Need help for Paris/Normandy trip

Jan 28th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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I did find out that there is a $42 surcharge for picking up a rental at CDG but no fee for dropping off at Orly. I have rented a car from AutoEurope (a Laguna-hopefully diesel) and am ckg periodically for better rates than $303.00 for 4 days. According to the Michelin website I can expect to pay about $150.00 between gas and tolls during the 3 1/2 days on the road. Hopefully this info is accurate. I've emailed Victory Tours about the half day tour. So my itinerary has changed a bit. 5/3 arrive CDG, pickup rental drive to Honfleur, ck into hotel, ck out the area. 5/4 ck out drive to Bayeux stopping along the way to eat lunch in Deauville, ck into hotel and ck out the area, see the tapestry. 5/5 do the half day tour with Roel and then leave for le Mont St-Michel where we would spend the night. 5/6 leave le Mont St Michel and drive to Orly where we would drop off the rental and take a train into Paris where we would stay. We would do a day trip to Versailles while in Paris. 5/12 leave Paris for home. What do you think?
normal1983 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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Instead of driving all the way back, why not drop the car in St Malo, catch the late AM train, arrive in Paris three hours later?
RonZ is offline  
Jan 28th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Yes, there is airport tax upon rental, but doesn't cost a penny more to drop off the car ANYPLACE in France
If you can stretch your time to 5 days you can get a weekly rate for perhaps less.???
We've rented a car twice at CDG, and had no trouble "getting out and on the road",,,but it depends how comfortable YOU are and if you are/ or have a good navigator. If you are flying from the States , jetlag could affect your judgement....usually 2 hours is about our limit after a long flight.
You have received some wonderful ideas on this posting.... (the time we visited NOrmandy we had crossed from England on the Tunnel Train with the car, swapped at Calais to a left hand drive (Hertz) and continued on to Normandy (Honfleur). After that area and the Loire Valley we turned in the car at Orly (which is on "that" west side of Paris and it wasn't hard at all, Just follow the return rental signs. Then we took the shuttle into Paris. (or taxi would be good for 3 of you)
Some people do like to pick a town to drop the car and take the train right into downtown Paris...and a good idea also.

We skipped Mont St. Michel. I guess we were scared by so much publicity about it being so touristy and crowded, and THIS was off season. But they say if you are spending a night it is lovely after the daytrippers have left.,and of course early morning.
Yes, the Novotels, Mecures (Accor group) do usually have a third bed...and are clean and comfortable and like a Holiday Inn,,,but they are far from "quaint". Sometimes it takes a very thorough search to find a triple room.
Your trip sounds great, and regarding the Normandy part: Though we didn't stay there I understand Bayeaux would be a good central location. (and the tour would be comprehensive and easier with the short time you have).
There is PLENTY To do in Paris for 3 or 4 days without the Versailles trip...unless you just really want to see it. It would take most of the day. I've heard conflicting reports...and in 5 trips to Paris we haven't seen Versailles. Have seen, however, the Schoenbrun in Vienna and several others. But it is strictly a personal thing....and a lot of people do find it beautiful.
mari5 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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Just felt the need to address the post that said signage was poor. Not only is driving out of CDG to Normandy really very easy, the signage there (and everywhere else in France) is indeed excellent. WAY better than any signage around the Washington, DC, area, where I live. In fact, it's almost impossible to get lost in France in my experience, because the signage is so detailed.

That said, you have to know how to read the signs. You have to know where you're headed and what lies between you and where you're headed, and you don't look for route numbers, you look for the names of towns and cities. It's just like using the métro, except on a larger scale.

