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10 nights/ 9 days in the Loire Valley and Normandy

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Apr 28th, 2009, 01:55 PM
  #1
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10 nights/ 9 days in the Loire Valley and Normandy

Hi all. I'm a new post-er and have already gleened so much knowledge about this itinerary. My main question is why have there not been suggestions to travel toward the Sologne area? Is it for lack of chateaux or monument? Or is it just not that interesting?

Right now, this is my itinerary:
Day 1: Drive London to Rouen
Day 2: Drive Rouen to Bayeux via Lisieux & Pays d'Auge -- enjoy the countryside, maybe cider route
Day 3: Drive Bayeux to Saint Malo (but maybe just to Avranches now that I've read the posts) via MSM -- early morning at the D-Day Beaches and then looking for some good seafood!
Day 4: Drive Saint Malo to Saumur (is this a better choice than Angers?)
Day 5: Saumur and surrounds -- most likely tour around on our bikes, wine tasting
Day 6: Drive Saumur to Amboise area -- check out Villandry
Day 7: Amboise area - chateaux cycle ride using La Loire a Velo as a guideline; focus on Chenonceaux
Day 8: Drive Amboise to Beaugency -- stop en route for a cycle ride near Chambord or Cheverny
Day 9: Drive Beaugency to Chartres - pop in to Orleans and see what's going on Saturday afternoon, check out the cathedral by night
Day 10: Drive Chartres to London -- get another look at the cathedral

We like connecting with people and "real life" on our holidays -- of course, we enjoy the sites but are looking for a trip in which we will experience the locals: people, food and landscape.

Thanks for any suggestions! (or even encouragement for a great itinerary! )
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Apr 28th, 2009, 02:50 PM
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You won't be connecting with much of anything but tarmac with that itinerary.

I'd be interested in how you plan to drive from London to Rouen (ferry, I hope).

You're going to Bayeux, then leaving immediately? No Mémorial? No tapestry? Just early morning at the D-Day beaches, then on to St-Malo?

So, then, dinner in St.-Malo, a lie-down, and race off again bright and early to Saumur? Interesting. No Mont-St-Michel? Fougères? Viré? Nothing? Just zoom off to the Loire? And then "tour around," for what? An hour or two?

Then it's off to Amboise...

I can't even do the rest of this. I'm too dizzy.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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St. Cirq, I have to agree. We were in Bayeux for a few days and still didn't see it all. Never even made it to the Tapestry, I'm ashamed to say! We did a lot of driving and I can say everything took longer than we expected to get there, whether it was because the distance was really long or we stopped more than we planned or we stayed longer at the places we stopped at. We were hours just at Coleville sur Mer, and I would not want to miss the Peace Museum at Caen. I would not willingly miss the 36o Theatre at Arromanches, either.

I don't know that I'd bother with MSM unless I could spend the night, unless just to do a drive by.

I have learned from experience that too ambitious an itinerary can lead to more tears and frustration than anything else.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 04:41 PM
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That's a pretty hectic schedule. You're missing a lot of good stuff (St Cirq mentioned several - there are more) in order to get to the next destination. If you are British, how can you bypass the Normandy tapestry??

Stu Dudley
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Apr 28th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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If you live in England and this is a first trip for you to the area and you plan to visit the region again, then I don't think it is all that bad. It will be a lot of driving.

You might consider staying most places 2 nights and then modify your itinerary to account for that.

Cycling in the Loire is very pleasant. Stick to the 'D' or unclassified roads.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Stop in Cancale, between MSM and St. Malo, for seafood--at any rate you would be backtracking if substituting Avranches for St. Malo. I would do less of the Loire valley, leaving out Beaugency and Orléans.

Any reason for Rouen? I would use a more direct route (from Calais, Dunkerque, Dieppe?) to get to Bayeux. You would save time, or you might see sights on the way instead of just highway.

You might find part of my trip report on Ghent, Normandy and Brittany interesting. Click on my name to find the report.
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Apr 28th, 2009, 05:46 PM
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Way too many one night stops and very little time to actually see much of anything. Agree - if you're British and can get back often it's not so bad - but if this is a one-time trip you've left youselves practically no time to see anything. (Have you looked at the opening hours of the various sights and the estimated time it takes to see them?) And I don't know how you do that day "via MSTM" unless you just circle the parking lot and keep going. It takes hours to see the Mont - and is a long climb to get to the top, then a tour then the walk back down.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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THANKS to you ALL!! I think I've extinguished most of the fires

I was afraid of that...too much driving! I think I left off too much detail...sorry, I'm a newbie.

We are leaving after work on Friday, so it will mostly be dark while we drive to Rouen. We will see the cathedral by evening (hopefully lit up) and then see it again in the morning before we head to Bayeux.

The drive to Bayeux will incorporate cider country and the scenery...on multimap it calculates 2 hours of driving....which didn't seem that long since we'll be getting out along the way. I imagine we'll get to Bayeux late afternoon to get a look at the tapestry. The focus of the area for me is the Beach/Memorial. My grampa was in WWII at Normandy and he just passed this year. I want to go early to pay my respects before it gets too crowded with visitors. So, if I don't see the Tapestry it won't kill me (I live in England and plan to come back).

Then we'll drive along the coast to MSM, take a tour, and finish up the day with oyster in St. Malo. Sounds like the visit may take more than a couple of hours...

Does this part sound any better now that I've fleshed it out?

I'll keep working on it!

bigtyke: Thanks for the advice on the roads.
nytraveler: Thanks for the recommendation to look at the opening times...no, I have not done that! shame on me...I will do that right now.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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ecbrown, believe me, if your father was at Normandy, I think you will want to allow more time than you have allotted. Just my opinion, and as you say, you live in England, so you can come back.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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IF you prefer to keep to the one night stand schedule, I'd move MSM to a very early visit the following morning after you've had dinner at St. Malo. That way you will definitely be there when it's open AND you may be a little more refreshed with your visit. IF you have extra time on your St. Malo day, consider the time/effort of visiting Fougeres instead of MSM. Just a thought...oh, and Angers has a nice castle to visit, but check the hours for when you will be travelling.

--Annie
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Apr 29th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Thanks, Annie...great suggestion! That will give me more time at the Memorial.
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Apr 29th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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Once you see it, you'll be happy to have a bit more time.
--Annie
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May 3rd, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Just to add my two cents: Normandy is a peaceful place with rolling countryside and lovely villages. The last thing anyone should do is race through it in a car. I wouldn't leave Normandy on this visit: go to the landing beaches, the cemeteries, Bayeux (for at least two days), ease your way up the Manche and Ste-Mere Eglise. Look at the newsletter
FRANCE On Your Own that came out May 1 with a feature on Normandy. It will tell you about all there is to see there...which takes time and a slower more relaxed pace. http://www.franceonyourown.com/News_13_2_01.htm
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