Normandy, Paris and Brussels

Old Jan 5th, 2011, 02:11 PM
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Normandy, Paris and Brussels

We would like to visit all of these places in our trip to Europe. Has anyone done this trip and, if so, how did you get from place to place? Any help is appreciated.
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 03:48 PM
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I rented a car upon leaving Brussels.

Went to Antwerp (with a stop in Grimbergen Abbey) , Ghent, Brugge, Honfleur, Rouen (with a stop at Abbey of Jumieges), Reims (with a stop at Giverny and the old mill in Vernon), and spent my last night in Namur (with a stop in Dinant).

Drove from Namur to BRU airport, dropped the car, and flew home.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 03:51 PM
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Sorry... meant to add that you could do basically the reverse trip if flying into CDG. Pick up a car when leaving Paris, do Normandy, then Brussels, then back to CDG to drop the car and fly home.
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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Thanks. How long did this trip take you?
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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We did Amsterdam to Paris to Normandy and back to Amsterdam this past fall. Starting in Brussels would be even easier. It would be best to fly into Brussels and out of Paris (or vice-versa), called an "open jaws" ticket. However, if you must go in and out of the same city (e.g., because you are using frequent-flyer miles), it would be no big deal.

We took the Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, and you could catch it from Brussels to Paris as well. It only takes about two hours or so (maybe less). Tickets are cheap if you can purchase them far in advance (e.g., from 75-90 days in advance). To do so, go to the following website: http://www.sncf.com/en_EN/flash/. Put in Great Britain as your home country. On the Thalys, it's best to get seats that face each other with a table in between, because they have more legroom. (Also, you meet interesting people that way). When given the option, choose to print out your tickets. If you do, make sure to take them with you!

The Thalys goes into Gare du Nord in Paris. We also took the train to Normandy, to Bayeux, which we loved. There are a lot of trains daily to either Bayeux or Caen, another potential base for Normandy. These trains leave from Gare St. Lazare. You can take the metro or bus between stations, or you can get a cab ride for around 5-7 euros.

When you get to either Bayeux or Caen, you can either rent a car or find tours, depending on what you want to do. If you want to go to places such as Giverny, Rouen, Honfluer, and Deauville, it might be better to rent a car from Paris, as train transportation to those places is not especially good.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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If you plan to arrive in Brussels and leave from Paris, take the train from Brussels to Lille and pick up your car in Lille to avoid cross-border drop-off fees. You might want to take a look at my trip report that included Ghent, Normandy and Brittany. Just click on my name to find it.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 04:10 AM
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So much help! Thanks, everyone, for your input!
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 04:55 AM
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How long do you WANT it to take.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 05:16 AM
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I spent 2 nights in most towns, 3 nights in a couple of them and only 1 night in Namur as this was just to position myself for my 11am flight the following morning (I wanted to be less than an hour from the airport). I know this isn't long enough for most Fodorites but most towns were small enough for this time allotment and worked fine for me. I saw what I wanted to see and had time to sit down for a beer or wine and people-watch... especially during the rainy periods!

The driving time between most was not long at all. The longest time was from Brugge to Honfleur.

I wasn't thrilled with Brussels itself but I got the best airfare flying in/out of there and had a free hotel. I had also been watching CDG. Since I was basically travelling in a circle, it didn't matter where I started or ended. As mentioned above, you could also do an open jaw flight. I didn't since I had a car that I wanted to drop in the same country as pick up to avoid cross-border drop fees.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 07:02 AM
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We have done AMS - Brussels - Brugge - Paris - AMS in one trip, and Paris & Normandy in one trip. If you want to do all of it, just make sure you have at least 2 full weeks, if not more. On the first trip we used trains. On the second we rented a car for Normandy-- I would definitely recommend a car for Normandy.

Flying in and out, check on open jaw tickets (in to one city and out of another)-- it's often not much more than the extra taxes. We have done that several times, both paying and on ff miles.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 07:18 AM
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Yes, as Jonesie says, you can fly open jaws using Frequent Flyer miles, depends on the airline.

We're planning a similar trip into Paris and out of Brussels (using FF miles on British Air). Leaving Paris, we will take the train close to our destination and pick up a car there at the train station. We will drop the car at the Lille train station, then train to Bruges and Brussels.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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To take the train to most places in Normandy you will need to go into Paris to get it. It's easy to drive from CDG to Normandy.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 06:12 AM
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Where should I rent a car? In Paris, if so from where? Near Normandy?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 06:16 AM
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You might like to start a new thread. This one is 2 years old, and maybe you would like specific info on exactly what you are doing. Where are you going? Where are you arriving from ? What do you want to do.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2013, 08:13 AM
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I took the train from Paris to Normandy.
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