8 Days Pre-Paris Stay. Where to Go?

Feb 19th, 2008, 09:35 AM
  #1  
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8 Days Pre-Paris Stay. Where to Go?

We will be arriving at CDG on April 8 and will be starting our stay in Paris on April 16, so that gives us 8 nights to do whatever.

We are thinking of the D-Day beaches and Mont St Michel. From what I've read on other threads, you need 2/3 days for the D-Day sites and probably 1 for MSM. I don't do well after a transAtlantic flight, so I'm not counting on that day for much.

What we like: pretty much what everyone ssys: nice scenery, smallish towns, interesting sites. We don't want to drive a lot.

I would appreciate any suggestions for a bare-bones itinerary (I'll do the research) for the remaining 4 days...

Thank you.

Celiaanne is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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If you were going later than April, I would recommend Brittany for your remaining days. However, if this was my April trip, I would take the TGV from the CDG airport down to Provence - where hopefully you'll have more predictable weather. The TGV to Provence is just 3 hrs to/from Paris. I find the trip to be very relaxing - good place to take a snooze & lots more comfortable than a coach class airplane seat.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 19th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Thanks, Stu.

I didn't realize weather could be an issue in Brittany -- do you mean it would be cool or rainy (too)?

If we take 4 or 5 days for MSM and the Beaches, I thought it might be a bit of a rush to go to another area of the country.... I was in Provence last September for just a week, but my husband has never been.... Not sure if I want to repeat so soon, even though there are tons of things I didn't see.

I hope the weather in Paris is nice. When I checked it was going to be cool but the precip average is low... Hope I'm not disappointed.

Any other suggestions would be great.
Celiaanne is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Loire Valley would be my choice. It is classic picture book France with beautiful villages, castles, etc. Great wine, too.
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Feb 19th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Loire Valley would be my choice. It is classic picture book France with beautiful villages, castles, etc. Great wine, too. And it isn't that far from Normandy.
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Feb 19th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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If you are determined to visit Normandy & MSM for 4-5 days, then Provence would not be a good choice. It will take some doing to get there (5 1/2 hrs from Rennes by TGV - 0 train changes) & Provence really deserves more time than 3-4 days. I was suggesting Provence for all 8 days.

Brittany or Loire would be good choices.

2 or 3 days for the D-Day sites is a good budget. We did it in 1 1/2 non-jet lagged days with my father in law - who was last there in 1944 carrying a gun. We saw just about every museum & site possible.

Brittany would take less time getting to than the Loire. You could work your way west, visit Mt St Michel, then settle in for a few days around Dinan & visit the coast & cute villages (St Malo, Dinan, etc). I think the coast in Brittany is much more scenic than the Normandy coast. Then the last night, stay in Rennes (one of my favorite cities) and next day take one of the many TGVs to Paris.

Loire would be a good option if the weather isn't that great - it doesn't rain inside the chateaux. Some people get chateau-ed out after about 5-6 - so make sure you'r up to that. If you are going to visit Versaille from Paris - add that to your chateau count. The Loire is not my favorite countyside venue in France. It's easy to get back to Paris on the TGV from St Pierre des Corps (Tours).

I don't know where you are from, but Paris & Normandy are farther north than any place in the Continental US - so it may be a bit cold still.

In early April, you should not have trouble getting accommodations by 3pm for that night. I would just book the Normady part, and then see what the weather is like. If it's nasty, visit the Loire. If not - Brittany. I've always returned cars to the place specified on my reservation - but I really don't think it makes a difference where you return it for the larger rental firms (Europcar, Hertz, etc). Confirm this, however.

Stu Dudley
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Feb 19th, 2008, 05:58 PM
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Thanks bob and Stu. I've been wanting to see the beaches and MSM for a while now, but not if it's a really bad time of the year to do so...

We live in Pittsburgh, so we're used to bad weather, but I don't want cold and rainy weather on vacation. Looks like the average high is about 60 with little precip... If we get that, I think we'll be OK with it. I'd rathe have cold than HOT.

I'm glad to hear about the possibility of winging it -- reservation wise, except for Normandy. That is exactly what I was hoping to do.

Just one more question: any favorite places to stay for the Beaches and MSM? The usual -- clean and inexpensive.

I need to do more research, but I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. Thanks again.

Celiaanne is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 09:03 PM
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Where did you see that the average temps in Normandy were 60 in early April??? That doesn't sound right to me.

Kerouac ?????

Stu Dudley
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Feb 20th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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The town of Pontorson is just a few miles inland of Mont-Saint-Michel, and according to MSN's weather site its average April high temperature is below 60 degrees.
bobludlow is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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That doesn't sound that wrong to me, if you are talking about cities that are inland. Mont St Michel itself is in the water, of course, but the avg temps in early April for Rennes or Caen, etc., do appear to be an avg. high of around 60 and avg. low of around 50. That's the high, doesn't seem to crazy to me. Northern France isn't usually that cold in April. There may be some rain, though, but not inches and inches of it, hopefully.
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Feb 20th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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You're right. Here is the weather averages for Dinard, France from underground:

The Average High Temperature is 55 F with a historical range of 44 F to 75 F

I was basing the 50 on last year's temperatures at this time...

Not sure it that will be too cold for us....


Celiaanne is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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Hi, Celianne!

We visited Normandy early/mid-May in 2005, and the D-Day beaches were not just cool but rainy, windy, and therefore cold--and I'm a Pgh-er, too! It did not affect our enjoyment of the trip, and I, too, prefer cold to hot, but just don't count on cool as in 60 degrees. I took cashmere twin sets to wear under my raincoat, and they were perfect. I wore gloves, too.

Have fun!

grandmere is offline  
Feb 20th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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Grandmere, thank you from one 'burger to another!

Hmmmmm.. That is quite a bit colder and WETTER than I though it would be and your trip was in May! Can't decide what to do. Certainly Provence would be warmer, but I would like to see something different.

Celiaanne is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 07:53 AM
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OTOH, if you want to see D-Day beaches, etc., I wouldn't let weather deter me. Plan for rain and "cool", and it could be better than that. The plus is fewer tourists at that time of year.

After Normandy (if you don't spend the entire 8 days there), perhaps Burgundy would be nice. South of Paris, but not so far away as Provence.
grandmere is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Burgundy last April was hotter than August and very nice the year before, but even if it is not cold it can be rainy.(Hi grandmere )
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Feb 28th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Hello,
My name is Ahmad I just came back from France and I visited Loire castle and Mont-San-Michel. Thanks to God weather was wonderful.
We met in Paris very cool guide, he was before working for Cityrama I think, and now he's independant. The price was cheaper, the minivan new and equipped to our attention, there was in the van books about Mont-San-Michel and Loire castles in Arabic, newspapers... and videogames for the children, CD players too... And I paid cheaper than Cityrama. I travelled only with my family we were 4. It was a very cool experience. He has just created a blog http://kantanfrance.wordpress.com/
If you want to contact him. When I told him when do we suppose to leave he told me " sir, you don't have to leave before seing the sunset, there is no hour imposed".
He is very nice person.
Ahmadubai is offline  

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