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Paris / Normandy / Brittany

Old Mar 18th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Paris / Normandy / Brittany

My husband and I will be in France for ~11 days late May, early June. We intend to stay at the Hotel Brittanique for 4 days then rent a car and head out to the countryside. We enjoy wine and would like to see the cemetary @ Normandy as well as Mont St. Michel. Besides that we have no definate plans and are looking for recommendations for places to see outside of Paris.
Thanks... JNT
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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On the way to Normandy, see Giverny. Honfleur is my favorite village ... and Etretat has some fantastic rock formations in the water.
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Old Mar 18th, 2007, 09:03 PM
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There is a lot more to see in Normandy than just the American cemetary.

Visit Arromanch and see the harbor the English built during the WWII invasion and the German cemetary.

Have lunch on Omaha beach.

Visit Pointe du Hoc where the rangers scaled a 100 m cliff to take out German guns.

Go to Bayeaux and see the tapestry.

After you visit Mont St. Michel go to Cancale "the oyster capital of Brittany" and eat oysters.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 04:14 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations. We like to find a central location and stay there for a few days. Can anyone recommend a place to stay that is quaint and close to the attractions you have mentioned?
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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I'm not sure what your definition of "quaint" is but we stayed at the Chateau de Sully near Bayeux and liked it and the location. We took a train from Paris to Rennes, rented a car and visited Mont St. Michel on our way to the Chateau. We went to many of the D-Day sites very easily from there. We also stayed in Etretat at the Dormy House and we really liked it and Etretat. There is not a lot to do in Etretat but that is part of why we liked it after a week in Paris and a few days exploring the D-Day sites. The down time was nice and the scenery spectacular.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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Hi, jnt,

If you are interested in wine, you should include the loire in your trip - say 4 nights Paris, 3 nights Normandy, 4 nights on the Loire.

there are lots of "caves" offering wine tastings all along the river, the restaurants all stock local wines, and what with all the chateaux to see you should have a great time.

when we went a few years ago, the local tourist board went me a book with Charming B&Bs in the loire area - some looked lovely.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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We visited the area a few years ago and here are my quick thoughts -

D-Day area -- I would strongly recommend doing a tour. This, however, is debatable with both sides firmly entrenched in their views My husband (a history buff) learned things he didn't know on the guided tour.

Honfleur - cute little village - very walkable. We stayed at Cour Ste. Catherine and loved it.
www.giaglis.com

Etretat- enjoyed the white cliffs very much. Would have loved more time to exploer.

good luck! You will have very long days at that time of year -- take advantage of them!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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My husband & I picked up our car in Paris and headed to Honfleur in Normandy. It's a pretty town with good restaurants, galleries & shops. From there we took day trips to Bayeux to see the tapestry and Omaha & Juno beaches. On other days we just explored the lovely countryside. We stayed 4 nights at the Castel Albertine.

Next, we drove to Dinan where we stayed for 3 nights at Hotel D'Avaugour. Mont St Michel, St Malo and Cap Frehel along the Emerald Coast are all pleasant, scenic drives. Reluctantly, we left Dinan for the southern coast of Brittany to Moelan sur Mer near Pont Aven. We stayed 3 nights in the Manoir de Kertalg set beautifully in a forest! The drives along the coast were amazing!

Brittany is a diverse region with its rugged coastlines, and lovely forests & countryside. If you can work it into your trip, visit Normandy but take some time to explore Brittany!

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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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www.memorial-caen.com
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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Stay one night at Mont St Michel. It is at its best in the evening after the hords leave.

Keith
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Bayeux. You can travel from there to Giverny in the east and MSM in the west very easily. Stay there for five days and you will be able to reach and do some many wonderful things. Perfect that time of year.
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 08:07 PM
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The only things we really were set on were Giverney, Mont St. Michel and the D Day beaches. We expect to be car touring about 10 days so Brittany and the Loire Valley are certainly doable. Any wineries we "should not miss?"
Thanks
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Well, in Normandy it will be more like cidreries that wine cellars-- where you can sample and buy cider and calvados! If you like cream drinks and find any crème de calvados buy it. Yum! And sample the normandy version of Un Colonel...instead of lime sorbet with a shot of vodka, its apple sorbet with a shot of Calvados...so refreshing!
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 09:30 PM
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Any opinions about St. Malo?
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 11:09 PM
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I don't know St Malo but I second the votes for the Bayeux Tapestry and Point du Hoc. The tapestry is a truly wonderful piece of art that tells about the Norman Invasion. Bayeux is a great town to stop in, even if you aren't lodging there. Perhaps the town's website lists when the street market is. If you like good wine, I think you'd probably like to hit the markets, too.

It is a very easy drive from there to the American Cemetery and then down to Omaha Beach at Saint Laurent-sur-Mer. I did the hike from the beach up to the cemetery 7 years ago (although a sign at the top at the end of my hike said beware of the wild boars in the woods!), so that may be a possibility if you like to hike. There were a few places to eat at Saint Laurent sur Mer, but I would stop at a street market or grocery store in Bayeux and get stuff for a picnic instead. Saint Laurent sur Mer is very small.

Point du Hoc is not a far drive from the Beach. It still has the craters and pill boxes from the war.

From there I think Mont Saint Michel is about 3 hours away. There are some nice small towns off the beaten track. There is also a national wetlands reserve near Formingy (battle of Formigny was in 1400s) called (I think) Les Marais du cotentin et du Besin. I recall that they have boat tours of the small canals, but have not done a tour myself.

Have a great trip.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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In Normandy, we took a tour. Our tourguide was Rosine Martel Champion. She grew up in this area, attended college in the states, and returned to Normandy. She is extremely knowledgeable and personable. She can be contacted via email at [email protected]. I believe we paid $50/60 per person - not bad for a personally narrated tour. She also took us on back roads to see more of the countryside instead of just taking the "highways" to get from point A to point B.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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If one were to stay at Chateau de Sully, yet eat meals in Bayeux, would it be difficult to find the way home after dark?

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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 01:22 AM
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I have had trouble reaching the Normandy guide mentioned by KYGIRL at the email address provided. Does anyone know the correct email address or phone number?

We are interested in doing a private (or small group) tour of Normandy - any suggestions on guides would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 02:01 AM
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I have not been to St Malo for many years and it has probably gotten more touristy/crowded than it used to be-- but probably not too bad in late May/early June. it is a very charming walled city. If you are going to Mont St. Michel and also farther into Brittany it could be a nice place to stay for a few days.
I would recommend both Rouen (Normandy)and Angers (on the Maine river just north of the Loire, at the western end of chateaux area)
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Old Apr 19th, 2007, 02:08 AM
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The trouble, if it is that, is that Normandy is a wonderful region, with much to see, and Mont St. Michel is on the edge of it. You can achieve your "objectives," the D-Day sites and the Mont, in "a few days." Better not to tackle more.
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