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Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley and more in Feb.?

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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:10 AM
  #1
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Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley and more in Feb.?

My fiance and I are heading to France in mid February for 10 days. We are planning on the following itinerary and hoping to get some advice on things we can't miss or should reconsider. We've traveled a lot but never to France so would appreciate any insight:

Paris - Friday/Sat
Sunday - Versaille/Fountainbleu
Monday/Tuesday - Normandy region (Rouen as home base - any good hotels to recommend here?). Omaha Beach, Mont St Michel, cider/breweries. Any specific towns we should not miss?
Wed/Thurs/Friday - Loire region. We both love food and wine so any good recommendations of towns to visit?
Sat/Sun - Paris

Is it too ambitious to include the alps for skiing? We would love to go to Bordeaux but think we will save this for another trip...

Thanks in advance!
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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Verseailles can be en route to Normandy but Fontainbleu is way out of the way - it is really at the end of the Loire Valley so put it last not first IMO.

Personally I would go south and get warmer weather rather than the dank dark wet, but not real cold, weather of Normandy and the Loire - a bleak period IME.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Zut alors - all this and Paris too?

you are setting yourselves a tough schedule, and splitting up your Paris stay which is not a great idea.

i agree with PalenQ that the weather could be grim, and at best it won't be exactly warm. I would head straight to the south of France, spend half your time there, and then return to Paris for the end of your stay.

if you decide to carry on with the above plan, i would pick up a car straight from the airport [assume CDG] and go to Rouen, staying 3 nights. then to the loire - another 3. then drive to Versailles, spend the day, return your car and get the RER into Paris for the end of your trip.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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You already have too much for this trip. I would suggest renting a car at CDG and heading for Normandy. You could go to Rouen for your first night (not too far for jet lag). Rouen is not a good base for the beaches and ceertainly not MSM.
Go onto Bayeux for 2 nights for the beaches. I don't think you can see MSM this trip.
If you MUST also do the Loire, head toward that and if you MUST see Versailles, and see it en route to the Loire. Do a short tour of the Loire, head back to Paris and turn the car in at Orly and taxi to your Paris hotel for AT LEAST 4 days.
You say "10 days" but we don't really know if that includes entry and departure days.
The best meal we had in France on a 2 week trip was in Bayeux at Le Petite Bistro. Make reservations.

I would not do Versailles on this trip. You are seeing "chateaux" in the Loire. I know Versailles is in a different category, but there are so many other wonderful things to do, see, eat and enjoy in Paris.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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I might add, you could just go straight to Bayeux from CDG--it's about a 4 hour drive, I think.
YOu seem to "want" to enjoy the countryside (cider, cheese, beaches), but you have to realize you have to find these, and stop at them to enjoy them.
The weather will not be very pleasant, but layers work. It's a fun area.
Personally, I'd do ONE area, and Paris.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Too much stuff in too short a time. The weather may be horrid and the days will be short. Rouen doesn't make a good base for visiting Omaha Beach or le Mont St-Michel. You really don't have time for Versailles and the Loire. Back to the drawing board - this isn't a good plan.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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Thanks for your quick responses!! A little bit of history. My family is from the Normandy region and my fiance is very keen on seeing Omaha beach so we definitely need to make that a priority. We are staying with family in the 5th and are planning on 4 days in Paris in total. We arrive on Friday morning so will have a full day on Friday.

Would it make sense for us to stay three nights in Paris and then head to Bayeux for two nights (and just a day trip to Roeun instead)? Has anyone been to Vierville?

Then two more nights in the Loire region? See Versaille en route and then back to Paris for our final night?

So maybe the following changes:

Paris - Fri-Monday am
Bayeux - Mon/Wed am (beaches, St Michel, cider/cheese, Rouen day trip)
Loire?
Loire region - Wed/Friday am (what town is a good home base?)
Friday - Versaille during the day en route to Paris
Friday/Sunday afternoon - Paris (flight leaves late afternoon on Sunday).

Is this a little more manageable? Thanks so much!
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Jan 29th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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mm - i'm with the others here. do seriously consider cutting the loire - most of the Chateaux are visited at least partly for their gardens which will not be at their best. Given your family ties to Normandy, and the desire to visit the beaches, why not concentrate on that?

plenty if ideas above of where to stay to maximise your time.

and I really urge upon you the idea of grouping your days [and nights] in Paris itself all together at the end of your trip - it just makes far more sense than splitting them up at either end of the trip. you could do as i originally suggested and head to Rouen from CDG, or go straight to Bayeux.

will your family really mind if you only see them at the end of the trip?
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Jan 29th, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Dump the Loire. It's a bit of a bore to begin with and absolutely dreary in February.

Go straight to Vierville (yes, been there)and spend 5 days visiting Normandy, including the beaches, cemeteries, museums, and other D-Day sights, plus le Mont St-Michel. Then return to Paris via Rouen and have lunch there and see the Jeanne d'Arc sights and the Grande Horloge and pedestrian area. If you got an early start you could fit in a good walk around Rouen plus a few hours at Versailles before returning to Paris. I'd leave out Fontainebleau (note correct spelling) on this trip. In fact, if I were going to try to cram in something else, it would be Chartres, not Fontainebleau.

If you split up your time in Paris and only have two weekends there, you'll be saddled with Sunday closings on both ends.

And no, you won't have a "full day in Paris" on arrival because it will be halfway through the day by the time you're settled, and you'll likely be dealing with jetlag.
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