French Vacation Planning

Trains


French railways and bullet trains - Reservations for ordinary local trains aren’t usually necessary, but the TGV (bullet train) and overnight trains require them. Reservations are also a good idea for coastal destinations during peak season. You can get French train tickets online while you’re still at home from the Eurail organization. You can also contact them by phone at 1-800-4EURAIL.

Regular train ticket info: http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/fares_schedules/

TGV ticket info: http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/tgv/tgv_med.htm

Online travel maps

There are quite a few map sites out there. Here’s a sample site that will print maps and directions of virtually any location in France. Type in the address, and it displays maps that zoom to whatever level of detail you want ― great for out-of-the-way locations, or for showing the taxi driver how to find your favorite small hotel. You can also type in itineraries for driving directions between any two addresses. Lots of other travel research capabilities too: http://www.mappy.fr/direct/mappy/accueil

French hotel reservation services

There are many… here are just a few. Note that some of them are helpful for making other types of reservations, e.g. Pariserve will reserve an airport shuttle for you.

http://www.pariserve.com
http://www.francekeys.com
http://www.traveldir.org/paris/  features a hotel search engine that compares hotel room rates across 10 different hotel booking sites.
http://www.parishotels.com
http://www.123france.com

Château lodgings


http://www.chateauxhotels.com/public/recherche/ 
This site specializes in country châteaux that have been renovated as inns. Many of the places listed are in la France profonde. The locations can sometimes be a little out-of-the-way, which of course, is the whole point of going there. Usually, you will need to rent a car.

http://www.chateaudulaunay.com/
Truly a magical spot in the heart of Brittany!!! Typically only half a dozen guests at any one time. Very international clientele. Hard to find, but worth it.

Bed & Breakfast Accommodations

There are zillions of these too. Let’s get you started: http://www.bedbreak.com  Here’s an individual B&B site from an inn located inside a charming Normandy farm compound ideally situated for visiting the D-Day historical sites. The owners, Dominique & Alain Marion are two of the nicest and most interesting people you would ever hope to meet: 
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/alain.marion/index.htm

Other Private Vacation Rentals

Research thousands of private vacation rentals in France to find one at your destination and within your budget at: http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/europe/france

Sites to help plan your trip

http://us.franceguide.com
This is the official Web site of the French Government Tourist Office (FGTO) in the United States, a division of the French Consulate.

http://www.routard.com 
This is the website of the famous budget traveler’s guide the Guide Routard.

http://www.france-voyage.com/english
Travel guide for France: photos, landscapes, information, culture, monuments, architecture gastronomy and more.