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My brain hurts; please help with France itineray

My brain hurts; please help with France itineray

Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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My brain hurts; please help with France itineray

I would certainly appreciate your thoughts on any part of this, but particularly with specific questions.
Trip is late Oct. to mid Nov.

DAYS 1-7 Paris (Apt. booked)

DAY 8 Versailles ovrnt.
(should I put
this in Paris portion to
have xtra day for rest of
itinerary?)

DAY 9 drive;see Les Andeleys
ruins
Rouen afternoon &overnight

DAY 10 choose between
Etretat or Honfleur.
Please advise at to which
one if you've been there.

DAYS 11-13 Caen Museum (morning)
Bayeux town & tapestry
Arromanches, Omaha Beach
Pt. Du Hoc. (gite booked
near Bayeux) Is this enough time to see all of this? These days fall on FRI-SUN.

DAY 14 Drive to Mt.St Michel
(Monday)

DAY 15 overnight Mt.St. M.

DAY 16-17 Dinan & Fougere (base at
B&B)
DAY 18-23 Loire (base booked)

We were in Paris 2 yrs ago but nowhere else in France.
thank you in advance for your help!


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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Use Versailles as a break in the middle of your Paris days.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:43 PM
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I meant "itinerary"
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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I, too, would make Versailles a day trip from Paris on a day when the weather cooperates. And I would add Day 8 to Paris. Can you train to Les Andeleys and pick up the car there? In 2006, We took the train from Paris to Rouen to visit and picked up the care there.

We did the war sites in Normandy over a very long and full day. Easy access from Bayeaux. Tapestry, cathedral, and shopping was another day . Easy to do laundry there, too.

With the interesting architecture, Dinan is a good strolling day.

Have a great time!!

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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Hi T,

No need to overnight at Versailles.

If the weather is good, you can do it as a daytrip.

You have a lot of one-night stands.

Rouen, Caen, Honfleur, Mont St Michele, Dinan are close together.

I suggest one or two bases for all of them.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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I've not done all your itinerary but a few thoughts...

I think you need a week in Paris to get the right flavor and I'm glad you are staying there 7 days. In fact, I'm jealous!

We spent 3 nights in Normandy and split it up this way:

Day one: Arrived by train from Paris and visited Caen Peace Museum (depending on your interest it can be almost a full day.) Then headed by train to Inn in Bayeux. Dinner and walk in Bayeux - charming little town.

Day two: Guided tour of Beaches and American Cemetary. Late and long lunch in Bayeux and then we visited the Bayeux Tapestry and the Cathedral. Maybe too much that day but doable. The tapestry movie at the museum really makes a difference to understanding this unless you know a lot about the Battle of Hastings already. Anyway, it's pretty incredible to see. Learn how to use the audio pause button before you enter the tapestry room... and try to enter when you don't see a big tour group pushing in.

Day three: Train to Mt. Ste. Michel and spent morning there. It was really crowded and touristy but I hear Oct/Nov is a good time to go. It is a majestic and spiritual place if you can see past the pushy crowds. We actually hitched a ride from a man who works there and he said the fall is the best time to visit so you will likely have a very different experience.

Day 4: Morning train back to Paris.

So, I think you have your days planned out well but maybe I wouldn't stay in Mt. St. Michel overnight? Perhaps there is some lovely inn there - I didn't see it and the town nearby is not much IMO. Others here may have a differing opinion - we went there on a whim so maybe I missed something. I don't have experience with the rest of your itinerary.

Have a wonderful trip to France!!

gruezi
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughts

Michael, I had thought of Versailles in the middle of Paris visit, but this was my attempt at practicality as our family will have Carte Orange for wk. -- Paris falls Tues-Sun, and Versailles is closed on Mondays so that left Tues. at end of Paris visit.

Jane E.- It does make sense to watch for a good weather day for Versailles and place it in middle as Michael also mentioned. It will shorten time In Paris but c'est la vie. We have the apt. for 1 wk. so if we stay 8th day will have to move to hotel for 1 nt.

I did look at train to Rouen (not Les A.) and it appeared more cost efficient to drive (family of 4)all of the way. I'll check Les. A though, I never even thought of taking a train there.

Hi Ira,
I do have a base for Bayeux and Caen (3 nts)--The base is a gite very close to Bayeux. It appears however, that I should combine Rouen & Honfleur to 1 base or add them to Bayeux base so I would have 5 nts there.

I appreciate your input everyone. Even with Viamichelin, I simply could not picture it well enough!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Merci Gruezi,
Exactly what I wanted to know...whether 3 days would be enough time for D-Day beaches and Tapestry.

I had heard that Mt.St.Michel is quite an experience overnight...ramparts to oneself. I also heard that the hotels are NOT exceptional but I booked anyway in order to allow my family the experience of the Mt. I do hope it's worth it.
I will look for your trip report!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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In Honfleur region I suggest the hotel La Romantica, in Pennedepie. It is ten minutes in the road (D513)from Honfleur to Deauville. It is a lovely Logis de France with a marvelous view of Seine´s estuary and the city of Le Havre.
The food is very good.
This hotel has two pools, one inside and the other outside.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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I would try to go to Versailles on a Sat or Sun, if the weather is at all decent. They turn on all of the fountains in the garden and play music and it is completely spectacular (google Grandes Eaux Musicales). The last day is Sun Oct 26 though, so you might miss it altogether.

