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-   -   Just returned from 5 weeks driving in France. Any questions? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/just-returned-from-5-weeks-driving-in-france-any-questions-47371/)

Steve Jun 28th, 1999 11:11 PM

Just returned from 5 weeks driving in France. Any questions?
 
<BR>My wife and I have just returned from a grand tour of regional France, didn't even go to Paris! Loved some regions, hated others. Even coped with driving on the right-hand side of the road. Happy to answer questions. <BR> regards <BR>Steve

Al Jun 29th, 1999 06:04 AM

We would be interested to know which sections of France you disliked. We have our "rather-nots," and wonder if they match yours.

Elsa Jun 29th, 1999 02:39 PM

Good question Al.

Steve Jun 29th, 1999 08:01 PM

Dear Elsa, its not that we disliked any part of France but if I were to rank the differnt regions, I'd put the Dordogne and Burgundy at the top and Provence and the northern coast of Normandy at the bottom. Perhaps our expectations were unrealistic. <BR>regards <BR>Steve <BR>

deepa Jun 29th, 1999 09:38 PM

Hi Steve, We are planning to head out to our first real France trip starting 30 July. We are focusing on Burgundy, Provence and some places in the riveiera before we spend few days in the Italian riveira. Hope you can give us your advice on the places we have chosen to stay and the driving we plan to do. Any hotel suggestions would be very much appreciated. <BR> <BR>OUR PLAN - The plan now is to spend 2 nights in Strasbourg with a day trip to Freiburg (?), then 3 nights in Beaune with day trips to Dijon and some vineyards. Then to drive to Avignon, stay there for 3 nights and see the area and places like Arles, Orange etc.(I <BR> am assumign the places are small and just need a hours each to see), <BR> then spend 1 or 2 nights in Menton to see the Eze village, Nice area <BR> etc. and then 4 nights in Santa Margherita Ligure to visit Portofino and <BR> the cinque Terre, the last night in Milan to shop primarily and fly out. <BR>

steve Jun 30th, 1999 05:17 PM

Deepa, <BR>Our plan was to drive the back roads of France to avoid the tollways. We REALLY underestimated the distances in France. We got so tired of driving all day that we decided to spend one day in four on the tollways to get to the next region and then spend a few days on the backroads looking around. Don't know much about Strasbourg and the Riviera seemed a bit too "busy" to us. Beaune is a delight and the Hospice is well worth a visit. Arles and Avignon were lovely. We stayed on a farm near Pouilly so that we could visit the wineries around Dijon. The owner didn't speak any English and we don't speak much French but it was a great location and she cooked great evening meals. The only issue we found with wine tasting is that a) a lot are closed between 12 and 2 and b) most of them expect you make an appointment. <BR> <BR>hope this helps <BR>Steve <BR>

jim Jul 1st, 1999 04:38 AM

My parents and I are planning a tour of Paris, Loire, Normandy and London this fall, and was disappointed to see you didn't like the Normandy coast. I 've read good things about that trip in the forums. I too, though, am concerned about distances, and trying to pack too much driving into the trip. My biggest concern is the trip from the Normandy war beaches to Brugge (Belgium) and later that day to Brussels to stay overnight. Anyone know how long a drive that would be?

Vincent Jul 1st, 1999 10:14 AM

There are several web sites that give you distances, driving times, tolls, and even gas consumption, on European trajects. I personnally always use : www.iti.fr. It's multilingual, and very accurate, it works wonders !

debbie Jul 1st, 1999 08:44 PM

Vincent- there you are again giving accurate, wonderful information. THANK YOU. I took this site down since our trip is mostly self-driving and not just getting from Paris to Dijon with train! Again MERCI BOUCOUP with that situation! -Deb

sandi Gore Jul 5th, 1999 12:08 PM

We are driving from Nice to Eze and I am concerned about narrow roads, steep inclines and deep drop-offs. Are the roads difficult to drive? How long do you estimate it takes to drive from Nice to Aix-en-Provence? Also driving the area of Avignon-Saint-Remy. Any suggestions? Thanks

Dayle Jul 5th, 1999 03:37 PM

Sandy, we drove from Cannes to St. Paul on the local roads and it was no problem, nothing we hadn't done before. A little windy and narrow like driving in the western US mountains or the Hollywood Hills! The drive from Cannes to Aix on the autoroute took about 2 1/2 hours with one stop for hot chocolate on the way! The traffic in Aix was bad though, so park your car ASAP.

