections to nearby towns or villages for day trips. We would be flying into Paris from Australia.

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12 replies to this topic
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
92 reviews
1. Re: Where to stay in France

What you describe doesn't really exist as a village. A village will not have a train station with connection to nearby towns. As far as medieval towns are concerned, it's not the case either. I can't really think of a "quaint" town that's not near Paris or in Provence with good train connections... Maybe Tours ? But it's not that "quaint". Figeac and Albi are both connected to each other and to Paris or Toulouse. But those aren't fast trains by any means... My advice is : don't be afraid to drive, and rent a car. The South West of France is the obvious next choice for your stay, like Périgord, Quercy, Aveyron, Corrèze, Languedoc, French Catalonia, that kind of thing. But you really need a car to enjoy it.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
17 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Where to stay in France

Thank you for your info - we really wish we could do the car hire thing but neither men or both women are keen to do the driving so really out of the question. I have found a little place (by looks of pictures) of Perouges which looks lovely and at least train eventually gets there after change in Lyon - do you have any knowledge of this town?

Marlow, United...
Level Contributor
5,758 posts
26 reviews
3. Re: Where to stay in France

You could try basing yourselves in Beaune - plenty to see there and lots of local trains to Dijon, Chalon-sur-Saone, Nuits saint-George and Chagny, plus Lyon can be reached in 1h30m.

Perouges is very pretty, but being a fortified hilltop town it is quite a hike to the station down in the valley, so you would need to familiarise yourself with local buses or taxis unless you are fairly fit.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
17 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: Where to stay in France

Thank you for your info - I will certainly look at Beaune as I have now found accommodation is not easy to find in Perouges and that the rail station is 1.5 km from the centre.

Toowoomba, Australia
Level Contributor
1,806 posts
9 reviews
5. Re: Where to stay in France

Perouges is certainly very pretty but small. I would not want to spend a week there without a car. The problem with small towns and villages in France is that they are often not well served by public transport. So you need a larger place which does have some options, even days tours from the tourist office.

Beaune is lovely and Burgundy is one of our favourite regions. I know you said you have been to Provence, but Uzes, while in the south is not in Provence and it does have some transport links I think. Another poster here recently spent some time in St Malo in Brittany without a car I think.

I am pleased my husband still enjoys driving in France. We are mid sixties and are returning in three weeks for ten weeks and counting the days. I hope you find somewhere that satisfies your desires. France is such a wonderful place to visit.

Good luck.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
437 posts
45 reviews
6. Re: Where to stay in France

My family and I used Vannes as a base to explore southern Brittany in June. Although it is certainly larger than a village, we thought it had the best of both worlds:a medieval, quaint old town section, and yet it was large enough to have lots of restaurants, shops, etc., transportation. Vannes is a direct TGV ride from Paris, and you can go from there to Quimper and other towns by train.

#5 above mentions Uzès: my favorite little town in France, but it is not on a train line. You can get to towns and cities by bus that do have train stations (Avignon, Nimes, Pont du Gard), but I don't think I would want to stay in Uzes without a car.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
17 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Where to stay in France

Can I have your thoughts on Bordeaux, Montpelier or Carcassone as a base for exploring that part of France by trains

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
2,400 posts
33 reviews
8. Re: Where to stay in France

All those places you mention have good train connections, but they are long distance and not really set up for exploring the local area.

So from Carcassonne for example you can get to Toulouse or Paris no problem but the only “local” place you can get to by train is Quillan (perhaps Castelnaudary if you call that “local”).

Really it is only the major cities like Paris, Toulouse or Lyon that have intensive local metro rail type services. Elsewhere you are limited to the next place along the main rail lines out of town.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
17 posts
7 reviews
9. Re: Where to stay in France

Thank you for your input - I am starting to think this is all becoming too hard. We stayed in Perugia Italy last year simply because it had train connections but found the city so outstanding we wanted to replicate that experience in France. I am now thinking perhaps not possible. Are any of the 3 places I mentioned worth a 7 night visit on their own?

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
2,400 posts
33 reviews
10. Re: Where to stay in France

Bordeaux perhaps might be worth 7 nights, and it probably has the widest range of destinations reachable by train within an hour or so.

Carcassone is certainly worth a visit, but not 7 nights unless you had some local reason or connection for being there.

Montpellier gives you access to the Med and seaside activities, and interesting places like Nimes (or even Avignon, if you don’t mind a longish day trip.)

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