Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Help with 1 week in Normandy / Loire Valley
Notices

Help with 1 week in Normandy / Loire Valley

Reply

Jul 28th, 2015, 06:25 AM
  #1
MYP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 54
Help with 1 week in Normandy / Loire Valley

Hello all,

My husband and I will be spending 1 week (6 nights) in mid-October in Normandy and possibly Brittany / Loire Valley. We will rent a car from CDG after arriving in the morning and driving from there. We would like to visit some cute little towns, Giverny and Rouen (which we will go to on the first day), D Day memorials / museums (maybe for 2 days, including a few hours in Bayeaux), St. Malo and Mont St. Michel (maybe both on the next day after the D Day sites), and then we have 2 days to get back to CDG.

We are in our mid / late 30s and are quite active. We enjoy history, taking photos, drinking wine and eating cheese, and just wandering around cute little villages. I know the weather won’t be ideal for our visiting time, but we’ll take umbrellas, etc!

A) Where should we stay? We were thinking about maybe 1 night in Honfleur, 2 nights in Bayeaux, 1 in St Malo / MSM, and then 2 nights for another location or 2. We don’t mind switching every night, but would maybe prefer to stay 2 nights in the next location after St. Malo (or even skip staying in St. Malo and just go straight to Loire Valley)
B) What would you suggest doing in the Loire Valley? Specific Chateaus? Particularly cute towns? I read about Fougeres, Orleans, Amboise Chauteau…

Thank you very much for your help!
M
MYP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 07:56 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,334
Chateaux: Chenonceau, Chambord, Cheverny (especially if you like Tintin comics), Beauregard if you want to see 100+ portraits of the important personages of the era (think small version of the UK's National Portrait Gallery), Amboise both generally and especially for the carriage exit gargoyles, Blois if you're interested in architecture because it combines three styles, Villandry if you're a horticulturalist or wish you were, Clos Luce if you're interested in da Vinci.

The Fontevraud Abbey is west of Chinon and more than worth a visit.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 07:58 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 7,969
Hi MYP...

Here is my 2012 France Report...Chapters Eight Through Fifteen (with photos) are the time we spent in the Loire and Normandy. It should give you some good ideas of châteaux to see and where to base. Have a great trip...

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/france-2012/

maitaitom is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 09:05 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14,839
I've stayed twice in the Fontevraud Priory (next door but inside the walled gardens) nice to stay, breakfast good, supper maybe better in one of the village restaurants. The Unicorn is very good but expensive.

Rouen is a bit like Marmite, if you want to enjoy it just realised a lot of the old stuff has gone so chill a bit.

If you can stay one night on MStM then do, just do spend the evening walking about rather than round the telly

Cheese, look out for the route du fromage in Normandy.

Loire, visit old towns, hire a bike and do a bit of the loire bike path, taste wine, canoe.. visit a mushroom farm. Given it is about 1000km long hard to advise, but some people like the chateaux
bilboburgler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 01:56 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 302
Hi MYP,

We just got back from our trip to France which included both Normandy and the Loire Valley (based out of Amboise).

Normandy was definitely a highlight for us -- we had a FANTASTIC tour of the D-day landing beaches with Normandy Sightseeing Tours. We took the "Canadian" tour but there are various tours offered with a focus on the US or UK landing beaches as well.

We really loved Honfleur and also the Pays d'auge (don't miss Cambremer and Beuvron-en-auge). The Caen memorial and museum was also excellent as was the Bayeux tapestry museum. We had one of our best dinners in Bayeux at La Rapiere and a terrific lunch of oysters at La Cave a Huitres in Caen.

We didn't love Amboise but enjoyed Chenonceau and Chambord (had one really terrific lunch at the Orangeraie resto at Chenonceau).

Bon voyage!
jacolis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 28th, 2015, 07:15 PM
  #6
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,134
“We will rent a car from CDG after arriving”

If there is ANY chance that you will experience jet lag, then please note that one consequence of jet lag is a substantial increase in microsleep episodes, which are so short that you aren't even aware of them, but that are strongly associated with car accidents. Please consider your options for using public transportation for at least a day or two!

"Rouen (which we will go to on the first day)"

I wish I’d gven Rouen more than a day. YMMV.

“St. Malo”

St. Malo is one of the VERY few places I’ve ever visited that I found disappointing. Again, YMMV.

“Where should we stay? We were thinking … 1 in St Malo / MSM”

IMO, MSM!! Here’s a recent thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-st-michel.cfm

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 06:04 PM
  #7
MYP
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 54
Thank you all! Is St. Malo not even worth visiting? I recently read the book "All the Things We Cannot See" and thought we would go just because of that.

We will have to check out the Normandy Sightseeing Tour...thanks for the recommendation!

Will need to do some more planning...

M
MYP is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 06:18 PM
  #8
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,134
"Is St. Malo not even worth visiting?"

FWIW, I noted upthread that I was disappointed in St. Malo. Others have reported much more positive impressions. I didn't say that it wasn't worth visiting at all -- I think that depends on your interests and time and how the rest of your itinerary plays out. With a tight itinerary -- and it seems to me that you are on a tight timeframe -- I, personally, would not make St. Malo a priority. But I can't speak to your interests, only my own.
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 09:56 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 614
I vote Chenonceau and Chambord.
brubenow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 29th, 2015, 10:36 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,811
We will rent a car from CDG after arriving in the morning and driving from there.

Please reconsider this. Driving when fatigued is the #1 cause of deaths on the French Autoroute network.

This is the time to take the train to your first destination and pick up a rental car the following morning.
Sarastro is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 30th, 2015, 01:00 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14,839
I spent a good few weeks in St Malo as a kid so my views are biased. The walls and beaches are fantastic, the highly touristy main gate and the shops there are a waste of time while the restaurants in the same space are to be avoided. I love the place but better as a base and once the hords have left is best.
bilboburgler is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:21 PM.