How to Have an Epic One Week in France Itinerary in 2023

Are you heading to France and wondering about the best one-week in France itinerary? Then read on, as here are my personal recommendations for a fun and easy trip to France.

France is one of the top travel destinations in Europe. Known for its pretty cities, like Paris and Lyon, the lush lavender fields of Provence, and many beautiful villages and towns, France is also very diverse. 

However, given the country’s size, you will not be able to cover all of the top places in France in one week. So, for this 7-day France itinerary, I have picked Paris (how could it be any different) and the Alsace region.

Within this time, you will get a good glimpse of France – from the country‘s capital to the cute region of Alsace in the eastern part of France, with the charming towns of Colmar and Strasbourg and other pretty villages along the way.

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PLACES TO VISIT IN 7 DAYS IN FRANCE

So, let’s get started.

Days 1 – 3,5 in France: Paris

So, for the first few days, I recommend exploring the beautiful city of Paris. Of course, you could do Paris in a nutshell and see it in 2 days, but I recommend staying at least 3 days. For this itinerary, I planned for about 3 or 3,5 days in Paris.

PARIS

Without question, Paris is one of the most interesting cities in the world! No place is like Paris.

France´s capital, Paris is a city full of romance, culture, and charm. It’s no wonder that people flock to it year after year! From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the quaint cobblestone streets, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city.

Whether you’re taking a romantic stroll along the Seine or exploring one of the many museums, Paris is sure to leave a lasting impression. Don’t forget to grab a baguette or two while you’re there! There’s no better way to experience the city than with a fresh loaf of French bread in hand.

Montmartre and Sacre Couer - where to visit in Paris, Frane
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View from Pantheon in Paris
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the best city to see at night is Paristhe best city to see at night is Paris
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It does not always make a good first impression, but if you ask me, Paris is one of the best places to visit – and that is at any time of the year. 

Paris is quite small and very compact – often you can walk from one main attraction to the other. Metro tickets are also cheap, and you can easily get from one district (arrondissement) to the other if needed. Buses are easy to use, too. So, my tip is not to rent a car but to get around on foot and use public transportation.

With one week in France, I suggest staying in Paris for three days. Maybe even 3.5 days, so you can then use the rest of the day to get to beautiful Strasbourg.

Things to do and see in Paris

Visit the Eiffel Tower – The Eiffel Tower is iconic, and for good reason! Not only does it serve as a great view of Paris from above, but it’s also one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

It was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution, and since then it has been a symbol of France and its culture. It is an impressive feat of engineering, standing at 1,063 feet high. It’s made out of wrought iron and has three levels that visitors can explore. The second level offers the best views, with beautiful vistas of Paris on either side.

Stroll the Seine – Paris is known for its romantic riverfront, and what better way to experience it than with a leisurely stroll along the Seine? Start your morning with a tranquil walk, taking in all of the sights and sounds that make this city so special. As you wander along the banks of this iconic river, you’ll find bridges and small islands rich with history.

Take a moment to pause and marvel at the beautiful architecture that lines the sides of the Seine, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and Pompidou Center. Finish off your stroll on Pont Neuf, Paris’ oldest bridge. The view from here will make all of your troubles seem so small.

Rest at Jardin des Tuileries – At the Jardin des Tuileries, there is nothing more delightful than a leisurely stroll through its perfectly manicured gardens. From grandiose sculptures to perfectly pruned shrubs and trees, it’s truly a breathtaking sight. But when you’re in need of kicking up your feet and taking a break from all the hustle and bustle of the city, you’ll find no better place to rest than at Jardin des Tuileries.

The gardens are surrounded by lounge chairs and benches where you can take a break from sightseeing and just relax in the sun with a book or nap. There’s also plenty of shade for when things get too hot, and a large pond where you can take in the calm beauty of Paris.

No matter what kind of mood you’re in, you’re sure to find peace and relaxation at Jardin des Tuileries. So if your feet are tired from exploring all that Paris has to offer, make sure to stop by this oasis of tranquility

Explore Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur – Paris is a city of wonders, and Montmartre is no exception. Take a stroll through the winding cobblestone streets that lead to Sacré-Cœur, one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris. Explore the vibrant culture and artistry of the area, with its numerous cafes, galleries, and street artists. Don’t miss out on the breathtaking views of the city either, especially from atop Montmartre Hill.

After a day of exploration, take your time to appreciate this beautiful church and its gilded dome. This is a must-see destination for any Parisian adventure! After visiting Sacré-Cœur, be sure to walk down the hill to Place du Tertre, a picturesque square crowded with talented painters. Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or just some great photo opportunities, this is the perfect place to come alive with art and conversation.

