Trip to Paris and Northwestern France

Old Feb 10th, 2024, 06:24 AM
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Trip to Paris and Northwestern France

I know I'm late in planning this trip, but I had some medical issues to resolve before I knew I could take this trip. (In fact, I had wanted to go to the Lake District in England, but I think that will have to wait until next year, I'm not ready for hiking just yet).
I'd like to plan a trip for my husband and myself - half the time in Paris (it's been a while) and half the time in northwestern France. Maybe 4-5 days each place. Oh, we're 70 and 71 if that matters, but good travelers still.
I'm pretty confident about planning the Paris part (well, I might have a few questions about lodging), but I DO have some question about the rest of the trip.

I'd like to go to Giverny (we've been to Paris THREE times already and still haven't managed to see Giverny, but I see it's sort of...on the way to where we're going).
I'm wondering about using Bayeux as a central place we can day trip from, or will we have to stay in multiple locations? I'd like to see Honfleur, Mont Saint Michel, and of course the D-Day Landing beaches (and I know not to be anywhere near there on D-Day). Maybe Rouen.

I assume we'll need a car (well, not in Paris), but maybe we won't. I'd probably want to hire a half day guide in a few places.

So - is this do-able? Late May, early June, or first half of June? Start or end in Paris? I just need a structure for this trip and I can put together an itinerary, and start looking for hotels (and airfare).

As always, thanks for your help.
Alice
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 06:46 AM
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Sure that's possible. Stay in the Pays d' Auge in Normandy, or Honfleur.

See attached itinerary for Normandy & Brittany.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 07:01 AM
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Have a look at the roads. Getting to St M is a bit of a slow dull road. Packed during the day the best views are from the coast. You may wish to stay overnight. I'd stay in Bayeux so you can also see the Tapestry

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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 07:06 AM
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What a information packed itinerary, I will glean the parts that will apply for us. Thanks so much!
Alice
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 07:10 AM
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bilboburgler, we were THINKING about making Bayeux a base and doing day trips from there. I really hate packing and unpacking every day. Stu Dudley also recommends staying in Saint Michel, so maybe that's our last night. Contemplating starting in the north and ending with Paris (so we don't have to worry about the plane home).

Alice
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 07:32 AM
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Downside of staying on the Mont, is the weather which can be bad, but it may be an interesting visit.

Yes, leave Paris on arrival and head straight out by train to say Rouen for an overnighter. Rouen has a lovely ancient centre that more or less survived the Allies air attacks but failed to survive all the planners. In the morning hire a car when your brains have caught up with yourselves. seat61.com explains train. sncf.com for timetables and tickets (you buy them on line and pick the ticket up at a machine (normally any sncf machine). If you just want to plan, rome2rio.

Honfleur is a pretty enough stay, but I prefer Bayeaux.

I'm being dumb, you could even do Giverny from Charles de Gaule on the first day to recover. Opening times https://www.mdig.fr/en/plan-your-vis...-and-access-2/

Last edited by bilboburgler; Feb 10th, 2024 at 07:35 AM.
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 01:10 PM
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I'm fairly certain that after waiting all this time to see Giverny, I'd like to be relatively conscious.

Another question - how far before and after D-Day do we have to avoid that whole area?

Thanks!
Alice
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Old Feb 10th, 2024, 05:13 PM
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We stayed in Honfleur, which is such a pretty little town. You could do Giverny and the D-Day beaches on the way out. We got a guided tour (small group in a minivan) from the Memorial Museum in Caen out to the beaches. You might want to check their website and book ahead, so you know what time to get there. The museum itself is worth seeing as well. From your base you could take day trips, including Mont St. Michel and Bayeux. On the way back to Paris we stopped at Rouen (Joan of Arc Memorial) and Le Andelys (ruins of Chateau Gaillard, medieval castle of Richard the Lion Hearted, overlooking the Seine).
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Old Feb 11th, 2024, 08:50 PM
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You basically only have to avoid the beaches on the 6th of June. Perhaps also on the afternoon of the 5th while they make the area "secure." The websites can probably give more specific guidance about closure to the general public at certain times.
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Old Feb 12th, 2024, 08:52 AM
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Having a car gives you tremendous freedom and you are never stuck. I don't care so much for Giverny, but doing it by car is the best way. It's a small site and then you are not devoting so much time to it. Plus, there are other places nearby worth visiting you'll miss without a car.

If I had four nights from Paris and wanted to include Giverny, I recommend the following sites:

From Paris CDG:
La Roche Guyon
Eglise Troglodytique de l'Annonciation
Giverny
Cahteau Gaillard (ruins)
Abbaye de Jumieges (ruins)
Honfleur
Ouistreham (Museum of the Atlantic Wall)
Arromanches
American Cemetary at St Laurent sur Mer
Pointe du Hoc
Beuvron en Auge
Crevcoeur Chateau-Musee
Chateau de St Germain de Livet

One other note; with a car, you aren't limited to cities to find lodging.




