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2 weeks in Normandy and Brittany--rent or hotels/b&bs?

2 weeks in Normandy and Brittany--rent or hotels/b&bs?

Dec 15th, 2009, 10:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 976
2 weeks in Normandy and Brittany--rent or hotels/b&bs?

My husband and I are going to spend seven weeks in Europe this May and June, revisiting some places we love and exploring some areas we haven't been to before. At the moment we have rentals booked for four of other destinations and are unsure whether it would be better to rent in one spot each in Normandy and Brittany or change it up and do hotels/B&Bs for a few days at a time.

We've always wanted to visit Normandy and Brittany. If we based in one place in each area, would we be limiting ourselves too much? We're not opposed to taking day trips to other places, but we don't want to spend all our time driving, either. We will have a car for this part of the trip.

Would love your advice. Where would you base in Normandy and Brittany, and for how long?
aprillilacs is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Normandy and Brittany are so big, so varied, and so appealing that I believe it's worth hopping around so you get to stay in different areas. Usually there's no problem winging it in the off season, except on weekends. You should plan ahead for weekends or be prepared to stay way out in the country--though that's no bad thing in France.

We stayed near Fougeres and thought there was a lot to do in the town and nearby. If you look at a map you'll see that day trips are possible to Mont St Michel, Rennes, Vitre, Mayenne, nd Alencon. (I only mention places we've been to that I think are interesting; there is of course a lot more in that area that I don't have personal knowledge of.)

If we had seven weeks (lucky you!) I think we'd let the weather help determine where we'd go and when.
Coquelicot is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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It's a large area. If you really want to see a lot without spending much of the time driving, I think you'd do better to do hotels/B&Bs for a few days at a time.

For Haute-Normandie you might consider Rouen, which is a good base for visiting Giverny as well as Fecamp and Varengeville-sur-Mer. Or if you have explored this area, perhaps base in Basse-Normandie at Caen. Nearby are Honfleur, Bayeux as well as the WWII landing sites.

Moving west into Brittany, you could consider Cancale, a lovely small place known for its oysters, or the much larger St-Malo. Across the bay from Cancale, you can see Mont-St-Michel in the distance, an easy day-trip from either. I have lovely memories of days spent driving slowly on small roads beside the sea, along picturesque Cote-D'Emeraude from St-Malo to Lannion and the stunning Cotes-d'Armor onward to Roscoff and Ile de Batz. You will probably also want to base somewhere out on Finistere peninsula, such as Plonevez-Porzay or Camaret, and also south such as Vannes which is a wonderful seacoast town.
julia1 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have done 2 weeks each in both Normandy and Brittany, and would have to agree with some of the previous posters about staying in hotels/B&B's, and going to several areas. I don't like to spend too much of my time driving, either, so this worked out well for me. For the Normandy trip, I trained from Paris to Rouen (interesting city) and picked up my car there. I visited sites in that area (like Giverny), then spent a few days in Honfleur (charming!) taking lovely drives around there (including driving over to Etretat). Then spent some time in the countryside near Bayeux seeing the Beaches, etc.I ended the trip driving to Chartres and returning the car there. It was a wonderful trip, and I loved all the places I stayed. I did a lot of research on here first.

During the 2 weeks in Brittany the next year I picked up car in Vannes, and sort of made a loop around, staying in several different parts, both inland and on the coast. Again, I did LOTS of research re places to stay. You will love both Brittany and Normandy. I did both these trips in May, which was perfect. It was well before the summer crowds, and the weather was great. I'm sure June would be the same. If you click on my name, you can find my trip reports for both these trips, with hotels, etc. Lucky you - seven weeks!!
Sue4 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thank you so much for these replies--full of good advice. Based on these replies, it looks like hotels/b&b's are the way to go. I'll study all the areas you've recommended and come up with a good plan, including doing a search here on recommended accommodations. We were thinking about a week in Normandy, a week in Brittany, and several days in the Loire (also a place we've never been). Now I'm thinking we should spend 3 weeks combined in Brittany and Normandy and save the Loire for another time.

By the way, our other destinations on this trip are Panarea and Salina in the Aeolian Islands off Sicily, Cumbria and East Sussex in England, Bruges, and Paris. I know that's kind of all over the place, but there really are reasons for all of these choices!
aprillilacs is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,522
hi aprillilacs,

i agree with the advice you've had to wing it in Normandy and Brittany - there are so many lovely places that we have just "come across" there and not been able to stay as we were committed elsewhere.

if that's what you decide on, I strongly advise buying the most up to date Michelin guide to France. not just hotel and restaurant listings, but also town maps, phone nos for tourist information bureaux, etc.etc.

have a great trip,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  

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