Help with 7 night stay in Normandy

Old May 21st, 2024, 11:01 AM
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Help with 7 night stay in Normandy

Hello all
We will be visiting Normandy towards the end of September, arriving via ferry from England and disembarking in Caen.
There are 4 of us and we do have a car.
Places we would like to see are Caen, Rouen, Honfleur, Bayeux (and D Day beaches), Mount St Michel, La Harve and Etretat.
This is our first visit and we want to have enough time to see the important sites. It is easy to get carried away and try to see everything in one short trip and we want to avoid that.
What I am interested in knowing is how much time we should plan to spend in one place.
We want to spend one night in Mt St Michel, 2-3 in Bayeux, then the other places we want to see...Can we make Rouen a base and do day trips to Caren? Should we cut a place or two off the list?
Thanks
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Old May 21st, 2024, 11:30 AM
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See attached Normandy & Brittany itinerary

Stu Dudley
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Old May 21st, 2024, 12:12 PM
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I suppose your route might also be dependent on your return trip arrangements. For what it's worth we did a circle route several years ago, arriving in Paris and driving to Rouen for one night, then the next day touring E'tretat, Honfleur and the museum in Caen before arriving in Bayeux. We spent two nights in Bayeux but should have stayed another night. We spent one night in Mont St Michel before heading south and back to Paris, stopping in Chartres. In retrospect we should have spent a night either in Caen or in Honfluer and addd St Malo.
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Old May 21st, 2024, 01:46 PM
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Thank you for the input!

Thank you for the ideas. Itís nice to have input regarding how many nights and time to allot at each place




QUOTE=Madam397;17564466]I suppose your route might also be dependent on your return trip arrangements. For what it's worth we did a circle route several years ago, arriving in Paris and driving to Rouen for one night, then the next day touring E'tretat, Honfleur and the museum in Caen before arriving in Bayeux. We spent two nights in Bayeux but should have stayed another night. We spent one night in Mont St Michel before heading south and back to Paris, stopping in Chartres. In retrospect we should have spent a night either in Caen or in Honfluer and addd St Malo.[/QUOTE]
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Old May 21st, 2024, 03:17 PM
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I would trim the list.

I like Rouen but wouldn't use it as a base for day trips. Too much traffic, miles and time to reach the other places.

Disclaimer: We are not fast sightseers. On our first visit to Normandy, we drove from Paris to Rouen (stop and lunch at Giverny) and spent 2 nights. The next day we drove to Caen and spent several hours at the Peace Memorial (museum) before continuing to Bayeux. We spent 4 nights in Bayeux to have 2 full days to see D-Day sights and 1 day to see Bayeux and the Tapestry. We went back to the area on another trip and spent 3 nights/2 days seeing more invasion sights and things inland from the beaches. On the second trip, we also spent 2 nights in Honfleur and 1 night in Etretat before driving to Dunkirk. We drove through La Havre without stopping. I'm sure we missed things of interest in La Havre, but we were focused on having more time in Etretat.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 01:47 PM
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Interesting that you should say that you are not fast travelers. We aren't either. I will be editing the plans! Thanks for your input
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 01:48 PM
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Thank you! Your itinerary is fantastic!
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 10:15 PM
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Veules-les-roses is small but very charming. It has the shortest river in France that goes to the sea.

Varengeville is also lovely. The manoir d"Ango is worth a visit.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 11:12 PM
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Le Havre (the spelling and hence the pronunciation is important and in this case you had feminised the short name for a man called Harvey) is a perfectly nice beach and industrial centre which is not even a pass through worthy of a minute of your time, unless you like brutalist concrete cathedrals (which it has fine example of).

Your other visits are fine, but there are other places worth visiting especially if you like cider, soft cheese and seafood. Stu will have a good job of offering you a glimpse of many of these places.

MSM is way over to the west and you will find that choosing your roads carefully makes for a better visit in Normany especially as the slow roads are very very slow. Bayeux or Caen are good bases for this sort of trip.

Which port are you sailing into?
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the info!