Last edited by shelemm; Feb 12th, 2024 at 08:54 AM.
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Old Feb 12th, 2024, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice9
I know I'm late in planning this trip, but I had some medical issues to resolve before I knew I could take this trip. (In fact, I had wanted to go to the Lake District in England, but I think that will have to wait until next year, I'm not ready for hiking just yet).
I'd like to plan a trip for my husband and myself - half the time in Paris (it's been a while) and half the time in northwestern France. Maybe 4-5 days each place. Oh, we're 70 and 71 if that matters, but good travelers still.
I'm pretty confident about planning the Paris part (well, I might have a few questions about lodging), but I DO have some question about the rest of the trip.

I'd like to go to Giverny (we've been to Paris THREE times already and still haven't managed to see Giverny, but I see it's sort of...on the way to where we're going).
I'm wondering about using Bayeux as a central place we can day trip from, or will we have to stay in multiple locations? I'd like to see Honfleur, Mont Saint Michel, and of course the D-Day Landing beaches (and I know not to be anywhere near there on D-Day). Maybe Rouen.

I assume we'll need a car (well, not in Paris), but maybe we won't. I'd probably want to hire a half day guide in a few places.

So - is this do-able? Late May, early June, or first half of June? Start or end in Paris? I just need a structure for this trip and I can put together an itinerary, and start looking for hotels (and airfare).

As always, thanks for your help.
Alice
Giverny is a marvel, on your way to fabulous Mt St Michel, where you stay at the amazing famous Mère Poulard hotel. Bayeux is an excellent base. Do not forget to visit the superb small harbour of HONFLEUR
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Old Feb 12th, 2024, 11:07 PM
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If you plan to do Mont Saint Michel (which is amazing), I highly recommend you visit North Brittany (Bretagne) which is very close. Saint-Malo, Dinard and Dinan are wonderful !

You can easily take a TGV train from Paris to Saint-Malo, and then visit the neighbouring Mont Saint Michel, Dinard and Dinan.

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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 06:21 AM
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kerouac, thanks so much, exactly what I needed to know!
Alice
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 06:54 AM
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bruta, I like the idea of doing Giverny and the D-Day beaches on the way out, and back to Paris. I will definitely check out the tour from the Memorial Museum in Caen.
I'm deciding whether to base in Honfleur or Bayeux.
I had not considered stopping at Rouen and Le Andelys, will definitely check out both.
Thanks so much for your very helpful suggestions!
Alice
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Old Feb 13th, 2024, 06:58 AM
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shelemm, you make a lot of suggestions I didn't really consider, but now I will. I agree that having a car gives us a lot of freedom, it's the best way to explore places. I might have to add another day to this area, as there is SO much to see! Now that GPS exists, traveling by car is much easier than it used to be, with me looking at maps while my husband was driving!
Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestions!
Alice
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 12:56 PM
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So, would this work? A total of 12 days, 2 of which are travel, and 5 nights in Bayeux and 5 nights in Paris? It seems like we can make Bayeux a base and do day trips from there. If that seems reasonable, I'll start looking for airfare (latter part of May through early June) and book whatever days give me the best airfare. Then I only have to look for 2 hotels or apartments!

We'll likely look for private half day tours in a few places as well.

This might be easier to plan than I had anticipated, as I'm getting older, I really prefer finding one or two central location and making day trips. And it's been quite a while since we've been to Paris, so that will be a treat.

Thanks for all the help from everyone. Stop me if this is not a good plan!

Alice
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 08:25 AM
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We did a driving trip in this area several years ago in which we landed in Paris and immediately picked up rental car and headed to Rouen. Toured Rouen and stayed one night. The next day we drove to E'tratat and Honfluer and then to the museum in Caen before heading to Bayeux. We spent two nights in Bayeux and would have preferred another night to tour additional D-Day sites. In heavy rain we drove to Mont St Michel where we spent the night. Unfortunately did not get to St. Lo on that trip or to Brittany as we then headed back to Paris, stopping along the way to revisit Chartes, returned the rental car at a location in Paris and then spent an additional four nights in Paris. As it was mid-October by this point, we skipped Giverny but I would still like to get there on another trip.
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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to the OP, please don't do this "we landed in Paris and immediately picked up rental car and headed to Rouen". Take a train to your first night and then rent a car, Rouen is a good place to pick up a car.

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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 08:39 AM
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bilboburgler, this is a point of contention between my husband and me. He's, of course, sure that he'll be fine picking up a car at the airport and taking off. I'm voting for the train. I'll let you know who wins.

Madam397, sounds like you did a LOT in a short amount of time. I really like to avoid staying one night anyplace if I can. But I will put together my spreadsheet with distances and travel times between all the places we want to go and see if staying just in Bayeux will work okay.

Alice
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Old Feb 17th, 2024, 10:16 AM
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I like the idea of immediately getting a car at the airport and driving, especially since you are not driving all that far, and in fact you can stop any time you want. That way, you get on with your trip.

If you have a car.... there is no reason to think of stopping and sleeping in cities. You should stop well before Bayeux since there are so may things to see in the Seine Valley. I think five days in Bayeux is a bit much. And in fact you do not have to choose Bayeux at all. Yes, it's great for people without a car, but you are not thus limited.
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