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Battle of the B's - Bordeaux, Brittany or Burgundy?

Battle of the B's - Bordeaux, Brittany or Burgundy?

Old Aug 9th, 2022, 07:20 PM
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Battle of the B's - Bordeaux, Brittany or Burgundy?

As it turns out, I now have 3 days available to add to my itinerary as I've managed to find cheaper flights by expanding the date range that I will be in Europe in May-June 2023.

We'd like to add another location to our France adventure and are having a hard time choosing between Bordeaux (note, yes I know the city itself is Bordeaux not the region), Brittany (based in and around Rennes) or Burgundy (likely visiting Dijon and Beaune). They are all different so I appreciate it is hard to group them for the sake of picking the victor.

At present, we are doing Toulouse --> Avignon --> Lyon --> Rennes/MSM (flying to Rennes to drive to MSM to stay overnight) --> Paris with day trips from most locations.

I suspect Dijon may have to go as we would need to back track to Lyon so as to fly to Rennes. Another option was the Loire Valley since we will have a car while in Rennes briefly though I think we may leave the chateaus to another trip.

If it helps, we are a pair of travellers in our mid 20s that love history, food (and wine)! We like to keep ourselves busy seeing and doing things while travelling but don't mind more relaxing activities such as exploring vineyards and wine tastings.

For my counterparts that are much better travelled of France, which 'B' would you suggest we pick?
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 11:37 PM
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Well no wine in Brittany

Internal French flights (think about your carbon footprint)

As a wine buff I'd prefer to taste in Burgundy. Partially because my wallet likes it that way but also because the range of white wines in Burgundy is better, you can for example drink the Chablis/St Bris SB and lighter reds from North Burgundy as well as the heavier reds from the south and the oaked Chardonnay. The out of the way smaller producers are making great wines as well. Good Bordeaux tastings require more preparation with bookings etc. Yes you can do the tourist sites in Bordeaux and St E is always open for your money.

Alternatively if you do decide on Bordeaux then focus on the smaller outer regions where money talks less and conversations and love of wine are more the thing. Like say Monbazillac, or north bank closer to the sea.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Well no wine in Brittany

Internal French flights (think about your carbon footprint)

As a wine buff I'd prefer to taste in Burgundy. Partially because my wallet likes it that way but also because the range of white wines in Burgundy is better, you can for example drink the Chablis/St Bris SB and lighter reds from North Burgundy as well as the heavier reds from the south and the oaked Chardonnay. The out of the way smaller producers are making great wines as well. Good Bordeaux tastings require more preparation with bookings etc. Yes you can do the tourist sites in Bordeaux and St E is always open for your money.

Alternatively if you do decide on Bordeaux then focus on the smaller outer regions where money talks less and conversations and love of wine are more the thing. Like say Monbazillac, or north bank closer to the sea.
If I thought about my carbon footprint then I would not fly for any vacation.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by VANAARLE View Post
If I thought about my carbon footprint then I would not fly for any vacation.
Your point is?

Actually it is more complicated than that. I absolutely think people shouldn't be vacationing in Europe from USA but Fodors is for travellers so if I post against that I might as well post to a wall.

However short haul flights generate a lot of CO2 on take off so very short haul is extra high on CO2 generation per passanger mile and so it is worth mentioning.

Though I'm not sure your comment really helps the OP while mine at least offers a different way of thinking.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Aug 10th, 2022 at 02:51 AM.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Your point is?

Actually it is more complicated than that. I absolutely think people shouldn't be vacationing in Europe from USA but Fodors is for travellers so if I post against that I might as well post to a wall.
Personally Iíd really appreciate people to stop commenting about the emissions on flying - I have anxiety and am terrified of flying so the fact that Iíve mustered enough strength to now book flights to travel 27 hours to the other side of the world, Iíd really rather not any lingering thoughts on things like carbon emissions which will only give me something else to panic about when my anxiety inevitably hits during my travels. I donít see it as any better than going to a restaurant and telling all the meat eaters to look at the vegetarian options.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 03:19 AM
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If temperatures next summer are the same as this summer's, you might consider Brittany as a respite from the heat. I'm a fan of cider, not so much of wine, and Brittany (Normandy as well) is known for their ciders, some of them AOP and AOC. Cider goes very well with the local galettes.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 04:15 AM
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I don't know if you've been to France before, at least outside Paris, but on our first (of 7) trips to France, we spent 2 weeks doing a grand circle tour. Paris, Bayeux, Normandy, Bordeaux area, Dordogne, Carcassone, St. Remy/Provence, Burgundy, Paris. Got a taste of each region, prepared us well for subsequent trips there.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 04:22 AM
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Seeing as you will be in Rennes I would suggest you forget all of the Bs on your wished for.
Le Mans and Nantes are very attractive cities.
Nantes in located in a wine region. The Loire Valley region.
Here is a map of the French wine regions.
https://about-france.com/wine-map.htm
The comment about weather above is also nothing to worry about. Weather is very unpredictable and therefore it may or may not be the same.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 04:38 AM
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I agree with Vanaarle about looking at Nantes and the Loire valley for wine. If you are staying by the coast then you have the various Muscadet ACs. Muscadet has been reviled over the years as battery acid and has lost a lot of acerage of vines. Three areas are developing new interesting Muscadets which taste like a young Chablis though the aging potential is yet to be evalutated. Gorges, Clisson and Le Pallet are the three special regions.

