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Paris 2 Normandy

Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 04:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Paris 2 Normandy

1st timer needs advice on renting a car in Paris and driving to WW2 sites? or taking the train and renting upon arrival in Caien (sp?)? Is the drive just outstanding? any suggestions on where to stay for 1 nite and eat? We are not looking for 5* Hotels etc, would prefer local places with flavor.
thank you in advance
basedoc3 is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 05:48 PM
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On my first trip to Europe, we took the train from Paris to Rouen, where we picked up a rental car and drove to Caen and Bayeux and the WWII sites, via a marvelous drive via the Route of the Abbeys, over that beautiful suspension bridge near Honfleur, with an overnight in Honfleur, then down through Trouville and the coast to Bayeaux.

The train ride was wonderful, the drive was incredible. Still my most memorable trip, after visits to other wonderful countries in subsequeint years.

We stayed 1 night in Honfleur at a wonderful place and then 2 nights in Bayeux at a forgettable Novatell.
Mary_Fran is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 06:20 PM
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I would either drive from Paris or take the train to Caen and drive from there. What do you mean by "is the drive just outstanding?" The drive to where? It's attractive along the coast - outstanding? Maybe. What do you consider outstanding? Anyway, it's not about the scenery, it's about the history.
We stayed at the Château de la Bellefontaine in Bayeux and loved it and thought it a great bargain at something like 75 € for a huge double room.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 06:39 PM
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We drove but had more time in Bayeux and needed the car for trips to Mont St Michel, Utah Beach, St Lo and St Mere Eglise. Depending on the time of year, some really nice hotels may be fairly reasonable. We stayed at Lion D'Or in Bayeux which had parking in the courtyard available. It was a lovely room - quiet. Walking distance to the cathdral and tapestry. Unless you are very well versed on the WW2 sites, I'd strongly suggest a guide or guided tour. Col Michael Chilcott is a fabulous guide for the area - has a B/B and gives just outstanding tours with agendas set by you - time spent at each site is up to you, etc. Probably more expensive than a large group but it was the highlight of our stay. You can google for his email and info on his B/B.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 03:53 AM
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We were in Normandy for the 60th at the beginning of the month. We took the train to Rouen for a few days and then to Bayeux for a few before hooking up with our group of D-Day vets. The train was perfect but knew we could pick up a car in Caen (they is directly across the street from the RR station.)

Philippe Cornil was our guide who lives in Ste Marie du Mont and has a couple of rooms. He's right on the 'square' and the rooms are 45 or 50 euro. He does tours of any size and knows his stuff. He has been made an honorary member of the US 4th Infantry Divisions Historical Assoc for his service to the American soldier.

Website is
tmh is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 06:00 AM
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My wife and I took a train from Paris to Bayeux and stayed overnight at the Hotel de Argouges (on web at [email protected]). It is right in the center of town but off the street- very nice. Restaurants, Tapistry and D-Day Beach tours a few steps away from your room. Nice people at desk.
oberost is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 06:23 AM
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I would always recommend renting a car. There are alot of places to see in between Paris, Bayeux and the D-day beaches. I wouldn't say it is an outstanding drive but there is always stuff to see and do. If you are a first timer, rent the car on a Sunday morning or Sat. night and leave Sun. morning. there is less traffic. I would take a day to drive to Bayeux, spend the night then on to Mont St. Michelle and the D-day beaches.
jay is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 08:52 AM
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I believe you will find the D-Day beaches close to Bayeux and using that as a base. If you are only spending one day and night for this it may be best to train to Caen or Bayeux, rent a car, and then train back to Paris. I do not think Mt. St. Michel would be doable in that time frame--just seeing the environs of Bayeux will be a stretch. An excellent restaurant in Bayeux is Le Petite Bistro--best meal we had on our France trip that year. A very inexpensive hotel in Bayeux is the Hotel Bayeux. Has an adjoining car park, 5 minute walk to the Tapestry and to the Cathedral. Just very clean and plain--large rooms.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 05:51 PM
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I have to second Grethchen's recommendation of le Petite Bistro. We happened upon it 2 summers ago and the meal was truly memorable. tiny place so make reservations while at the Cathedral in bayeux or at the tapestry.

BDM is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Regarding driving from CDG versus taking the train to Normandy, I would suggest taking the train to Caen and then renting a car. We experienced the drive option several years ago and despite substantial preplanning, using the Michelin site and a good map, we took a wrong turn several miles outside of the airport resulting in our wasting substantial time finding the correct highway towards Caen. Next time we will take the train. We wanted the car for the balance of our trip which ended in Nice and while we got lost a couple of times over the duration of our trip (two weeks), nothing compared to getting lost in Paris. Jet lag doesn't help either, so take the train!
rlbplf is offline  
Old Jun 25th, 2004, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,755 the drive from Paris to Normandy..I would NOT bother unless took back roads and meandered. the usual way is the autoroute de ouest which is a fast sterile multilane road with no redeeming values except speed. In the summer there is a huge amount of weekend/ vacation traffic in june and july (by august most people are out of Paris) so there can be traffic jams..Take the ttrain to Rouen or caen and rent there.
travelbunny is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:21 AM
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But you have to go into Paris to get a train to Rouen or Caen, don't you? As I understand it, no train runs from CDG to those towns.
grandmere is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:30 AM
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I agree with those suggesting taking the train to Caen and renting a car in that city. It's very simple. There are several rental agencies just across from the train station. As for places to stay with local flavor, try the gites-de-france and logis-de-france websites. We stayed at a 350-year-old farm not far from Bayeux (through gites de france) and absolutely loved it.
flsd is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:33 AM
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basedoc3 posted the question in June and has never posted since.

Keith is offline  
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