Relax at Jardin du Luxembourg – If you’re looking for a place to relax while in Paris, look no further than Jardin du Luxembourg. From its pristine gardens and fountains to its picturesque statues and monuments, the Luxembourg Gardens provide a tranquil oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether you want to take a stroll around the grounds, have a picnic with friends, or just sit and enjoy the beauty of nature, Jardin du Luxembourg has something for everyone. Plus, it’s an ideal spot to people-watch as Parisians from all walks of life stroll through its paths. So grab a baguette and bottle of wine, and make your way to this tranquil paradise. You won’t be disappointed!

Admire the Bridges – Paris is a city of bridges. As you stroll around the City of Lights, don’t forget to take a moment to admire all the magnificent bridges in Paris! From Pont Neuf, built in 1607, which stands at the western end of the Île de la Cité and links it to the Right Bank —it was the first bridge to be built across the Seine—to Pont Alexandre III, which is one of the most beautiful and opulent bridges in Paris, connecting the Champs-Élysées to Invalides and Le Grand Palais.

What to visit in Paris in 4 days
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But it’s not only the old, grand bridges that are worth admiring. Paris also has some modern bridges, like the Pont Charles-de-Gaulle and the Pont Marie, both of which were built in the early 2000s.

And don’t forget to take a look at one of the most recognizable bridges in Paris: The Pont des Arts or “Lovers’ Bridge”. This bridge is so popular that it is covered in “love locks” from couples who come to this romantic spot to proclaim their love.

The bridges of Paris are worth more than just a passing glance, as they are a reminder of the beauty and history of this magnificent city! So take your time, admire the bridges, and feel the romance of Paris!

Picnic by the Seine – The Seine does not only make a perfect spot for strolls. Picnicking by the Seine is one of the best ways to spend a leisurely afternoon in Paris. Pack your basket with all kinds of delicious treats, from Brie and baguettes to French wine.

Don’t forget a blanket for lounging on the banks of this iconic river – it’s the perfect spot for a romantic afternoon or a casual gathering with friends. And be sure to take time to appreciate the beauty of the old bridges, boats and barges that pass by – there’s something truly special about picnicking alongside some of the city’s most iconic sights! Just remember to save room for dessert – no French picnic is complete without some macarons or chocolates. Bon appétit!

See Notre Dame – Not to be confused with the famous novel of the same name, Notre Dame de Paris is an architectural beauty like no other. Sitting proudly on Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, it’s a magnificent example of French Gothic architecture that pays tribute to its namesake – The Virgin Mary!

The phoenix that is Notre Dame Cathedral is rising from the ashes! After that pretty intense 2019 bonfire, in December 2024 this Parisian gem will swing open its doors once more! So, what’s been happening in the world of Gothic structure revivals? Well, almost four years after that unexpected inferno, the makeover crew has been working their architectural magic on the cathedral like there’s no tomorrow. 

Notre Dame in Paris - things to do in fours days Paris
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Discover the Louvre – Welcome to the Louvre Museum in Paris! Get ready to explore some of the world’s greatest works of art and artifacts. From Ancient Egypt to Modern Art, the Louvre is sure to have something for everyone.

Start off your visit by heading to the Denon Wing where you can find some of the most famous pieces in the museum. From the Venus de Milo to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, you won’t be disappointed by the selection!

But the Louvre is much more than just a museum of art. Take some time to explore other areas like the Sully Wing and Richelieu Wing which are full of artifacts dating back centuries.

Visit Versailles (half a day/full day trip) – If you’ve ever wanted to feel like royalty, a full day trip from Paris to Versailles is the perfect way to experience it! Located just outside of the city limits, this magnificent palace was once home to France’s royal family.

From the grandly decorated state apartments and salons, to the breathtaking gardens and fountains, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Where to Stay in Paris

To check out accommodation rates for different hotels, click on each link.

➡️  The luxurious hotels in Paris come with a big price tag but are probably worth the money – Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most iconic hotels in Paris – find out more about the hotel.

➡️ Le 12 Hotel: This 3-star hotel has great reviews and is centrally located. Click here to find the best rates for this hotel.

Days 3,5 – 7 in France: Alsace

From Paris to Strasbourg

Strasbourg, Obernai, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim, Colmar

For the second part of your France itinerary, I suggest spending time in Alsace. It is in the eastern part of France – close to the German border. I picked this area of France for several reasons: It is famous for its wine production but also for its extremely picturesque towns and villages.

Also, it is quite easy to reach from Paris. You do not have to stress too much with long travel distances and yet you will see a complete side of France.

