paris,normandy, provence in 2 weeks

Old May 10th, 2007, 08:15 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 190
paris,normandy, provence in 2 weeks

My wife and another couple will be flying from Boston to Paris mid-September for 18 days. My concern is the logistics of our trip. Here's a brief itinerary of our trip.
Paris 2 days, Rouen(2)- Monet's home in Giverny,Honfleur. Bayeux(2days)-Bayeux Tapestry,Cathedrale Notre Dame, tour of D-Day Beaches. Back to Paris(1day, T.G.V. to Arles for 5 days, Nice for 4 days back to Paris for 1 day. My questions are should we rent a car to do the North, or would a train be more convient? My friend says that we should fly back to Boston out of Nice. Any thoughts on Arles being a base for our 5 days, and Nice for 4 days. We will rent a car for Provence. Any suggestions for places to stay, restaurants, and sites not to miss will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Nick
nicolos1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:27 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,052
Your itinerary makes me tired!! So much moving in and out of hotels.
If you can get an open jaw RT into Paris and out of Nice (or Marseilles) that would help. Have you been to Paris before--your itinerary is such that it says "why bother".
Skip Paris--rent a car and go to Normandy--come back to Paris and train to the south.
I would choose a different base in Provence--smaller, more charming and cuter, like St. Remy.
For Normandy, rent at CDG, drive to Rouen via Giverney (or stay the night in that area.
Then go to Honfleur, seeing Rouen on the way.
Then go to Bayeux.
Best restaurant in Bayeux--Le Petit Bistro. Make reservations. the best meal we had that year in Paris and NOrmandy.
Gretchen is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:44 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 190
Thanks Gretchen I appreciate your comments and advice. If this make you tired you should have seen our trip to the Greek Islands last year. Thanks again.
nicolos1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:49 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,552
Hi N,

FYI, it's easier to stay with the same thread, than to start a new.

You can find all of your posts by clicking on your name.

2 weeks in France and only 4 days in Paris, chopped up by train rides?

You will lose at least 1/2 day each time you change locations - about 3-4 days of your itinerary is traveling on trains.

>My friend says that we should fly back to Boston out of Nice.

Probably better than taking a train back to Paris just to fly home.

I think that you have a tiring schedule. Have you considered a week in Paris and then a week in Normandy, etc OR Provence?

ira is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,193
I agree with Gretchen.

In/out of Paris 3 different times seems very inefficient and un-necessary. I would fly to CDG, rent a car, visit Normandy first, dump the car somewhere in Normandy & take the train to Paris. Then take the TGV to Avignon, stay someplece that's not "city" (I agree with Gretchen about St Remy instead of Arles), then drive to Nice. Fly home from Nice on an "open jaw".

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
I'll be looking forward to your trip report next fall. When we went to France two years ago, we actually did drive out to Giverney, overnight, then back circumventing Paris to head for Provence. After a few days in Provence and the Riviera, we also went through the Dordogne and Loire Valley back to Paris. We realized it sounded exhausting to those who had already been to all those places, but who knew when we'd get back.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 09:53 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 190
Thanks everyone for the tips. Maybe i'll have to re-evaluate and do Paris then Normandy and /or Provence.Nick
nicolos1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 10:34 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,868
There are just a couple things I would change myself (if I wanted to combine those sites). I definitely would not fly back to Paris for one day prior to returning home. There is no reason at all to do that, there are many short connecting flights from Nice all day long to CDG. If you intended to take the train instead of flying, that would take up a whole day practically just for that, so I assume you meant flying.

I'm not that crazy about St Remy like some people on Fodors, but don't like Arles that well, either. I've stayed in both Avignon and Aix in that area when not in a smaller place, and I like both a lot. If you don't intend to rent a car in Provence (and you don't have to for a couple days), I think Avignon would be convenient. You can visit other places by train from there, or there are some bus tour companies -- I know of one that does a day-long wine tour from Avignon, for example www.avignon-wine-tour.com You won't have that much time that you can spend days just driving around, anyway. You can do things like that by train from Arles, but I don't think it would have as many options as Avignon without a car.

If you do end up renting a car (you said you were planning to), then I would agree a smaller town might be a good idea, like St Remy which is very centrally located.

Your days for Rouen have a little too much to do -- you are including Rouen plus Giverny plus Honfleur in that segment, all to be done in two days, and that much include some travel time to get there. YOu could do it, it's not impossible, but how do you intend to get to Honfleur from there?

Why spend one day in Paris between that and going south? I agree with others, I don't understand why you aren't consolidating things more.
Christina is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 10:42 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,193
If you are going to visit Normandy OR Provence, I think there is a LOT more interesting stuff in Provence. If you include Brittany into your Normandy plans, then Provence & Normandy/Brittany would be equal - more of a matter of personal interests (I still prefer Provence).

