Day Trips from Paris

Dec 5th, 2001, 01:20 PM
  #1  
Rose
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Day Trips from Paris

Would like to take a day trip from Paris to Normandy-another day to Vineyards- Another day to Provence-is this possible time wise. We have 7 nights in Paris? Thanks for any advice. Rose
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 02:59 PM
  #2  
Al Godon
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I have some advice. Devote a little time to what is inside Paris!!
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 03:16 PM
  #3  
Christina
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Well, yes, it's possible if you don't want to spend that much time in those places and if you are broad in what you call "Provence" or "vineyards". Anyway, I don't tell people not to do what they want as I figure it's their business, who knows, maybe you've been to Paris 10 times or don't like big cities that much, it's your vacation. Ok, first, what do you really mean by Normandy? Normandy is a region that covers a big area and has some small towns that many visit on day trips (ie, Rouen, Giverny where Monet's house and gardens are). Is that what you mean, you just want to go to Normandy? Those places won't really give you a taste of the Normandy countryside, though. If you really mean you want to do some WWIII D-Day beaches tour (which is what most people mean when they say that), you can do it, it will be rushed, but many do it and enjoy it--I'd recommend you book a standard 1-day tour through Parisvision or Cityrama, they do that. Vineyards are harder as you kind of need the rural thing and a car to view vinehards real well, but you can certainly get to some areas that have vineyards in a few hrs from Paris if you wish. However, usually that means doing stuff in town if you go to/from by train (suggestions: Beaune or Epernay/Reims which are on rail lines, Chablis area is close and doable but has no rail station). As for Provence, the TGV to Avignon takes only about 3:15, so you can go down, see that city for all afternoon and return -- but, you won't see the countryside so won't get a big feeling for Provence, but Avignon is different from northern cities. You could probably get to Aix for a day trip as it's not much farther than Avignon on the TGV line. I think that is the least do-able of your ideas to get much out of it. If you like riding on trains and have a strong desire to see Avignon or Aix, sure, go ahead but don't expect it to be like a Peter Mayles' experience. I limit myself to 2 hr train trips one-way for day trips (2-1/2 if really the only way to do it due to slow train). Actually the Loire Valley and chateaux would be a more do-able day trip than Provence.
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 03:40 PM
  #4  
Pat
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I would concentrate on Paris. Some easy day trips or half day trips are the Cathedral at Chartres, Versailles, the Chateau country. I was just there and didn't have time to make a trip to (excuse the spelling) Vaux de Vicomte - it sounded spectacular!. If you go on Saturday evening with a tour, the chateax is lighted with a thousand candles, you tour the gardens with music, part of the chateaux and the stables. I think dinner is included. It costs about $100 US but it sounded wonderful. Book it ahead. We couldn't get in.
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 04:19 PM
  #5  
Howard
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Pat, how can I find out more information about that Saturday evening trip to Vaux-le-Vicomte?
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 05:08 PM
  #6  
Pat
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Howard
I found a link but it wouldn't "paste" on this web site. Try www. parisplus.com/parisnight_mar02.html.
they are an American distributor and you can buy your tickets there before you leave (for a surcharge of course). It is only run as a mini bus tour, so space is limited. I was really upset that I hadn't planned ahead and been able to make the trip. Please post if you go and find it worthwhile. Thanks
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 05:30 PM
  #7  
Bob Brown
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I think you will be favorably impressed with the beauty of Vaux le Vicomte. That is one place I so much want to see again.
Yeah, I know, Versailles, Fontainebleau, king, emperor, and all that. But Vaux hit me as being an wonderful example of the full integration of architectural design, interior development, and landscaping, thanks to Le Brun, Le Veau, and Le Notre. I don't know as I like the way the funds were raised, or the system that spawned such excess, but there is no denying the success of the creation.
It is a captivating place to visit.
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 05:45 PM
  #8  
ron
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The web site for the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte is: www.vaux-le-vicomte.com
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 06:13 PM
  #9  
Howard
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Pat, thanks for the info. I'll check out the website. Our 2-week trip to Paris isn't until May (153 days to be exact!) I'll certainly report back if we go.
And Bob, it's thanks to your frequent acts of waxing eloquent about Vaux-le-Compte that has piqued my enthusiasm about visiting the chateau.
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 06:47 PM
  #10  
Bob Brown
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RE: my carrying on about Vaux le Vicomte.

I did like the place. What I say is how I feel. It is a matter of taste and perferences.

Sort of like music, I am sure some people cannot stand what I love.

But I tried to dismiss the circumstances of the financing and concentrate on the artistic achievements that I saw in the blending of architecture, decorating (painting), and landscaping.

I hope you can go up in the dome.
I was able to, and it was a treat.
I could not help but marvel at the techniques required to build it before we had modern construction equipment.
 