As mentioned above, the fastest way to get to Strasbourg is via the fast TVG train. The train station in Strasbourg is central, and you can just drop off your luggage at your hotel and use the rest of the day to explore this pretty city.

You could also rent a car from Paris and do the rest of the itinerary by car, but I suggest using the train, as in Strasbourg you will not need a car either.

STRASBOURG 

1-1.5 days should be good for this pretty city, which is also the capital of Alsace: Strasbourg. Strasbourg´s main attractions are close to each other, and you will not need a car to get around. Walking or using public transportation will be perfect for seeing the best places. 

Strasbourg Petite France
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Strasbourg Cathedral in one day
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Strasbourg is known as the “Capital of Europe” due to it being home to several European institutions such as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

The city also has a vibrant cultural life, with many festivals, museums, and galleries to explore. Strasbourg also contains some of the most beautiful architectural landmarks in France, including its impressive Notre Dame Cathedral (Strasbourg has its very own Notre Dame).

You will experience a completely different side of France – Strasbourg could not be more different from Paris. With its colorful, half-timbered houses and the city’s medieval feel, Strasbourg is a perfect mix of France and Germany.

Things to do and see in Strasbourg

Getting lost in La Petite France – La Petite France is a charming district in Strasbourg, France, which is home to an array of colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and canals. It’s the perfect place to get lost and explore the winding streets and hidden alleys. Meander through this fairytale-like town while admiring its beautiful architecture. The canals provide a unique atmosphere and lend a romantic feel to the area.

Stroll along the waterfront or cross one of the many bridges that span the river while admiring the picturesque views of this historic district. Take a break by grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and bistros along your journey, or enjoy a leisurely boat ride down the canals.

Walk along the River Ill – Strasbourg is home to the River Ill. Taking a walk along it is one of the best ways to explore Strasbourg and its culture. This river runs through the heart of the city, providing visitors with stunning views and plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. The banks of the River Ill are lined with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and picturesque bridges.

Strasbourg sights River III
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At the edge of the river is a pedestrian promenade that offers stunning views of the city’s famous churches and cathedrals. You can enjoy walking through the quaint neighborhoods and along the riverbanks at your own pace, taking in all that Strasbourg has to offer

See Cathedral Square – Strasbourg Cathedral – See the towering Strasbourg Cathedral, which is a Gothic masterpiece from the 13th to 16th centuries. This landmark building is one of Europe’s most important cathedrals and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.

Its impressive façade features intricate designs and sculptures, while inside are large stained-glass windows, an incredible astronomical clock, and one of the world’s oldest organs.

Take a guided tour or simply admire its beauty from the square in front of it – Cathedral Square. This public space is home to numerous events throughout the year, such as music concerts, theater performances, and markets.

Enjoy a Boat Tour –Batorama – Enjoy a boat tour of Strasbourg with Batorama and explore the city from its canals. Cruise along the River Ill on one of their traditional boats for a unique view of the city’s landmarks, such as The Grande Île, La Petite France, and the European Parliament. Enjoy views of some of Strasbourg’s most beautiful monuments including the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the River Ill’s many bridges. 

See Place Gutenberg –  Place Kleber – Place Broglie – Place de la Republique – Strasbourg is home to several squares and parks – perfect for nice strolls and some quiet time.

Find more travel tips for Strasbourg in my more detailed Strasbourg guide.

Where to Stay in Strasbourg

I did not enjoy my stay at my hotel, and I think the standard in Strasbourg is not high, so I recommend staying in a better hotel to avoid disappointment.

➡️ Here is a luxury hotel – Pavillon Régent Petite France – that is extremely well-rated and looks absolutely lovely. It is located right in the heart of Strasbourg and would probably be my personal choice if I wanted to splurge. Check out rates here.

➡️ Hôtel le Grillon is a good choice you wish to stay in the city center but want to watch your budget more close, then check out the rates for this 3-star hotel.

➡️ Hotel Strasbourg – Montagne Verte Restaurant Louisiane is a good option if you are on a budget. Check out this well-rated hotel. It is about 1,7 km from the city center and seems to offer good value for money.

OBERNAI, RIBEAUVILLE, RIQUEWIHR, KAYSERSBERG, EGUISHEIM

The last few days of your one-week in France trip will be spent in the southern part of Alsace. The 170-kilometer-long Alsatian Wine Route weaves its way through Alsace’s thousand-year-old wine country.

With only 3-4 days in Alsace, it will be difficult to cover all the places on the Wine Route, but you will see some of its prettiest areas.

