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Advice re: driving from Provence to Annecy to Paris

Advice re: driving from Provence to Annecy to Paris

Jul 19th, 2005, 05:14 AM
  #1  
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Advice re: driving from Provence to Annecy to Paris

We are renting a house in Caromb for a week in August. After the rental ends we have two nights before we have to be in Paris. After reviewing posts here, I was thinking about driving to Annecy for a night and then to Avallon for a night and then on to Paris. Looking at the distances on mapquest, this seems feasible. I am concerned that the drive to Annecy may be difficult if it goes through narrow mountain passes and that driving into Paris to return the car could be a nightmare. Is anyone familiar with these drives? Any advice would be appreciated.
cindyf is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 05:52 AM
  #2  
 
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Return the car at Orly. It is easy. You drive into the deck, give the keys to the attendant and walk across the street to the taxi queue. It's about a 20€ ride into Paris.
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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I drove Annecy - Paris last winter. It's a long but pretty easy drive. There are some mountains to pass near Lyon, but they are not difficult (better to drive with daylight though). Road only got congested near Paris. I agree that returning to Orly might be faster. There are also easy RER (around 10 Euro) and bus connections (cheaper) to Paris.
Matt is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 07:20 AM
  #4  
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Thank you both, particularly for the tip about returning the car to Orly. I think we will do it.
cindyf is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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>>>We are renting a house in Caromb for a week in August.<<

Nice town - we just returned from 2 weeks in a Gite very close to there. At the tourist office, pick up a English version of the walking tour of the town.

Don't miss the Monday morning market in Bedoin. Dine at l'Oustalet (see an earlier post of mine)

>>After the rental ends we have two nights before we have to be in Paris. After reviewing posts here, I was thinking about driving to Annecy for a night and then to Avallon for a night and then on to Paris. Looking at the distances on mapquest, this seems feasible. I am concerned that the drive to Annecy may be difficult if it goes through narrow mountain passes and that driving into Paris to return the car could be a nightmare. Is anyone familiar with these drives? Any advice would be appreciated.<<

Two years ago, we drove from Provence to Annecy, through the Alps. It was breathtaking. It took us 4 days to get to Annecy, however, with stopovers in Embrum, Briancon, and another place before Annecy. We went over many of the routes the Tour de France typically uses. After the Alps, Annecy was a disappointment. We had been there twice before. IMHO, if Annecy was not in the Alps, it would only be an OK town. I can easily think of about 20 similar sized towns I've enjoyed more. It's a little too touristy for me. We usually spend 2 months vacationing in various regions of France each year.

If this was my trip, I would not try to see both Annecy & Avallon - too much driving and too much time on the freeway. 5 or so hrs on the freeway to Annecy would not be worth it just to see Annecy. Same with Avallon (have not been there in over 20 years - we'll be there for 2 weeks next year).

I would spend all the time in the Alps. Perhaps make it as far as Briancon the first day, then Annecy the next. When you get to Annecy, dump the car, and the next morning at 8:13 take the train to Paris. You will get there by noon - no train changes. There is a later train if you want to get into Annecy late in the day & leave mid-day.

When we returned to Paris from the Caromb area, we took the train from Avignon to Chambery & stayed overnight. Then on to Paris the next day. Chambery is one of the towns I enjoyed more than Annecy.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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We loved the drive to Annecy. Be sure to drive around the Lac Annecy.
Rent the French film, "Claire's Knee,"
you'll see the lake and intown.
We stayed by the lake at "Pere Bise."
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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In Avallon, "Hotel de la Poste." Besides the hotel, dining at "Le Relais des Gourmets" was very good.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 08:47 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for the replies. StuDudley, how long would it take us to drive to Briancon? Mapquest indicated that it ws just over 200 miles from Caromb to Annecy but your post gives me the impression the drive will be 4-5 hours. Is this because of the mountainous roads? Also, do you have any other suggestions for restaurants near Caromb? For that part of the trip I will be with my sister's family and we will have 3 kids aged 7-10 so we are hoping to find some informal restaurants not too far from Caromb.
cindyf is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 01:40 PM
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I just guessed at the time it takes to drive to Annecy. Using Mappy, I would plan on 4 hours of mostly freeway driving. Personally, I go out-of-my-way to avoid the freeway's (Peage in French). Even if the scenery is nice on the freeways, I prefer the smaller roads so I can get out of the car if I pass a cute village that seems worth exploring, a pretty vista to savor, a castle ruin, or a cafe under plane trees in one of those cute villages. We’ve been vacationing in Europe yearly since '75. We retired early in '99 so we can spend more time traveling. Since then, we spend 2-3 months in Europe each year - mainly France.

More than 15 years ago, we stopped the usual famous city, to famous city mode of travel. Too often, that took several hours of hard and often unpleasant driving to get from one city to another. We started traveling slower and we enjoyed our vacations a lot more. When there are so many great places to visit in France, it’s very hard to convince infrequent travelers that they should not try to see them all on one trip. You wear yourself out, and often memories consist of interiors of cars instead of walks through interesting small villages not on the tourist route. Caromb, where you are staying, is one of those cute villages that doesn’t get a lot of tourist traffic. We “waited out” a monumental thunder and lightning storm at an awning covered café in Caromb this past June. We really enjoyed the experience that we would have missed if we were buzzing on the freeway from one city to the next,350K away.

