Guest Notes for Episode 462: Medieval France with Teens

Categories: Family Travel, Off the Beaten Track in France

Discussed in this Episode

  • Guédelon
  • Cancale
  • Chartres and Bayeux Cathedrals
  • Bayeux Tapestry
  • Cluny Museum
  • Unterlinden Museum
  • Guedelon Castle
  • Hospices de Beaune
  • Dinan
  • Rose Granite Coast
  • Arbois home of Louis Pasteur and the great museum there
  • Juras area part of France
  • Eguisheim or Colmar?
  • Bartholdi Museum in Colmar
  • Europa Park (an easy drive into Germany)
  • Renting bikes in France
  • Spending Bastille Day in France
  • Roissy Bus

Matt and Erica (mid 40’s) were traveling with Alice (16) and Nora (12)

Day 1 – flew into Orly; drove to Chartres; slept in Chartres

Day 2 – Toured Chartres in the morning, drove to Brittany, late lunch and coastal walk in Le Vivier-sur-Mer; slept in Dinan

Day 3 – Bike ride along the Rance River; evening and dinner in San Malo; slept in Dinan

Day 4 – Day trip to Rose Granite Coast; slept in Dinan

Day 5 – Drive to Bayeux, Normandy; Tapestry; dinner in Bayeux; slept near Bayeux

Day 6 – WWII sites; Omaha Beach and American Cemetery; slept in Dinan

Day 7 – Lunch in Le Vivier-sur-Mer; coastal walk; Menhir and Dole de Bretagne; toured Dinan town; slept in Dinan

Day 8 – Drove to Guedelon Castle Site; slept in Nantoux (8 hours of driving to cottage in Burgundy)

Day 9 – Day of relaxation; Chagny market day; pool and boule; slept in Nantoux

Day 10 – Toured Beaune; slept in Nantoux

Day 11 – Day trip to Arbois (Jura); Louis Pasteur museum; toured Arbois; amazing hike; slept in Nantoux

Day 12 – Back to Beaune in the morning; Wine discovery meal for lunch at winery in Nantoux, slept in Nantoux

Day 13 – Relaxed at the pool; pizza for dinner; slept in Nantoux

Day 14 – Bike ride through the vineyards; slept in Nantoux

Day 15 – Drove to Staufen Germany; toured town; drove to Eguisheim; slept in Eguisheim

Day 16 – Toured Colmar; slept in Eguisheim

Day 17 – All day at EuropaPark, slept in Eguisheim

Day 18 – Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg; Route de Vin; slept in Eguisheim

Day 19 – Very hot day; day tripped to the Vosges Mountains; luge park; swimming in Lac de Longemer; slept in Eguisheim

Day 20 (July 14th) – Train from Strasbourg to Paris; Toured Opera neighborhood; Toured Montmarte neighborhood; slept in Montparnasse

Day 21 – Orangerie Museum; Jardin Des Tulleries; Nortre-Dame; Latin Quarter; Cluny Museum; Marie Currie Museum; Luxembourg Gardens; dinner in the Marais; slept in Montparnasse

Day 22 – flight home

What were your favorite activities on this trip?


  1. Coastal Brittany walks and seafood, including the Rose Granite Coast
  2. The D-Day museum at the American Cemetery
  3. The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar
  4. The Bayeux Tapestry Museum
  5. Our day trip to Arbois in the Jura, including the Louis Pasteur museum, wine tasting, and a really fun hike
  6. EuropaPark
  7. Guedelon Castle (secrets of the castle on YouTube)
  8. Vosges activities
  9. Bike riding in Burgundy and Brittany
  10. Walking through Paris on the evening of July 14th

Did you stay at hotels or apartments?

  1. B&B for one night in Chartes. – outstanding.  Breakfast spread was one of the best ever – gardens were amazing.  Really great place to spend our first night.


  1. 6 nights in Dinan spent in an apartment that we rented in 2017 as well. Our favorite place – perfect location, spacious, has parking, friendly hosts.  Can’t beat it.


