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Paris -suggestion needed for car rental drop-off pleasef

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Aug 7th, 2005, 10:15 AM
  #1
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Paris -suggestion needed for car rental drop-off pleasef

When we arrive in Paris(10am from US), our plan is to spend the first 2 days in Normandy area (arrival day - go to Dieppe where my father was taken prisoner in WWII), then over to Bayeux for 1st night's stay (hope there's time to see Tapestry), Day 2: tour of Normandy next day, overnight then drive back to Paris to drop off car rental and start 5 day stay there. Would appreciate any help, comments, etc. on the following: 1) are we expecting to be able to do too much on our arrival day (hopefully we can sleep on plane), 2) is there a better location to return the car besides ack to CDG. Never driven in Paris, so back to airport may be the easiest. We'll be staying 7 arr. near Ecole Militair metro. 3) Looked at taking train out to Normandy region, but since I want to go to Dieppe - that doesn't appear to work given our short time available. We planned on taking this trip earlier this year and for a longer period but had to cancel it due to a family situation. Now we are having a hard time fitting what we want to do in a shorter time frame. I welcome all comments and advice. Thanks everyone for your help.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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ira
 
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Hi on,

You will have been awake how many hours upon arrival?

How many hours of driving on unfamiliar roads in a foreign country are you planning on doing in a jet-lagged condition that first day?

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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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Is there any chance you can deliver the car back to Orly airport? That is south of Paris and an easy metro ride in to the 7th... much easier than going all the way round to CDG and then back in to Paris.

Also, if you can drop the car somewhere south of the river in Paris, consider that. Driving in Paris, away from places like the Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe, is not actually that bad. I did it just a few weeks ago, and I am from England so it is all on the wrong side for me. For you it will be no worse than driving in any big city you don't know.

What day of the week do you arrive? If it is on a Friday or Saturday do not expect an easy ride to Dieppe as the traffic to the coast will be heavy if it is still 'summer' weather.

I drove from Bayeux to Honfleur and then on halfway to Dieppe (we stayed on the coast 30 minutes off the A29, 40 Mins south of Dieppe on the D925) and it took the best part of 3 hours actual driving from Bayeux on a Sunday morning.

I would think you are pushing it to get to Bayeux and see the tapestry the first day. Maybe early morning on Day2, or even on Day 3 before you drive back to Paris.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Hi Ira,
I think you are bringing me back to reality (leaving from West Coast the day before)! We figured at best it would be 5 hours of driving after getting off plane....with several stops - lunch, etc. Perhaps we need to leave Dieppe for another trip. Leaving that off would probably shorten the driving time to about 3 hours or less (CDG straight to Bayeux)...more manageable and safer, I'm sure. We could add 1 day to the Normandy trip and take 1 off Paris to give us some breathing room, but haven't been to Paris before either!....darn - wish we had more time. Do you think taking the train to Bayeux first night might be the best thing -- and renting car there? If so,do we have to go into Paris, or can we get the train at CDG. Always appreciate any input. Thanks.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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As much as I loved Normandy, I think your time is just too short. And coming from the west coast it will be aphysical challenge if not impossibility--perhaps even to get to Bayeux. Certainly not to see anything of substance that first day. You might be able to do a day trip from Paris for Bayeux and the Normandy beaches better.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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I think you should rent your car at CDG and return it at the Caen train station and take the train to Paris. At least that is what I plan to do in a few weeks.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Hi onthego, We just got back a short time ago from the Paris, Normandy,Paris circle. Two days Paris, train to Rouen, time there, pick up car rental(easy location for Autoeurope), off to Normandy and looped back, leaving car in Versailles(there were many other optional locations at no extra charge for any) and took train back to Paris. I will never drive in Paris again. Fear for your life!. All major cities outside Paris have pick-up and drop off spots for most rental agencys. The train is so easy to take to and from any surrounding city. It is a great feeling to be rid of the car and rest your way back in to the city instead of the airport confusion again. As an added bonus, you do not pay the extra airport charges. Train routes are easy to find on any of the web sites that have Paris routes. The 7th Arr is easily accessable to the Metro, I believe it was 2 metro stop changes and we were at the correct terminal to get our train. Perhaps you could alter your route. How many days do you have?
You could easily cut Paris to 3 days and just see the "biggies" and give yourself more Normandy time.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Suggest that you use viamichelin.com for planning any driving around France. Also get yourself a detailed road map either here in the States or upon arrival in France.

