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Roadtrip: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxemburg


Aug 14th, 2017, 12:13 PM
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Roadtrip: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxemburg

My partner and I we are planning a road trip starting from Dunkirk, France (Ferry from UK), visiting Bruges, Ghent, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Luxembourg, Paris, Mont Saint Michel and ending in Cherbourg-Octeville, taking the Ferry back to UK.

Those are the cities that we want to visit and we think the time is not too tight (16 days).
Any advice of which small towns, scenery roads (we love nature), castles we should visit, maybe spending more/less time per place, any advice will be appreciated.

In the meantime we have set this itinerary but it's flexible depending of your recommendations
Day 1: Dunkirk (France), Bruges, staying in Ghent
Day 3: Exploring Ghent,
Day 4: Driving to Artwerp, exploring Artwerp and driving to Eindhoven
Day 5: Exploring Eindhoven, driving/ staying in Dusseldorf
Day 6: Exploring Dusseldorf and Cologne for 2 days.
Day 8: Driving to Luxemburg and staying in Luxemburg for 2 days
Day 12: Staying in Paris for 3 days (Louvre museum 2 days) 1 day to explore
Day 15: Exploring Versailles
Day 16: Mont Saint Michel driving to Cherbourg-Octeville to catch a ferry during the night back to UK.

Thank you in advance for your help
sofieg is offline  
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Aug 14th, 2017, 12:27 PM
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Is there a real pull for Luxembourg? Do you come over to the continent often or is this your trip?
Paris for 3 days, driving from VErsailles to MsM and then up to Cherbourg. Lots of drive by, IMO
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Aug 14th, 2017, 12:41 PM
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Don't stay in Versailles, drive on toward Normandy even if only for a couple of hours, after your visit of Versailles. That will make the next day less hectic.

Start browsing through relevant maps in your local bookstore, assuming that it has a decent travel section with maps. Michelin has been good at indicating scenic routes, Marco Polo maps are also good.
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Aug 14th, 2017, 10:10 PM
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I do a trip like this every Sept. I'd have a look at the Michelin website (just saw Michael's comment) for the green pretty roads.

For me the great places to visit are Mosel valley, Reims/Epernay (I prefer Epernay but Reims is more interesting), Chantilly may be on your route, also the valley of the Seine (odd painters house along it but also lovely views)

On La Manche you might like St Mere L'eglise for WW2 stuff and St Vaast/Barfleur for Mussels/Oysters and the ports are very pretty.

Yep timing is not too tight. I prefer Trier to Luxembourg, the Roman stuff is better than the fortress.
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Aug 14th, 2017, 10:12 PM
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for La Manche read "Contentin" brain was not switched on.
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Aug 14th, 2017, 10:41 PM
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If you are planning on driving into Cologne and Dusseldorf you need a green umweltplakette on your car. You could park outside the zone and go in by public transport instead, but you do need to be aware of the zones.

Paris and Antwerp now have low emission zones so you need to check what you need if anything to be able to drive in Paris and Antwerp.

Why Eindhoven? It is a modern city surrounded by motorways. Breda may be a more attractive option from Antwerp.
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Aug 15th, 2017, 04:46 AM
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For Paris you need a vignette now - order it online. Antwerp would only be a problem if you have an old diesel car.
Driving in Antwerp is a mess at the moment, as the main road through town is closed due to works. Try to park along the river or on Vlaamse Kaai - this is mostly free. Or find parking garage Markt, just on the edge of the old town.

Gent is also a bit of a hassle with a car.
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Aug 16th, 2017, 10:21 AM
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Thank you so much for all your advice! We are taking them into consideration, thank you for pointing out about the environmental zones, we thought it was just for Paris, definitely we are going to look more into that.

We are going to change the route instead of going to Eindhoven, and we are going to add some of these places to our route: Mosel valley, Reims/Epernay.

Thank you again!
sofieg is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2017, 02:15 PM
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Day 8: Driving to Luxemburg and staying in Luxemburg for 2 days>

Luxembourg -the Grand Duchy as a country is really sweet -I'd consider just visiting Luxembourg City and staying in a neat place like Clervaux:


I'd consider scrapping Cologne and Dusseldorf - maybe just visiting the Koln Cathedral - and spending that time driving to Luxembourg via the gorgeous Mosel Valley from Koblenz - stay in a cute wine town - Cochem a big wine - Beilstein a small one and lots more - and end up in Luxembourg. Trier is worth a stop for sure - the joy of a driving trip to me is going thru lovely scenic areas not hassling with big cities - both I've been to many times on business and would say overall for the average tourist ho-hum.

Anyway just a suggestion - I have biked your whole route to Paris from North Sea and think it a great itinerary but do not stick to autobahns -take lovely side roads at least at certain points.

Unless going to Eindhoven for some special reason I'd skip that modern city too and say go via Aachen instead.

Luxembourg to Paris yes follow the Marne River valley once in Reims area - yes echo bilbo's recommendation of that - then follow the Marne Valley - passing lots of Champagneries (?) to the Paris area.
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