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10 day itinerary Brittany and Normandy, help needed

10 day itinerary Brittany and Normandy, help needed

Old Apr 5th, 2019, 11:59 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
What is San-Juan-de-Luz? Do you mean St-Jean-de-Luz, just over the Spanish border? If so, I's certainly spend more than 1 night there.

Yes, I meant St-Jean-de-Luz, sorry about that, itís that all those basque towns around the border have names in Euskera and Spanish too and the names came naturally in Spanish, didnít even notice.

We have been there many times, family lives in the Spanish Basque Country and also Grandma lived in Biarritz. We were just planning a one day stopover so that the kids donít get too tired of the road basically, but agree, this region is beautiful and deserves a long visit.

You're not visiting Vannes in Brittany? That's too bad.

Yes, I was so sad to drop it off, and now that you say that, do you think we should drop one night off Dinan and use it for Vannes?
Maybe we can sleep two nights at Rochefort-en-Terre and the second day there make a day trip to Vannes, what do you think? Do you think that visiting Carnac after Vannes on the same day would be rushing through Vannes and not enjoying properly any of both places?

I'd do two nights in Dinan and two in Rouen (if that's what you mean by Ruan).

Sorry about Ruan, again the Spanish way to spell it. I only have that number of nights, I know we have to come back soon and stay longer, but I only have 4 nights to spend in Normandy (five if we donít visit Vannes, you suggestion) I planned one at Mont Saint Michel to visit late at evening and early morning, one at Bayeaux and two at Honfleur... but open to any suggestions. Do you think we should change Honfleur nights for Rouen?

Bayeux deserves more than one night. You're not going to Caen to the Mťmorial?

This trip we are not planning to visit all the WWII sites. We are saving them for a future trip and be able to enjoy at a slower pace. My husband and I are plantto come back without the little girls.

Yes, indeed, Bordeaux deserves more time, and it's not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from Bordeaux to Ile de Rť, which by the way will be jammed with tourists in July.

St-Emilion is an overpriced zoo in July. Good luck finding parking. Why are you even bothering to go inland from Bordeaux and the Bassin d'Arcachon? Just to see St-Emilion? That is SO not worth it. Just keep going down the coast and stop at actually pleasant places like Bayonne.
Bourdeaux and Saint Emilion seemed convenient stopovers, outlr daughters (8, 6 and 3) seem to do well with shorter drives, and so do we when travelling with them. From Amboise to Bayonne would take 5 hours, which is too long for us (we already have a 5 hour drive from San SebastiŠn to Madrid, and another 6 hour drive from Madrid to MŠlaga where we live).

So, do you think Just one day visiting Bourdeaux would just not be worth it?
Do you know of an alternative town or area we could make a stopover for the night on our way back?

Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Maybe it was because we arrived in St-Emilion's Camping Municpale around 5pm when walking around the town it seemed surreal -literally surrounded by vineyards = with a setting sun ethereal. Now St-Cirq has seen many more Dordogne wine towns but I was thoroughly delighted with St-Emillion. Michelin Green rates St-Emilion the lauded 3-stars, calling it one o France's best medieval towns. Of course with mobs of tourists it may not have seemed no neat. Jogging thru its deserted streets in early morning also seemed great - but mobs of tourists can indeed ruin such a town - much like I found the most famous Dordogne towns were in August.

https://travelguide.michelin.com/eur.../saint-emilion

https://www.google.com/search?q=st-e...w=1280&bih=625

So, if traveling outside of high season I'd highly recommend St-Emilion.
I loved your description, we were planning to stay at that same camping, is it walking distance to the town center?

Thank you all very much for your helpful advice!
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 12:04 AM
  #22  
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StCirq, I messed up the reply a bit, trying to comment to each of your parragraphs, so my and my comments and questions are in the middle of the quoting of your message, in the grey box with cursive letters, donít know if you will see them properly.

Thanks to all!
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 01:28 AM
  #23  
 
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OK....first of all Pal hasn't set foot in this territory for probably decades, so you might take his comments with a grain of salt.

So, onward...I cannot imagine what traveling in a campervan is like, but I do think Bordeaux (not Bourdeaux, in case you're googling) is worth more than one night. How that works from a campground I cannot even begin to imagine, but Bordeaux is full of treasures.

You don't need to go inland to St-Emilion to get back to the Donostia area - stay along the coast. It's beautiful. If you think Bordeaux to Bayonne is too long a drive, stop somewhere in between. St-Emilion is NOT worth a detour. If you want a unique experience, stop in Dax, the spa universe of France, and soak in the waters for a day. It's not the prettiest scenery in France, but there are amazing spas and shepherds on stilts and salt wine and things you'd never see elsewhere in France. Or much of anywhere.