Alsace, France best places to see and go
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Alsace, France best places to visit Eguisheim
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Alsace, France best things to do in 3-5 days, Kaysersberg
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Things to do in Obernai, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim

This day will be busy – maybe one of the busiest days of the week as it includes several smaller towns/villages in Alsace. However, you can feel free to skip any town or village and instead do one or two wine tastings to make it less stressful.

You can book tours from Strasbourg or Colmar to see the villages. Or, you can now rent a car and drive the route from Strasbourg to Colmar (adding these villages to your itinerary). You could also get around via public transportation but keep in mind, that these buses might not run frequently, so plan ahead.

Each village is tiny, and if you don’t do a wine tasting or any hikes, you can see all of them in one day if you get around by car at least.

Just try to start the trip at 9 am at the latest so you can see all or at least 3 villages on that day. Here is more information on my Alsace road trip – find out what to do and see in each village.

COLMAR

For the last day of your “France in 7 days” I suggest visiting Colmar! Pretty Colmar, which lies south of Strasbourg and is kind of the unofficial end of the wine tour road trip, is extremely picturesque and fun and a great end for one week in France. 

Colmar, Little Venice is the most beautiful place to visit in Colmar, France
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Colmar best places to see and what to see
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Colmar
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As the town is small, one day in Colmar is enough to cover the main attractions. Like Strasbourg, Colmar is very walkable, and while you could hop on a mini sightseeing bus, you can also wonderfully explore the town on foot. With the cobblestone streets, it is important to wear comfortable shoes.

Make sure you also recharge your camera so that you can take billions of pictures from one of the prettiest towns in the country.

Things to do and see in Colmar, France

Little Venice –  Little Venice is a stunningly beautiful canal district that takes visitors on a journey back in time. Located in the Alsace region of eastern France, Little Venice is easily one of the most picturesque places to visit while in Colmar.

Featuring colorful and ornately decorated half-timbered buildings, Little Venice is a delight to explore. Stroll along the canal banks, taking in the sights of rustic rows of houses huddled together while boats lazily drift by. In the summertime, cafes and restaurants spill out onto terraces that line up alongside the canals.

Saint-Martin Collegiate Church – The Saint-Martin Collegiate Church in Colmar, France is one of the most notable places of worship in the country. It has been a symbol of faith and devotion for centuries, and its impressive architecture stands as a testament to the area’s dedication to religious expression.

The church was originally built during the 13th century and expanded in the 16th century. The church features a Baroque style of architecture, with its iconic green and white facade adorned with intricate stone carvings. Inside the building, explore a stunning interior filled with religious artifacts from throughout the centuries.

Pfister House – Nestled in the charming town of Colmar, there’s a captivating house called the Pfister House that has been standing tall since 1537. This architectural gem was built for a savvy hatter named Ludwig Scherer, who turned his money trading adventures in the Val de Liepvre into a fortune!

The Pfister House gracefully fuses medieval designs with a refreshing touch of the Renaissance, making it Colmar’s earliest example of such brilliance.

House of Heads – Step back in time to 1609 and imagine you’re visiting the House of Heads, built for shopkeeper Anton Burger by the renowned architect Albert Schmidt! This stunning German Renaissance building gets its name from the 106 quirky heads and grotesque masks lining its rich façade.

Colmar, House of Heads  in the old town of Colmar_
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Adding to its charm is a striking three-story bay window and goryonic gable adorned with volutes. A statue of a cooper, sculpted by the talented Auguste Bartholdi in 1902, graces the building as a nod to the wine Exchange that occupied the space in 1898. The House of Heads underwent a fabulous restoration in 2012 to preserve its unique splendor for future generations. 

Koifhus / Customs House – Step back in time at the Koïfhus, the oldest public building in town that boasts a rich and colorful history! This charming spot has worn many hats since its inception, starting as a bustling warehouse and customs house for import and export taxes. It then played host to important gatherings of influential leaders, like the Décapole deputies and the Magistrate.

As history took its course, the ever-adaptive Koïfhus was then repurposed as a lively theater in the 1840s, followed by serving as the first discount bank office in 1848. Over the next several decades, it housed the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a catholic boy school, and an Israelite school.

Today, the Koïfhus continues to be a vibrant hub for public activities and events, ensuring its legacy as a vital piece of local history lives on. Be sure not to miss out on experiencing this multi-faceted gem!

Covered Market Hall  – Step back in time as you enter this charming 1865 brick building, complete with a metal frame, which has now come full circle to serve as a lively market hall. Discover an array of top-notch goods offered by our friendly vendors, including fresh fruits and vegetables, mouth-watering baked goods, and more 

Tanner’s District – Step back in time and wander through the tanner’s district, where charming high wooden-framed and half-timbered homes from the 17th and 18th centuries still stand. Imagine the families of tanners who once lived and worked here, skillfully drying their carefully crafted skins on the upper floors with an intricate openwork design.

