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Brittany/Paris at Christmas. Car rental & Brittany/Normandy questions.

Brittany/Paris at Christmas. Car rental & Brittany/Normandy questions.

Old Sep 1st, 2013, 06:40 PM
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Brittany/Paris at Christmas. Car rental & Brittany/Normandy questions.

Hello,
Our son is spending his junior year of college in Rennes, in Brittany. We're excited for him and plan to visit over Christmas and again early May. Right now I'm planning our Christmas trip - December 20th to January 4th.

We arrive in Paris at noon on 12/20, traveling from Seattle. We = my husband, our 30-year old daughter and me. We plan to go directly to Rennes to meet up with our son.

We'll spend that first night in Rennes and all or most of the next day. From there the 4 of us plan to go to Mont St. Michel, then on to Normandy. We need to be back in Paris on the 23rd.

We are thinking of staying 1 night in Rennes, 1 night near Mont St. Michel and 1 night in Bayeaux. That's rushed, but we want to see where our son is living, visit Mont St Michel off-season and because my father-in-law was in France in WW2, we've always wanted to go to the Normandy sites. Please let me know if this is too rushed. We could drop Normandy and plan to visit there a different trip. If we do that, we'd stay 2 or 3 nights in Rennes, visiting Mont St. Michel as a day trip.

Also, if we go to Normandy should we hire a tour guide for Normandy or self-tour with a guide book? Any recommendations for remarkable tour guides?

And car rental: should we just rent a car when we land and return it to CDG? DH thinks he can swing that, plus he's super frugal and this is the cheaper option. Or should we pay more to take the train to Rennes (since we'll be tired), pick up the car when we leave there and return it to somewhere a short train ride from Paris? Where would that be?

Once we reach Paris we'll settle into an apartment for the holidays (12/23 to 1/4) with just one or two day trips (Provins and Chartres are on the list.) We've got plans for museums, walking, markets and cooking and restaurants. Maybe ice skating. We were in Paris before Christmas in 2006 and excited to be there again!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 07:27 AM
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We're dropping Normandy from our plans, DH says it's not a priority and we really don't have much time. We are considering spending 3 nights in Rennes with MSM as a day trip.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 07:51 AM
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You could visit Normandy in May, three days would be about right.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 11:44 AM
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Thanks HappyTrvlr - we could although I'm also interested in seeing more of Brittany and the Dordogne. But I'll tackle that later!

Does anyone have any thoughts about car rental v. public transport?

I've discovered that we can take the train to Rennes and then a bus to MSM for the day. But will we want a car to explore Brittany or - given our limited time, really just 2 days there - visit Rennes one day and MSM the next?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 09:26 PM
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A car will give you better flexibility, especially since you basically only have 2 days, as you say.

I will warn you, however, that winter in Brittany can be most unpleasant with howling wind and driving rain; if the weather is not good, you won't want to be tooling around the countryside much, in which case a car would be a waste.

You might get a better sense of the area your son is living in my staying put in Rennes and visiting the very fine regional museum and the vieille ville/old town.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2013, 09:28 PM
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that should be "by" staying, not "my".
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Thanks klondike. I think he'll be glad to show us Rennes and we can always take the bus to MSM if the weather is all right.
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