Hi, my partner and I are going to head off on the 1st May for 2-3 weeks in France. We are fairly independant travellers and like to things in quite a flexible way, but I don't really have the first idea about France and where to go.
Any one have any suggestions for Itineraries, places to go, the must sees, how long we'll need there etc??
We plan to go down there as well and are in the same boat you are. We have no idea where to go.
We are two students from california. We leave for Paris March 31st and plan to see most of Europe.
France has a huge variety of attractions and features and you won't be able to cover all of it in 3 weeks - You would struggle to even get a reasonable overview in 3 months. I suggest that instead of trying to see/do everything, tailor all or at least a large chunk towards specific things that you want to do.
i.e do you want to stay only in big cities or tourist areas or avoid them completely, spend allot of time in museums or castles, churches and religious sites, lie on beaches, hike, walk, climb, party with other younger people, visit vineyards, chateaux's etc. Do you like mountains/hills/flatlands/coast etc What are your interests and what do you want to get out of the trip?
Regardless of what else you do, spending a few days in Paris/Ile de France is a must. You could easily fill you entire 3 weeks there, but a quick trip of say 3 or 4 nights is probably best in your timeframe. Other than that, it all depends on what your looking for. I think Lyon is a wonderful city, and also gives easy access to the Pyrenees / Massif Central and the South Coast, so is a good stop point in one direction.
Most people spend some time around Nice / Cote d'Azur including a short trip to Monaco. Marseille is strangely enthraling. Toulouse is a huge student place, and might be good place to stop after a trip into the Pyreenees for example. The SW corner is good for surfing etc and interesting being in Basque rather than true French areas. Bordeauex gives access to some of the main Vineyards, and Tours/Orleans access to the Loire valley. Brittany has some of the nicest coast areas and friendliest people. Lille is the European city of culture and easy Eurostar access to/from London and TGV connections to all of France. But it all depends on what your really looking for!
Hope that gives you some ideas, and if you've got any more specific questions/queries etc, just ask