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 10:59 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 22
rENT A CAR AND DRIVE THROUGH NORMANDY (the train services isnt as good as in other parts of France) BUT YOU NEED MORE THAN 2 DAYS TO SEE ALL THE THINGS YOU HAVE MENTIONED. YOUR NEED 1/2 DAY TO SEE gIVERNEY, STOP IN vERNON on your way FOR LUNCH AND look AT the church there. You need 2 days minimum to tour the D Day beaches--I see you are from US but going to the British beach at Arromanches were the remains of the DDay harbour is and a British museum film etc is worth it as are the Canadian beaches (Juno) You can easily spend a week in Normandy with a rental car--there are lovely villages, visit Honfleur etc on the coast, go to Caen and Rouen if you have time.
The back and forth to Paris would be exhausting.
nouveaudawn is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 51
I have to agree -- the in/out is exhausting. If you want to do Paris, do it and be done -- go on to the other places! Don't go in/out of it. Don't know much about the northern part, but I LOVE southern France and do it often. Personally, I prefer beint based in a little larger place (Nice is a fave) and doing day trips, by car. With 4 people a car will be MUCH more economical and leisurely. If someone has a GPS (w/ EU maps), bring it. I used one for the first time in s. France last year and LOVED it. In a larger place you will have more options at night for things to do. You can fly directly in/out of Nice from many places in the US (I flew from Atlanta last year).

If you do plan to spend time in Nice, let me know and I'll give you some restaurant recommendations (one is amazing). -Ronda
RondaTravels is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:24 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,193
OK - "Help me Ronda" (couldn't resist).

What is your amazing restaurant in Nice ??

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:39 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
Forgot to mention our trip was 3 weeks, not 2.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:45 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Nicolos:

From one New Englander (Quincy, Mass) to another, please reconsider your proposed itinerary. It is crazy-making.
Do Paris (unless you've done it several times before)for at least five pf those days. On one, you can get a quick (50-minute) morning train to vernon out of Gare and be back in the early afternoon. Believe me, we've done it.

Leave Normandy for another time, and I wholeheartedly agree with the other Stu, that Provence is calling you!
Take the quick TGV to Avignon...we, too, have used St. Remy as a base several times. Rent a car at the Avignon TGV station and fan out from St. Remy for 6 days...than drive (or train) to the Riviera, Cote d'azur area for the last five, also using a base and fanning out for the next six days...take the short plane ride from Nice to CDG...and go home in time for fall foliage! You'll be happy and thankful you did it this way.

If you would rather do Normandy for three days, add that to your five in Paris and still spend the last 10 in the south as suggested. Once you've decided, this board is THE place for recommendations (lodging , sites,and restos. We'll all check in with our favorites.

Ronda: I second Stu D's question...what amazing resto in Nice?
...andd P.S. for Nicolo: Ask Stu D. for his well-worn, detailed Provence masterpiece to help guide you through it.

Stu T.


tower is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:47 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,927
Since most of your interests are in Normandy, pick up th car at CDG and visit the places on your list, ending up in Giverny, from there wherever you stay Arles? ST Remy? I've enjoyd staying at Both but Arles was mostly to explore the Camargue. St Remy is a good spot to visit the Alpilles and the Luberon. You can drop the car off in Aix and take the TGV to Nice,
cigalechanta is online now  
Old May 10th, 2007, 11:50 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
nicolo:

my reference to the train ride to Vernon (Giverny) should read Gare St. Lazare.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 12:09 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 190
Thanks to all of you. I'm leaning toward Paris and Provence. Tower, thanks from a New Englander to a New Englander. My mother was born in Quincy. Ronda, everyone is anxious to hear about that restaurant in Nice. Nick
nicolos1 is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 12:14 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Nic:

Off topic:
Quincy High 1946, but I left Quincy 50 years ago and have lived in L.A. since...but I'm a frequent visitor to family and friends (Wayland, Quincy, Concord) and my Ventura, Ca. granddaughter graduated from my Boston alma mater, Emerson College.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 01:48 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 24
Nicolos,

What is your preference -- food or WW11. Paris is 6 days with a day of rest. Fly at night and arrive early and see something on the first day. Driving to Normandy is 4 hours with tolls on major road. You can divert and go on the minor route. Most important plan your visit and stick to the plan

Good Luck
cklimon is offline  
Old May 10th, 2007, 01:54 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,193
If you want my 20+ page Provence & Cote d'Azur intinerary, e-mail me at [email protected]. Do so pretty soon, because I'm heading that way for 5 weeks later this month.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO