Finalizing ideas for Normandy/Paris trip

Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 04:51 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Finalizing ideas for Normandy/Paris trip

Well I believe I know what we will be doing on our trip and would like some input in case we are overdoing it. Arrive CDG, pick up car rental, drive to Bayeux and check into hotel (which one still to be determined). Take a nap and begin our touring of the area. We've alotted 3 days for the D-day tour, visiting Mont St Michel and driving through the Normandy area. Return to Paris and drop off the car at CDG and make our way to our hotel to begin exploring Paris. Does anyone see anything wrong about this itinerary? We have driven in England and Germany some years ago so I don't think we'll have trouble with driving in France...I hope. Any advice?
normal1983 is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 96
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds great! Enjoy.
estravel is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 08:38 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,358
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bayeux is about a 3.5 hour drive from CDG.

Why drive back to CDG when you can drop the car in Bayeux and return to Paris on the train?

And why drive directly from CDG anyway?
It's only two hours by train from Paris.

I suggest spending a night [or more] in Paris, then take the train and rent a car in Bayeux for your tour of the area.
RonZ is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 12:54 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I too would second the recommendation to spend one night in Paris before embarking for Normandy. We did that on our trip in 2000, departing via train for Rouen early the next day. We picked up the rental car in Rouen and from there drove via the Route of the Abbeys to Honfleur, where we spent one night, before driving down the coast to Caen and eventually on to Bayeaux. What a wonderful trip it was!

The train ride from Paris to Rouen was enchanting to me, and the drive down the coast from Honfleur to the D-Day area was wonderful as well.

Hope you get lots of greaat ideas here!
Mary_Fran is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:19 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,007
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would drive from CDG to somewhere in Normandy, perhaps not all the way to Bayeux that first day, rather than backtracking to Paris hotel for one night. I do agree with returning car to Bayeux or Caen and taking train into Paris.
grandmere is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:29 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for the imput. As far as taking the train from CDG to Bayeux, after reading some of the confusing posts on taking the train, I'm a little wary. Is it easy to pick up the train right at CDG? Is there a station right there and which train goes all the way to Bayeux?
normal1983 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:37 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,007
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, you can't take a train from CDG to Normandy; you have to go into Paris to get the train. That's why many folks rent car at CDG and head north that first day. A lot of us, as reported here, have spent that first night at Les Andelys, about 1.5 hours from CDG. La Chaine d'Or is a lovely place to spend that night.
grandmere is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We drove directly from CDG to Bayeux but had the advantage of meeting my husband at the airport and he'd already been in Europe for a couple of weeks. We stayed at Lion D'Or in Bayeux - very nice, off street parking, quaint. Are you doing a guided D-Day tour? I was grateful to have a guide - allowed us to see much more, really take in the area without worrying about directions, etc.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:47 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi!
My husband and I did a trip similar to this a few years ago. We were going to Paris and my husband had always wanted to see Normandy. So we decided to do both. It was great, a perfect combination between city and country!

We flew into Paris and picked up a rental car. Hassle-free, driving in France was cake compared to driving on the wrong side in England. People are a bit aggressive, but no worse than Italy or New York.
From there we drove to Monets Garden.

That first day was rather rough. We were completely exhausted walking around the garden and when we got back to the car we both reclined simultaneously for a nap! From there things improved. We wandered around in our rental car and made our way to Normandy. There we stayed in a random B&B which was an adventure - because we spoke no french and they spoke no english.

The second day we toured Normandy, visited the museums, the american cemetary and the top of the bluffs that held the German guns. We headed up to Honfluer where we spent the night.

The third day we wound our way back to Paris through many small villages, (stopping and eathing many french pastries) and dropped the rental car off in the evening - no problem.
The only trouble I remeber having was trying to find the train/subway into the center of Paris from the airport. But we did very little preplanning, and Im sure some people here could explain where to go and how to find it.
Good luck!
steviegene is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:59 AM
  #10  
dgg
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 443
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try to make the WWII museum in Caen, it's fantastic. I didn't notice if you were staying in one hotel while in Normandy, but if you can, stay on Mont St. Michel. It's magical in the early morning and at night before/after the tour buses arrive.

