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Exploring the countryside around Paris in 2 days

Exploring the countryside around Paris in 2 days

Mar 26th, 2013, 01:44 AM
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Exploring the countryside around Paris in 2 days

Hi everyone,

We are Vietnamese and will have a short trip to Paris in 6 days early May (Mon - Sun). I plan to spend the fist 3 days in Paris, and the rest in some countryside areas around Paris (which is about 2 - 3 hours maximum by car).

Would anyone please help to suggest any places? We would like to explore:
- Yellow fields
- Small & old villages/town
- Natural beauties

We also see some other interesting places such as: Le Mont St. Michelle or Honfleur. But we are not sure if it is possible to visit both these places together with any countryside places that have yellow fields as well in 03 days.

Much appreciated your advice as we have never been to Paris before.

Many thanks in advance.
vietnamese is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:49 AM
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I am planning 01 day in Le Mont St. Michelle & 01 day to explore the Honfleur. The 3rd day will be anyplace that have yellow fields, small & old villages/town or natural beauties.

Can anyone please advise whether this agenda is possible and by which transportation would be the best for this? (by train, car, bus....)

Thank you so much.
vietnamese is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Looks like you will be in Normandy so I would get a guidebook on Normandy and see what grabs your interest.

What do you mean by yellow fields?
jamikins is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:10 AM
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Thank you so much for your replies, Jamikins. Actually I have no idea of the areas, so that I just search and google to find out interesting places.

But for the yellow fields, I mean as the one in this link http://www.flickr.com/photos/ggazel/3028592712/ (it is in France, taken at the same time (end of April) that I will be in France, so that I hope I can have chance to be a place like that near Paris).


vietnamese is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 04:17 AM
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This is an old link also from Fodors which explains what the flowers are.

You could easily drive to Normandy, see Mont St. Michel and hopefully some yellow fields along the way.

I think driving would be best, I tried to see some of Normandy by train and walking but it was slow going... In 3 days a car would be better. Maybe take the train out of Paris and then pick up a car in another town closer to your destination. Are you flying in and out of Paris. ?

I like your ideas so far but I don't think you will need a whole day for Mont St. M or Honfleur, you should be able to see some other villages close to these spots on the same day.

Have a look on Fodors for some posts about Normandy and see what you can come up with. Keep asking questions though, do some more research, read some guide books and search the net, you will soon get an itinerary together.

schnauzer is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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He means the rape fields. They could be any place. You can't walk through them as it's a farm crop, not a tourist attraction.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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With your very limited time of 3 days you're going to need to rent a car.

The yellow flowers you are talking about are a crop called colza (rapeseed in English). It's used to make canola oil. It is generally blooming in mid to late May or early June. However, this can change from year to year depending on weather conditions. Last year it was in full bloom in early to mid May. It's still cold right now and it looks like we're having a late spring so there's no guarantee it will be in full bloom while you are here in early May. It may not be in full bloom until June.

Day 1 - Rent a car in Paris. If your goal is to get to Honfleur and Mont Saint-Michel you'll be going to Normandy. If you want to see some rapeseed fields on the way (if they're in bloom) then your best chance is to drive through some of the agricultural plains just to the west of Paris in the Vexin region. I wrote a trip report about exploring this area and it has photos and descriptions of the places I visited. I also mention route and town names so you can retrace my journey with a map. You'll see the colza fields:


Farmers rotate their crops so no one can tell you which field to look in for colza. But if it is in bloom and you're driving around the area I'm sure you'll see some.

You'll be near Monet's house and gardens in Giverny if you're exploring this area so you might want to do a visit there.

If you do a drive in this area to see colza fields and you visit Giverny then you might head nearby to Rouen to spend the night. Or, if you want to spend the night in a tiny medieval village on the Seine river you could spend the night in Le Petit Andely, which is very nice. The medieval castle ruin of Château Gaillard is on a cliff above Le Petit Andely and is very impressive:


Day 2 - Drive to Honfleur and do you visit. Then you can drive west down the coast. Your destination for the day should be Bayeux. Spend the night in Bayeux.

Day 3 - Leave Bayeux early in the morning and go to Mont Saint-Michel. It is just over a 1-1/2 drive from Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel. After your visit you have a few choices. You could drive straight back to Paris. Or, you could drive to Rennes and drop your car off, spend some time visiting Rennes and take the train back to Paris. Or you could drive to Chartres to drop your car off, spend some time visiting Chartres and then take a train to Paris from Chartres.

Look at this thread for more indepth info about visiting Normandy. It covers the area from Giverny to Honfleur to Bayeux to Mont Saint-Michel:

FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 04:19 AM
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I think that shot was taken in Languedoc, which is not close Paris. Best to do some research on the area you will be in - looks like you have selected Normandy/Brittany - and see what natural beauty attracts you there.
jamikins is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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I very much doubt you'll see rapeseed fields in early May. We have it all over the Dordogne, but normally not until at least June, and it's been a very cold winter in France. And, as mentioned, it's just farms, not something you "visit." I would get hold of a detailed map of Normandy and a guidebook, so you don't waste your very short 3-day time period roaming around without a specific plan. FMT as outlined a good plan for you.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Rape seed will be out in northern UK in May, so it depends on the clone and the weather each year so northern france may be good or bad. You also get blue fields from Linseed but normally a bit later.

It is worth looking at other threads that FMT (just click on his name) has written as it gives good idea of other places near Paris.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Once again I think it is sO much easier to rent the car at CDG and do the Normandy leg of this trip first (if he must with such a short time--hope they've been to Paris before). Drive to Honfleur for the first night. Then Bayeux for the second and third night.
We returned our car to Orly after a quick visit to Chartres en route. Taxi to hotel from Orly.
Whether you can work in MSM is up to you on your Normandy trip.
Gretchen is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 08:49 PM
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A very BIG THANKS to all of your valuable advices & suggestions. I am reading all those links, they are really useful with me. Many THANKS again for all of your words.
vietnamese is offline  
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