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Itinerary help Northern France and London

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Apr 27th, 2014, 11:08 AM
  #1
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Itinerary help Northern France and London

Paris, Normandy, Beaune then end in London, in any order!
We have 2 weeks where we will probably fly in to Paris, spend 2 days, then would like to visit Beaune for the wine region, Normandy Beaches area and then finish in London where we will go to see an NFL game at Wembley Stadium and take in London and nearby sights, like Bath.

We have to be in London on Oct 26 for the game. We are flexible on where to start and where to finish.

Also, we don't mind driving, love going thru small villages, so need suggestions on trains or car rental.
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Apr 28th, 2014, 02:41 AM
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zanne, no idea what NFL is but have fun.

Beaune is a nice little town with a bunch of tourists being catered for it. Depending on numbers I'd probably catch a train there and hire a car to visit the vinyards. You can visit cellars in town but there are far more in the countryside and while I might use a bicycle I'm sure you can sort a dont'drink policy. Note that local cops are very serious about drunk driving. I'd also look at poping up to Auxerre and Chablis, still part of Burgundy but very pretty.

If you want any serious tastings I'd suggest booking them ahead (say at Chablisienne I booked some weeks ahead) but lots of places you can stroll in and get a tasting, though numbers help, just look out for Degustation signs and be prepared to buy something (it is just rude to drink and drive away).

Normany beaches, depending on your real interest you can back a tour from skilled people who will make your day, or you start at the museum at St Mere Eglise read up on the start of the longest day and then work your way along the coast. Try not to be confused by the historical stuff fighting with the propaganda Lots of little villages in Normandy with small roads and high walls so rental here works out as well

Catch the train from Paris to London
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Apr 28th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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If your stay in France is finishing off in Normandy then why not have a mini-cruise across to the UK south coast, and then a short train ride to London?

Brittany Ferries ply several routes across to Portsmouth from Caen, Le Havre, St Malo or Cherbourg...

http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/fe...tsmouth-france

Perhaps stay a night or two and visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, The Mary Rose, and lots more).

Then get the train from Portsmouth to London (either Waterloo or Victoria), which takes about 2 hours...

http://www.southernrailway.com/
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Apr 28th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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bilboburgler: >>zanne, no idea what NFL is but have fun. <<

That is American Football (National Football League). They play a couple of games a year at Wembley - three this year. I went to the 49er/Jacksonville game last October. See my trip report for a description http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...fodors-gtg.cfm

Based on the fixture date - zanne is a supporter of either the Detroit or Atlanta teams.
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Apr 29th, 2014, 02:03 PM
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Yes, Janis. Atlanta! Will see american football and hopefully catch an Arsenal game.

Thanks to LancasterLad and bilboburgler for your suggestions. I will arrange for a day tour of the beaches, is that enough? Or break it up in 2 half days? I like the idea of doing the Brittany ferry over to Portsmouth then on to London.
Bilboburgler, do you suggest staying in Beaune?
How many days do you recommend in each place?
We do enjoy driving around small villages and stopping to visit. Do you suggest taking a train to Caen from Beaune or to Paris and then drive to Caen and Honfleur area?

Thanks in advance for all your help.
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Apr 29th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Will see american football and hopefully catch an Arsenal game.>>

you'll have far more luck getting tickets for what you call football than for what WE call football.

you'll need to book well ahead to get ticket/s for a home Arsenal match.
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Apr 29th, 2014, 04:22 PM
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I know annhig, luckily have friends with!
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Apr 29th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Actually annig, both are equally difficult . . . But it does make a difference which NFL teams are involved. Wembley sold out for the Niner game almost immediately. People came from all over Eurooe and the States. The only way I could get a ticket to the game in October was to buy a 3 day hospitality package (that cost as much as a first born)

It is a 'niche' sport in Europe/the UK -- but the fans are rabid.
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Apr 30th, 2014, 04:11 AM
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A day tour for the beaches will be enough, on top of this there are hoggins of tiny town museums you could visit, but after one tearful experience you should be done.

The Caen Beaunne driving/train thing is a difficult question. I go to France every year and would take the train between the two towns but the drive is not massive and there are some lovely places to visit (try to avoid the Paris ring road).

