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1st time visit to Paris and then to Normandy

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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:09 AM
  #1
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1st time visit to Paris and then to Normandy

My husband and I are taking my Dad (age 88) back to Normandy to revisit his D-Day landing on June 4, 1946. Looking for hotel in Paris somewhat near airport, but not too far from the city for sightseeing - we will rent a car to drive to Normandy. Any suggestions for Paris hotel? Car Rental?
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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Apologies! First time user on Fodor's - we are traveling from Philadelphia to Paris!
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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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The airport is not IN Paris and is not convenient for sightseeing, especially with an 88 year old who might want to rest in the middle of the day. I strongly advise you to get a very central hotel in an area with lots of sidewalk cafes - rather than by the side of the highway - so when everyone's feet give out they can just have a drink, relax and go back to the room or on to the next sight.

For car rental you need to search the websites.

How long do you have for the whole trip?
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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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I hope your trip with your dad is as wonderful as mine with my father was. We went back to the remains of the airbase in England from which he flew in bombers from 1943 until the end of the war. Dad doesn't talk much about his war days, but told quite a fww stories on this trip. I found it very moving and feel very lucky to have been able to do this.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Stay IN Paris. Transportation is easy.
You might rent the car at CDG and go directly to Normandy. You could go as far as Rouen the first night--not far at all.
How many days do you want to spend in Normandy.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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Thanks to all who so quickly responded. We plan to arrive in Paris on Friday morning (night flight from Phila), stay the weekend, and then drive out to Normandy - we'll need to be back in Paris the following Friday for a Saturday flight home. Probably best to rent the car before we leave for Normandy - I suppose we would take a taxi from airport to whatever hotel we select.. How many days should we set aside for Normandy?
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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It's best to rent the car NOW, not just before you leave for Normandy. And if your dad is up to it, you might want to take the easy train from Paris to Caen and pick up your car there to start your Normandy leg of the trip.

Definitely stay IN Paris. There are several ways to get into town: the RER and métro, shuttles (private and those operated by Air France), and the Roissy Bus, but which one you use depends on where your hotel is, and probably with your dad a taxi will be easiest.

I would plan 4 days in Normandy, so maybe come back to Paris Thursday afternoon and spend the last two nights in the city again.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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For hotel accommodations in Paris, I would check out the Esprit de France hotels (www.esprit-de-france.com/en), but if you'd like something a little less expensive, then I recommend the Hotel de L'Empereur (www.hotelempereurparis.com) or Hotel Muguet (www.hotelparismuguet.com), both are in the 7th near the Eiffel Tower. Great location and nice hotels.

As far as Normandy and the D-Day beaches are concerned, you should seriously look at doing a tour. I've been a few times over the years, but last fall with went on the Overloard Tour (www.overlordtour.com), much better than doing it on your own. You should also stay in Bayeux for a couple of nights to relax and enjoy yourself.

As far as an itinerary, I would take the train from CDG to Bayeux, and if you need a car, pick one up when you arrive in Bayeux. You'll want it to tour the area of lower Normandy. The price of a one-way ticket is under €40 and saves the drive from CDG. You'll also be there in under 2-1/2 hours. The traffic is heavy most of the time around CDG. You'll also save the cost of the airport tax on the rental car, which is around $60, depending on the type of car you select.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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I would do Normandy first and finish up in Paris.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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<>

There's only one tiny car rental pickup place in Bayeux to my knowledge, and it's not right at the train station - it's in a gas station or something, as I recall.

I'm also thinking that traveling with an 88-year old it might be hard to keep going to Normandy after arriving in Paris after an all-night flight.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Rouen is wonderful. De Gaulle airport is a nightmare. We avoid it always, when flying through Europe. Perhaps they will have great accomodation for a senior citizen.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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I suggested just continuing, but maybe just going to Rouen. I don't think that would be any more difficult than going into Paris and going to a hotel, to just leave the next day. Just my thought--and have done that. That way you are on the way, have the car, and have done some "housekeeping" on a day that isn't a whole lot better because of jet lag.
Another thought about a "tour" vs. just doing a tour they fix themselves. The dad may want to linger--go to different things, see something different. the Normandy Michelin Green Guide gives excellent information about the various sites.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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I highly recommend staying in Bayeux at Lion d'Or as it has so much WWII history itself. The owners are third or fourth generation and were so helpful to us when we were retracing my father's WWII route. They shared their family's stories from that time with us. I believe both Eisenhower and Churchill stayed there. There is no elevator so request a ground floor room for your father.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Thank you all very much - lots of food for thought to digest for tonight with my husband....I'm sure more questions will follow as I continue my research!
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Lion'dOr has no lift.. (If they did it wasn't available when we were there and after requesting a ground floor room and had a guaranteed resv. for one, our friend (75yr old) with terrible knees was put on 3rd floor..Ok for us but not for her..Also had to handle our own bags..Big disappointment. The explanation was "we keep the lower rooms for our return customers".. Not acceptable, only stayed 1 night and left!! The sites are great, the cemeteries are pristine and so lovingly looked after. Also, if $$$ allows consider economy plus if you are flying econ. I am 81 and on a red eye really appreciate the seating. There will be lots of airport walking so do not hesitate to ask for assistance..wheel chair, golf cart whatever..Ask the airline to help out and mention this very extra special occasion!! If you don't ask you don't get..What a wonderful trip to take Dad on!! 2 jewels in your crowns at least!!!
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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I love the Château de Bellefontaine in Bayeux (Maitaitom did, too, on his recent visit). Rates are, IMO, very reasonable, and the rooms, at least some of them are huge. They have two rooms for people with "reduced mobility" (not that your dad does, but it indicates they probably don't have an elevator. Anyway, it's a beautiful property:

http://www.hotel-bellefontaine.com/FR_chateau.htm
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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We stayed at the vERY economical, squeaky clean Hotel Bayeux. There are many rooms on the ground floor, and a secure car park next door. Five minutes from the Cathedral and from the Tapestry. The room we had was larger than most we have ever had.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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Have a look at this thread for ideas of what to see and do in Normandy between Monet's house and gardens in Giverny and Bayeux/D-Day sites. There are lots of practical tips as well as links to the major tourist office websites in Normandy:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic....html#39058384
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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You might also want to read this newsletter that just published today on visiting Basse Normandie (www.iberiantraveler.com/Basse_Normandie.pdf).
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Jan 7th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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Previous posts have located car rental agencies near the train station in Caen, just a quick hop to Bayeux and with its own attractions, including a new war museum.
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