Normandy/Paris/Loire Valley - 10 days??

Jan 12th, 2001, 08:33 AM
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Normandy/Paris/Loire Valley - 10 days??

Hello! We are going to France in June for our first wedding anniversary. This is our plan - Normandy 3 days for D-day anniverary; Paris 4 days for & Loire Valley for 3 days. Is this too much? We are not big musuem people - more outdoorsy type who would like to do some biking in countryside. My husband is also into all the war memorabilia stuff. Also we are kind of stuck on the hotels - do you recommend booking on your own or go through travel agent? Also - any good recommendations for anniversary dinner is Paris.
Jan 12th, 2001, 09:07 AM
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Hi Cathy, that sounds like a great trip!(I would love to do it too!) I can only comment on Paris, but to me, you being more outdoor types I would think that Normandy and Loire Valley will be fine for what you want to do.I defer to my much more knowledgable Fodorites on that issue.... Paris is filled with great restaurants...Jules Verne(Eiffel Tower) Alaine Ducasse, La Tour d'Argent, and the list goes on....Do book your own hotels, lots of info out there, Have a great trip what ever you do! Judy
Jan 12th, 2001, 09:43 AM
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First wedding anniversary - - you could be 17 or 71 years old - - but I will assume that you are closer to the former.

Given that you have the wisdom of celebrating in France, let me suggest that you have numerous trips to France yet to come, and most of them will start or finish with some time in Paris. Paris is worthy of dozens of visits, so I generally think that it makes sense to spend just 2 or 3 days there - - with the idea of never "getting done" with all the things to see and do there.

There is so much to see and do in Normandy - - and I don't even really know the (better known) "coastal" Normandy (Basse Normandie - - as opposed to Haute Normandie, which is "up river" or away from the English Channel).

For outdoorsy, active people, let me recommend Les Andelys - - the ruins of the castle there, from the Ricahrd coeur de Lion era - - this pairs well with a day to Giverny (or spend a night in Vernon) and make it a two day visit there, on your way "out" to the Normandy areas of the landing sites, etc.

Hotels? Sure, you can book your own. There are so many criteria involved in choosing just the "right" hotel for you in Paris, I don't think I will even touch that. Others will surely offer opinions on that subject, and I have made as many mediocre choices as good ones in picking Paris hotels.

In the general direction of the Loire valley (but close enough to take in Chartres along your way), I propose you look at - - I have never actually stayed there, but it is high on my list of places that look like they offer good bang for the buck, the next time it fits in with my plans.

As for special occasion dining or lodging, I recommend that you strrongly consider one of two properties that are part of the chain - - Chateau d'Esclimont (about 45 minutes outside Paris) or Chateau d'Artigny (in the Loire valley). Both are part of the Grands Etapes Francaise collection. See and for more info.

Last of all, the suggestion to try booking that special dinner at Jules Verne is also an excellent idea. But you may need to call right now to get a table for June!

Best wishes,

Jan 13th, 2001, 06:52 AM
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Many train stations rent bicycles. The Loire is great for bicycling. I especially like the area between Tours and Blois, but anywhere is good. Try to ride as much as possible on the roads that are white on Michelin maps. These are the narrow two lane roads that carry virtually no traffic. I found drivers in France to be very courteous to cyclists
Jan 15th, 2001, 04:01 PM
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You can rent bicycles in Paris: Maison de Velo, 18, rue de Belzunce 10eme for a ride on the Canal St Martin; at the Jardin d'Acclimation in the Bois de Boulogne. On Sundays, some streets are closed to traffic and open only to "rollers" - skates, bikes, etc. Along the quais in the 7eme and 4eme there are maps of the routes.

In addition to the other restaurants mentioned, there's Jamin/Robuchon, but book your reservation now.

For war memorabilia, there's the military museum at les Invalides, and the Legion d'Honneur across from the Musee d'Orsay. For another look at WWII, go to the Deportation Memorial at the east end of the l'Ile de la Cite, and the Holocaust Museum in the 4eme. As you walk along the streets of Paris, look up. There are often bullet holes, a flag, and a plaque in remembrance of the Frenchman who fell there during the Liberation of Paris. At Pere Lachaise: the Crematorium, plaques with the names of deportees; near the Mur des Communes, sculptures in memorial to the victims of the camps. At the Picpus cemetery, graves of Frenchman who died in the wars, and those of Lafayette and his wife. The American Legion was born in France, and and a post is still there.

Take a film canister and scoop up a few grains of sand from Omaha Beach. Go into the German bunkers, where the bulletholes testify to the terrible battle that was waged as Allied soldiers fought bunker to bunker. At Arromanches is a museum with memorabilia from the landings; guns and canons, and the photos carried by the soldiers who never made it off the beaches.

Somewhere nearby, and I can't remember exactly where, in the center of a rotary, is a statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower
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