StCirq is online now  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:09 AM
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The difficulty leaving CDG is if you are heading clockwise on Periph, once you are on it, you are fine, getting onto it is not clear until you have done it once and know which signs to follow. I have been told coming in is tricky too, the main issue being trying to find a gas station close in to fill up at to return car full and avoid hefty charges. Going to Normandy you may head counter clockwise and this may be better. The challenge driving in France (and I am married to a local!) is that what looks like a right turn sign actually means go straight, I often have my hubbie take unecessary turns - I still am trying to reprogramme my brain. I'm actually a Brit and after living in USA, France and Spain, confidently say that once used to the excellent signage in the UK anywhere else seems tricky. Hope this traveller is not talked out of Mont St M by worries of it being touristy! It is so unique and special, please go! I love this area and wish them the very wonderful experiences I have enjoyed there!
dendleju is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:37 AM
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Picking up a rental in Caen is a snap. The offices are right across the street from the train station's main entrance.
flsd is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:38 AM
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I am actually in the process of deciding whether or not to stay on the Mont or just outside. I've read all of the reviews saying that it is a unique experience to stay on the Mont. But I don't want to stay in an overpriced mediocre hotel on the Mont. I want clean, simple and reasonable. Does this exist? If not then staying just outside is fine with me.
normal1983 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Driving in France is pleasure.
Driving in Paris is hectic, but if you have driven in rush hour traffic in a large city in North America, then you're up to it.
Caveat: I can read and almost speak French, but road signage is international.

As many do, we used Bayeux as a base last year for Normandy. Very convenient to most sights, a bit far to Mont-St-Michel (but MSM is a must see and was one of the highlights of our trip). We stayed at a 3-room B&B called Le Petit Matin (2 bis, rue Quincangrogne) near the Cathedral, and can recommend it.
Ginto is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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I am now deciding between Le Mouton Blanc and La Vieille Auberge on the Mont. Does anyone know anything about either one? The price is the same for either one.
normal1983 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Forget Versailles--another day out of Paris is too many out of Paris!!
The rest sounds like you have settled on it. Doable, but a lot.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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is that what looks like a right turn sign actually means go straight,

??? What signage are you referring to ?
superheterodyne is offline  
Feb 11th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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The difficulty leaving CDG is if you are heading clockwise on Periph, once you are on it, you are fine, getting onto it is not clear until you have done it once and know which signs to follow.

If you are heading clockwise on the Periph, it's much easier to take the A3 and to enter the Periph at Porte de Bagnolet (and to follow, in any case, "PERIPHERIQUE INTERIEUR"). I agree that this is not obvious for someone who does not speak French, anyhow !
superheterodyne is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Anyone have any suggestions about renting a car from Beauvais Airport for a day trip to MSM? We need to get back to CDG the next afternoon so have only 26 hours total. Does $300 for a one-day rental seem exorbitant to you (it is to me!)....would taking the train be a better option?

mtjhnsn is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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mtjhnsn, that's highway robbery! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

There are one day tours from Paris to Mont-St-Michel that would be quite a bit less money, but I don't know of any that leave from Beauvais.

Ginto is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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I stayed at La Vieille Auberge when I visited MSM in June 2003. It was magical. Our room had a lovely balcony and it was fun to sip (gulp?) wine on the balcony, under the stars, on the island. I would encourage you to stay on MSM if possible because there are so few places to stay which means few tourists at the end of the day. Be prepared for a hike just to get to your rooms too. Have fun!
coldwar27 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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mtjhnsn, try Hertz -- they have a desk at Beauvais; I just checked their site, and a 1 day rental for a Peugeot 307 (5 passenger compact) mid-week was €125, which is high, but a lot better than $300!

Good luck!
Feb 18th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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thanks! and yes, the $300 IS too much!
will check into hertz and go from there...any idea how long the drive from beauvais to MSM would be?
mtjhnsn is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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And don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you that Paris is "more important" than anywhere else.

It isn't, and no one is more expert than yourself in deciding.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 21st, 2007, 07:57 PM
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I just booked a room at the Churchill hotel in Bayeux. ( costing $120 Euro ($156) for a superior double. There are less expensive rooms, - but all look lovely. Across the street from where tours depart from. 8 minutes from train station, next to Tapestry museum. It was recommended to me by the person I'm taking a tour with. Good comments about it on Trip Advisor.
stricky is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 07:09 AM
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If you can't book the churchill in Bayeux, try Lion D'Or - also well located and very nice rooms with a gourmet restaurant.
cmeyer54 is offline  

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