We sail into and out from Caen
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 02:23 PM
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Seven nights in Normandy sounds fantastic, especially with a car. I did a similar trip a few years ago and learned a few things about pacing that might help you with your itinerary. Here are some thoughts on your plan:
  • Day 1: Arrive in Caen, explore the city (WWII Memorial Museum is a must-see)
  • Day 2: Drive to Rouen, check in, explore the city (Joan of Arc sites, Rouen Cathedral)
  • Day 3: Day trip to Honfleur (beautiful harbor, explore the shops)
  • Day 4: Day trip to Caen
  • Days 5 & 6: Bayeux - explore the town and surrounding D-Day beaches
  • Day 7: Mont Saint Michel - spend the night, explore the island
  • Day 8: Depart Normandy
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Old May 24th, 2024, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MalakiHebert
Seven nights in Normandy sounds fantastic, especially with a car. I did a similar trip a few years ago and learned a few things about pacing that might help you with your itinerary. Here are some thoughts on your plan:
  • Day 1: Arrive in Caen, explore the city (WWII Memorial Museum is a must-see)
  • Day 2: Drive to Rouen, check in, explore the city (Joan of Arc sites, Rouen Cathedral)
  • Day 3: Day trip to Honfleur (beautiful harbor, explore the shops)
  • Day 4: Day trip to Caen
  • Days 5 & 6: Bayeux - explore the town and surrounding D-Day beaches
  • Day 7: Mont Saint Michel - spend the night, explore the island
  • Day 8: Depart Normandy
Thank you so much for your ideas! there are 4 of us so I do need to ask my fellow travelers.
I came up with a plan (not set in stone)
We arrive by ferry in Caen
day 1 Arrive in Caen, WWII memorial and explore city. Stay 1 night.
day 2 Bayuex 2 nights D day beaches museums, etc
day 3 Bayuex
Day 4 Mont Saint Michel 1 night. Explore in late PM and early AM
day 5 drive to Honfleur 2 nights Explore Honfleur and
day 6 explore Etreat
day 7 Honfleur to Rouen 1 night. The Michelin Green Guide has a driving tour that looks beautiful. Sad to take about 5 hours touring, exploring., etc
Day 8 return to Caen and ferry back to England.

How does that sound? I know I added another day but there is so much to see!

Thank you all for your input

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Old May 25th, 2024, 01:58 AM
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it is a plan, it looks like hard work. But if that is the plan then go for it.

Just a general guide on France if you've never been.

1) Say hello when you enter a shop, hotel, museum or restaurant. The idea of walking in and walking out without a greeting is not acceptable
2) Grab a guide book and learn the top 10 words (yes English will be fine most places, but courtesy etc)
3) Lunch is serious and shops etc will close for lunch, even big shops will chuck you out if the staff are going to lunch, see also museums etc etc

Have a great time
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Old May 25th, 2024, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
it is a plan, it looks like hard work. But if that is the plan then go for it.

Just a general guide on France if you've never been.

1) Say hello when you enter a shop, hotel, museum or restaurant. The idea of walking in and walking out without a greeting is not acceptable
2) Grab a guide book and learn the top 10 words (yes English will be fine most places, but courtesy etc)
3) Lunch is serious and shops etc will close for lunch, even big shops will chuck you out if the staff are going to lunch, see also museums etc etc

Have a great time
Thank you so much for your input bilboburgler!
This "plan" is a first attempt, not set in stone! What recommendations would you make? A few more days? A different route? Cut out something?
And thank you for the tips for visiting France. We do find that being courteous and knowing some words and phrases while traveling help a lot!
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Old May 25th, 2024, 07:46 AM
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5 hotels, 7 nights. Ugh.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 09:07 AM
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you'll also find the odd route or rue de fromage (the cheese road) or the route or rue de cidre (the cider road) etc all interesting
Are you staying on the Mont or on the causeway hotels? The causeway hotels are tatty, staying on the Mont is more interesting, but, if it were me I wouldn't bother, I might instead just visit St Mere Eglise, a fascinating WW2 thing, the US troops glided into this salient (I think it could be called a salient) and held it for a time (see the Longest Day), the story in the towns war museum is also interesting. It also marks the point at which US film propaganda started to show the folks back home (many of whom didn't want to be in this war, how the dollars were being spent). It is easier to get to, links up with other parts of your visit etc without the extra move and the long drive.

Watch out, lots of different fish, lots of butter and cream in the food.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 02:35 PM
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It does seem like a lot but totally doable. I was in the area last Summer and we were talked into seeing St Malo. It is stunning!! Like beyond stunning. If you can add that, I would recommend it. Mt St Michel was nice but so crowded. Staying overnight there may give you a completely different experience. Have fun.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 04:29 PM
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In today's NYTIMES there was an article about LeHavre and how much it has to offer as well as it's history. Sorry now that we didn't stop there but would definitely consider a visit there in the future. Apparently their Modern Art Museum has the largest impressionist collection apart from the Musee D'Orsay although that is in dispute somewhat with the museum in Rouen. There are architectural works that would definitely be of interest as the city had to be practically totally rebuilt following the bombing devastation of WWII and several prominent architects were given commissions to do so.
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Old May 25th, 2024, 07:26 PM
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If you have a car, it is inconvenient to use cities as a base. Stay in villages.
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Old May 26th, 2024, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by shelemm
If you have a car, it is inconvenient to use cities as a base. Stay in villages.
I agree with this...
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