Need France suggestions!

Old Feb 9th, 1999, 03:04 PM
  #1  
Brian Klisz
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Need France suggestions!

Hello,
My girlfriend and I are traveling to Europe this summer. We have been to Europe before and to many of the big European cities. We are looking for suggestions in Normandy, Brittany, and the southwestern coast of France. We have 10 days allotted for this area and we are traveling by train, before departing from Paris.
We would appreciate any recommendations, good and bad, about these areas.
Thanks in advance!!
Brian
 
Old Feb 9th, 1999, 08:10 PM
  #2  
Jeanie
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Well Brian, there are many good places to go in France. First of all there is St Malo and Honfleur, which both seem beautiful. You must take your girlfriend to see Mont St Michel - she will love it. Watch out for rain on the Southwest Coast - it can be a bit dreary there. Have fun!
 
Old Feb 10th, 1999, 11:04 PM
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Brian Klisz
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Thanks Jeanie for the info. I am sure that my girlfriend will love Mont St Michel. Does anybody else have any other suggestions for places to visit in Normandy, Brittany, and the southwestern coast of France?
 
Old Feb 11th, 1999, 03:24 AM
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Maira
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Hi Brian!---- The suggestions on St Malo and Honfleur are very good and suggest of an area that has lots to offer; the Normandy Region. In that area I also loved Deauville and Trouville, seaside french towns with amazing restaurants, romantic boardwalks, fun open Sunday flea markets, and lots of history. Deauville is more expensive than Trouville, but there are many other wonderful seaside alternatives. DO NOT miss Mount St. Michel, to me, the most amazing sight in all France. It was a bit crowded once you go in, so try to avoid the crowds for an enhanced experience. Don't bother with Le Havre; it will remind you of an American downtown (Cincinatti?). If travelling by train, needless to say to check itineraries and schedules very carefully. A lot of people on this forum have done trains in France and I'm sure may give you train tips for that region.
 
Old Feb 11th, 1999, 06:02 AM
  #5  
kakthy
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Hi Maria, please tell me more about LeHavre. Being from Cincinnati I'd might like visiting a downtown similar to my home - just to make the comparison. How far is LeHavre from Paris? Thanks.
 
Old Feb 11th, 1999, 07:41 AM
  #6  
Maira
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Hi Kakthy!---sure, I'll be glad to help! We actually came to Le Havre by bordering the coast, so we didn't drive directly from Paris. My estimate is that it is about 5 hours, but it should be a beautiful ride. If you are into touring modern cities and places that make you feel you are in the States, the Holiday-Inn type of hotels facilities, concrete sidewalks, and commercial banks and buildings in Le Havre will make you feel right at home.
Have the best time!!!

Maira
 
Old Feb 11th, 1999, 08:15 AM
  #7  
John
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Brian, there are many choices. A lot depends on your interests. For Normandy, Honfleur, Dauville, Trouville and St Malo are all good choices. There are also the D-Day landing beaches and the American cemetary (I don't know your age!). From Normandy you can go into Brittany then back to the Loire valley then to Chartres or Fontainbleu/Barbizon and then to Paris.

Or after Brittanny you could cut over to Rennes/Nantes to the Atlantic coast down to Arachon, Biarritz, Pau to Carcassonne. Then you could go along the Med to Sete, Montpellier, Aigues-Morte, up to Nimes, the Pont du Gard, and Avignon. Then north to Lyon. From Lyon you have a choice. North to Beuane, Fontainbleu/Barbizon to Paris or up to the Loire valley then to Paris.

It all depends on how energetic you are, how much you want to see, and how long you want to spend in any one area. I know nothing about the trains and the connections. I would rent a car and drive.

To give you an idea of the distances involved: Normandy is about 125 miles (2-3 hrs) west of Paris. Then it is around 60 miles along the D-Day beaches to Caen, Bayeux, Pont du Hoc. Caen to Saint Malo and Mt St Michel is around 70 miles. From St Malo you could go south to Rennes (45 miles) and then to Nantes (100 miles) which puts you on the Atlantic coast. Arachon is about 200 miles south on the coast and Biarritz is another 100 miles further south which puts you on the France/Spain border. If you follow the border, it is around 50 miles to Pau and maybe another 150 to Carcassanne. Sete, Montpellier, Aiques Morte is about 100 miles along the Med coast. Nimes is about 30 miles and another 20 to Avignon. Avignon to Lyon is 140 miles. Lyon to Paris is 300 miles. The Loire valley from Lyon is around 175-200 miles then another 100-125 miles to Paris. All together, I think this around 1500 miles back to Paris which is doable, but it is a lot of miles.

Of course, there are many other options. I think Normandy, Brittany and maybe the Loire valley is enough for a 10 day trip. You could save the south for another trip.

You can check with your airline what the difference is for, let's say, NY-Paris and NY-Montpellier. I did this once and if my memory serves me, there wasn't any, or very little, difference in price. You can't fly directly from NY to Montpellier. My choices were either connecting in London or Paris. I chose Paris and stayed a week there and then flew to Montpellier (1 - 1 1/2 hr) and spent a week down there. I've also driven from Paris to Montpellier.
 
Old Feb 16th, 1999, 03:47 PM
  #8  
Brian Klisz
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Thank you John and Maira for the great suggestions, they are greatly appreciated!!! Has anyone on this forum used the trains in Normandy, Brittany, and the western coast of France? I have read alot of comments here and in guidebooks that renting a car is much better. We have found that renting a car will be too expensive and we will have a Eurail pass to use. Any experience with the trains in these areas of France?
Thanks,
Brian
 
Old Feb 16th, 1999, 05:13 PM
  #9  
catherine
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Brian,we are going to France in the spring.Hertz have quoted me a price of $569 canadian for 17 days.this includes 20.6 vat.We have cdw with our credit card.We thought this price was very reasonable.The trains in France are great,but having a car is much more convenient in the countryside.
 
Old Feb 17th, 1999, 05:59 AM
  #10  
John
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Catherine, are you sure the $569 Cdn Hertz quoted you is for 17 days or is it for each week? Sounds too good to be true.
 
Old Feb 17th, 1999, 06:52 AM
  #11  
catherine
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John, this is true. Hertz have a special on.You have to book before the end of march.We are picking the car up in Lourdes driving to Cauteret.We will be driving up through the Lot and Dordogne.Eventually we will drop the car off in Tours.The price for Avis for 20 days was about $690.can.We asked for the cheapest car.It will be a manual.
 
Old Feb 17th, 1999, 09:52 AM
  #12  
Maira
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To John----Catherine's great rental car rate did not surprised me. I got quoted $185 for 10 days unlimited miles, medium size for a May trip to Spain. Brian, I know you are set on train travel, but why don't you call around and check rental car rates? You could pick up the car in Caen, or Orleans, etc....
 
Old Feb 18th, 1999, 09:08 AM
  #13  
John
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Maira, that is an incredible rate, less than $20 per day. I can't imagine a train for two being cheaper than that plus a car let's you come & go as you please.
 

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