Dec 5th, 2001, 10:30 PM
  #11  
Randy
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Rose:

You have 7 days in Paris and are considering 3 day trips out of the city. I would not recommend it. Calculate the travel time and I think you will find that you will be using a day or more just going and coming to these other locations. I would take one day trip and spend the balance of the time in or very close to Paris. I spent 14 days in Paris in 2000 and still did not see all I wanted to see. If you have been to Paris before and already have seen much of the city, then I could understand taking more day trips.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 11:01 AM
  #12  
Howard
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Bob, one more Vaux-le-Vicomte question: Am I correct that the best way to get out there is the 30-minute train ride from Gare de Lyon to Melun and then take a cab? Or is it better to take the RER D from Catelet? Or is there another way? We're staying in the 7th Arr.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 11:42 AM
  #13  
Bob Brown
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I took a tour when I went, one of those day tours that was worth it.
We had an excellent guide. My only dislike was that did not have enough time at either place. The tour sandwiched in a worthless stop at Barbizon that served no purpose as near as I could tell. It just took time away from the two best places; Vaux and Fontainebleau.
I think from 7 arr it is a toss up as to which way you go.
Gare de Lyon is not easy to reach on the Metro; you need at least one change of trains.
When I have gone to Gare de Lyon, I was leaving Paris, so we took a taxi rather than fight with our luggage on the Metro. It depends on where you are in the 7th. If you are in the area of Ecole Militaire, you can go with Line 8 to Concord and change to Line 1 that goes to both. Chatelet is a huge place that I get lost in. Gare de Lyon is a little better.
Based on my experience, I would go to Melun and take the taxi so I would have as much time there as I wanted.
I don't really know which is better in terms of taking the RER or the local train.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 02:00 PM
  #14  
Howard
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Bob, thank you very, very much. I'll store your information for use when we go in May. Now, we have the dilemma--or a wealth of riches--about which day trips to take during our 14 days in Paris. There are four that interest us very much--Vaux-de-Vicomte, Versailles, Chartres and Giverney--but only want to take three day trips during our stay.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 02:26 PM
  #15  
Delores
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I too, have wondered about day trips from Paris. Am I right in suspecting we might be paying more for a room in Paris from which we would take day trips, than if we actually booked a room in Giverny for a night, then on to the Normandy beaches and booked a room there, etc?
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 03:00 PM
  #16  
Bob Brown
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I have seen some canned day tours that go to both Versailles and Giverny.
I am going to ruffle quite a few feathers with this comment about Giverny.
Personally, I would rate it last of the items on your list. The gardens are OK, but they are not the greatest gardens I have ever seen. True, they are where Monet got his inspiration.
And some people regard them as holy ground.
I like Monet's paintings, and I admit that his gardens for some are extra special. I suppose it depends on what you want to see, and where you place your priorities.

It is a good question.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 03:35 PM
  #17  
Christina
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Re the 4 day trip priority -- I think this really depends on your personal interests. For example, Bob put Giverny last. I personally am going to be even more of an iconoclast and put Chartres last. Why? Well, sure the windows are pretty and it's well known, but that's the only thing there I found worth seeing and there are plenty of cathedrals and pretty stained glass in Paris, so if time is tight, I would not spend a day going to Chartres. I really liked Giverny because I thought the gardens were beautiful and because I liked seeing the places he painted (I like Monet, but am not obsessive about him); also, this is my personal "thing", but I am especially fond of visiting original homes of various famous people (writer, musicians and painters), so that is why that is top of my list. Logically, I guess you would knock of one of the chateaux if you were trying to avoid duplication of type of things to visit, but I think the decision should be based on what gets you excited. If none of these are of unusual interest to you, I'd take off one of the chateaux.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 03:43 PM
  #18  
Christina
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As for the other question someone asked about staying in the suburbs and packing up and moving all the time to see new tourist sites-- I think that is a very bad idea. Yes, hotels are cheaper in cities outside Paris (although not necessarily in some places like Versailles), on average. However, there is not much choice of hotels in many of these places, so I'm sure you can find a place just as cheap in Paris, with less effort and more choice, if you want as there are tons of hotels in Paris of all price levels. Aside from that, you would be spending hours every day packing up, checking out, moving, checking in, unpacking. It doesn't make sense or appeal to me, but perhaps you have some different methods. Also, where would be the ultimate destination and goal? Most people fly out of Paris, so you'd have to come back. Giverny (really Vernon is the town) is very small, so I doubt if there are many hotels there, for example; also you'd be paying for transportation in-between these places which are not a hub like Paris. I just can't imagine wanting to move hotels just to sightsee at various places. Also, you are perhaps a diff. kind of travelers, but even if you are in a city only 5 days or so, there is some efficiency and comfort in figuring out how good the cafe next door is, where's the ATM, etc.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 04:23 PM
  #19  
Sally
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We have often planned a ten day trip flying into CDG, then we rent a car or take a train and get over jet lag in Senlis or Chartres, and go to Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, or Loire Valley, etc. and then end the trip with three days in Paris. That is somtimes as long as we want to spend in a large city. There is certainly plenty to do in Paris, but the country side or lovely small towns need more than just a day trip from Paris. We have gone to Vaux-le - Vicomte, Versailles, and Giverny as day trips from Paris , but we preferred seeing them as part of a planned driving or train trip. Several times we have really enjoyed spending the night at Chartres. Maybe it is not as efficient to do that, but it is very pleasant to visit the areas outside Paris in a more in depth way than you can with a day trip.
While Paris is wonderful, it is not as relaxing and charming as many of the nearby small towns are.
 
Dec 6th, 2001, 04:24 PM
  #20  
Howard
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Bob and Christina, thanks very much. You've both made good points. You're helping us crystalize our thinking. Oh well, we've got six months to decide. Isn't is great when one is facing a can't lose situation no matter what the final decision is?
 

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