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Please help with my itinerary. Head is swimming, eyes are tired.....

Please help with my itinerary. Head is swimming, eyes are tired.....

Nov 25th, 2012, 05:41 PM
  #21  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 441
Thanks so much for all the wonderful advice. It probably does make sense to rent a car and drive to Bayeux. Would we be able to return the car in Bayeux and take the train to Paris? I'm a little nervous about driving in a foreign country, possibly completely jet-lagged. I'll have to think about that one. I'm a big gardener so I don't think I can go to France without going to Giverny. Versailles though? I always thought that was a "must see," but truthfully, I could probably live without seeing it. Since I've saved that for the last day of our trip, we could easily skip it if we wanted to
Thanks,
Laurie
blackmons is offline  
Nov 25th, 2012, 07:13 PM
  #22  
 
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Yes, of course you can return the car in Giverny and take the train back to Paris. But don't expect to be able to stop at Giverny on the way back from Paris on the train - it's more complicated than that, by far. It will take a separate trip out from Paris to visit Giverny.

There are plenty of places, though, that you could drop the car if you drove back toward Paris and visited Giverny while still with the rental car. Places that wouldn't involve driving in Paris, if that's a concern (though it really needn't be).
StCirq is offline  
Nov 25th, 2012, 10:00 PM
  #23  
 
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We're gardeners too - but we've visited a dozen of gardens in France that we thought were more interesting than Giverny. We prefer the Italian/French "structured" garden style, over the English style gardens (Giverny). We actually preferred the gardens in Versailles, Villandry, Jardins d'Eyrignac (Dordogne), Cormatin (Burgundy) just to name a few.

Stu Dudley
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Nov 26th, 2012, 04:07 PM
  #24  
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If we do decide to rent a car at CDG and drive to Giverny and then onto Bayeux, how would we make that as easy as possible? Can we rent a GPS with our car, and if so, can it be programmed to English? Any map recommendations? I want to make this as easy as possible for my husband (and me.) Also, if we go to the expense of renting a car, should we just do a self-guided D-Day tour, rather than joining a group tour?
Thanks,
Laurie
blackmons is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 05:19 PM
  #25  
 
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Just a few thoughts, renting a car and driving in a foreign country after a long flight can be taxing, particularly if you haven't slept on the plane. I have done it but I don't really like to do it and I have lots of experience driving in Europe.

GPS is an optional add on with lots of the car hire companies or you can buy a GPS with European maps before you leave the US, we bought a refurbished one from Amazon. However, while GPS helps it isn't foolproof.

As you said earlier you know you're trying to do too much on some of these days but you can't figure out how to fit it all in. I think you need to allow yourself not to see everything and not to be disappointed if you don't see everything. I've been to Paris many times and I've ever been to Giverney, I'm a keen gardener and I've thought about it several times but never had enough time, its something to look forward to for another trip.

I love museums but I find them quite demanding and I don't like to spend more than two hours but I would find a museum visit in the evening too tiring after a full day out.

I know you'll have a great trip because you have a decent amount of time and your working on the itinerary a long time in advance. You can prioritize some of the choices in Paris when you get there, it's just a matter of knowing you won't see everything and choosing to have a more leisurely time.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 05:59 PM
  #26  
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Thanks, welltraveled. I'm thinking the same thing. I don't think we'll rent a car until we get to Provence. If nothing else, trying to set up this itinerary has shown me that I'm going to have to figure out my priorities and just let some things go. I really appreciate all the supportive responses. There really is an art and balance in traveling.
Thanks,
Laurie
blackmons is offline  
Nov 26th, 2012, 06:55 PM
  #27  
 
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>>I'm going to have to figure out my priorities<<

I'll say it again - save the Giverny & D-Day stuff for last. Determine what you feel like doing, as your days dwindle down in Paris. DO NOT "head out" elsewhere on the 1st & 2nd full days in Paris - and spend so much time "getting there and back".

Versailles does not consume nearly as much travel time as Giverny & Bayeux.

