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List of Itineraries For France

As Published In The Karen Brown Guide.

Total Number of Itineraries in this list: 14



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Brittany

Brittany is a rugged region of beautiful forests bounded by nearly 1,000 kilometers of coastline. This peninsula, jutting out from the northwest side of France, was for many years isolated from the rest of the country and regarded by Bretons as a separate country. This itinerary begins on Brittany's border at Mont Saint Michel and explores the coast before it ventures into the forested interior, culminating on her southern coast at Carnac with its mysterious fields of standing stones.

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Châteaux Country

A highlight of any holiday in France is a visit to the elegant châteaux of the Loire river valley. This itinerary suggests a route for visiting the châteaux based on a logical sequence assuming Paris as a starting point. In our opinion the best are Azay le Rideau and Chenonceaux. Be forewarned that in July and August you will be caught up in a crush of visitors.

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Dordogne & Lot River Valleys

The lazy Dordogne and Lot rivers wind gracefully through some of France's most picturesque countryside. However, this itinerary is more than just traveling along river valleys, for the region is France's prehistoric capital: the Cro-Magnon skull was discovered at Les Eyzies de Tayac; colorful 15,000-year-old paintings decorate the Lascaux, Font de Gaume, and Les Combarelles caves; and man occupied the terraces on the cliffside of La Roque Saint Christophe as long ago as 70,000 B.C.

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Gorges du Tarn

This itinerary follows the truly spectacular River Tarn as it winds back and forth along the Tarn Canyon or Gorges du Tarn. With each turn the drive becomes more beautiful, never monotonous. The road cuts through the canyon always in sight of the peaceful waters of the Tarn and its picturesque villages, clusters of warm stone buildings that nestle above its shore. Encased in deep limestone cliffs, the river canyon is at its most glorious in early autumn—a perfect time to visit.

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Gorges du Verdon

The Gorges du Verdon is the French equivalent of the Grand Canyon. The striking blue-green water of the Verdon is dramatic in its intensity as it carves through and contrasts with the magnificent limestone plateau. When you are traveling between the Riviera and central Provence, the Gorges du Verdon makes for a wonderful detour and a few days spent in this region will prove memorable.

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Hilltowns of the French Riviera

People in the hundreds of thousands flock to the Riviera for its sun and dazzling blue waters. When planning your trip, be aware that most of these sun-worshipers congregate during the spring and summer with the coastal towns as their base and during this time the coastside is a constant hub of activity and excitement. The Riviera attracts an international group, jet-setters here to see and be seen. In the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean are a number of smaller, "hillside-perched" towns, removed from the continuous activity of the Riviera and offering a beautiful setting and escape.

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Maginot Line & Exploring Lorraine

The region of Lorraine, tucked in the northeast corner of France, is bordered to the north by Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany. Stretching along its border to the east is Alsace. However, whereas Alsace is well known for its picturesque villages and lovely wines, Lorraine is well known for its rich military history. If you are intrigued by stories of World War II, you will not want to miss a visit to the Maginot Line, built as a brilliant, but unsuccessful defense against a German invasion. The Maginot Line stands today as a monument to French engineering genius and lost hopes. Also tying in with the history of the World War II, is the beautiful American cemetery in Saint Avold where thousands of simple white crosses mark the graves of American soldiers. A visit here is unforgettable.

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Normandy

This itinerary heads north from Paris to Monet's wonderful gardens at Giverny, on to the coast with the picturesque port of Honfleur, and to the world-famous D-Day beaches where on June 6, 1944 the Allies made their major offensive, reinforcing the turnaround in World War II. We conclude this itinerary, and begin the Brittany itinerary, with Normandy's most famous sight, Mont Saint Michel, a sightseeing venue that has attracted legions of visitors for hundreds of years.

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Pays Basque

This itinerary traces a path through Pays Basque (Basque Country), a region of France that has always fiercely guarded and preserved its unique character. Seven Basque provinces straddle the western border between France and Spain; three in France: Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule, and four in Spain: Biscaye, Guipuzcoa, Navarre, and Alava. The area, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the start of the Pyrenees, abounds with beautiful landscapes—sandy beaches, old whaling villages, picturesque ports, beautiful valleys sliced by winding rivers, rolling green hills, and snow-capped mountains. The landscape is enhanced by distinctive architecture, which varies from province to province.

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Provence

The romance and beauty of Provence has inspired artists and writers for generations. This delightful region of the French Midi (the South) is associated with warm breezes, a mild climate, and rolling hillsides covered in the gray washes of olive trees and lavender. Some of the world's most popular wines are produced here and complement the delicious local dishes.

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The French Alps

The French Alps encompasses a beautiful region tucked to the south of the shores of Lake Geneva with majestic peaks establishing a natural border between Italy, France and Switzerland. This is a region of towering mountains, Alpine valleys, lakes and rivers, a region that will be appreciated by all who share a love of nature and the mountains - both the sportsman and the photographer. It is a region to be enjoyed year round, but a chameleon with its dramatic changes in seasonal dress.

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Wine Country - Alsace

Alsace borders Germany—in fact, from the Franco-Prussian war to the end of World War I Alsace was part of Germany. The hills are never particularly steep or spectacular but are laced by narrow roads that wind amongst the vines from one picturesque village to the next. Villages such as Riquewihr and Kaysersberg are picture-book perfect with their painted eaves and gables, narrow cobbled streets, archways, and windowboxes brimming with colorful geraniums.

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Wine Country - Burgundy

Burgundy lies in the heart of France and we introduce you to its charms at Vézelay, an idyllic medieval village sitting high atop a hill. We briefly explore Chablis and then travel the backbone of its wine district, the Côte d'Or, which is divided into Côte de Nuits from Dijon to beyond Nuits Saint Georges, and Côte de Beaune which continues south from Aloxe Corton to Chagny. Exploring the area is like traveling through a wine list, for the region supports half the famous names in French wine.

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Wine Country - Champagne

Champagne is a small wine district dedicated to the production of the effervescent liquid that we associate with happy occasions and celebrations. The name "champagne" can be used only for the wines produced by this region's vineyards. Its capital is Reims, a not-very-attractive city due to being almost razed in World War I, but many of its buildings and its fine old Gothic cathedral have been restored. Below the city is a honeycomb of champagne cellars. Nearby lies the most important town for champagne, Épernay, where the mighty mansions of the producers alternate with their maisons. The vineyards are south of Reims, along the valley of the Marne. It is not particularly beautiful countryside, just gentle slopes facing towards the sun, interspersed with workaday villages that offer opportunities for sampling, but few tourist facilities such as cafés, restaurants, or shops.

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