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Train or car rental?

Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 09:04 AM
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Train or car rental?

Spouse and I will be traveling to France late Oct for week to visit my brother. We then will fly to Rome for Cruise back to Galveston. We have a question that more knowledgeable folks can help. We fly in to CDG Paris. My brother's farm is near Champosault and Vimoutiers, south of Lisieux. We will be carrying each a large suitcase plus a carryon a piece. Will this luggage be too much for older couple to go by train to Lisieux?My brother suggests train to Lisieux, rent car there, visit several cities Normandy including Dieppe,Omaha Beach, Caen,Bayeux, two nights in Paris and then on by air to Rome.Or should a trip by mostly train to above stops. a cab ride from Lisieux might be necessary as there isn't any public accomodation travel from there. Will auto rental for three or four days be exorbitant? Train prices are much lower for seniors, I understand.
appreciate any info.
Regards,
Fosterag
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 09:27 AM
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First, what do you mean by "large suitcase?" We can't assess how difficult it might be to travel with your luggage without some idea of how large and heavy it is. I'm a senior and I travel by train all over France, but I have only a tiny rollaboard and a handbag - never anything that I can't clamber up the stairs of a train with or store in an overhead bin.

There are some discounts for seniors on trains in France, but I wouldn't call them "much lower." The "much lower" fares can be purchased by anyone of any age, by going online 3 months or more out from your travel dates and searching for PREM fares.

Have no idea what you consider "exorbitant" in terms of car rental fees, but if you rent for at least 3 days, you generally get a fair price - something like $30-$40 a day for a small car, assuming your credit card covers the collision damage.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Are you going directly to your brother's farm from CDG? That's a bit convoluted. You'll have to get into Paris -- by taxi or bus or RER (an extension of the Metro) -- to the correct train station. Then possibly change trains at Caen. I assume you'll be jetlagged and sleepy after an overnight flight, so not up for renting a car at CDG and driving to your brother's farm immediately. Let alone driving off after your train trip.

How about spending your two nights in Paris after your arrival, then taking the train to Lisieux and renting a car? (Maybe add a day in Paris to recover from jetlag.) You could return the car to Orly airport, then fly from there to Rome. This gives you your choice of non-stop trains to Lisieux. Or, if you really think you can't lift your suitcase up 3 steps onto the train, rent a car from Paris and drive to your brother's farm.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:11 AM
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I would spend your time in Paris upon arrival and then rent a car there to drive to your brother's. This will make life as simple as possible in terms of dealing with luggage.

(My rule of traveling with luggage is that you need to be able to easily pick it up and walk briskly for at least a block - as well as carry it up and down 3 or 4 steep narrow steps onto a train.) Not that I do it tht way - I take whatever I want and pay someone (Cab driver or hotel bellman etc) to deal with it. But if you want to be self-sufficient - keep the luggage light.

Or here's another option. If you are going to be spending a night in a hotel in Rome ship half your gear ahead to that hotel (stuff you will need for the cruise) and tote much les around with you.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Having foolishly let my wife bring a 27" suitcase to France, never again on a train. It was a pain just getting it on the train, and good luck putting it in an overhead bin. If you had to change trains....

However, you must be sure the car you rent has enough room for whatever baggage you bring. Most rental car companies will show you wnat these cars can carry. Word of warning, their definitions of words like "large suitcase" really doesn't mean a large in American terms.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Large suitcase to this American means 22". If you are concerned about mobility, train rides, or placing luggage in the trunk of a rental car and your case is larger than the standard 21" or 22" roll aboard, you may want to review your rational for needing to carry anything larger.
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