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Brugges to Bayeux to Versailles

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We are planning a week between Amsterdam and Versailles before our apartment rental in Paris the second week of September. We're mobile seniors who enjoy touring, eating, and meeting people.

We want to spend time in Brugges, so thought we'd take the train there from Amsterdam. No problem with that leg.

But we then want to go from Brugges to Bayeux. We'd assumed we would take a train, but that looks cumbersome based on the hub and spoke system which takes us from Brugges, through Brussels into Paris. The train from Bayeux to Versailles looks a bit tricky, but not a big problem.

We then decided to investigate renting a car in Brugges and returning it in Versailles. We've always rented cars for parts of our European trips and have never had a problem. We knew there would be a drop fee, but the added convenience and ability to stop along the way seemed that it might come out a bit ahead.

Now that I've fully investigated, I've discovered that the additional cost is about $300 for the inter-country drop fee and associated taxes. The cost is one thing, but when adding in the extra effort of all that driving, we're back to wanting to take a train.

I tried to run a trial booking for the Brugges to Bayeux part of the trip, and the system says I need to book that by phone. In the meantime, I really need some advice.

There is a transfer between Paris Nord and St. Lazare that is shown as done walking. Are both stations basically in the same location? Or is this a problem?

We're strictly English speakers. How difficult will we find it to navigate the road system if we do decide to drive?

Is there a better place to drop the car rather than in Versailles on our drive from Bayeux? Maybe Caen or Rouen? My husband is an excellent driver and adept at city driving, but we're both worried about the language.

Any and all advice will be appreciated.

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