I am very lucky to get a month-long sabbatical from work, and I choose to spend it in France, since I've always been a francophile and I love French food and wine. I will be in France from late October to late November, and since this was a spur of the moment decision and I just got my air tickets booked, I have a long way to go for planning! I do plan on doing lots of research on specific restaurants, but would appreciate some input on where to stay, etc. before I start booking hotels. I definitely want to plan my whole trip around food and wine, with sightseeing as just my secondary agenda.
Here's my tentative itinerary:
Oct 21-Nov4: Paris
Planning on getting an apartment in the Montparnasse area. I will be staying with my sis (who loves French food/culture but has never been to France before) on the first week and my friend on the second week who's been to France multiple times. I've never stayed in this area before but I heard there is a good farmers market, shopping, and nice neighborhood restaurants. Basically the point of these first 2 weeks would be to "live like a Parisian", visit local restaurants as well as buying bread/cheeses/meats/produce at local markets to bring back to the apartment. I also want to hit one 3-michelin star restaurant and perhaps another 1-2 star one. Will do a couple day trips to Reims for champagne, and perhaps the Loire valley (is Bourgogne too far for a day trip?)
Nov 4-7: London
Will save this for the UK forum!
Nov 7-14: Nice, Marseille, and Rhone
I plan to take an Easyjet flight to Nice from London on Nov 7, and stay there by myself for a day. I want to try some authentic Nicoise cuisine (including Nicoise salad) and just walking around the city. The next day I will meet my husband in Marseille and we will stay in the area from Nov 8-11. Would like to get some bouillabaisse and other provencal cuisine. We may want to do one fancy dinner in Marseille. Then we will rent a car and drive to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, want to stay in a small inn/B&B in the village from Nov11-14. We plan on visiting some wineries in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas areas, since we love Southern Rhone wines.
Nov 14-18: Bordeaux and Dordogne
The hubby and I will drive from the Rhone Region to here (any notable stops along the way?) Thinking about staying in a b&b-type place in the village of Saint-Emilion, which is centrally located between Bordeaux and Dordogne. We plan on visiting wineries in the Saint-Emilion area, with a day trip to Medoc to check out the big left-bank Bordeaux houses. Also planning a second day trip to Dordogne for some duck, foie gras, and truffles (are black winter truffles in season?). Is Saint-Emilion a good choice or are there other towns we should consider visiting (maybe stay a couple days in the Medoc area?).
Nov 18-21: Back to Paris
Will return our rental car in Bordeaux and take the train back to Paris. I realize I am spending a disproportionate amount of time in Paris as opposed to other parts of France, but I don't think I would get tired of the city even after a month (or a year)! This time I'm planning staying with my husband in the Latin quarter since he wants a vibrant neighborhood w/ lots of nightlife. We will probably have one last fancy meal in the city on our last night before we leave.
Any opinions or advice on my trip, including recommendations for lodging, wineries, restaurants, patisseries, fromageries, boulangeries, and local markets are very much appreciated.