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Driving Paris to Bern: via A6 or A5 with stop at Vaux le Vicomte?

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Jan 17th, 2016, 09:32 PM
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Driving Paris to Bern: via A6 or A5 with stop at Vaux le Vicomte?

Traveling in July by rental car from Paris (Orly) to Bern.

1. Which route is better: A6 or A5 with a pit stop at the chateau Vaux le Vicomte? We are on kind of a tight schedule as it is (catching a train in Bern later that day), and Michelin says the A6 is a little shorter. However, does the A5 have less traffic and less tolls?

2. Is the chateau worth a quick stop? We will have 2 kids (9 and 11) with us, who have never seen a chateau. We will be seeing small castles in Switzerland (on Lake Thun), and a large castle in Germany (Neuschwanstein), as well as Nymphenburg Palace, later in the trip.

3. Also- anyone have an idea how long the drive is from Paris Orly to Bern? Michelin says 6 hrs., 45 mins. My iphone says 5 hrs., 43 mins. Another site says 6 hrs., 15 mins. I realize traffic plays a role, but that seems like a big discrepancy. We will be hitting the road about 8am on a Tuesday.

Thoughts?

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Jan 17th, 2016, 09:34 PM
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Sorry- I accidentally posted this twice, but didn't tag France the first time.
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Jan 17th, 2016, 11:33 PM
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Vaux le Vicomte is just fantastic.
I think it is Fouquet who had it built and it landed him in big trouble with the king, who was jealous of his castle.

July : if you travel on a friday or saturday when everybody goes south you may face huge traffic jams - other times : no prob.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 02:29 AM
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I always err on the side of caution, and perhaps you don't, but I would never, ever contemplate a drive that long with a train to catch at the other end. At least I wouldn't if I were on vacation.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 03:20 AM
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Also erring on the side of caution, are you renting a car with a trunk/boot big enough to hold ALL your luggage? And even then, break-ins are something to consider as all your valuables will be in the car.

Would you consider stopping overnight near VlV, unloading all your luggage at your accommodation, heading over to the chateau for an exploration, getting a good night's sleep and then heading out right after breakfast the next day, refreshed and energized. There is a nice B&B not far from Vaux le Vicomte: http://www.closerie-marottes.fr/ There are also several hotels in Fontainebleau (which would mean a little backtracking to get to VlV, but not much)

Are your train tix to Bern already purchased? If not, I suggest stopping overnight and heading to Bern next morning. If you're committed and can't change them, perhaps it's best to take the train to Bern instead of trying to drive several hours immediately after a transatlantic flight.

Sounds like you have a great family trip planned -- enjoy!
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:19 AM
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Whathello: we will be driving on a Tuesday.

St. Cirq: the train we need to catch is not at a certain time. I will have a BO regional pass, and so we can take any of the regional trains at any time, on to Interlaken. I agree, it's not ideal, but can't be changed.

Weisser Tee: we have rented a Citroen Grand Picasso so yes, it will be big enough. Also, we are traveling with small carry-on size suitcases (4 of them) so there will be plenty of room for luggage. Also, it will not be just after a transatlantic flight. We will have been in Paris 6 days- Orly is just the location where we have to pick up the rental car. So there will be no jet lag. I agree with you, that it would be nice to stay a night at a hotel near the chateau, but unfortunately our plans cannot be changed, as I already have a chalet rented for Tuesday night in Wengen. Now we can arrive at any time in Wengen (late arrival has been arranged), so we can take a later train from Bern at day 5 or 6pm if we have to. We are teturning the rental car in Bern, so only using it for the day. We are using trains from Bern to Wengen, but they are regional trains that can be used with our passes. As I said, not ideal and a lot of travel for one day, but it happened as a result of a change in plans. Also we live in Ohio, so we are used to traveling 9, 10, 11 or 12 hours in one day if needed. You can't get anywhere from Ohio unless you drive all day
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:20 AM
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Does anyone have an opinion about the route? A5 vs. A6?
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:35 AM
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Is there a reason for driving rather than taking the train from Paris?
I would have thought the cost of fuel, tolls, and the possible one way drop off fee made this an expensive option.

I'd reckon on at least 6 hours, and probably choose the A6 for the trip.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:38 AM
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Hit the wrong button.

Actually I wouldn't choose an A road at all if it were me driving, and would allow another day to enjoy the scenery.

Also there is nothing more galling in France than driving at 130km/h on the motorway and watching the TGV whoosh by!
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:39 AM
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Oh gosh, can you cancel your rental??

It will be (much) faster going by train from Paris to Bern -- just 4h01 with 1 change (Basel).

If you have to get from Paris to Orly, then rent the car, then drive 5h45 or 6h, then that's certainly the slow way to do it. It would be so much easier and quicker to just take the train.

If you can cancel the car, I'd certainly do it.

s
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:47 AM
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You can get very precise directions from www.viamichelin.com which says to take the A5. It also says that the drive will take more than 8 hours without counting of course the length of time you stop at Vaux-le-Vicomte.

