change of itinerary.........help

Old Apr 7th, 2021, 03:39 PM
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One can only learn by asking.
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 04:38 PM
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rmoore926, I too prefer your first journey suggestion, because I think it would be less wearing to get back to Paris at the end of your trip than to have to go back to Amsterdam. I also think getting rid of the car before Paris might be a good idea as traffic near the airport is horrendous, but there might be other constraints on that (for example, dropping at the airport might be a lot more cost-effective), so you might think to look into that by playing with the car hire website. I don't know Tours at all so can't comment on that part of your journey, but otherwise I like the look of your trip.

Good luck!

Lavandula
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rmoore926 View Post
. . . Thinking of a couple possible routes.....fly into London train to Amstredam, train to Tours (pick up car), drive to Loire, drive to Brittany/Dinan, drive to Bayeux, drop car and train to Paris, fly home from Paris. OR fly to London train to Bayeux via Paris (pick up car in Caen perhaps), drive to Dinan, drive to Loire, drop car, train to Paris, train to Amsterdam, fly home from Amsterdam. Your thoughts?

Thanks
Those are both decent itineraries -- Me personally I'd lean towards the first option. But actually, I'd work out my ultimate itinerary based on which city pair provides the best open jaw airfare - either London, Amsterdam, or Paris could each work as arrival and departure city.

Renting a car could be a major concern/hiccup. The rental landscape has experienced a sea change - just about everywhere world wide. Rental companies have gone out of business, rates have exploded, and agencies are carrying much smaller fleets.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 07:22 AM
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Thank you all for the suggestions.

RE car rental: I understand that things have changed over the past year, and no one really knows what they will be like when we travel in summer 2022. We thought it might be a better way to travel and see some of the French countryside as we travel from one location to another. Also, it would give us a little more freedom not having to rely on trains all the time.

RE itinerary: I think cost of flights may also help determine which route we take. Just was asking if all things being equal which route people thought was best. Thanks

tomboy - I have traveled to Europe as a 21 yo, a 24 yo, a 27 yo, and a 28 yo. Even though I was college aged the first couple of trips we mostly stuck to major attractions/cities. Not a partying type trip. We visited lots of museums, churches, and sites (Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Spanish Royal palace, etc). I understand that by sticking to major cities we will miss the beauty and sites of "rural" France. Southern France isn't really part of our itinerary. Just like in almost any country there is much more to see than what's in the "big cities", but we want to see the museums, churches, and attractions that are of interest to us. My wife is an English teacher and she wants to visit sites that are connected to some authors (Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Chaucer), my youngest wants to visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh is one of my favorite museums that I would like to share with my daughters, we want to take a tour of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, see the chateaux in the Loire (which I've heard from a few people only need a few days - so we may cut time here, thanks for the suggestion), and in Paris the museums, and major attractions that most people want to see. As I mentioned we may take a day trip or two while in Paris.

As this was mostly an itinerary question I did not post all our interestes. I see how our interests may help you all in your suggestions. I hope that clears things up a bit. The last time we were in Europe was 2003 (just my wife and myself). It was a bit easier to get around with just the two of us, but now with the family in tow, I feel a bit more of a responsibility to plan and prganize more ahead of time instead of just wing it once we're there. We plan on renting apartments as much as possible so we can keep food costs down. Eating out for four here at home is so much more expensive than making a meal on our own. Of course we'll go out to eat, but we can't do that for three meals a day. If we do it will obviously cut into our budget. We'd all prefer to make some meals and stay for a longer period of time. I hope that helps explain a little more of who we are and what we want to see. Thanks again for the continued help and suggestions.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 07:32 AM
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My DH and I were fine with the 3 chateaux we saw on a day trip from Paris but friends who drove and saw more really enjoyed it. It's so nice to have the internet for quick looking. Again, I'll be excited to read your trip report.....have to wait until 2022 though. You can search by subject on Fodor's in case you haven't explored that aspect. If you click on a poster's name, you can see what trip reports they have written.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 09:16 AM
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We spent a week in the Loire in September 2017 and found plenty to do and see. We saw only three chateaux and the gardens of the fourth. Visited several of the beaux villages in the area, rented bikes and spent a couple of days biking along the river. And of course did tastings at wine coops, so it wasn’t only about châteaux!

We too prefer to rent apartments, especially on family trips. More space to spread out, we also enjoy buying fresh produce from the local markets and cook simple meals. I love the fresh pasta you find at all grocery stores, easy to rustle up a hearty meal with a can of tomatoes and some herbs and cheese.

Most everywhere you’ll find a fixed price three course lunch menu, extremely good value for money. You’ll also get a wide selection at the boulangeries, easy to pick up for a picnic on your trips. Excellent cheeses and breads, not to mention the croissants and pain au chocolat!