Stu Dudley
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Nov 26th, 2012, 07:07 PM
  #28  
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I am going to heed your advice and save Giverny and Versailles until the end. D-Day, I have to make my mind up before I go so I can get my hotels lined up. Since I don't want to travel on a Sunday, if I go, I'm sort of locked into leaving Fri - Sat. That way I'm at least spending the first 2 nights in Paris. Otherwise I would have to do it Mon - Tues, leaving me only 1 last day in Paris (although I guess that would also be 2 nights.) Hmmmmm....maybe that would be better.
Laurie
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Nov 26th, 2012, 11:30 PM
  #29  
 
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Well I find itinerary posts can be very confusing and they make my eyes swim too.. especially loaded ones. You have included way too many things for me, but i won't advice on which to do, and which to skip since I think thats pretty personal tastes..

What I would do is simply write down on a peice of paper the main three things you absolutely wish to do, be it Giverny, visit Louvre, or walk the passages, and then make those three the priority in planning.

I would not leave Paris for first day or two.

and finally after a day at Versailles, if you do it right, and by that I mean seeing the lovely grounds, ( and do not miss the pretty gardens behind the Grand Trianon!) visit Marie Antionettes Hamlet etc, then there is no way you will want to do much after that, I generally allow Versailles as a full day and then after arriving back in Paris its dinner and early bed! Feet will be sore, you will have been in some major crowds( Palace in June will be PACKED, but grounds are never too crowded) and you are most unlikely to want to go to any musuem|( and if you do go you won't appricieate it ,, why ruin a good thing like Louvre by going exhausted )
justineparis is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 01:43 AM
  #30  
 
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I think you will find the drive down the Seine and the odd chateau on the cliffs above as a pleasant day on the way to Givernay. Givernay can get a bit busy. It tends to be pleasant in the later afternoon, where the coach customers have hurried away. I might avoid weekends.

Many GPS can be set to instruct in the main european language of your choice (mine does English, French, German and Italian), but I might drop a note to the car rental company to confirm.
bilboburgler is online now  
Nov 27th, 2012, 05:08 AM
  #31  
 
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Bilbo has it right--the drive from CDG to Giverney is very lovely and easy. We arrived as the OP is saying and had lunch in Vernon.
We planned only to go on to Rouen and the road along the Seine was beautiful.
just get a map of Normandy and look at it--even on Google until you are sure you are going to be driving. THEN get a Michelin Normandy map that shows all the little byways. GPS is fine, but I don't think it allows you to see the "big" picture--at least not mine.

Bayeux is only about a 3 hour drive from Giverney.
Again, I always try to consolidate our time wherever we are going to keep from checking in and out of hotels as you are proposing doing in Paris for these side trips.

The "expense" of renting a car also gives you a lot of leeway in what you do and when you do it. A self guided tour of the beaches is VERY easy--michelin Green Guide or any of the myriad guide/tour books sold all over Normandy. I'd plan it before I go, however.

I advised leaving Versailles to the end of your time in Paris, not necessarily Giverney and Normandy. I think you have to decide if these are going to be a part of your trip at all, personally. They require more time and planning than hopping on the train to VErsailles for the day.
Gretchen is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 09:48 AM
  #32  
 
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I agree with Stu and the others who say let the day trips hang loose and do them only when and if you have had your fill of Paris. And I would make Normandy a day trip so you don't have to move hotels back and forth (or skip it completely for this trip). Most people feel that Paris (maybe with some day trips) and one other region are plenty for a 12 day trip.

I also strongly agree that you don't want to plan out every single day. Have your list of places you want to go and each night plan out the next day. I think you actually get to see more that way, while feeling less rushed.

Some of the things you list - La Promenade Plantee and The Viaduc des Arts, Pere Le Chase, the 16th - they are all wonderful - but no where near as wonderful as just wandering around the central areas: the Ile St Louis, Ile de la Cite, the 5th, 6th, the area around the Louvre, the Marais. Designate one or two neighborhoods per day and figure you'll spend at least half the day just BEING there - wandering the banks of the Seine, browsing through a market, walking through a garden, sitting at a cafe. Then you can also do whatever museum or 'site' is in that neighborhood. After two or three or four days of this you might be ready for a day trip to Giverny, or Versaille, or Normandy. But you might not, and you shouldn't have to if you'd rather just stay in Paris. Here's my photos.

http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/paris
isabel is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 03:06 PM
  #33  
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Isabel,
Sorry for the late reply, but I've just gotten around to looking at your photos. Stunning! What an eye you have!
Laurie
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