I live on the West Coast as well and believe that you will be OK getting a car and driving to Bayeux the first day. We're used to driving long distances here on the West Coast. It's less than 200 miles to Bayeux and since you are arriving at 10am, you should be able to do 200 miles that first day. I drove more than that in the opposite direction towards Germany once and my French friend thought I was nuts driving all that distance the first day of arrival - but we made it with plenty of time for dinner!

Both of these ideas sound good to me: Either dropping the car off in Caen and taking the train back to Paris or driving the car back to Paris and dropping it off at Orly Airport.

Have a safe and happy trip!
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Aug 7th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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Onthegogo:

From my experience, I think that you would be overdoing things to drive from CDG to Dieppe and then on to Bayeux the first day, after a flight from the west coast.

I would not skip Dieppe, however, because of your personal connection, and because Dieppe is a very attractive seaside town. My advice would be to pick up the car rental at CDG, drive to Dieppe and stay there overnight. You should have time to see the important sights there that day, and spend a relaxing evening on the coast.

I assume that your father was with the 2nd Canadian Division which took part in the abortive raid in 1942. If so, here's a good website with details of that operation: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub...condwar/dieppe

The next morning, you can drive to Bayeux, visit the sights and stay there overnight. On the following day, spend as much time in that part of Normandy as you like, then drop the car in Caen, and take the train to Paris, as vedette has recommended. There's no point in driving back to Paris, because you will be involved in horrendous traffic no matter which way you go.

Your time is short, but I think you can make it work without becoming totally frazzled. Enjoy your visit.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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So many people seem to ignore the effects of jetlag. Could you reverse your itinerary and spend time in Paris first? Or even before and after your trip to Normandy? I find bigger cities a better place to recover from jet lag; there are lots of things to do and you can adjust your schedule according to how you're feeling. Even go back to the hotel for a quick nap. It takes me 2 or 3 days to recover from jetlag.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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My suggestion:

Day 1: I think it would be a mistake to drive at all your first day. You'll be in too much of a jet-lagged fog. Stay in Paris the first day and night, using the time for non-challenging stuff that's easy on your jet-lagged brain and body. Our first day, we simply strolled to the Eifel Tower from our hotel, and then caught a Bateau Bus for an easy Seine cruise, followed by strolling along the Seine past Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc.

Day 2: Train from Gare St. Lazare to Rouen (no more than 1.5 hours) and pick up your rental car and drive to Dieppe (under 1 hour). After a few hours visiting Dieppe, drive to Honfleur via the Route of the Abbeys - just stunning stuff! 92 miles, 2 hours, but allow time to stop and visit at Jumieges and/or other enchanting places along the way.

Stay overnight at Honfleur and depart early the next morning for Bayeaux (59 miles, a little over an hour). Spend the entire first day at the beaches - Omaha, Point du Hoc, Arromanches, the american cemetery.

After spending the night in Bayeaux, visit the tapestry, then drive to Caen (half an hour, 29 miles) and visit the peace museum before dropping off the car and catching the train back to Paris.

You'll then have four additional nights in Paris.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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In all my trips to Europe about the only thing I clearly remember about first days there is waiting for a hotel room or problems getting somewhere. I'm not sure how many people can effectively drive and/or sightsee on their first day after arrival from an all night flight, but I'm certainly NOT one of them.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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My two cents worth: I thought last Septemper that, having lived and driven in both Chicago and Detroit, that returning the car to CDG on the way back from Bayeux via Chartres would be a piece of cake! Wrong!!!!
Leaving Chartres, I rarely saw signage for Paris. Wound up on some expressway somewhat like a beltway on the underside of Paris; eventually got near CDG, saw airplanes landing and taking off, but couldn't see any signage as to how to get to terminals. Eventually got there, only to discover their icon for parking lot is almost identical to their icon for rental car return.
Moral(s) of story: print mapquest or michelin maps and directions from __
to CDG; print the symbols for rental return so you'll recognize them, and not make a 2nd, time-consuming loop around the terminal.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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onthegogo, I understand your desire to go to Dieppe because it has a strong sentimental draw for you. I think it is important to keep it on your schedule.

