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Driving from Colmar to Normandy in January

Driving from Colmar to Normandy in January

Sep 10th, 2019, 04:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 51
Driving from Colmar to Normandy in January

Hello, I am looking for some tips for possible car travel from Colmar to Normandy in January. It looks as though it is about an 8 hour trip. I am still trying to decide of the train would be better although I would need a car when arriving in Normandy. The paln is to visit Normandy and also I would need to stop at the Brittany American Cemetery in Saint James, Normandy. I would plan on staying in Normandy for the 1 night then returning to Colmar. Is there an interesting place to stop maybe half way through? Any info would be appreciated. I live in the US and this would be my first time traveling by car through France. Thank you.
bythecee521 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2019, 09:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,056
That's a long drive, I'd be inclined to take trains instead. If you book ahead you can get some good discounts. Check this website, lots of good info on trains, tickets, tips etc : https://www.seat61.com/

We were in Strasbourg and Colmar one year in late December and it was around minus five during the day, with frozen water fountains. Maybe it was unusual for that time of year but I'd still consider there may be snow or ice on your journey which is another reason to take the train.

Can you have more time in Normandy, instead of just one night? Where are you flying in and out of? Can you travel from Normandy back to Paris, then fly home, instead of travelling all the way back to Colmar? Or fly into Basel, out of Paris?

KayF is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,148
That sounds like no fun at all, especially since weather could be dreadful and you've never driven in France. And generally speaking a one-day car rental costs as much as a three-day rental, and then there are tolls and fuel.

But taking the train won't be much fun, either. The best connection you can get AFAIK is from Colmar to Paris, then Paris to Rennes, about a 6 1/4-hour trip (there are other ways to do it, but they involve two train changes). Then you've got to pick up a car and drive to Saint-James. And do the reverse the next day. How are you even going to manage to "visit Normandy?" You will be in transit the entire time.

You can fly from Strasbourg to Rennes, but that gets costly, especially for only one night, and you'd have at least one connection (and have to get to the Strasbourg airport). And there are buses from Colmar to Rennes, but the journey averages about 14 hours.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 02:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,103
Take the train and rent a car locally.

Places interesting along the way, yep, castles, Roman ruins, glass factories and wineries. But what I find interesting over a broad area in June may not be what you find interesting in January,
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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If you like driving, it will always be interesting, but it is quite a long drive and some of the scenery in January can be dreary. What would seem intolerable to me, though, would be having to drive back to Colmar. A one way trip is fine, but a return to the same place is awful.

Of course, if you take the train, I presume that you understand that the only intelligent way to go is through Paris.
kerouac is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,697
yeah, I agree, one way might be tolerable, but not both which sounds dreadful. I don't even undersatnd the logic, why would you want to return to Colmar.

A one day car rental is expensive but a 3 day rental should cost more, I've never seen them the same. It's not that bad, one day could be US$75 and 3 days about $100.

I really would plan this for a different time of year, myself, if at all possible.

driving from Saint James which is near Mont St Michel to Colmar on the autoroutes takes you through Paris, more or less, at least just skirting it to the south. If you really do this, you could stop over in Troyes, it's about 5 hrs from St James.
Christina is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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A 3-day rental through AutoEurope generally comes with unlimited mileage (for non residents of France) and can cost only about 100 euros if you choose the smallest manual drive vehicle. But fuel costs and tolls will cost quite a bit more than the rental rate. You have to count about 1.50 euros per liter of unleaded 95 at the moment.

www.viamichelin.com will give you precise toll and mileage information, and you will probably be shocked by the verdict.

Okay, I looked and viamichelin gives three possible itineraries -- on the A5+A13, it is 120.66 in 8h41. On the A4+A13 it is 111.65 in 9h05. On the A6+A13 it is 144.47 in 8h17. One way, of course.
kerouac is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,643
I don't get it. Are you planning this round-trip over two days with a single night in Normandy?

The one-way drive from Colmar to St. James would likely take close to 10 hours, assuming you make pit stops and have lunch. Sunset will be at about 5:30 p.m., and the Brittany American Cemetery closes at 5:00 p.m. in winter. Presumably, for all the effort, you'd want to spend some time there, so you'd have to arrive at the cemetery at, say, 4:00 p.m. or be there when it opens at 8:00 a.m. which would delay your return drive.
Jean is online now  
Sep 12th, 2019, 06:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 51
Okay. So more time consuming that I imagined. Driving not a great idea. Take the train and rent a car locally. Need to stay over in Normandy area to make it worth while. Change itinerary to be able fly home out of Paris instead of going all the way back to Colmar. Of course I would prefer visiting at a different time of year but I can not change the time of travel as we have a commitment in Colmar at that time. Thank you everyone for your responses. They have all been helpful.
bythecee521 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,770
Yes, fly out of Paris to go home, wherever home is.
kerouac is offline  
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