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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 09:42 AM
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TDudette - Can you give me the name of the company you used for the day trip to teh chateaux? If that's mostly why we're going, it might be worth it to do a guided tour and use those days elsewhere. At least it'll give us something to think about.

geetika - if we stay in the Loire for more than a few days we may look into some wine tasting or bike or kayak tours as well. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 10:27 AM
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Just speaking about France, I think with four people car rental will be cheaper than train travel. With a car, you can see more of the countryside, which for us is the real draw of France. If you rent in another country you may have hefty drop-off fees. I know you'll be doing the math.

I never understand the idea that you lose half a day each time you move to a different location. Maybe that's true by train--you have to get to the train station early and wait, and then at the new location you have to orient yourself and get to your lodging on foot or by taxi. You're always lugging, or keeping an eye on, your luggage. But with a car nearly all of your drive can be enjoyable. You put your luggage in the trunk, leave at the time you want to, take the scenic route you've chosen, maybe make a short detour to a Most Beautiful Village or a site with a special view. You can stop for lunch, which might be a sit-down meal in a white tablecloth restaurant or a baguette sandwich bought at a boulangerie and eaten somewhere shady or sunny, or try a low-cost restaurant where the white van guys eat lunch.

I think Heathrow has one of the highest airport departure taxes, so it would be better to fly into Heathrow and start your trip in London.

The Loire Valley is more than chateaux. There are several Most Beautiful Villages there--Montresor, Candes Saint Martin and adjacent Montsoreau, and Crissay sur Manse. There's Fontevraud abbey where Richard the Lionheart is buried. The Indre river is much prettier than the Loire and the D17 stays close to it. Each village seems to have its own mill. All the bridges are decked with flower boxes. The scenic town of Loches has a street market two days a week. Chedigny is my favorite village in France because of its flowers. It's the only village that is a Jardin Remarquable in France.

B&Bs (chambres d'hotes) are reasonably priced, especially the ones in the countryside, and the price includes breakfast. Just about every one where we've stayed has had a place to heat up food and a table to eat your dinner at. The gitesdefrance.com website lists both B&Bs and gites and can give you an idea of what's where. B&Bs are rented by the night, but what's called a gite is a self-contained unit rented by the week, usually Saturday to Saturday. Airbnb is another option outside of major cities (see discussion about Airbnb Paris).

Of course nobody knows what will be on offer that far in the future.

Planning the next trip is its own kind of fun, not as great as taking the trip or remembering it, but it's still so much fun that we Fodorites even like to help other people plan their trips. As TDudette says, come back and tell us all about it. We all love a good trip report.





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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 11:06 AM
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" . . .I never understand the idea that you lose half a day each time you move to a different location. Maybe that's true by train--you have to get to the train station early and wait, and then at the new location you have to orient yourself and get to your lodging on foot or by taxi. You're always lugging, or keeping an eye on, your luggage. But with a car nearly all of your drive can be enjoyable. You put your luggage in the trunk, . . ."

By losing half a day we mean one loses half a day (or often a full day) from the city they are heading to next. Sure - the journey is part of the fun, BUT if one is thinking they have three days in say Bayeux, they won't if they take 5 or 6 hours to get there. Plus it is not a good idea to leave anything in a car just about ever -- I know we all have done it at one time or another but as a practice its a terrible idea. Generally, if the next destination is a city center - a train will usually be faster, safer, and more efficient.

The warning is just to make sure one is including travel time/logitics into their calculations - that's all.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 11:33 AM
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Try
https://www.pariscityvision.com
for day trips from Paris. We saw Chenonceau, Cheverny**, and Chambord. We also went to Bruges with the same company. I went to Giverny and Bayeux by myself on the train. DH and I visited Versailles and Chartres by train.
Everyone has different comfort levels. I like a combination of DIY and tours. Schlepping for tickets and parking can get tiresome.

**Still owned by the original family! Don't miss their hunting pups.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 01:51 PM
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Coquelicot - I'm glad you said that about the chateaux of the Loire because it's exactly our experience too. Our very first was the chateau at Angers which turned out to have the most amazing tapestry and garden, and then making our base in Saumur we saw Chenonceau, Villandry, Fontevraud and Candes Saint Martin. Another time we stayed in Amboise and explored the eastern end of the Loire. Both times we had our teenage kids with us and if they weren't enjoying themselves they kept very quiet about it. [unlikely].
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 02:36 PM
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When we lived in Germany we once had a long weekend in the Loire Valley - we based in Pouilly-sur-Loire where there was amazing food, and we chose the destination for our weekend away purely by a hotel we found in a hotel guide, not because of the region. However it was a very interesting trip. We visited Nevers where you can see the mummified body of Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, and also drove to Auxerres and Dijon. I don't think you need to make this a chateaux trip. There is plenty to do just seeing the scenery, visiting markets and brocantes, second-hand shops, the cafés and restaurants (we had a five-course meal, if I remember correctly) and of course wineries. Granted we filled only three days with this but we didn't do any historical buildings that time apart from the church where Bernadette was. I do remember a blackened burnt-out church that had been there for some hundreds of years but don't remember where that one was. Seeing Bernadette was very interesting because she is/was a tiny woman, very frail in stature and coated in wax so her skin still looks good. As we were about to leave, a bus of Polish tourists came and for them she clearly had great significance by their veneration of her. I felt a bit sorry for her because they all desperately wanted something from this tiny woman, who looked like she might have needed the hug or the arm round her shoulders, not the people in the tour group. Dijon was also a good stop. We visited on a Sunday so there were mostly only restaurants and some tourist shops open (Maille mustard shop was open, but we bought our own mustard from a market on the way home). Lovely rooves in Dijon! And of course there are just the serendipitous events on the way - when we were driving to Pouilly we were caught in this most remarkable hailstorm that left huge piles of hailstones like snowdrifts along the sides of the road. We had to pull in under a tree so that our windscreen was not smashed in. You don't have to plan everything to the hilt, interesting things will just find you!