Harry Jul 7th, 1999 08:36 PM

Steve, Did you travel at all in Alsace-Lorraine? My wife and I just returned from Colmar where we stayed at Maison des Tetes and it was great. The Route du Vin was crowded but still a lot of fun and great wine-tasting. We drove from Nice to Paris but diverted to Alsace-Lorraine for the Wine Road.

topper Jul 8th, 1999 10:03 AM

!

Robin Jul 8th, 1999 03:06 PM

Dear Steve: <BR> <BR>I also want to go to Normandy next summer. Was hoping to take the train to Bayeaux and rent a car - spend a day going to the beaches, then drive to Honfleur and spend two days and back through the country to Bayeaux. What didn't you like about Normandy? <BR> <BR>Robin <BR>

steve Jul 8th, 1999 08:23 PM

Q1 Sorry we didn't visit Alsace Lorraine as we came from Luxembourg to Reims and headed South. <BR>Q2 Normandy. <BR>We just loved Mont St. Michelle and the surrounding area but found as we headed North towards the D-Day beaches that the "quaint seaside villiages" that I had imagined were a bit too cluttered with tacky, touristy cafes and traffic. <BR>After several hectic months of travelling, we really wanted to relax for our last few days in France. I had been dreaming of a small whitewashed house on a hill overlooking a fishing villiage where in the evening we could wander down for dinner, sipping wine on the balcony watching the sunset. <BR>Perhaps there are still some places like that there but we didn't find them. <BR>We continued driving Eastward along the coast but things appeared to us even more commercialised. e.g. grand hotels crammed right up to foreshore overshadowing the beach etc. <BR> <BR>In the end, with my expectations (perhaps unrealistic?) unmet, we headed inland to Giverny to a delightful B&B and a visit to Monet's Garden. <BR> <BR>Interestingly, following France we travelled to Scotland and stayed in a whitewashed house in small seaside villiage near the Isle of Skye - expectations realised! <BR> <BR>One country too late but what the heck, a holiday is a holiday. <BR> <BR>regards

Ismael Libanio Jul 10th, 1999 05:42 PM

We've just returned from a trip to France (Normandy 4 days and Paris 9 days). In Normandy, we stayed at the logis (a little hotel) "Le Romantica" at Pennedepie (15 minutes from Honfleur), a very good small hotel with a good view of Seine river, very good restaurant and 2 pools. Double room: 350 FF. It was a very good basis for visiting Honfleur, Etretat, Pays d'Auge (cheese and calvados), Bayeux (tapestry) and a few sites of D-Day beaches. <BR>we liked most: Honfleur and Bayeux. Etretat was curious with its falesias. <BR>We had visited Mont-St-Michel and Caen in a former trip. <BR>Ismael

bethk Jul 10th, 1999 11:58 PM

I spent 10 days in France this past December and loved it all! We flew into Paris and rented a car. Drove up to Omaha Beach. I love it there! It is incredibly peaceful. Every American should see it. Followed that up with Mont St. Michel. A most impressive place. I would suggest lodging at Mere Poulard. Pricey, but well worth it. <BR>Next stop, the Loire Valley - Tours. A great city, but a little to busy for me. <BR>Many chateaux within driving distance - <BR>Amboise was the best. <BR>I took my two teenagers daughters with. <BR>They are still talking about it. We loved Paris as well. A bit chilly in December, but no worse than Chicago! I plan to return to France again soon.

Jeanie Jul 11th, 1999 11:57 AM

I actually loved Normandy. We took the train from Paris to Caen and picked up our car from Autoeurope. Caen was a cool city, we loved the big open air market they had. Best of all was the Caen Memorial. We loved Omaha Beach. We were expecting it to be a gray, depressing beach but were suprised by the beautiful sunny beach complete with swimmers and sunbathers, etc. One problem we ran into was that the American Cemetary is only open until 6, be aware of this. We really had to rearrnage plans. <BR>We then drove to Honfleur (an easy drive and a great destination!), Rouen, Mont St. Michel, St. Malo (not that impressed) and Dinan (even less impressed). <BR>Overall I loved Normandy. It was my first time driving manual and my first time driving in Europe. Naturally there were frustrations but you really can't see many of these sites without a car. Normandy was so cute and the people were extra friendly. I guess it all comes down to what you expect.


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