  1. 1 night at La Ferme de la Gronde near Bayeux – it was fine – probably wouldn’t stay there again due to its higher price


  1. 7 nights here in Burgundy: – loved it. It was its own house but owned by the owners of the nearby B&B – so we had access to the B&B’s pool and facilities.  Best of both (apartment and B&B) worlds


  1. 5 nights in an apartment in Eguisheim – very nice, suited us well


  1. 2 nights here in one of their 4 person rooms. Our 2nd time staying here, like it very much.

Did you have favorite restaurants? in Vivier Sur Mer (we went here twice!) in Dinan

Pizza al Taglio in Beaune

What were your favorite foods on this trip?

  • Oysters
  • Crepes
  • Wine
  • Cheese
  • Cider
  • Choucroute garni
  • Gavottes

How did you get around?

Car, train, metro, taxi, walking

What did you learn about France on this trip?

This trip contained a lot of medieval sites and history along with WW1 and WW2 sites, so a lot of our preparation and site seeing was around those times and themes.  Previous trips focused on pre-history (Carnac, cave paintings), the Baroque period (Loire valley Chateaux) and roman history (Provence sites), so this rounded out the French history lessons for us all. These included the D-day beaches for WW2, the Chartes, Dole, and Bayeux cathedrals, the Cluny Museum, the Unterlinden museum, Guedelon castle, the Hospice to Beaune, and the Bayeux Tapestry museum for the Middle Ages.  WW1 sites were scattered around Alsace.

As far as French culture goes, I continue to be impressed by the subtle differences between regions.

Did you make any mistakes on this trip?

We went to the Opera house on July 14th and it was closed.  My mistake in not confirming ahead of time.  The Kids planned our sightseeing in Paris and this was supposed to be the first thing we did.  Oh well.  We also got stuck in a lunch desert in Paris in the Latin Quarter and made poor food choices.

Is there something you didn’t like very much and wouldn’t recommend?

Not really. Anything I say would just be nit-picking.

What tips do you want to share with other visitors?

  • Driving is not only easy, but fun.
  • Google maps is the greatest travel tool ever created
  • France’s casual food options are really amazing. It’s not all high cuisine. Food trucks, sausage stands, creperies, kebobs – everything we ate was high quality and affordable.

Overall was your trip restful or stressful?

Restful and fun.  Great family bonding time.

How did the podcast and other trip reports help you prepare for your trip?

Here’s the podcast episodes we used:

  • Chartres
  • The Marie Curie Musuem
  • The Cluny Museum
  • Burgundy Wine Touring
  • The Vosges Region of France
  • Bayeux and the battle of Hastings
  • D-Day Sites
  • Driving in France

We’ve now spent 10 weeks in France as a family.  We are so fortunate to have had these experiences together.  Putting all 10 weeks together, here’s my top 10 sites:

  1. Sites accessed through Chamonix’s lift pass, including the Aiguille du Midi
  2. Grotte de Niaux
  3. Font de Gaume
  4. Mont Saint-Michel
  5. Chateau de Chenonceau
  6. American Cemetery museum at Omaha Beach
  7. Gavrinis and Locmariaquer megaltiths
  8. Le Gouffre de Padirac
  9. Eiffel Tower
  10. Rose Granite Coast Walk

Top 10 towns/cities/Paris neighborhoods

  1. Dinan
  2. Le Marais in Paris
  3. Collioure
  4. Annecy
  5. Colmar
  6. Chamonix
  7. Arles
  8. Beynac-et-Cazenac
  9. Beaune
  10. Arbois

Top Regions (not including Paris)

  1. Brittany (includes Mont Saint-Michel)
  2. Dordogne (and the Lot)
  3. Alps
  4. Alsace (and the eastern Vosges)
  5. Loire (and Chartres)
  6. Provence
  7. Languedoc-Roussillon (and the Ariege)
  8. Normandy
  9. Burgundy (and the Jura)
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Categories: Family Travel, Off the Beaten Track in France