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Normandy w/o a car because dh's arm will be in a splint!

Normandy w/o a car because dh's arm will be in a splint!

Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:01 PM
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Normandy w/o a car because dh's arm will be in a splint!

Well, it may come to this, anyway. Our trip is now less than 6 weeks away, and dh destroyed his bicep tendon and now is about to have surgery. He says he will still go. However, it's unclear whether he will be able to drive (and I'm not comfortable doing it).
(Wren, isn't this too much?!!)

So, after Amsterdam and Bruges, we have 8 days in Normandy before travelling from Rennes to Paris. I'd like to see if I can create a modified travel plan using trains and/or busses, but keeping it simpler than it is. I can also scrap the whole thing and come up with an alternative plan.
Here is the current plan with a car: Rouen (1); Honfleur (2); Bayeux (2); Le Mont St Michel (1); Dinan (1); and Rennes (1).


1)What is the best way to keep the feeling of the trip with public transportation?
My own thought would be to skip Rouen altogether. I'd love to visit Honfleur, but it is not on the train. I would also love to sleep one night on Le Mont St Michel, if possible, but access seems to be a challenge. This section may be 6 days or 8 days (depending on dh's medical needs).

2) What alternatives would you suggest for that time? We will end up in Paris for 4 nights, no matter what. Any ideas for places that are easily accessible by train?

Many thanks for your help!
progol is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:17 PM
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Hi Paule,

This really is getting scary...we travel the same places, we are the same age, our husband's walk around with arms in slings...sounds like your husband may be vacationing on pain meds like my husband!

For some reason, every year, I tend to be the one to drive in France. Mark navigates with the GPS and I follow his directions, so when he had his accident last summer, driving wasn't a concern. I grew up driving a stick shift (Carmann Ghia)so that wasn't a problem either.

Is there any way you could be talked into it?

I really feel totally comfortable driving there...actually, I find the people more patient than here...I have given them plenty of opportunity to honk at me, yet they never do!

This is not answering your question---and I don't really know you of course, but I think if you are brave enough to attempt to get your Master's at "our age", you can certainly drive for a week in France! In fact,I know you can! By the way,we never made it to Rouen (we ended up staying in Bruges an extra day b/c of the accident), but we did the rest of your itinerary,with the exception of Rennes.
wren is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:39 PM
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Paule, Do you drive in your own hometown or don't you drive much at all? Normandy to me seemed very easy to drive.

I had to be the driver throughout Normandy during our trip when my husband fell at the airport and ended up with his arm in a sling. Instead of the navigator I became the driver. The only problem we had was that DH was a terrible navigator due to both pain and the fact he had not been able to study our planned itinerary ahead of time.

There is so much of the nuances of Normandy that you miss by not having a car. If your husband feels up to the task of navigating I drove to most of the places in Normandy you list without any problems. Good luck, Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:43 PM
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progol, when I travel to Europe w/my DH, I do all of the driving. It's not that he doesn't like to drive in Europe, he just doesn't like to drive, period. He might consider doing it in a right-driving country like France (although he never has) but he sure as heck won't drive on the left.

I think you will find it a lot easier than you expect. At least you will be in a country where they drive on the right, unlike our UK trip last year. I think it will be OK. Good luck whatever you decide.
P_M is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:58 PM
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Please give my sympathy to your husband; I broke my right shoulder a year ago and remember all too well what it's like having an arm that doesn't work in the usual way.

About your itinerary: keep Rouen on the list, as it's easily reachable by train. From there you can go to Caen (two very fine abbeys and the Peace Museum) and on to Bayeux. Mont St-Michel will probably be the most challenging, but you could go by train to Rennes and catch the bus that goes directly to the Mont and back.

Do consider driving--Normandy is easy going compared with the hills of Provence, and you can use the motorways for much of the trip.