Lavandula
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 05:39 PM
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So true, Lavandula. There always seems to be at least one special thing that no guidebook could predict. Sometimes those are the most memorable things from a trip. Sometimes it's the small things like watching the garbage pickup in small villages, just because it's so different from home. Or the guy who saw us peeking into his big walled garden who invited us in and showed us what he was growing. He explained how to cook black radishes and so a few nights later black radishes and potatoes were part of our dinner.

On the other end of the scale, we'll never forget the dead monk in the chapel the night we went to vespers.

When we talk about the chateaux of the Loire it's usually the ones farther down the Loire around Tours. Dijon and Auxerre are way up the Loire river.

annhig, what's the name of the place your kids loved that was like an amusement park. At least I think it was your family. Could it be Puy du Fou? Would you recommend that for the rmoore family? It sure sounded good to me.

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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Coquelicot View Post
Or the guy who saw us peeking into his big walled garden who invited us in and showed us what he was growing. He explained how to cook black radishes and so a few nights later black radishes and potatoes were part of our dinner..
Is this salsifis? I have cooked it once, but it's so sticky it made a mess of the glass lid of my saucepan. I definitely don't have the knack!

Lavandula
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 10:53 AM
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Lavenula, in the UK we use the italian name for it, scorzonera.

I was taught to peel it under water, which helps.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 02:32 PM
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I still think a car rental makes sense even at $40 a day basic rate for a Renault Mégane Wagon according to Autoeurope as the broker and Sixt as the rental agency. The OP must be strict about luggage size and try to figure out if it will work. The information given by Autoeurope is not very clear. For example, it claims that a Renault Captur can hold only 2 medium size suitcase and one small suitcase; yet three of us traveled in a Renault Captur and it held one 25"and rwo 22"suitcases, as pictured here:


I am using this as an example. The trunk is definitely too small for 4 suitcases (I assume one suitcase per traveler). Stopping to see sights is unavoidable in my opinion. The OP might want to invest in a couple of ski chains to loop through the handles as a deterrent against potential theft.

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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 05:52 PM
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I just wanted to add a word about car rentals. First of all, it's easier and cheaper to get a manual shift car. People don't drive automatics much in Europe. The friend who made the trip with me to Normandy drives a rented car in France every summer. However, the one we got this time was different. It took the two of us almost an hour to figure out how to get the car into reverse- because with whatever kind of car we had, we had to pull UP on the stick before moving it! And if you''ve got 4 people with luggage, you're really going to need to rent a mini van- we had a Picasso last time I was traveling with 4 people, and I still ended up riding from Nice to Avignon with a carry on bag and several plastic bags under my knees!
Also, there's more to see in the Loire than the Chateaux. Look up the Puy du Fou. And watch the show "Escape to the Chateau" on HGTV.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 11:19 PM
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Why would you be taking so much stuff on holiday? If you book an apartment just stick your clothes in a wash.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 07:28 AM
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Hello again,

Thnaks for the help and suggestions. I too have found that some of the most memorable events from travel are the things you didn't plan for, the people you meet, etc. We'll explore our options besides chateaux in the Loire - thanks. RE cars and packing.......I haven't driven a manual transmission in over 20 years! Might have to practice. On my other trips to Europe I have never driven, so this will be a new experience for me. I don't plan on driving in the big cities. For that we'll use the metro/buses, etc. I'm a pretty light packer. The rest of the group - not always. One of the other perks, besides making meals, of an appartment will be to have laundry facilities available. Hopefully that will keep the luggage down to a minimum.

I really do appreciate all the help and advice given here. It's given me a lot to consider.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 08:00 AM
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rmoore, French clothes washers are the subject of much angst for travelers. We had only one experience with a home-style washer in France and that was enough. The washer held much less than we're used to in the US and the process took much much much longer. Like hours. Also, there were no instructions and nobody to ask.

Now we prefer laundromats (laveries) since commercial washers and driers work the same as in the US. However, not all laveries are self-service. There are places where you leave your dirty clothes with them and come back when they tell you your laundry will be ready.

Other people with apartment experience will probably chime in here, hopefully in a reassuring way. Anyway, I suggest you read up on it.

This article gave me a happy chuckle. It's been so long since I was in France that I'll even read about doing laundry.

https://myparttimeparislife.com/2018...use-in-french/

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