Thanks to an extensive renovation between 1698 and 1974, the beauty of this historic village has been preserved, allowing you to experience the magic of the past in the heart of a bustling city.

Fishmonger’s District –  Ready to dive into the history of Colmar’s enchanting Fishmonger’s District? This bustling area was once the beating heart of the city’s fishing industry, and home to its skilled fishermen and boatmen. Drawing their strength from a powerful corporation, they’d bring in the daily catch, store it safely in fish ponds, or offer it to eager customers right there in the district.

However, tragedy struck in 1706, when a raging fire engulfed and reduced over forty houses to ashes. But as we all know, fish always swim upstream! Tireless restoration efforts from 1978 to 1981 breathed new life into the area, resurrecting charming half-timbered houses that now stand proudly between the equally picturesque Tanneurs District and lovely Little Venice. So, come take a stroll in this neighborhood true to its fisherman’s spirit and appreciate the incredible journey it’s been through!

For more information on Colmar, click on my guide.

Where to Stay in Colmar

➡️  I stayed at the 3-star Colmar Hotel, and I loved it. It is just next to the train station, so whether you get here in your own car or by train, the hotel is perfect. Also, the breakfast was great (including muffins, crepes, pancakes, and much more) and the rooms were clean, bright, and modern. It is for sure my first pick for Colmar. Check out rates here.

➡️  If you are looking for something more luxurious, check out this 5-star hotel – Relais & Châteaux La Maison Des Têtes – in the heart of Colmar. It comes with a lot of amenities and a great location. Check out rates here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 7-DAY FRANCE TRIP

After spilling the tea on the top places to visit in 7 days in France, here are some travel tips for your trip.

How to Get to France

  • I suggest starting (or ending) your trip in Paris. You can fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Otherwise, get to Paris by train from many stations in Europe (if you are from Central Europe, I recommend getting to Paris by train but of course, this is a personal preference). Especially if coming from London or places like Zurich or countries like Belgium, Netherlands, or even Germany, arriving by train is probably the best way.
  • Transportation to and from the airport into the city center is easy and costs about 10€ from Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Strasbourg and Colmar also have airports but there are not that many flights to/from. So you might have to get back to Paris.

How to Get Around France For 7 Days

Personally, I did not like road-tripping France. People in France tend to drive… recklessly. Plus, the cost of tolls and petrol are high.  

My tip is to use public transportation for most of the 7 days – with an exception in Alsace.

In Paris, you could/should use buses and the metro only (and a bike if you want to) because driving in Paris seems like a terrible idea. And if you visit, you will probably understand my resentment. 

From Paris to Strasbourg (or Colmar), you can then use the train. The slower trains are cheaper – the fast TGV line can be expensive, but it might be worth your time. Buy train tickets in advance: A train trip from Paris to Strasbourg costs about 75-85€, but you can get better deals if you buy in advance.

For the days in Alsace, you can rent a car for two or three days. Driving there is easy and fun (and you will stay away from motorways that have tolls). You will not need the car in Colmar or Strasbourg but just for the one or two days in between. However, you could also use public transportation to see the towns in Alsace and avoid road tripping.

If you still want to road trip and are looking for a rental car, make sure to check prices. 

➡️ GET YOUR RENTAL CAR FOR YOUR FRANCE ROAD TRIP HERE

Best Time to Visit France

France is good to visit at almost any time of the year. However, keep in mind that it can get really hot and crowded in the summer months.  So, personally, I suggest doing this trip in April or May (with the vineyards in Alsace) or in September. 

If you are into Christmas markets, you will also love visiting in the first few weeks of December, as Strasbourg and Colmar are well-known for their Christmas markets – and Paris in December is also worth a trip!

PIN ME FOR LATER – FRANCE ITINERARY FOR ONE WEEK

7 day itinerary for France, the best things to do and see in one week
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FINAL THOUGHTS ON SPENDING ONE WEEK IN FRANCE ITINERARY

While France has much more to see – like Provence and the French Riveria with Nice (and not to forget the prettiest town of all, Annecy) – this itinerary is realistic. But it also includes some fantastic places to see in France.

It is busy at times, but after all, you should not feel stressed about changing hotels each night, spending too much time on trains, or dealing with trains that run late. 

And best of all: This France itinerary allows you to experience city life combined with beautiful scenery, wine tasting, and overly cute towns and villages! Get ready for an amazing one-week in France itinerary.


Safe Travels, Arzo
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