And I agree with others that is a fine day trip from Paris.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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Txlv2trvl-

Yes, I would imagine being there at MSM at night would be something special.

Hadn't thought about that.

I think you will have a very different experience in Oct then my daughter and I had in June.

Lots of school kids climbing over and under altars etc. Tons of tour buses all around.

Still, beneath all that, it was a very special place.

Enjoy!

gruezi
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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Staying overnight at Mont ST Michel would be a great experience. There was no availability when we were there. We stayed at a b&b and ate at a small restaurant down the road a short distance that was wonderful. So good we went back the next night.
La Jacotiere B&B I emailed them directly for rates and availability.
http://www.bedbreak.com/lajacotiere/
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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We just did several of these areas in May. Loved Hotel L'Ecrin in Honfleur. If you aren't a museum person, you can see the outdoor sites of the D-Day beaches in less time. Be sure to go to the American cemetery -- and any others you pass by in the area.

We stayed in the town near MSM to get the view at night, but I don't know how chilly October is to stand outside taking pictures.

I'll top my trip report for you. It's called "Paris When it Sizzles....
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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I didn't see Chartres on your itinerary, and am thinking a day trip there from Paris might be a good idea. For me, the cathedral there was an utter must-see.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Thank you for the good wishes Gruezi. I am looking forward to visiting MtSt. Michel. I do hope that visiting in late Fall will be an advantage as far as the crowds go. I must admit that at this time of year I prefer to travel south of Paris rather than north.

Libanio and Hoping,
thank you for suggestions. Hotel L'Ecrin looks lovely as does Hotel Romantica. Ah one day. But for now, with teenagers I believe that we will remain with a gite as a base.
Hoping, I did read your trip report more than once. I recognized it because of the toile place mats (was that you?)that you found this time around. For some reason I could see them well in my mind's eye! LOL

MSackton, we missed the fountains on our last visit to Versailles and we will be arriving on Oct. 27, so it looks like we will encounter the same situation. I also found that Giverny will be closed. One of the drawbacks to traveling off season.

I am now reconsidering whether we should visit Versailles and exchange for Chartres as bachslunch mentioned. For some reason I am just not very excited about V. this time around.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 07:34 PM
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Let us know how you like the gites. It's something I've considered for next time.

Yes, am loving and enjoying the placemats! Isn't it funny what tidbits we remember.
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 06:06 AM
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If you've been to Versailles before but not Chartres, you might consider skipping Versailles and including Chartres. But it depends on how much you enjoy medieval churches. Chartres is certainly a spectacular example and the stained glass windows are particularly fun to decode, but not everyone feels the need to visit every spectacular medieval cathedral.

Then again, if you enjoy looking at stained glass and sculpture and figuring out what all of the iconography means, buy the book Chartres Cathedral by Malcolm Miller and spend an afternoon (or a morning) walking through the cathedral with book in hand and figuring out what everything symbolizes. I could have spent several more hours in Chartres, but my wife got bored with the cathedral after a few hours and wanted to go back to Paris.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Etretat is a small uninteresting sea side town with impressive chalk needles sticking out from the cliffs on each side of it. to appreciate them you must make the stiff climb up the path to the top.

Honfleur is a charming 16th c port that went to sleep when Le Havre was bult. It has a wooden church separate bell tower, a harbour inside the village surrounded by narrow slate covered houses.
If you must choose I'd choose Honfleur . You could do both. From Rouen drive straight to Etretat then back along the caost across the Normandy bridge (5€ toll) to Honfleur. Then on to Bayeux. You don't say where you were stopping off between Rouen and Bayeux.
Three days to do Caen Bayeux and the beaches is OK.
You don't say if you intend taking an organised tour. Don't try and see the beaches on your own. You'll regret it. There are private guides (270&euro minibus tours (80€ per pax) or d day audio guide (25&euro.
At Caen as well as the Memorial there is the chateau and two abbeys built by William the Conqueror.

At Mont St Michelyou might or might not see the tide come in. It has a range of 45ft and goes out 10miles.
In the entrance to the vilage you'll see two canons. they were captured from the English during the 10 years war. Inside the second gate Mere Poullards omelette restaurant. Annie Boutiat was the state architects maid. The architect was sent to the mount when the state decided to close the abbey as a prison and turn it into a state heritage site. As the island was too small to keep animals or grow crops eggs were easy to keep handy. When visitors came to see the architect she could make an omelette at short notice. She fell in love with a Mr Poulard and married him then opened a restaurant for the steady flow of visitors to the state monument.

The one street winds its way up between stone and half timbered houses till you come to the citadel gates of the abbey. In the middle ages the street was pretty much the same with souvenir shops and inns and restaurants. The pilgrims that came to the mount had to have a souvenir to proove they had been there. The souvenirs have changed a bit.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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If you go to Chartres take the tour of the cathedral that is offered. It is one place that I felt a tour really made a difference. An elderly gentleman professor gave the tour and he was very interesting.

We were driving and having a hard time finding the street the cathedral was on - we could see the cathedral but couldn't seem to get on the right street. Finally, we did and went down in an underground parking structure that was just a block or two from the cathedral. Worked out well.

I would go to both Versailles and Chartres. Don't miss either one and also Fontainebleau Palace is worth a day trip.
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