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What is the traffic like in Normandy and the Loire in late July?

What is the traffic like in Normandy and the Loire in late July?

Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 10:44 AM
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What is the traffic like in Normandy and the Loire in late July?

My sister wants to go to Paris for her 50th so myself and another sister have agreed to accompany her. We are going for TEN days so have decided we need to do more than just Paris.

I first suggested we rent an apartment in Paris and day trip everywhere. But the birthday girl (BG) wants to see Normandy over any other place in France. I believe we will need a car to see Normandy.

I think we should arrive (on Friday), rent a car

Day 1&2 (Fri.&Sat) Drive to Rouen or somewhere inbetween (I did read the review of the Golden Chain hotel and that looked nice as well), overnight, see Saturday market and old town, relax, and spend a second night (get over jet lag). (We could rent a car in Rouen but are rental car offices open on Saturday?)(How could we fit in Giverny?)

3.(Sun) Drive to Honfleur and the D-Day beaches, overnight at Mont St Michel, see the abbey the next day

4.(Mon) Drive to Rennes or Chartres, drop off the car, see Chartres (another one BG wants to do), spend the night and see Versaille the next day (Tuesday) before hitting Paris.

I know, I know, I need to consult a detailed road map. BG has driven in Italy but doesn't want to drive in France. I told her it will be a piece of cake with me navigating (as I do with my husband). BUT how much traffic will there be in the summer? I understand that Normandy is a big get-away area for the French. Will there be traffic jams? Any itinerary suggestions are welcome. I really want to get the itinerary nailed down as soon as possible so we can make hotel reservations.


Merci.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 11:57 AM
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The traffic won't be measurably worse in late July than other times of year. I've been to both the Loire and Normandy at that time of year and, except for some backups getting in and out of larege towns and cities, I've never noticed any major traffic problems - well, maybe at Le Mont St-Michel, but that's true for most of the year there.

The big traffick floodgates open August 1, but that would onl affect you if you were traveling south to the Loire from Paris along the route that all the Parisians will be taking to the Mediterranean, and you could easily plan an alternate route and stay off the autoroutes.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 07:40 PM
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We visited the abbey (great self-guided headsets available and heartily recommended) at Mont St. Michel when it first opened in the morning and it worked out great. We finished by 11:00, when we needed to be checked out of the hotel.

One question, What does the BG think of your itinerary?
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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I am trying to get some concrete ideas down and then present it to her as she really doesn't have a clue. They assume because I have been to France so many times, that I am the expert. I do want their input as I want NO COMPLAINTS. lol

I need to consult more guide books so I can figure out exactly how many days we need in each place. I didn't get much of a response here so perhaps I should post the itinerary under another heading than "traffic".
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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..just a warning. There is a lot of weekend trafffic to normandy from Paris. People often go to Normandy for the weekend so the autoroute is very crowded friday evening after work and again sunday night..so plan accordingly..Just make sure that you avoid the start of the august exodus..The roads are dreadful for the first few days...So check be sure your late July weekend is not a late, late july weeeknd which might be the start of the august holiday.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 04:16 PM
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yes, but the autoroute has a high speed limit. We use it, though it can be expensive, only when meeting a deadline.
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Old Nov 5th, 2004, 08:29 AM
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You can easily work in a quick trip to Giverny. We landed at CDG on a Saturday around 8:00 AM, picked up our car at Hertz at 8:20, and were in Giverny by 9:40. Monet's house and garden open at 9:30.

When you leave CDG, follow the signs towards Cergy-Pontoise instead of Paris. This motorway is uncrowded and easy to navigate. When you are near Pontoise, there will be an exit for the N14 with a big Rouen sign. Head towards Rouen. Take the exit towards Vernon and you will be in Giverny within twenty minutes.

Walking around the gardens is a great way to get over jet lag. After visiting the gardens and the house, you can take the A motorway to Rouen.

On this last trip we went to Etretat (after Giverny) to see the rock formations and then headed to Mont St. Michel where we spent Saturday night.

Have a great trip.
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Old Nov 5th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Great idea Dorothy! Giverny that is. Did you go directly from Rouen to Mont St. Michel without stopping elsewhere? If so, how long did it take and what route did you take, and what did you see along the way besides the rock formations. If you wrote a trip report, please tell me how to find it. Thanks so much.
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