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Loire Valley, Normandy - Itinerary Suggestions

Loire Valley, Normandy - Itinerary Suggestions

Aug 27th, 2008, 07:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 145
Loire Valley, Normandy - Itinerary Suggestions

Going to France in mid-September. It's our second time to Paris and first to Loire Valley and Normandy.
Based on the posts I read I put together our itinerary for 11 days.
please critique

Day 1. Fly into Orly,
rent a car,
drive to Loire Valley, stop at Chambord on the way,
get to the hotel in the evening, Chateau de Perreux.

Day 2 and 3. Spend next two days in Loire Valley visiting Chateau's and garden at Villandry,stop at wineries.

Day 4. Depending on the weather and sightseeing plans we may head to Normandy in the morning or the afternoon.
We are looking to spend another 2 or 3 days in Normandy and would like to visit Dinon in Brittany, Mont St. Michelle and Avranches, Bayeaux, and Honfleur.
And here comes a dilemma.
While in Normandy we would like to stay in a seaside town, so I was thinking of Honfluer or Trauville or Deauville.

But they seem to be far from our sightseeing interests and would require us tracking back and forth.
May be we should visit Dinon on our way to Normandy, stay one night at Mt St. Michelle, enjoy it in the evening, visit the next morning and leave for Honfleur.
base in Honfleur for 2 nights and tour Bayeaux and Caen from there.

Does Mt St Michelle have a very touristy commercial feel if we stay there overnight? what is the good staying option there? on the Mont itself or on the mainland? Should we base ourselves in St. Malo?

After Normandy we are going to go to Paris, visit Roen on the way, not sure if have time for Giverny and then get to Paris in the early evening and spend next 4 days in Paris.

Please advise on Normandy part and where is the best place to stay. I read that many people stay at Bayeux as it's centrally located, but we feel like staying in one of the towns on the seaside, preferably at the hotel that overlooks the water.
thanks in advance
kiramoli is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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I have stayed in St. Malo twice and love it.
Malya is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 04:02 AM
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Dinan, Dinard, St Malo all great to stay. Don't stay at the mount St M.

Do not use it as a base.

Note that central St Malo is at the end of a piece of land inside a wall so parking is tough.

Honfluer is very special (IMO) so might stay there
D&Trouville are just a holiday spot so not for me

Might try Bayeux as a base for Normandy (its on most roads and is impressive) but note that most of other towns mentioned so far are in Brittany

Seem to be travelling a long way Loire to Normandy. Might look in at La Fleche, Le Mans or Falaise
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 28th, 2008, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I rather guess you are trying to do the famous 'loop'. This is hard to do with only one base in Normandy. You also are quite pressed for time with only 2 days (3 nights) or 3 days (4 nights). This means that in order to maximize efficiency, and to enjoy the evening ambiance of some places, you will need to change hotels fairly frequently.

The advantage of staying in Mont St Michel (the mainland is fine since you are close enough to have dinner there in the evening and drive back) is that it makes a convenient stop after a fairly long drive (3 or 4 hours min) from the Loire. Bayeux is a short hop away (90 mins) and is definitely worth a stop for at least 2 nights if you're planning to see any WW2 sights as well as the tapestry. Alternatively, you could do a night in Bayeux and leave late afternoon for a night in Honfleur (we loved Honfleur overnight) before heading on to Paris (I assume that's your destination) for the 4th and final night. This is a quite tight schedule even without Dinan, Avranches, etc.

If you want to squeeze in Dinan and Avranches, I'd suggest a second night in the MSM area - but that would require the extra time to your schedule (and Bayeux is definitely worth more time if you can manage it) So you have:

MSM 1-2 nights
Bayeux 1 - 3 nights
Honfleur 1 night
back to Paris for final night (or more).
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 05:51 AM
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We stayed two nights in Bayeux in June and just loved the town. It's very quaint and centrally located to see the WWII sites and has some good restaurants. Everything was easily accessible. I don't have any experience in a seaside town but we loved Bayeux.
PWAbbott is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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My niece and her husband stayed overnight on the Mont and loved it. She said it was the only way to visit Mont St Michel.

