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Excited! off to Bruges, Normandy, Brittany, Loire, suggestions, ideas


Aug 2nd, 2012, 04:30 PM
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Excited! off to Bruges, Normandy, Brittany, Loire, suggestions, ideas

Have done lots of reading and planning so now looking for extra comments and suggestions from the well travelled folk at Fodors.

Accommodations have been booked. Our itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 Mon Early morning Eurostar train from London to Brussels. Leave bags in lockers at train station. Day around Brussels. Late train to Bruges, o/night
Day 2 Tues O/night Bruges (maybe bike to Damm, day 2 or 3)
Day 3 Wed O/night Bruges (market day?)
Day 4 Thur O/night Ypres – booked a 4hr Battlefields tour
Day 5 Fri O/night Arras, France
Day 6 Sat O/night Honfluer (market day in Arras? Will collect rental car in Arras and drive through the Somme area)
Day 7 Sun O/night Bayeux (mainly spend day around Honfluer area)
Day 8 Mon Wish list for this area. D Day beaches, Caen Museum, Bayeux Tapestry, Cider trail drive)
Day 9 Tue O/night Bayeux
Day 10 Wed O/night Bayeux
Day 11 Thur O/night Mont Saint Michel
Day 12 Fri O/night Dinan
Day 13 Sat O/night Dinan
Day 14 Sun O/night Loches plan to enjoy Chateau,wine & countryside, suggestions
Day 15 Mon O/night Loches
Day 16 Tues O/night Loches
Day 17 Wed O/night Loches
Day 18 Thur O/night Paris, early morning drop off car at Tours TGV back to Paris.
Day 19 Fri O/night Paris. Love Paris, but have visited twice before in the last 3 years. So just a couple of nights here this time, sadly. But time for a wander and good food.

So excited to be touring these areas and as mentioned before, I have read lots of books and articles but any suggestions of places and things not to be missed would be most appreciated, places to eat, special experiences. All ideas welcome!!
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 05:08 PM
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You are hardly touching Brittany. I would try to at least see the Golfe de Morbihan area with its alignement de Carnac. I would cut out one night in Dinan (Day 13) and one night in Bayeux (day 10). You may want to take a look at this trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ummer-2009.cfm and the one that starts in Ghent; click on my name to find it.
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for your reply Michael.

I have had a look at your reports, thank you for the link. My husband is not a fan of 1 night stays and so I have tried to limit them. Yes we realise that we are hardly touching Brittany but we had to sacrifice it for the Loire. As it worked better for our plans.

But there is always next time!
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Too much times in Loches - why? Great place, but not for 3 nights. I would always sacrifice the Loire for Brittany. Once you've seen a couple of castles and maybe Angers, it's time to move on - there are far more beautiful places in France than the Loire.
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for your reply StCirq.

Loches is at the end of a 5 week holiday. We thought that it might be nice to slow the pace here. I tossed up the 4 nights here. Should we lose one and add it to Brittany or Paris. But in the end we stayed with the Loches plan. Maybe spend a day cycling, picnicing.

Oh course at this stage some of the bookings can be changed.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 12:29 AM
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Hi there aussie_10 just noticed this thread. We've done some of your trip, albeit on different trips. Loved Bruge, and we did cyle to Damm - beautiful. Loved Honfluer, make sure you have mussels & Frites by the water front. We also o'night in Mont St Michel, really enjoyed the walk. We loved the Liore valley area especially an amazing little place just outside Tours, Azay-le-Rideau our favourite French village.

