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BTHunter Jun 1st, 2014 03:07 PM

3 days North of Paris
After 5 nights in Paris, my 21 yr old daughter & I are considering renting a car for 3 days and driving to Giverny, then points north to Mont St Michel. We do not intend to do the WWII Normandy area. How hard will driving be in this area? Any suggestions as to what to see would be appreciated. We love art, architecture and gardens, pretty countryside. Like to eat local. Prefer small inns or a B&B.

kerouac Jun 1st, 2014 03:49 PM

Driving on the roads of the French countryside is amazingly easy. There is much less traffic on most days than you might imagine.

You may need to brush up on your geography about what is north of Giverny and/or Paris if you think that Mont Saint Michel is to the north from there.

nytraveler Jun 1st, 2014 05:15 PM

Agree - you need to check out where things are located - MT ST Michel is south - not north - and get some goo maps to bring with you (we always use Michelin detailed maps that show all the local roads).

And be aware that on local roads driving can be very slow - we were stuck behind a hay truck at walking speed for almost 15 minutes since there was a continuing line of traffic in the other direction.

Gretchen Jun 1st, 2014 05:31 PM

Drive the secondary roads and enjoy the real countryside, even behind the hay truck.
and north will be Giverney, rouen and Honfleur. West will be the Normandy coast.
I really would suggest at least visiting one WWII beach, but whatever.....

FrenchMystiqueTours Jun 1st, 2014 06:00 PM

MSM is west of Giverny so you won't be going north from Giverny.

You can have a look at the thread below for ideas on some of the sightseeing options available between Giverny and MSM:

The above thread has info about Bayeux and the D-Day sites but since you're not interested in that some places closer to MSM you could consider visiting would be Fougères, Dinan and Saint-Malo. You can look at a map to see where these places are in relation to MSM and google their tourist office websites to learn about them.

If you want specific recommendations for an itinerary then it would be helpful to know where you need to be at the end of your third day because that can have an impact on what can be recommended. If you have to be back in Paris at the end of the third day, for example, that would determine whether you would have a half day or a full day to explore on your third day.

As for accommodation in small B&B's, you can find out about such places looking at tourist office websites. You'll see in the above thread all the links to various tourist offices and i would suggest you take a look at some of them, even if just for practice, so you can see how much info is available on tourist office websites. You can also look for B&B's (which are called chambres d'hôtes in French) on many websites, such as

If you want so see see scenic countryside and small villages then you can also look in the above thread about getting Michelin maps and learning how to read the icons to explore and find such places. The country roads in France are remarkably traffic free and driving on them is a true pleasure. My personal favorite way to spend my time vacationing in France is wandering on the back roads off the beaten path through completely unknown towns and villages just letting the map be my guide.

StCirq Jun 1st, 2014 06:08 PM

There's very little that's north in this itinerary. If you want to get around France without geography issues, I'd suggest you get hold of a good map. Once you have a map and have yourself geographically oriented, you can try googling the tourist office sites in places that look like possible stops enroute for accommodations and the like.

BTHunter Jun 6th, 2014 09:20 AM

Thank you for all of your suggestions. I apologize for my ignorance on geography. When I visited Normandy & MSM several years ago, it was from Brussels, so everything was south of us. Just looked at the whole map, and I can understand why you must have thought me batty. We will return to the airport the evening of the third day.

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