Interestingly each micro-AC agreed to make wines under one central wine maker, doing what he told them in the field and letting him produce their wines. This concept is amazing for French wine makers.

https://www.vitisphere.com/news-8863...-for-real.html


If you go further east you enter the Chenin and Pinot (also a bit of SB) region with some great sweet wines.

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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 05:57 AM
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Since you are heading for Rennes, then it seems a no brainer to add Brittany.

I'm with bilbo on the flying, and since it is your future we are concerned about I think you should be thinking about it as well, especially when visiting a country so well covered by high speed trains as France is.

I also suggest you look online at the current situation in Europe regarding heat, drought and wildfires. If we get another year like this next year, and given the climate crisis we may well, you should be prepared to change your plans again before May next year.

Last edited by hetismij2; Aug 10th, 2022 at 06:01 AM.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 06:10 AM
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There isn't any reason at all that you have to fly to Rennes. It doesn't even make sense to me why you chose that option given you say you are afraid of flying.

There are a couple direct trains every day from Lyon to Rennes that only take four hours. Given the amount of time you'd spend getting to/from the airport and having to get there early, not to mention possible delays, you could easily spend more time flying than the train, anyway.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 07:24 AM
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The point about "cidre" in Brittany is a good one. Depending on your existing culture you may be surprised that this has alcohol in it and they also produce hard spirit versions. Meanwhile the sea food especially shell fish varies by village so very much like the AOC or AC system.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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Look into a European train pass that will allow you more flexibility, less hassle and more comfort than flying. Airports are not running smoothly now and often it is far quicker (and cheaper) to take a train.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 07:59 AM
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I used to not like Bordeaux but in the last 10 years, it has become sensational.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 02:01 PM
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I second the Brittany option. Just before the plague, we went there and enjoyed it a lot.
The Peabody Papers 2019, Paris and Brittany, Unmapped
Also check out the info from Stu Dudley.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tomboy View Post
I don't know if you've been to France before, at least outside Paris, but on our first (of 7) trips to France, we spent 2 weeks doing a grand circle tour. Paris, Bayeux, Normandy, Bordeaux area, Dordogne, Carcassone, St. Remy/Provence, Burgundy, Paris. Got a taste of each region, prepared us well for subsequent trips there.
I've only been to Paris so am hoping to see much more this time around.

We are going to Carcassonne, Provence (Avignon, Aix and likely the Luberon Valley), and possibly Bordeaux (I think it'll be Bordeaux or more time in Rennes) - what did you think of them?
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by VANAARLE View Post
Seeing as you will be in Rennes I would suggest you forget all of the Bs on your wished for.
Le Mans and Nantes are very attractive cities.
Nantes in located in a wine region. The Loire Valley region..
Which did you prefer, Le Mans or Nantes?

I suspect we will either do Bordeaux or more time in and near Rennes (i.e. en route to MSM stop by Fougeres and afterward try see St Malo or Dinan). I'm used to long drives so the drive to the Loire would be fine though I think I may leave the Loire for another time.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 03:18 PM
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With Carcassonne and Provence - and then perhaps up to Rennes - you have a very inefficient itinerary. Stay south!!!! You may like driving, but while you are driving for hours at a time - you are not seeing/visiting anything except the autoroute - unless you take the slow back roads. And if you fly - you see even less. My wife & I spend 2 months in France each year (before COVID). If you are from the US - vacationing in France is totally different than vacationing in the US. Shops and many other things are closed on Sunday & many on Monday also. So you don't want to visit Bordeaux, Rennes, Nantes, Le Mans, Avignon, Aix, and some villages in the Luberon on a Sunday or Monday. Museums are often closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. Many places close for lunch. You can't pack as much into a day in France as you can in the US.

Our favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. Carcassonne is close to the Dordogne. We've spent 13 weeks vacationing in the Dordogne, 23 in Provence, and 2 weeks next to Carcassonne. A good/efficient itinerary would be to fly to Marseille, Nice, or Paris. Drive or take the train to Provence from whichever city you land in. Spend at least 5 nights in Provence. Drive to Carcassonne & spend 1 night there, then drive to the Dordogne & spend at least 5 nights there, Then drive to Bordeaux, return the car, visit Bordeaux for 2-3 nights, then fly home from Bordeaux or take the 2 hr TGV train to Paris & fly home from Paris.

Attached are itineraries for Provence, Brittany, and the Dordogne.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 03:27 PM
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I case you want to visit more places - the Languedoc between Provence & Carcassone is loaded with interesting stuff to see & visit. Especially the Gorges du Tarn. Attached is my Languedoc itinerary.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 05:32 PM
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I will repeat what I said in your other post. Keep the car and spend the time in Brittany. This will be a change from always staying in large cities which is what you are doing for the rest of your itinerary. This will give you the opportunity to see some countryside and lovely smaller places, and maybe even some of the beautiful Breton coast. Just because you would be in smaller places and seeing more countryside does not mean you will be sitting around doing nothing. You will have the flexibility to do what you want. Personally I would be wanting a change after a few weeks of cities, train travel, day trips by train, organising around timetables and day tours.




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