Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Tue October 13 2015

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  • Sam Schuler | October 13, 2015 5:00 AM ET

    Top 6 Destinations in France for Boomers

    Top 6 Destinations in France for Boomers

    PHOTO: Normandy, France. (courtesy Auto Europe)

    The kids are grown and out on their own. The house is paid off. The 9-to-5 workaday grind is a thing of the past. With nobody else’s schedule to worry about, the golden years are the perfect time to travel. In just one unforgettable summer in France, newly retired baby boomers can check dozens of items off their bucket lists.


    Let’s start with a biggie: the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece has stood the test of time, even though it was supposed to be taken down after the 1889 World’s Fair. Early birds get the worm here — like most famous tourist attractions, crowds increase as the day progresses.

    For a special twist on the trip, travelers should time their visit for July to enjoy Bastille Day or the Tour de France, both of which feature events on the Champs Elysees. And nobody should miss indulging in a box of macarons from the famed Laduree bakery.


    History buffs will enjoy a day trip to Normandy, site of WWII’s D-Day landing. These beaches along the English Channel coast are still known by their code names: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah Beaches. It’s just a two-hour drive from Paris to Caen, and boomers can enjoy senior and AARP car rental discounts from Auto Europe to help stretch their dollar.

    Loire Valley

    Keeping the good times rolling is easy once a rental car is in hand. Auto Europe has drop off locations conveniently located all over France, so heading south to enjoy more of the country should be a no-brainer. A little over two hours behind the wheel will land drivers at Tours, the perfect basecamp for exploring the chateaux of the Loire Valley. If there’s only time to visit one, make it Chenonceau. This royal Renaissance residence is truly Disney-worthy, with a stunning art collection and gourmet restaurant onsite.


    Further south lie the picturesque vineyards of Bordeaux. If Château Lafite-Rothschild’s too pricey, seniors can get an introduction to the local palate at La Winery in Médoc. Its Signe Oenologique will take visitors through an hour-long tasting and wine personality test ending with custom wine recommendations.


    A trip to the Alps belongs on every bucket list. Seniors ready to take a bite out of life can take it the extra mile by conquering the tallest peak of them all. The Tour du Mont Blanc will take hikers on an epic 10-day trek through France, Italy and Switzerland. Several guided tours are available, but many seniors prefer self-guided trips, so they can travel at their own pace.


    Provence has something for everybody, from the natural beauty of Calanques to the architectural marvel of the Pont du Gard to the relaxing pebble beaches on the Riviera. Nice makes an ideal ending point for a self-guided driving tour beginning in Paris, and the Riviera is a beautiful place to end a once-in-a-lifetime trip through France. While in town, seniors can enjoy a tour of the Musee Matisse or a peaceful walk through Mediterranean olive groves before picking up a bottle of olive oil to take home.

    Danielle Bricker contributed to this story.


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Sam Schuler Europe by Car

Sam Schuler Sam Schuler is a travel writer, photographer, graphic artist and a member of Auto Europe's marketing team in Portland, Maine. An Oregon native, Sam has enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Bermuda, and Mexico on multiple occasions. Sam continues to draw creative inspiration from his travels, documenting many of them in a variety of mediums, including travel blog writing and photographic exposes.
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