You have added an extra annoyance and expense to your trip by renting a car at Orly. It is very easy to drive out of Paris directly, particularly if you pick up the car at one of the main train stations. If you have to go to Orly, you have already lost two hours out of the day in view of the masses of people at the car rental counters at the airports.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:54 AM
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Hetismij2 and Swanda: you are both right. It would be easier, quicker and cheaper (but not by much) to take the TGV. The train was my original plan.

But for peace of mind, and in light of recent terrorist threats to train stations (as recent as New Years Eve), and the fact that trains have no security really, I've decided to avoid all trains and subways in France and Germany. I know you will think I'm being ridiculous and I'll be inundated with criticism. But.. After seeing the recent threat to Munich hauptbahnof on New Year's Eve, I've made up my mind. I'm a mother of 2 young girls. If my kids were grown and they were not with me on the trip, I would take the train without a doubt. But for now, I will do anything I can to help keep them safe. Of course there are no guarantees in life (and yes I know driving is also dangerous), but for now, ISIS is not threatening the rural highways. So we are driving to Switzerland.

So thank you all for your input! Looks like the A6 might be best. Still trying to decide if it's worth a 2 hour stop at the chateau along the way.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 05:58 AM
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Kerouac- we have to get the car at Orly because that's where Hertz is, which has the lowest international drop off fee. The fees from other companies are 3 times as much. There is no Hertz at the train stations. At least not a Hertz that can be taken to Switzerland. I've checked.

And Michelin tells me 6 hours 45 mins via the A6. Not sure why it's telling you differently.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 08:04 AM
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Why should we criticize your choice ?

(I did a lengthy criticism on exactly that topic which was prompted by the fact that I considered the post racist and globally stupid, so I'd like to comment on your post)

Here, you analyzed and came with your conclusion, without inferring that France or ... is unsafe, simply you are not confortable with the situation. That is a perfectly acceptable point of view. Not the one I'd make but not everybody is the same.

Highways in France are super easy - we do 10 hours travel time quite often and without stopping for long, we usually make it in 12 hours, inc pitstop, one stop to eat, etc and respecting the speedlimits (on days such as a tuesdays). We did once in 9 hours and some but I got some criticism when I hit 230 km/h. Quite deserved actually.

Enjoy your holiday !

Ps : Yes, I'd pick the rental close to the hotel you're in.
It is a myth that Paris is 'undrivable'. It is actually quite easy, nothing to compare to Rome or even to the congested Bruxelles. You'll drive 5-10 min before being on the périphérique.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 08:12 AM
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Thank you, Whathello
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Jan 18th, 2016, 08:13 AM
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With a longer journey like that, there can be many delays along the route. Leaving at 8 am puts you into rush hour traffic. Will you be driving into the center of Bern, again in rush hour traffic? It's July, plenty of holiday traffic on some roads (though less so during the week). There may be queues at the toll booths, or at the border with Switzerland. Are there two of you driving so you can take turns, or do you take a break every two hours? It all makes a difference to the time it will take.
Does Hertz arrange the vignette for Switzerland? If you don't have one you'll have to get it at the border (or order in advance).

If you absolutely have to be in Bern at a certain time on that day, I would skip VlV.

Driving is still more dangerous than the train, but it's your trip. Keep an eye on the speed limit...
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Jan 18th, 2016, 08:14 AM
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Statistically, the most dangerous thing to do in Europe is a car ride.
And who told you that Swiss trains are safer than French one's?
Trains to Wengen leave Bern every 30 min until 19.04 and then every hr until 22.04. But the Hertz agency at Casinoplatz closes at 6pm!
Count with traffic jams on all motorways leading from Paris to the South between July 8th and 18th (with peaks on Friday 15th). On these days, I would rather choose the A5, on normal days the A6.
Count at least 7 hrs, plus the time you need for intermediate stops.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 08:37 AM
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Statistics are useless when it come to single persons.

Statistically if you get a breastcancer, you survive in 80%+ of the time. I'm still waiting to see somebody 80% cured.

If I don't like the train, I take the car and take the risk associated.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 09:36 AM
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I'm still wondering why someone would still take the A6 when ViaMichelin says to take the A5. If anybody knows about driving in Europe, Michelin does. The A5 is cheaper and has much less traffic than the A6.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 10:08 AM
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Tulips- there will be 2 of us to drive if needed, but my husband likes to drive the whole way. We won't be taking rest stops other than probably 1 quick restroom break/food break. I'm not sure about the vignettes, I'll have to ask Hertz when we pick up the car.

Neckervd- no one told me Swiss trains are safer than French trains. It's just my feeling that major city train stations and high speed trains appear to be the targets lately. I feel more comfortable on regional Swiss trains traveling to small mountain towns. You make a good point about the Hertz dealer in Bern closing at 6pm. Forgot about that. In which case I will probably skip the chateau to be on the safe side. If you think the A5 will have less traffic then maybe that is best?
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