Need Help for France!

Nov 28th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 6
Need Help for France!

Hello Fodorites,

My Dad has asked me to plan a surprise trip for him & my Mom's 25th anniversary.
Normandy & Versailles are on the list. My Dad has given me just 6 days in France. I know Versailles will be one whole day. I would like any advice as far as MUST SEE's for one or possibly two days in Paris. The MUST SEE's for the WWII sites in Normandy with the same amount of time, one or two days. What are the nice, reasonably priced, & cosy B&B's/hotels to stay in each area with good location to see the sites. I was also thinking of a day or two in the Mon-St. Michel area.

I don't know very much about France but I am about to learn & really want my parents to have a fabulous trip. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

DevonMimms is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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OK, wait - one day for Versailles, 1-2 days for Normandy and 1-2 days in Mont St Michel? When are they going to see Paris???

At most, they should see Versailles (really about 2/3 of a day, still time to see a little of Paris) and take a day-tour to Normandy and back. Then the remaining 4 days to see Paris.. and that means one hotel for the trip, no repacking and moving around.
Travelnut is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 08:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't read in the original post that Paris is to be included in the 5 days, or not more than one day. Not a problem with that, in my book. Normandy is every bit the rich and diverse a (set of) destination(s) as is Paris.

Have they ever traveled to Europe before? Have you? Are you going with them? with or without a significant other yourself? Is it likely or unlikely that they might feel comfortable making this trip by rental car? (Does DevonMimms mean that you are from the UK?)

Day 0 - depart (from USA, I presume).

Day 1 - arrive Paris; see one or two spectacular things (Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides with the military museum there, to name two...); rest of day recovering from flight and/or just walking, taking in Paris. A lot depends on what month this is to occur.

Day 2 - early morning hotel departure to go to Versailles; whether the bags stay at the hotel, or some other arrangement is made depends on what other onward trasportation is planned. Again, the season impacts the plan a lot. Consider spending night two in Vernon or Giverny, but there are many other good choices also, that involve less than 2 hours travel, whether starting from Paris (having returned to retrieve the luggage, and using the train, perhaps) or directly from Versailles if a car is to be rented (begin the rental in the early afternoon right in Versailles).

Day 3 - nights three and four ought to be in the same place to avoid unpacking/repacking fatigue. I'll recommend the town of Arromanches, but some Fodorites with much more Normandy experience than me will make a case for Caen or Bayeux or others. These two days ought to be done with a rental car, or if not desirable to do that, under the guidance of one of the many expert guides who do "Battle of Normandy" tours. Search here for Colonel Chilcott, for example. At a minimum, allow 4-8 hours for Arromanches, and another 4-8 hours for other sites, depending on how the terrain is to be covered, and whether they would venture as far west as Mere St. Eglise, for example. Surely, the American cemetery at Colleville sur Mer and Pointe du Hoc would be two of the other must-see destinations on these two days.

Day 5 - - so many choices with so little time... I submit that Mont St Michel is NOT the day 5 destination of choice since they will want to either return to Paris for night five, or at least to someplace within 1-2 hrs transport to CDG for their departure on day 6. I would recommend Rouen, or Bayeux (if that was not the choice of base lodging location for nights 3/4, or Honfleur. Any one of the three would allow for a half-day visit, with a return to Paris by 7-8 pm for a last night dinner there. Consider Altitude 95 on the Eiffel Tower.

Day 6 - - depending on the time of a flight's departure and the location of a hotel, it might even be possible to sneak in a visit to Notre Dame (before leaving to catch a 2 pm flight, for example).

Are we to assume that Mom has her passport already? or does the surprise need to be broken in the 8-12 weeks before the trip to make sure she has that? I might actually encourage that. Though not all wives of 25 years marriage will object to not having the chance to prepare for the trip... it's not something I would recommend.

The more you can learn from them about what are their expectations (and she might say, for example, why must we limit this trip to only six days?) - - the better the likely outcome will be.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
Rex, haven't seen you post here for awhile or maybe I'm just not browsing where you are posting. Nice to see your posts again.
Lily is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Hi DM,

>My Dad has given me just 6 days in France.

>[advice] for one or possibly two days in Paris.

Paris is worth no less than 3 nights.

If you have on 6 days in France, and this is a first visit, choose one of WWII sites, MSM or Versailles.

When is this trip?

What's the rest of the itinerary?

>What are the nice, reasonably priced, & cosy B&B's/hotels to stay in...

In Paris, we always stay at the Hotel Bonaparte, 61 Rue Bonaparte in the 6th. From 128E dbl w/bkfst. It is located near 3 metro stops. Has AC and an elevator.

Tel 33 1 43 26 97 37
FAX 33 1 46 33 57 67
[email protected]

For more info, enter "Hotel Bonaparte" in the "search this forum" box.

Photos are at

Hope this helps.

ira is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
This is a jam-packed trip. First day will be a bit lost due to jet lag, last day...are you flying back out? Also lose time there. Not a lot of time. I'm not an expert in the area, but here is a rough idea.

Perhaps a possible itinerary would be to land at CDG and drive to La Chaine D'or in Andelys for the night (always highly recommended here). Next day go to MSM. That night drive to Bayeux area (experts here will recommend where). Next morning take the Battlebus tour
Drive car to Caen TGV to Paris. Spend next 3 days in Paris.

Or....TGV to Caen day you arrive, skip MSM, and have 4 days in Paris.

With 3 days in Paris, Versailles may be taking a lot away from the city. With 4, better.

Michel_Paris is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 07:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,942
It would be helpful to know a couple of things before suggesting an itinerary. What time of year is your parent's anniversary? Does the 6 days include the days of travel or will they have 6 days in France?

If I were planning the trip and had 6 full days to work with, I would arrive in Paris, go immediately to Bayeux, see the tapestry, rest, have a good meal and a good night's sleep, take the Battlebus tour (or other pre-arranged tour)the next day and return to Paris late that day.

I would skip MSM on this trip - on 9 trips to France, we have visited only once as there are so many other wonderful things to see.

This would leave either 3 or 4 days in Paris, one of which could be for a visit to Versailles. There is so much to see in Paris that we often don't make it to Versailles even when we have 7 or 8 days.

Search this forum for hotels in Bayeux. In Paris, we like to stay in the 6th Arrondisement and always stay at the Hotel des Sts. Peres. It is cosy, conveniently located and, when the dollar is not so weak, reasonably priced.

Good luck with your planning - you will find lots of expert advice on this forum.

mamc is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 03:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 6
Hello Everyone:

Thanks for the info so far. We are planning the trip for about the second week in April. I know, 6 days is crazy! But that is all my Dad has given me as he can't take too much time off from work. I tried to talk him into more days but oh well.

Rex, thanks for all your help! Devon Mimms is my name. Very British huh? I am from the Southeast USA.

Thanks Again Everyone, this has given me a lot to go on.

DevonMimms is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
<< ...have a good meal and a good night's sleep, take the Battlebus tour (or other pre-arranged tour)the next day and return to Paris late that day... >>

That sounds like advice to give to someone who isn't all that interested in going to Normandy!

Devon's Dad says that "Normandy and Versailles are on the list". Not everyone has to go to Paris at all - - and those who do go to Paris don't need to go there for more than 24 hours if their interests lie elsewhere!
rex is offline  

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