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Best travel method from London to Normandy and Paris

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Nov 30th, 2012, 12:52 PM
  #1
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Best travel method from London to Normandy and Paris

After a 4-5 night stay in London in June 2013, we are thinking of flying to Dinan Airport Normandy on Ryan Air or Airfrance then rent car for 3 days for Normandy, driving back to Paris for remainder of trip (5 nights).

Flight home is out of Paris and booked via frequent flier miles, so not really able to change. Alternative trip is take TGV from London to Paris, then drive to Normandy for 3 days and back to Paris for remainder. Taking our 11 and 13 year olds. Any thoughts on best travel option?
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Nov 30th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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can also take a fast ferry from southern England to Oustreham - pick up rental car at dock I believe or to Cherbourg, just a few hours by boat - there are also overnight boats that could save on a hotel cost and give the trappings of a cruise ship - frequent sailings.

Consider returning car in Rennes and taking TGV bullet train back to Paris sans car - or return car in say Caen and take regular trains back to Paris.

If driving back to Paris easy to hit fablous Jumieges Abbey and Monet's Giverny Gardens en route back or Versailles and Chartres as well.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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If obtained early enough I suspect that your idea of using Ryanair to Dinan may be the cheapest option, and it is perhaps the most convenient (Cherbourg would be a good alternative).
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Nov 30th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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And you could start your tour of Dday beaches in Cherbourg. We got as far up as St. mere Eglise, just southeast of Cherbourg. Sometimes that gets "lost".
And we did much of what palenQ suggested. Normandy is wonderful.
Be sure to eat at Le petit Bistro in Bayeux. Make reservations.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 03:17 PM
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I think your plan sounds just fine.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 04:01 PM
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I agree with PalenQ. Jumieges is awesome.

I did a similar trip to what you're planning in 2004 and trust me, you're cutting it close in Normandy with just 3 days. There's the D-Day beaches and American Cemetery, that's a given, but there's so much more to Normandy.

I've been lucky enough to see several countries in Europe, visited large cities, quaint medieval villages, and Bayeux has always stuck with me. I swear I'm moving there if I ever hit one of those big daddy Powerballs. Or maybe a little town called Coutances, also in Normandy. You have to see the Bayeux Tapestry of course. Do not miss Honfleur under any circumstances. Mont St. Michel is a world landmark. Touristy, yes, but some things are touristy for a reason and worth the crowds and this place certainly is worth it.

To answer your question, if you take the Eurostar from St. Pancras in London to Paris Nord (3-4 hours if I remember correctly) then I think driving out there is your best bet from Paris. Train service isn't as comprehensive as it is closer to Paris so a car is much more practical. I think it took me about 4 hours to drive to Bayeux from Paris (not including getting semi-lost and ending up in a cool little town called Les Andelys and visiting the ruined Chateau Gaillard.

I recommend staying in Bayeux. It's a nice central location to all of the sights in Normandy. If you take a D-Day tour use Roel. He's awesome.

http://lignerolles.homestead.com

Roel opened the first McDonald's in Amsterdam I think, was raised in Brugge I'm pretty sure (bear with me, it's been awhile), and bought a chateau outside of Bayeux, retired, and gives tours for the fun of it (his lifelong passion). My then girlfriend and I spent a whole day with him trotting around Normandy seeing the D-Day sights and visiting his "cousins" to pick up some Calvados. It was a terrific day. I didn't stay at his chateau, but at a hotel called the d'Argouges which was fantastic.

It sounds like you've got a great balance on your days, but just be smart about how you plan your time in Normandy. And always remember wherever you go....you can't see it all. Relax and enjoy what you CAN see.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 06:15 PM
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Thanks for the wealth of ideas and good info on the trains. We do plan to stay in Bayeux and will try the restaurant recommended.
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 07:26 AM
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If you have the time and don't get sea-sick, I recommend the ferry from Portsmouth to Oustreheim, especially with 11- & 13- year-olds who could appreciate it and imagine what it was like for the soldiers crossing for the landing(sans the game arcade on the ferry, of course . A bus meets the ferry and goes to the train station in Caen, where the car rental places are. It is easy to get out of Caen and get to Bayeux.

Pont du Hoc is a great place for kids. They run wild, in and out of the shell craters, and can really run off excess energy.
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 08:57 AM
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<< Train service isn't as comprehensive as it is closer to Paris so a car is much more practical. I think it took me about 4 hours to drive to Bayeux from Paris>>

I disagree that "train service isn't as comprehensive..." There are trains at intervals of just a little over an hour all day. Many fares are as low as 15 euros, and the trip takes just about 2 hours.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 06:45 AM
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We decided to book a ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo and work our way to D-Day beaches over the 3 days. One problem I didn't foresee...the car rental agencies are closed on Sundays. Are taxis readily available in this area & on Sundays? Our first night is at Chateaux Richeux about 7 miles from St. Malo. I'm thinking we taxi to hotel and drop bags and go back to walk around St. Malo for day. Is there a better way? Still need to pick up a car on Monday...
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Jan 7th, 2013, 09:17 AM
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What car rental outfit are you using? I always use AutoEurope, and on at least two occasions, for an extra fee of 25 euros, they have sent someone to open up the car rental office for me on a Sunday. It's worth asking. Otherwise, I would be fairly certain that there'd be taxis available when a ferry lands, no matter what day of the week (but google for further info).
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Jan 7th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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Or ask your hotel to arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the port.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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There is also a public bus that links Oustreham - the harbor for many ferries from Britain to Caen, a city with many car rental offices.
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