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Brett Aug 23rd, 2002 11:26 AM

Paris-Normandy-Loire Vallley, car or train travel
My wife and I (20's) are going to France with her parents (50's) (one partialy handicapped +/- wheelchair but gets around well despite). We are going from Paris to Normandy (one day) and then on to the loire Valley to see the chateau's (two days), then back to paris via Chatres. Would you recommend a car or train travel. Costs of train and thus tours but added leisure time vs. convenience of a car and getting from Normandy to Loire Valley directly without having to go through Paris.<BR>Thanks<BR>Brett

elvira Aug 23rd, 2002 11:38 AM

Rule of thumb: more than two people, car is cheaper than train per person. Get a car big enough to be comfortable (look for a car that seats 5 or 6; it'll seat 4 comfortably for long drives). You can't visit the D-Day beaches without private transportation (no train stations nearby); train connections from Loire Valley to Chartres to Paris may not be efficient.<BR><BR>You're covering a lot of territory in 4 days, and waiting for train connections could really cut into your limited time.

Sue Aug 23rd, 2002 11:45 AM

Maybe I'm seeing this all wrong, but I cannot imagine getting on and off a train in France with all the luggage, a wheelchair, and someone who is partially handicapped. Perhaps the trains are more "accessible" than I'm aware of, but I think a car would be much less stressful.

StCirq Aug 23rd, 2002 11:52 AM

Given the circumstances as stated, no question about it - a car.<BR><BR>Even with a car, going to Normandy for one day seems a bit excessive.

FLJudi Aug 23rd, 2002 05:16 PM

You may want to consider renting a Renault Scenic for your trip. It's a 5 passenger minivan type - big enough to be comfortable for 4 adults with enough storage space out of sight for luggage. Comes in automatic. We've rented one for the past two years and were very happy.

alexandra Aug 23rd, 2002 07:47 PM

Hi,<BR>Last year, my husband and I (early 30's) did a similar trip in a car.<BR><BR>Paris - then the Loire Valley for 2 days. then we drove to Normady, where we spent the night in Mont St Michel, and then spent the next day visiting Normandy en route to Paris.<BR><BR>It is a LONG drive, and I can tell you that after the Loire Valley, we didn't really enjoy ourselves very much in Normandy, we were very tired (from the drive!) We are in our early 30's<BR>The distance wasn't very long, in mileage, but the drive from the Loire Valley to Mont St Michel took us between 5 and 6 hours (with no stops), because there was a lot of traffic. <BR>The scenery was also more industrialized, and not as pretty as driving through the Loire or in Burgundy.<BR>There was also heavy traffic coming from Normandy to Paris.<BR>I would suggest spending an extra day in Normandy if you can, so that you can enjoy yourself more. After that experience last year, this year, I am allocating more time at each location, and I am trying to avoid driving more than 3 hours in a day.<BR><BR>Alexandra

Doug Aug 23rd, 2002 11:09 PM

This is to point out that Paris to Normandy to Loire valley ,Chartres and back to Paris is probably more than 1000 km. At 100 km per hour ( autoroute speed) this would take at least 10 hours, the equivalent of one full day of sightseeing. On secondary roads the time would be much more. I would take more time or travel less distance in four days.

Brett Aug 24th, 2002 07:53 AM

Thanks for the input so far. Let me add a few things. Only able to get 7 days off work. Have looked into this quite extensively. I can get from the Paris to Bayeux in 2.5 hours on a train, arrival at 10AM. Enough time for Tapestry, beaches, and museum. Take a quick breath. Caen/Bayeux to Loire Valley on a train from 6:15-10:45AM. Where we could relax. That would give us 1.5+ days in Loire Valley. Loire to Paris in 1 hour. <BR>Seems like most folks agree on the car and disagree on how to get around in the beaches/chateux's, are the beaches in Normandy and Loire accessible by train/public transport or is a car a must.

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