Yes, I'd take a day off Dinan and allocate it to Vannes.
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 01:45 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
OK....first of all Pal hasn't set foot in this territory for probably decades, so you might take his comments with a grain of salt.

So, onward...I cannot imagine what traveling in a campervan is like, but I do think Bordeaux (not Bourdeaux, in case you're googling) is worth more than one night. How that works from a campground I cannot even begin to imagine, but Bordeaux is full of treasures.

You don't need to go inland to St-Emilion to get back to the Donostia area - stay along the coast. It's beautiful. If you think Bordeaux to Bayonne is too long a drive, stop somewhere in between. St-Emilion is NOT worth a detour. If you want a unique experience, stop in Dax, the spa universe of France, and soak in the waters for a day. It's not the prettiest scenery in France, but there are amazing spas and shepherds on stilts and salt wine and things you'd never see elsewhere in France. Or much of anywhere.

Yes, I'd take a day off Dinan and allocate it to Vannes.

Great, Iíll do as you say with Vannes.

Our stop at Bordeaux is on our way to the north, first part of our route, coming from Arcachon and going to őle de Rť.

On our way back, ending part of our trip, we are coming from Amboise towards San SebastiŠn, and on our way stop somewhere for the night because it would be a 6 hour drive. From Bordeaux to San SebastiŠn is just 2h40í which would be great, but we are already doing that.

I am probably missing something, how can we stay along the coastline from Amboise to San SebastiŠn? stopover on our way north.

Thank you very much
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 01:47 AM
  #25  
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Thanks for the Dax tip, checking it out right now!
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 05:06 AM
  #26  
 
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Oh, sorry, it's I who am missing something. I see now why you were heading for St-Emilion on your way south. From Amboise I would head through Poitiers (which presumably you were going to do ), but DO stop there for at least a couple of hours. Wonderful town! After that, I'd divert a little and go through Cognac or Saintes and make your stop around there before heading on south to Bordeaux. You could even divert east even sooner and head for St-Jean d'Angely, a nice town, and then meander on the small roads on to Bordeaux. OR continue on the N10 and divert east even more south to Jonzac. All of these will take you through endless fields of pineau (cognac) vines, which are very pretty but almost relentlessly uniform. Just try not to get involved in the mind-bending highways that circle AngoulŤme -they're like a circus ride you can't get off, and the scenery is dreadful.
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 07:08 AM
  #27  
 
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We enjoyed Cognac quite a bit - but did not see any reason to spend time in Saints after about 20 mins there. The only thing worthwhile, IMO, is a Roman Ruin. The town is not nearly as nice as some other towns you will be visiting. Be careful about WHEN you visit some of the towns - like Vannes & Dinan. Shops are closed in Vannes on a Sunday & the town is somewhat dead. Same with Cognac, I assume - but we were not there on a Sunday.

We spent 2 weeks on the Ile de Re a few years ago. A friend is doing likewise in Sept, and I wrote an itinerary for her. It includes the area around Poitiers - which is a gem!! E-mail me if you would like this personal itinerary.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 07:55 AM
  #28  
 
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>> Yes, I'd take a day off Dinan and allocate it to Vannes. <<

You are starting to "creep" back into the "too little" time in each location, and every day you are on the road driving a camper for large portions of your trip

Vannes vs Dinan.
I prefer the town of Vannes over the town of Dinan. But I prefer the area around Dinan (Rance Estuary, St Malo, Dinan, Dinard, Emerald coast) over the area immediately around Vannes. We have no interest in ancient man-made rock formations - so Carnac near Vannes did not give the Vannes area any "points" from us - but you may have an interest in these things.

For Vannes vs Dinan - I would visit Rochefort en Terre on the way to Vannes (it can easily be a 1 hr visit), and spend 2 nights in Vannes. See the itinerary I sent you about what to do in/near Vannes. Also, I don't know if you are spending any time in Paris - or just time at Disneyland. If the latter (no time in Paris) you might consider adding a day to the stay near Disneyland and visit some of the fabulous chateaux near Disneyland - and skip the Loire chateaux. This would give you more time in Brittany also.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 08:14 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Oh, sorry, it's I who am missing something. I see now why you were heading for St-Emilion on your way south. From Amboise I would head through Poitiers (which presumably you were going to do ), but DO stop there for at least a couple of hours. Wonderful town! After that, I'd divert a little and go through Cognac or Saintes and make your stop around there before heading on south to Bordeaux. You could even divert east even sooner and head for St-Jean d'Angely, a nice town, and then meander on the small roads on to Bordeaux. OR continue on the N10 and divert east even more south to Jonzac. All of these will take you through endless fields of pineau (cognac) vines, which are very pretty but almost relentlessly uniform. Just try not to get involved in the mind-bending highways that circle AngoulŤme -they're like a circus ride you can't get off, and the scenery is dreadful.
We know Poitiers and Saints, planning a stop at Poitiers again, love it.

