France bleg

Travel recommendations? I’m giving talks at the Paris and Toulouse Schools of Economics on Oct 6/7. Jeannie and I expect to be in the Paris area for 2-3 days before, and in Languedoc for 7-10 days after. For the Languedoc portion, we’re thinking of biking the Canal du Midi. For the Paris portion, I think we’d like to get out of the city for a couple of nights. Tips welcome.

10 thoughts on “France bleg

  1. Another vote for Carcassonne – I went for the first time when I was about ten, have been back twice since, and each time it’s more interesting and more impressive than I remember. That’s in Languedoc btw.

    Cathar stuff is also very interesting in the Languedoc region, but it’s been a while since I did any of that so can’t make specific recommendations.

    Oh, and if you’re on a bike, you should definitely consider bicycle wine touring – fun way to get around some vinyards, do tastings, and get home without being done for drink driving or needing a designated driver…

  2. If you are not a frequent visitor and tired of Paris and you only have 2-3 days by all means tour Paris. It is one of the worlds great cities and has plenty to do see and eat.

  3. Carcassonne is a must see. If you like old stones, you can visit the cathares castles in the Pyrennées. I found this part of history very interesting. The ‘gastronomie’ near Toulouse is very well known. I recommend you the Gers if you want to eat some good ‘foie gras’. Not far from Toulouse, Albi is a very nice middle-aged town.
    The ‘Quay Branly’ should be an interesting visit for you in Paris. I hope you’ll tell us how you found it, since I haven’t visited it so far :)

  4. I had one of my best espresso tastings in Paris. If you like coffee I’d suggest you take a while with this place – The Cafeotheque: http://www.lacafeotheque.com/index.php?langsite=en The owner sources estate-specific beans that make great coffee. I can’t recall reading on your blog whether you like coffee or not, but your recent comment on having intended to study coffee for your PhD made me think you just might like it.

  5. Cycling along the Canal du Midi is quite bumpy (rocky and lots of tree roots, at least the stretch we did), and it can be quite windy. It’s definitely feasible but I preferred just cycling from one little village to the other in the neighbourhood of Aigues-Vives (I liked Minerve and La Caunette, for instance). Though there’s nothing much to see in each of these little villages (Minerve being a bit of an exception) cycling from one to the oher is quite rewarding and relaxing and you come across lots of vineyards where you can try some wine (it’s up and down constantly though). You can also rent a boat to go onto the Canal du Midi. Most people I was with thought this was quite boring after a few hours, but I found it very relaxing.

  6. I recommend Deauville and Trouville, which are coastal towns about 2 hours north in Normandy. If you have never checked out the WW2 memorials and D-Day landmarks, it really is worth a trip (you need to rent a car though).
    In Trouville, a restaurant called “Les Vapeurs” has the best sole meuniere in the world. Guaranteed.

  7. Worth checking out http://wikitravel.org/en/Fontainebleau

    I only did a half-day trip, but thought it was gorgeous and would love to go back to explore little corners more. As impressive as Versailles, on a smaller scale without the gobs of crowds. The town is lovely, and you could find some great areas to bike around there.

  8. Why not spend 2 days in Reims? Very nice architecture, especially the cathedral. Plus good champagne to bring back home ! And it’s only 45min out of Paris in TGV (Gare de l’Est).

    Another option could be Rambouillet and the Parc naturel régional de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse. A good spot to walk/cycle if the weather allows or visit some impressive monuments like the castle.

    Just my French 2 cents !