If you eliminate Honfleur and Dinan you can add two days in Paris, which would be very nice.
Underhill is online now  
Jun 4th, 2006, 04:39 AM
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Thanks, all, for your sympathy! I do appreciate it. I'm amazed, in fact, that my husband is still planning on going.

Now about the car thing. I'm not really much of a driver. I live in NYC and learned to drive late in life, and though we do have a car, it's dh that uses it. It's definitely not something I'm proud of. Although I can drive, I don't know that I'd be comfortable being the one doing the driving. So for the moment, I'm going to try to create an alternative itinerary. Dh is still thinking he may be able to drive, but he needs to ask the doctor how realistic that would be.
Thanks, all.
progol is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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progol-- not clear what about driving in/around Normandy can be worse than driving in the US; those are mostly good, wide roads. It is not Italy nor Portugal with the crazy drivers, nor Germany with the outrageous speeders. I'll say give driving a go, you will gain confidence when you see that it is not the big deal you think it is.
Viajero2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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Paule..I agree with most everyone here. I am a 55 year old female and I usually do the driving and DH does the navigating. Mostly because he doesn't like to drive period and also because he know if I navigate we are sure to get lost. He seldom gets us lost usually only when we don't have very clear directions to our hotel once we reach our destination.

I have driven that exact same route before and I am doing it again this September with a friend of mine so I know driving in this area is extremely easy. So if you gave driving a shot I think you will find it not so bad after all ..

Whatever you decide.. Good Luck and have the best trip ever...
TheVagabondLady is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 07:22 AM
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Okay, okay! I hear you all. I will definitely consider the possibility of driving. However, as a non-driver for much of my life (again, something I'm not bragging about), I'm more than a little reluctant to really take on the responsibility single-handedly (as it were!). So, I think I'll plan for a non-driving trip but not make any changes now, and see what we are both up to as we get closer to the time we leave.

progol is offline  
Jun 4th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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I can see only one viable solution to this problem. You must take me along on this trip and I will drive....

When do we leave?
P_M is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Hi Paule,

How is your husband's arm? I am assuming he has had surgery...here's hoping the healing is fast!
wren is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Hi Progol,

Now is the time for you to step, and step out of your comfort zone. Gain some independence. You are certainly capable. Drive, girl, drive!
Dayle is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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I was traveling in France with my daughter, expecting to share driving with her. When she got very sick due to food allergies, I had to be the sole driver. It was very easy. We took the train to a small town and picked up an automatic shift car there and drove mostly out in the country and then returned the car to a rental place in a small town.
Saraho is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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Hi, folks,
Thanks for asking! And giving me encouragement on the driving.... but the good news is there has been a reprieve! DH had a third opinion and that doctor felt that he did not need surgery! Just no lifting, carrying, pushing anything heavy. So for the moment, we are on our original plan.
However, I WILL drive some more, at least, here in the USA.
Thanks for asking.
progol is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Great news, Paule! I am happy that DH only has to be careful. People were so helpful with us last summer...a man at the train station helped us put luggage on the train. Various passengers helped hoist it on the shelf and get it down. We couldn't have done it otherwise!

I think you are staying at Maes...Vlad takes your luggage up the stairs for you...he is in incredible shape! Frieda and Benno each took an end of the bag and brought it upstairs as well...and that was before the mishap!

Your trip must be just a few weeks off...when are you leaving? We are off this Saturday to Germany, Italy, and Austria. Hard to believe it's here at last!
wren is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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I know, it's hard to believe! We will be leaving in 2 1/2 weeks (July 13) and yes, we'll be staying at Maes and off to the Verhulst B&B after that! Can't wait!
Have a wonderful time on your trip-- it sounds fabulous, too. In fact, I'll have to take note....
Thanks for thinking about us, too.
progol is offline  
Jun 26th, 2006, 04:54 PM
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Paule, You two have a wonderful time...celebrate getting your Master's and the fact that DH didn't have to have surgery! I will be eager to hear all about your trip!
wren is offline  
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