However, we did stay on the mainland at Mont St Michel at La Jacotiere B&B. We could see the Mont from the b&b. We walked to the mont the evening of the first day. The second day we drove to Omaha Beach and around the area. That evening we walked back to the Mont.We really enjoyed our time there.
A small restaurant a short distance from the b&b was recommended. The omelets were so good we back the second night.

From there we drove to the Loire Valley. Then to Chartres, Gein to the china factory, Vezelay, Auxerre, Fontaniebleau and back to Orly.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 07:26 AM
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Mid september the only pretty thing to look at is the mount. Staying on it or in the motels littering the causeway is really not that grand. Stay someway away and look at it when the tide is in and the rocks are covered in foam bright spray.

Still each to his own.

WW2 (its over), there are some great museums and some very peaceful cememtries
bilboburgler is online now  
Aug 28th, 2008, 10:27 PM
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Near St. Malo in Cancale is Chateaux Richeux, a hotel owned by one of the top chef in France, Oliver Roellinger, and part of Les Maisons de Bricourt. We had an exceptional rooms with large windows overlooking the Bay of Mont-St-Michel. When it was clear, you could see the Mont - although it was very far away, but you do get the effect of the tides on the bay. A truly wonderful place to stay.


You can stop for fresh oysters in Cancale - the oyster beds are right there and if you time it right, the oysters don't get any fresher.
LoriS is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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Thank you all for the advice and sharing your experiences. I think I have a better handle now on our itinerary. so
Day 4 - drive from Loire Valley in the morning to Dinan, see Dinan in the afternoon and go to MSM for overnite. See MSM in the evening, stay either on the Mont or nearby.
Day 5 - visit MSM in the morning, in the afternoon drive to Baeyux(sp?), see the tapestry and possibly part of town, in the evening drive to Honfleur.
Overnite in Honfleur.
Day 6 - see Honfleur in the morning, then in the afternoon either D-Day Beach(one of them) or Trauville/Dauville.
overnite in Honfleur.
Day 7 - Drive to Roen, see Roen and then off to Paris where we have 4 more nights to stay.
I know this sounds packed but that's what we always end up doing trying to squeeze as much as we can in the little time that we have.
Any recommendations for stay in MSM or Honfluer?
kiramoli is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Re: Honfleur, several of us on this board have liked L'Ecrin.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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If you can fit it in, a day trip from St Malo to the Channel Islands might interest you. The ferry operators have some smokin' deals.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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If you like gardens, you might like to visit the gardens at La Chatonniere

I thought it was a nice counterpoint to Villandry - much smaller than Villandry, but meant to be walked in, while Villandry is more designed to be viewed from a distance. And it's only a few miles from Villandry.
Shanti is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Have to second LoriS' recommendaton on Chateaux Richeux. We stayed there after our visit to MSM and absolutely loved it. Beautiful grounds, great restaurant. After the crowds at MSM, it was a wonderful break.
patandhank is online now  
Sep 1st, 2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32
if you can fit in a night at this place, it's a lot of luxury for the money. The owner has beautiful taste. It's really exquisite, including the grounds. As luxe as a chateau but small and intimate. Our room was under 100 euroes.
And it's near Dinan and St. Malo. I loved driving to towns but coming back to quiet.
astur is offline  
Sep 11th, 2008, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 41
Staying at MOnt St Michel is a good idea. Seeing the abbey across the bay at night is a different experience from the day time bustle.

But don't stay at Honfleur for visiting Caen and the beaches. Bayeux is the best place. It's a human size town and was saved from the destructions of WWII. It's central for visiting the d-day beaches with a guide.
If you want a sea side town Port en Bessin fits the bill. It's 8 miles from Bayeux on the coast.

But don't miss Honfleur on the way back to Paris. An hour or two striolling round the 16th C streets and lunch on the quayside.
cpmac is offline  
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