When do you go? We are off to Europe for Xmas and I've 'snuck' in an o/night in Paris.........between London & Munich. We're catching the train so one night is fine, just to see this city one more time. Good luck with planning.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 01:51 AM
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We spent three nights in Loches last year and loved it! The town itself is charming with a great market I think 2 days a week. We spent our arrival day there. Then we spent 2 full days touring chateaux then headed out. I dont think 3 nights is too much!
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 02:12 AM
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Hi Aussiedreamer. I recall reading your trip to Bruges and surrounds and that you did the bike ride to Damm. My son also did the bike trip & loved it, so it has been on my list.
And of course we are looking forward to some moules & frites. Had some delicious ones in Paris last year and have read that the ones on the coast are especially good.
We ummed & arrhd about staying on Mont Saint Michel, but it too was on the list, so looking forward to it when the day trippers have departed.

Thanks for the recommendation for Azay-le-Rideau. I googled it and it does indeed look like a cute village. Its on the list!

We actually leave at the beginning of September. 11 days in ireland first and then back to London to see my son & his girlfriend who are living in London. Then off to Belgium on the 17th and back to London 3 weeks later. I did see that you are back of to Europe at the end of the year. Sounds great.

Looking forward to more suggestions from everyone.
Thanks in anticipation.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 02:58 AM
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One Aussie to another. It is sad when you have to make sacrifices but sounds like another great trip.

We were lucky enough to spend a week each in Normandy and Brittany earlier this year. There is some lovely countryside in Normandy. We visited Bayeux several years ago, so not this trip. We were more inland this time. Mont St Michel to Dinan is a short day, so take the opportunity to stop in at a couple of places e.g. Cancale and St Malo. Have some delicious fresh oysters on the seafront in Cancale [very cheap and a different experience] and walk the walls at St Malo - the views are wonderful. Dinan is lovely, but you could also drive along the coast to Cap Frehel on your full day and wander Dinan later in the afternoons. We had a gite about 15 mins south of Dinan and really enjoyed the countryside and coast. We easily did a day trip to MSM so you certainly have time that day.

I have read your report and hope this is another one in the offing. We can only manage it every couple of years and only got back from nine weeks in France at the end of May. So a long time to go before the next!!
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 03:58 AM
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Loches is on the Indre, a much more charming river than the Loire, and the area is much less busy. There's plenty to see in the area and the driving is enjoyable because there's less traffic than closer to the Loire and the roads are more scenic. We always stick to the green roads as much as we can. Loches makes a good base for the area, and I don't think three nights there is too much. One of France's Plus Beaux Villages, Montresor, is nearby, and there are some very pretty villages even though they aren't in the top 150 PBVs of France.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 06:35 AM
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Jamikins it was your trip report that first made me look at Loches - not that I will be sneaking in wine!!

Rhon, I too remember your excellent trip report. 9 weeks how wonderful! Yes we had thought of stopping in St Malo but had not considered Cancale, will have to google it. Thanks for the touring suggestions.

Coquelicot, our B&B is right by the Indre river, helped with our choice. We too like the smaller roads and like to wander & meander. Thanks for the suggestion of Montresor.

We also like the local markets so any recommendations greatly appeciated. Keep them coming! Thank you
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 06:58 AM
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If you haven't seen it already you can have a look at my trip report about spending 5 days exploring the area near Dinan, including the coastline from Dinard west past Cap Fréhel:


On your way from MSM to Dinan I would recommend a stop at the lovely port village of Saint-Suliac. Just south of Dinan is another lovely village called Lehon and west of Dinan and easily reachable by the N176 is the pretty village of Jugon-les-Lacs.
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Aug 3rd, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Had a few more thoughts. I love Loches but I would trade one or two of your nights in Loches to spend more time exploring near Dinan, Saint-Malo etc. That's only a personal opinion, though.

Here are some web resources you might look into to find some interesting things to do near Bayeux, if you haven't found this info already:




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Aug 3rd, 2012, 02:16 PM
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Thanks FMT for your suggestions and links I love reading your trip reports.

Yes I agonised over the balance of days, still am. But we are tempted to have the end of the trip at a bit slower pace. I will discuss the thoughts will DH.

Thank you for the suggestions of the lovely little villages near Dinan. They are on the list!
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