I love also your other suggestions too, I think we are definitely stopping at Cognac, but I also marked the other towns, they are so conviniently located for our route. Itís great to have nice towns on the way and be able to know where to stop, although we always have the feeling that anywhere you stop in France, turns out to be some super charming place.

Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
We enjoyed Cognac quite a bit - but did not see any reason to spend time in Saints after about 20 mins there. The only thing worthwhile, IMO, is a Roman Ruin. The town is not nearly as nice as some other towns you will be visiting. Be careful about WHEN you visit some of the towns - like Vannes & Dinan. Shops are closed in Vannes on a Sunday & the town is somewhat dead. Same with Cognac, I assume - but we were not there on a Sunday.

We spent 2 weeks on the Ile de Re a few years ago. A friend is doing likewise in Sept, and I wrote an itinerary for her. It includes the area around Poitiers - which is a gem!! E-mail me if you would like this personal itinerary.

Stu Dudley
Great tip, I just checked and we should be visiting Vannes and Dinan on weekdays, so perfect. On the other hand, Cognac would be on a sunday, but well, it canít all be perfect...

Iíd love to have your itineraries, Stu. In fact, I have already sent you two emails asking for the Brittany and Normandy ones! Hahaha. I didnít want to insist more because I imagened that you are receiving so many emails asking for them that you might be a bit fed up. But since you ask, Iíd love to have them! Haha. Maybe I got your email wrong?

Thank you very much!!
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 08:24 AM
  #30  
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Stu, we crossed messages. Ok, I need to control my impulse of wanting to do too many things in too little time, thank you for keeping me on track.

Good tip about Rochefort-en-Terre and Vannes, it sounds good, I think that is going to be our choice.

The thing about Disneyland (yes, unfortunately no Paris this time) is that we have already booked hotel and tickets because we found a good price, so we canít move forward the days to fit more time at Brittany.

Canít wait to open the email.

Thank you all so much!
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 08:39 AM
  #31  
 
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I sent you my Brittany & Normandy itinerary twice before. Did you receive them?? I just sent you my Ile de Re & Pays Basque itinerary

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 08:47 AM
  #32  
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Oh, Iím so sorry, I had received them but not in the account I normally use, so I checked but didnít find them, canít understand why this happened.

Thank you very much, Iíll check them right now
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 09:09 AM
  #33  
 
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Al I did was to click "reply" & attach them to the e-mail you sent me.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 09:17 AM
  #34  
 
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Well, in Cognac, Le Coq d'Or and La Courtine are both open for lunch and dinner on Sundays, so at least you can eat well.
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Old Apr 6th, 2019, 10:16 AM
  #35  
 
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I'm guessing lunch & dinners will be in the camper van - especially with 3 daughters aged 3, 6, & 9.. Is that correct??

Make sure you are not in Rouen on a Sunday or Monday morning.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 12:06 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
Al I did was to click "reply" & attach them to the e-mail you sent me.

Stu Dudley
I know, itís just my phone that sometimes chooses to send emails from an account I donít usually use. Iíve received them all and have been reading them, they are so useful, thank you so much! I was sad to read about your not that great experience eating out at San SebastiŠn, if you ever come back I can give you some recommendations, there are some really good restaurants all around.

Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Well, in Cognac, Le Coq d'Or and La Courtine are both open for lunch and dinner on Sundays, so at least you can eat well.
Originally Posted by StuDudley View Post
I'm guessing lunch & dinners will be in the camper van - especially with 3 daughters aged 3, 6, & 9.. Is that correct??

Make sure you are not in Rouen on a Sunday or Monday morning.

Stu Dudley
In fact we do both, some lunches & dinners in the van but we love food and like to eat out too, especially travelling around France! Our girls are used to eating out and are quite good eaters, I still remember a couple of years ago, at őle de Rť, they ate all of the oyster platter we have ordered for my husband and me, my husband was lucky and got to try one, I didnít even have time, haha. Quite expensive kids menus for us!

So we appreciate your restaurant recommendations too, but of course we canít go to the fanciest places with the little ones. One difference that we have noticed between France and Spain is that sometimes we have felt some surprised looks when sitting at a restaurant terrace to have dinner with the kids, whilst in Spain it is considered perfectly normal.

Thank you all again, Iíll be back after the trip with some thoughts and maybe I can do a trip report.
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