Normandy & Loire from Paris

May 20th, 2005, 12:31 PM
  #1  
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Normandy & Loire from Paris

I'd rent a car to visit MS Michel, normandy, loire and return to Paris in 4 days. I know it's tight. Can someone suggest best route for those areas? Which one's better to see more, Normandy or Loire in late June? Additionally, any hotels and restaurants along the way? My budget for 4 adults per night is about 120 euros (and 150 euros for dinner). Where should I pickup/return the rental car?
satyr is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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I think you need to choose between the Loire or Normandy/Mont St Michel.
If you don't it isn't going to be fun.

It isn't a matter of "better" but more a matter of what interests your party.
Normandy: WWII, timbered houses, Joan d'Arc, calvados
Loire V: chateaux, wine, troglodyte dwellings, da Vinci
Travelnut is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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I'd spend all the time in Normandy, which is very scenic. In the summer the Loire Valley gets fairly hot, and it can be dry--not great for flowers. Normandy, on the other hand, stays reasonably green (as does Brittany) and is more comfortable. Mont St-Michel is worth all the Loire Valley châteaux put together, IMO.
Underhill is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 09:08 AM
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I haven't been to Normandy but spent 3 days driving through the Loire Valley, a few years ago, and absolutely loved it! We took a train out of Paris and rented a car in Orlean... avoided driving in Paris that way. It was mid-July and very green, lots of flowers, the fields of sunflowers were beautiful. It was definitely warm... probably 80 degrees. In the little villages no one spoke English but all were very friendly and it was an adventure just trying to communicate with them. The valley is rich in history, full of Joan of Arc stories. The chateaux range from homes where families still live (but allow tours) to huge well preserved uninhabited castles, to crumbling ruins and I found them all fascinating. We dropped our car in Nante and took an overnight train south to Marsielle, where we rented another car and drove along the coast.

I'm sure Normandy is just as wonderful and that you'll love it whichever direction you choose. I do agree that you might want to consider choosing one or the other. I could have very easily spent another couple of days in the Loire Valley!
vickih9 is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Too much for so little time. Rent the car at CDG, go to Bayeux. Stay at the Hotel Bayeux. Do a day trip to the Normandy beaches and another day trip to MSM. Spend the third day seeing the Tapestry, heading back to Paris via Caen and the Peace Museum, and even a quick visit to giverney on the way back to CDG.
Gretchen is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 11:01 AM
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satyr, everyone is giving you the right advice. Trying to see too much in too little time isn't enjoyable. Pick one area and you will get a better feel for it and enjoy it more. We like to travel like we will return someday!
wren is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 11:03 AM
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My personal preference is never to drive to anywhere (unless the trip itself is the objective or the destination is unreachable by rail), but rather take the train and rent when I get there. It saves on time, logistics, cost, and human factors.

For a trip to Normandy and Mont St-Michel, I would train into Caen or Bayeux, rent there and drive around.
Robespierre is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 07:37 PM
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And if you train in and train out, you sometimes just make things more complicated. Just think about what you want to do.
Gretchen is offline  
May 22nd, 2005, 08:08 PM
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Here's what you might want to do: take the last train out of Paris and spend a night in Bayeux. Then you'll be refreshed and ready to hit the road the next morning.

The alternative is to rent a car in Paris, pick your way out of the city and drive for three hours. Since you probably wouldn't want to do that at night, you'll be wasting your first half-day in Normandy just getting there.

Driving and navigating and provisioning and finding fuel is work, and you're supposed to be on vacation, remember?
Robespierre is offline  
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