Personally, I think you should go directly to Normandy when you arrive in France. Follow Grandmere's advice and drive part of the way. IMHO, I think it's more of a hassle to go into the city for just one night then try to drive back out in the morning.
dgg is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 07:30 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hmmm...when we went to England some years back we rented a car at the airport and drove directly to Bath. Although my husband was very tired I can't imagine that this would be anymore difficult than that trip. So I think picking up the car at CDG and driving to Les Andelys(SP) would be a good start. Any recommendations on hotels or B&B's there that are reasonably priced and clean for a triple? Also is it more expensive to arrive without a reservation at a hotel and book a room?
normal1983 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:22 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Since I'm still hoping to do a 2008 trip to the same area, I will look forward to your trip report when you return. I too use the car for the whole trip as the train thing sounds confusing to me. But, to each their own!
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would do as you are doing so far as picking up the car at CDG and heading to Bayeux. If you do drive back to Paris think about turning in the car at Orly, seeing Chartres en route. Or driving to Chartres and turning in the car there.
To me, going into Paris for a night and then leaving for Bayeux is a lot of "doing" for little advantage. The drive from CDG is easy. The pickup is easy. Driving in Normandy is very interesting.
I question if you have time to do Mont St. Michelle in that length of time. We allotted 6 days to Normandy and opted out of MSM. But anything is possible.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:29 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,403
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We did something similar - we arrived CDG and rather than 'lose' time going into the city and then driving, we opted to rent a car and drive straight to Honfleur. I may not be remembering clearly, but I thought it was 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive. We don't believe in napping on day of arrival - but we do believe that a shower and clean clothes does wonders! We walked around Honfleur and enjoyed all the outdoor dining !

We drove to Bayeux where we met our tour guide - are you planning on doing a self-guided tour or hiring a tour guide ? My personal opinion is that the 'experts' in the area are terrific and you will learn much more and enjoy not worrying about, 'point A to point B' etc. (this is coming from someone who always likes to rent a car and hates tours). We only did a 1/2 day due to schedule availability, but we wished we had done the full day tour.

We also visited Etretat - the French version of the 'white cliffs of Dover'. Enjoyed it.

We opted to drive back into Paris. I know there are many that will argue to take the train, but we had to make a dinner meeting and the train schedules didn't work. We actually drove to our hotel, dropped off bags, found a drop-off location for our car, and made our meeting with time to spare.

good luck!
surfmom is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:48 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,281
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think its perfect. We did exactly the same trip a few years ago and I would not change anything. Taking the train just cost more money and the drive is not that hard over to Bayeux from CDG.
eric502 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 03:09 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 335
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been thinking of doing the D-Day touring on our own. I believe I found the cost of a guided tour and it was a bit too much for us. Does anyone know what the cost is for 3 adults? And is it easy enough for someone to do this on their own?
normal1983 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:07 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you put D-Day and Normandy in the search key, you can see earlier discussions on whether to use a tour or not. Personally, I've read every book I can get my hands on and will try to "do it myself" over a 2-day period.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:46 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We used the D-Day guide in the Michelin Green Guide to Normandy to be very adequate for the purposes. There is probably little doubt that having a guide that tells all the stories, etc. is very nice, but the major site museums have excellent explanatory material and narration. There are several very good guide books available at the museums also that will flesh out a lot of detail.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:51 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,403
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
After doing it with a tour guide, I wouldn't do anything else. The personal touch that the guide brought really made it a real-life event for us, as opposed to a historical event. If you have a family member or someone who landed there, email your guide in advance and they will research that company and give you exact details.

Obviously, there are many who have different opinions, but to me, this was worthwhile enough that I would chose lesser accomodations and find the budget to do it. I very much enjoyed the personal touch.

hopingtotravel's suggestion of doing a search is worthwhile -- this gets debated frequently.

Have you finalized your hotel? We loved the B&B in Honfleur...
surfmom is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 05:51 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,258
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Try to make the WWII museum in Caen, it's fantastic. I didn't notice if you were staying in one hotel while in Normandy, but if you can, stay on Mont St. Michel. It's magical in the early morning and at night before/after the tour buses arrive"

I echo this fantastic advice!
coldwar27 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -