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Seeking help with Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy itinerary

Seeking help with Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy itinerary

Feb 28th, 2005, 09:08 AM
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Seeking help with Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy itinerary

We're planning to spend 21 days in August exploring Normandy, Brittany and Burgundy, hopefully in some depth. We've done quite a bit of time in Normandy already so we'll devote most of the time to Brittany and Burgundy. I'm having the usual problem trying to balance longer stays to cut down packing and unpacking against back and forth, vicinity driving that may repeat itself. Please look this over and tell me where I may be spending too much or two little time or planning day trips that take too long, etc. Also I'd appreciate suggestions for where to break up an otherwise very long drive between Vannes and Bourges. Here's what I've got so far:
3 days in Honfleur with side trips to cheese and cider country and to Caen and the Cherbourg peninsula, going as far as Coutances. 3 days in Cancale with side trips to Fougeres, Rennes, Dinan and St. Brieuc. 2 days in Northern Brittany, probably at Roscoff or Carantac with side trips to Peros-Gurec, Morlaix, and possibly Brest. Basing out of Quimper area (but not directly in Quimper) for 3 days with side trips to Douarnenez, Pont. L'Abbe, Concarneau, Pont Aven and Benodet. 2 days in Southern Brittany around the Gulf of Morbihan near Vannes with a chance to see Carnac and take a side trip to Josselin. A terrible day of driving 472 km/ 5 hrs. 10 min from Vannes to Bourges/Sancerre to spend 2 days in that vicinity or breaking up the drive into two days staying somewhere in the middle in the Loire where we've been fairly often and kind of hate to repeat. 4 days in Burgundy staying in Beaune area with side trips to Dijon, Nuits St. George and various vineyards, etc. 1 night in Vezelay to see the church and eat at L'Esperance, one of our favorite restaurants. Driving the 268 km from Vezelay to Chantilly to stay our last night before flying home from DeGaulle airport. What guidance and suggestions do you have for me? Am I picking the right areas to base in? Am I missing something? Spending more time than is merited someplace? Thanks.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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You could drop down to Poitiers, particularly if Romanesque churches interest you. If you do stop in Poitiers, don't miss the church in St. Savin, directly east of Poitiers, on your way to the Sancerre area. Between Bourges and Sancerre there is the village of La Borne, which is a potter's village. Lunch in its only épicerie/restaurant can be very nice.
Michael is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 09:19 PM
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You seem to know exactly what you want. But if it was my 21 days I would spend it all in eastern France, between Dijon, Strasbourg, and Geneva -- best food and wine on the planet.
hopscotch is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 04:29 AM
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Michael, thanks for the idea and the recommendation for Sancerre area. Hopscotch, interesting that you should suggest moving way over to the other side of the country. My husband took one look at my proposed route and said that it's too much driving and maybe we should do Brittany another time. I'm not quite willing to give it up yet, but I may work simultaneously on a second option as you suggest. Thanks. I'm also considering cutting out Normandy altogether to spend more time in Brittany and Burgundy with a more liesurely drive between the two.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:10 AM
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This isn't going to help you streamline your itinerary but anyway: Last fall we took a short trip to Brittany around the Bay of Morlaix. Lovely, undeveloped coastline. Very good antique-hunting a bit inland! We also visited large a megalith-era burial mound (like Newgrange in Ireland) and a great farm/home museum in a little town whose name escapes me. Roscommon is a very pleasant and lively town, but the highlight of our trip was a two-night stay in much calmer Carantec, at the hotel de Carantec. Very pleasant rooms with semi-private terraces overlooking the Bay of Bay of Morlaix -- with just a sliver of land and a very picturesque old stone house in foreground and boats bobbing in the bay for additional visual interest. The (mainly seafood) restaurant attached to the hotel, also with a panoramic water view, is great -- arguably the best restaurant in Brittany. We understand that it recently received a second Michelin star. This was a bit of a splurge, and worth every euro!
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 05:19 AM
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Dave, it helps a lot. i've been looking at Carantac and that very hotel. So nice to get an unsolicited recommendation. Thanks.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Julie--If you are going to concentrate on Brittany and Burgundy, why not take the TGV from CDG to Rennes?
That allows you to bank some time for a more leisurlely drive over to Burgundy.

If you happen to be near Poitiers, I can recommend the Chateau Curzay.

Stu Dudley posted a while back that there is an morning TGV from Dijon to CDG, which might work out for the flight home.

RonZ is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 07:48 AM
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Here's a recommendation for the day you go to Vezelay. There is chanting/singing in the abbey around 11:00 or 11:30 each day except, I believe, Sunday. Unforgettable.
Around 10K due south of Vezelay on D958 (around 5K south of l'Esperance) is Bazoches. The chateau there was owned by the most famous Frenchman Americans have never heard of: Vauban, a military architect, economist and all-round Renaissance man during the reign of Louis XIV. A tour of the chateau is very interesting and worthwhile. Directly across the road from Bazoches is a simple ferme-auberge. Stop in and see if they are open for lunch. The woman who runs it, Mme Perrier, is a delight and a good cook.
vedette is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 01:25 PM
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RonZ, thanks for opening my eyes to use of train travel in this trip. I'm now thinking that we will take TGV to Rennes, spend time in Cancale, Carentac, and Vannes, then drive back to Rennes, drop the car and take TGV from Rennes to Lyon where we'll hook up with our friends. We'll then pick up another car and spend time in Annecy, Berne, Beaune, and Dijon and take the TGV to CDG to fly home. Vedette, I'll try to schedule us into Vezelay to hear the singing before going to lunch at L'Esperance (unfortunately it looks like the hotel is already full so we won't be able to stay there) We'll also check out Bazoches. My husband is very big on history and is familiar with Vaubun. Isn't he entombed in Invalides? or is that just a monument to him?
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 01:36 PM
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If you are in Honfleur you must go to the nearby Belon of the famed oysters.
For excellent crepes, Chez Angele
For seafood overlooking water, Chez Jacky. Love that area. Also We visited the famed rock carvings at Rotheneuf. Too bad the sea and time is withering them away. We enjoyed it there more than Carnac.
cigalechanta is offline  
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