My husband and I have driven in and out of CDG several times and the signs are very clear to get you on your way to Normandy. You should print out the Michelin directions to get you on the right roads. It is certainly easier if you are not sleep deprived from a long flight

How many actual days do you have for this trip? That will help give suggestions for the best way to make it happen for you.

To me one of the best features of Fodors talk is the ability to take one single trip and then change it and change it again until you have the best trip for your needs.

I hope you have a wonderful trip and get lots of great pictures of Dieppe for your family. Deborah
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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And in spit e of my saying it was easy, we got onto the local roads around Orly. At least we didn't go as far as CDG. Good advice about the maps. VERY VERY detailed maps of where you are going if it is the airports.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 03:48 PM
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One thing you'll be well advised to do is to learn how to say "car rental return location" in French. Is it "retour de location de voiture"? That's how it translates on Babelfish, but I can't remember now exactly what the sign said at Orly. I just remember we had a dickens of a time finding the location to drop off the car and were finally personally escorted to to dropoff area by a darling French policeman who we asked for directions.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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The signage going AWAY from Paris was quite good. The signage TO CDG was less than minimal (or so two people thought).
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Aug 8th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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We've rented a car at CDG 3 times after arriving from Texas, and "headed out" driving about 3 or 4 hours. It all depends on your comfort zone ,and trusting yourself to drive a long time with jet lag. Two other times we taxied into Paris after arriving., and it might be easier to spend your first 3 nights in Paris...THEN you can take the airport shuttle or taxi to the airport to rent the car and have your 2 or 3 days in the Normandy area AFTER Paris. OR take the train to Caen etc.to rent the car.
NOrmandy would be a nice way to end your trip to France....and then head for CDG airport .
There are lots of possibilities...but it's what you feel most comfortable after arriving from a long trip.
Don't plan on sleeping TOO much on the plane....but "dozing" a lot does help.
Mainly...don't WORRY about it.! >)
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Aug 9th, 2005, 03:49 AM
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May I also suggest that your read the Normandy tread also.
I just did what you want to do but had a month-also did WW1 sights. Like the idea of drive to Dieppe and stay there overnight. It is moving and the 'castle'was only open form 1-6 when I was there. Go on to Normandy after that. Don't forget the Canadian Juno Beach Centre in Courselles-sur- mer very very new and very good. (I will also post the name of a good B&B there once my luggage is found!)

Remember the American cementary closes 1 hour before dusk. Also the idea of leaving car in Caen and train back in to Paris is good(If you need a B&B near the Caen train station may I suggest the Hotel Rouen small place and nice lady who runs it and right across the street form train station)

I had no problem picking up car at CDG and as someone wrote the signs are great to get you out of Paris.CDG is in the north and you are heading northwest so great.
Someone said shorten your trip to Paris by a day probably a good suggestion. I don't know your age but here is my very personal take.
I am 50 and for very sentimental reasons wanted to do the WW1/WW11 sights I am not sure that I could do what I did when I am older certainly the amount of walking on uneven terrain is difficult and the actual getting the the sights is hard without a car. Paris was very esay to get around and could be something that you come back to at another time.
So basically what I am saying is that you could spend less time in Paris and do it again but don't skimp on your time in Normandy. Also good to do when you are younger/have young legs is Mont St Michel.
Enjoy and it is very emotional in Normandy
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Aug 9th, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #20
 
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A snippet from one of today's British newspapers:

"The Aviation Health Institute found that passengers on both long and short haul flights can be left disorientated or fatigued. For almost half - some effects can last for days. These include clumsiness, light-headedness and slow reactions. Drivers can be a danger on the roads for up to a week."

Sounds like we all need to take care, even when we get back home.
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