Paris, of course, is one of my favorite places on Earth. I wouldn’t go to Paris to stay there but it’s a likely place to land and start the trip off in. From there I could take a train to anywhere. And what better place to overcome jet lag than the city of cafes, sidewalks and delightful pastries?
Normandy is supposed to be beautiful and haunting. Its history is profound, even if there might not be a lot of it remaining. I suspect most of the history that can be experienced there is related to WWII, which would still be worth seeing. It would also allow me the opportunity to seeMont Saint Michel, which would be an incredible experience of its own.
Northern France could also lead back into Belgium, which I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing again. Perhaps I would rent a car for that.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in parts of Southwestern France (Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Toulouse, to name just a few locations) and I’ve traveled in Southeastern France as far as Marseille. Montpelier is one of my favorite places, and Nimes was incredible both times I got to visit there, but I probably wouldn’t go to either on this particular trip. Continuing east there’s the French Riviera and cities such as Nice andCannes for the ritzy beaches or Lyon and Avignon for the history. A week in this part of France would not be nearly enough but I could certainly see a lot of sights and perhaps even take a day trip into Italy for a meal.
Then there’s Central France, a huge region of wine country, river valleys and historic little towns that I’ve never seen. I fantasize about renting a bike somewhere and just riding through the countryside, visiting villages and vineyards and burning off calories so that I can eat and drink to my heart’s content.
Okay, truth be told, riding a bike through any of France sounds like a sublime experience. I’m not sure how easy it would be, however, without using one of the many very expensive but convenient tour companies for just that sort of thing. And, of course, I haven’t actually ridden on a bike outdoors in years so that might be a pretty ill-conceived notion. But it’s long been a dream of mine to cycle from village to village and experience all the intervening miles between.
Finally, there’s the French Alps, which I’ve also always longed to see, though I suspect I would have to drive most of it to properly enjoy it. All the photos I’ve seen of that region are just heartbreakingly beautiful, and such a trip would certainly include Switzerland at some point as well. Two birds with one stone. Going there would also be convenient in that I don’t have altitude problems, whereas Jade often does. It’s easier to take a solitary trip to somewhere that’s not easy for her to go, at least on my guilty conscience.
So a trip to France has tremendous possibilities, especially in fall when the harvest is in full swing. The wine would flow and I'd sample much in the way of bread and cheese and meat. Which would be just fine if I figured out how to spend a fair amount of the trip traveling by bike. Or if that doesn't work out, walking between train trips would serve almost as well.
Either way, there's so much yet to see and do in France that it automatically becomes an enchanting option.