The freeway from Caromb to Annecy is mildly scenic (lots of nuclear power pants, however), but you really don’t have many chances to get out & enjoy a small village or a castle ruin (like Crussol, which you will see on the west side of the freeway just south of Valence), or a pottery village like Dieulefit.

Here is an interesting route to take you through some of the scenic sections of the Alps. If you have been watching the Tour de France, many of the passes (cols in Franch) and villages will be familiar to you.

Head north of Caromb and go through Entrechaux (note the castle ruins), and on to Buis les Baronnies. Drive along the west edge of Buis on the D5, and when you get to the north end of town, park the car in one of the large lots and explore Buis. Look for the arcades on the main square at this north end. This would be a good place for a morning coffee. Continue exploring town a little.

Continue north on the D5 and follow the road as it turns east on the D546 and then the D65 past St Auban. This is a pretty drive, with lavender fields, and a nice view of St Auban from the road. Continue on the D65 over the very scenic Col de Perty, and past another lavender field to Laborel and then to Orpierre.

From Orpierre, take the D30 east, the N75 south a little, and then the D942 northeast until it hits the larger N85. Follow the N85 north till it hits the D942 (again). Follow the D942 and then the N94 to Embrun. This is another very pretty village worth exploring. Park the car & walk through town. Don’t forget to “take in” the view at the Pl de l’Archeveche. If you have the Michelin Green Guide for the Alps, there is a map of Embrun in the guide. If you get here around lunch time, have lunch!!

Leave Embrun heading north on the N94 towards Mont Dauphine. Dauphine is a Vauban fort sitting high on top of a promontory. You can drive up an walk around it, but we found it more interesting viewed from below. At Mont Dauphine, check your watch. If it’s getting late, take the N94 to Briancon. If you want to take a much more scenic route, and visit the highest village in Europe, take the D902 through the Combe du Queyras (rated 3 star by Michelin), through Chateau Queyras, and then the D5 south to St Veran. According to Michelin, this is the highest village in Europe. We found it quite interesting. After St Veran, retrace your route through Chateau Queyras (visit if you have time – we enjoyed our exploration) and then back to the D902 north towards Briancon. This route takes you over the very scenic Col de l’Izoard, which is used by the Tour de France (TdF) quite often – in fact, there is a small TdF museum at the col.. Continue on this scenic drive to Briancon.

Stay overnight at Briancon. This year’s Tour de France had a stage that ended in Briancon, and started there the next day. Briancon is very interesting/scenic and it’s Europe’s highest town, according to Michelin. I guess a town is different from a village. We stayed at the modern Vauban hotel, and dined at the Peche Gourmand. The restaurant was excellent. They are both in the lower “new” section of Briancon. Explore the Haute Ville. We walked to the base of the upper town, but if I had it to do over again, we would have driven there (lots of up hill). Plan on exploring the “haute ville” for 1 ½ hrs. There is a suggested walking itinerary in the Michelin Green Guide, but you really don’t need to follow it to enjoy the town. We did not visit the Vauban fort further up from the haute ville.

Next day, head northwest on the N91. This is the exact same route the TdF followed – except they did it in the other direction. This drive is stunning. Take the N91 over the Col du Lautaret, and then the D902 over the breathtaking Col du Galbier. This Col was the highest peak the TdF climbed this year, and is perhaps the most famous of the TdF climbs, after Alpe d’Huez (If you think you might want to visit Alpe d’Huez, it’s really not that scenic). Continue north on the D902 over another famous TdF climb – the Col du Telegraphe. When you reach the N6, take it northwest past St Jean de Maurienne, until it hits the D213 around la Chambre. Now, check your watch again. You can either take the D213 on another scenic and famous TdF route over the Col de la Madeleine, or take the freeway to Albertville and on to Annecy.

We did not take the Col de la Madeleine drive, or the freeway to Annecy when we went through the Alps in ’02. We went into the Isere area and stayed overnight, and then on to Chamonix and Mont Blanc before heading to Annecy.

Like I said in an earlier post, there are several 3 ½ hr trains that depart for Paris from Annecy.

Restaurants near Caromb..

I’m guessing that the kids would prefer a pizza and some pasta, over something like we had at l’Oustalet (sardine tart, Foie Gras, Scallop Cheveche, Pigeon). In Bedoin, there are about a half dozen or more restaurants where you can casually dine outside under the plane trees. There are several pizza places (other selections also), a pasta restaurant, and other places to dine with non-pizza & non pasta menus. They are along the main street through town, and also next the boules court behind the tourist office – you will see them. Another casual but more upscale place to dine where kids would not be out of place, is les Pins – in Bedoin, but not in the center of town. It’s a little south. Get a map of Bedoin at the tourist office & have them indicate the location of Le Pins (it’s not on the map). There are some other casual outdoor places in Beaumes de Venise. As you drive there and start to go through town, there is an outdoor place on your left, that has a wood burning bar-b-que pit.

Stu Dudley

StuDudley is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 06:54 AM
  #10  
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Thanks StuDudley. This info is invaluable and I appreciate your taking the time to post it.
cindyf is offline  
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