I would stay somewhere like Nuit St George, the hotel is good and while the two main restaurants are owned by the same family and pretentious but you could eat elsewhere or in the hotel if they have food now. Last time I was there I filled 5 days with tastings (and 2 days celebrating Lady Di's passing on, but that is another story) but you can make a good fist of the Northern Burgundy in one day and the main area in 2 days.
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Apr 30th, 2014, 04:34 AM
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The direct trains between Portsmouth and London Waterloo are operated by SouthWest Trains (not Southern as suggested by LancasterLad). Seebr />
http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/
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Apr 30th, 2014, 05:15 AM
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Wrong! I simply posted the Southern Rail website to give the OP somewhere to look for timetables and prices.

But, in any case you can buy tickets for most UK rail networks using the Southern Rail website, including South West Trains.

Personally I prefer using Southern from Portsmouth to London Victoria, as the on-line discounts are better than South West Trains. Journey times to London on both lines are about the same, but the journey through West Sussex towards Chichester, and then past Arundel is very picturesque, and it's also a direct link to Gatwick Airport.

But thanks for giving me the chance to expand on what I wrote earlier!
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Apr 30th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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OK fair enough - but let's not split hairs over this. You're correct that you CAN go from Portsmouth to London Victoria via Chichester on Southern, but the direct services are fewer and further between and take a bit longer. Theres also another option to go via Winchester isn't there?
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Apr 30th, 2014, 09:32 AM
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There might be a route via Winchester, but it's not one I'd choose unless I was visiting Winchester on the way up to London.

There's plenty of trains from Portsmouth to Victoria, and the time the journey takes is marginal longer. I can usually get on-line discounts with Southern, and that makes my decision easy. But, as Waterloo or Victoria are in different parts of London, your eventual destination is also important in deciding which one to go for.
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Apr 30th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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You mean there is another type of football other than football, rugby league, rugby union, Oz rules etc?
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Apr 30th, 2014, 11:09 AM
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yes
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Apr 30th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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It is a 'niche' sport in Europe/the UK -- but the fans are rabid.>>

you said it jj. I've tried to watch it, I've even tried to understand it, all those americans can't be wrong, can they?

but it defeats me every time. It's just so sloowww with far too many breaks in the play. it makes cricket look positively speedy, and rugby, [both forms] positively jet-propelled.
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May 1st, 2014, 04:24 AM
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"but it defeats me every time. It's just so sloowww with far too many breaks in the play. it makes cricket look positively speedy, and rugby, [both forms] positively jet-propelled."

Absolutely, never understood how people can say cricket is slow, compared to American Football, there's far to much talking in it as well.
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May 1st, 2014, 07:32 AM
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Hooameye - to be fair there's a lot of talking with cricket as well, in fact some might say that it's often better than the cricket we're supposed to be watching, but what else are you supposed to do when it's raining but listen to TMS?
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May 2nd, 2014, 09:42 AM
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So true about all the breaks and commercials in American football! Torture.....

So back to your suggestions!!!

Bilboburgler, Nuit St George's looks nice, 2 nights in this area or 3? Where would you recommend and how long in the Normandy area? Don't need to see museums.

We do like driving and exploring, therefore, we will probably have a whole week between staying a night in Paris then off to Beaune and Normandy area.
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May 3rd, 2014, 03:33 AM
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Well 2 nights is only really one day tasting so I'd do 3 nights, couple of places you might like to visit are the coop " haut cote de beaune" basically it is only a shop on the front of the winery, but they get wine to sell from their memebers (they sell some memebers ine direct and they have to give some back to the memebers who finally clear out their shelves) this can be pretty old, snail eaten etc but you find some stunners for peanuts there. If you find something you like and it is cheap enough, buy it, then ask the staff if they will drink it with you. You would be amazed how friendly they become tasting some of their own wine. Also Puligny monestry is worth a couple of hours.

Normandy, do you have an interest in the cider (alcholic) road or the cheese road? The museums are very local and not too stuffy so don't dismiss them till you try one. Other than that Bayeux is the big drawer, both for the town but also the world famous French Tapistry (actually made in England and not a Tapistry) well worth half a day at least. Total time is hard to imagine, I spent most of my childhood holidays there. But on a first visit including Honfleur but excluding Giverney and any extra castles 2 to 3 whole days would be good, roads are narrow and time washes by.
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