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Five (July) nights in Normandy?

Five (July) nights in Normandy?

Old Apr 8, 17, 6:03 pm
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Smile Five (July) nights in Normandy?

Hello, FT'ers!

Mrs. ClipperJCM and I are off to France for a five-night stay in July (arriving/departing out of ORY). We're leaning toward spending most of that time in Normandy and/or Brittany, since historical sites, countryside, beach and seafood ALL appeal to us. The missus will also be nearly five months pregnant at the time, so the idea of skipping Paris (and its many Metro stairways) sounds like the way to go.

I've been spending a lot of time consuming threads on the area, though, and can't seem to find any consensus on where we should base ourselves to explore the area. Is it best to train from Paris (maybe to Caen? Bayeux?) and pick up a rental car there? Should we expect to split our nights between two hotels--maybe one near the D-Day sights and another closer to (or in) Brittany? Any suggestions on itineraries that make the most sense? (We arrive late morning on June 29; depart afternoon of July 4.)

As a wild card option, we could of course scrap the whole Normandy plan and just head to Lyon for a few days of gastronomy. But I fear my wine-restricted wife would see that mere taunting!

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Apr 9, 17, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by ClipperJCM View Post
Hello, FT'ers!

Mrs. ClipperJCM and I are off to France for a five-night stay in July (arriving/departing out of ORY). We're leaning toward spending most of that time in Normandy and/or Brittany, since historical sites, countryside, beach and seafood ALL appeal to us. The missus will also be nearly five months pregnant at the time, so the idea of skipping Paris (and its many Metro stairways) sounds like the way to go.

I've been spending a lot of time consuming threads on the area, though, and can't seem to find any consensus on where we should base ourselves to explore the area. Is it best to train from Paris (maybe to Caen? Bayeux?) and pick up a rental car there? Should we expect to split our nights between two hotels--maybe one near the D-Day sights and another closer to (or in) Brittany? Any suggestions on itineraries that make the most sense? (We arrive late morning on June 29; depart afternoon of July 4.)

As a wild card option, we could of course scrap the whole Normandy plan and just head to Lyon for a few days of gastronomy. But I fear my wine-restricted wife would see that mere taunting!

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
For folks with an interest in D Day and related topics, your 5 day plan sounds perfect to me. There are books with itineraries I suggest you seek out and get.

My thoughts on your questions:

1. Take the train from Paris (or directly from train station at CDG) to Normandy and rent a car there. If you take the trian to Caen, you can start your tour at the great museum there, which provides a good overview of events leading up and and through WW 2.

2. I would book two hotels, one in Normandy and another in Brittany. We found Bayeaux well located for seeing D Day sights.

Your time should allow visits to Mont St Michel (though consider the long climb there as to your wife's pregnancy) and perhaps St Malo.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 8:18 am
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With your wife being pregnant, rent a car at ORY. From there head to Rennes (capital of Brittany). No need to cross Paris as ORY is well situated to take the freeway to Rennes (about 3 hours drive). Alternatively you could take the bus to Montparnasse and from there the TGV but in my opinion a car is more comfortable. From Rennes you do easily St Malo and Mont St Michel (if you dare the stairs) or you head towards Bayeux and Caen (no toll freeway) and DDay beaches. Then return via Honfleur and Rouen towards Paris (again no need to cross the city going to ORY)
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Old Apr 9, 17, 11:04 am
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I did not take note that OP is landing at Orly, so please ignore my post as to taking a train at CDG.

A friend went directly to Rennes and while it may be geographically well positioned, she found it was a town without merit on its own. Others have any thoughts?
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Old Apr 9, 17, 1:19 pm
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From a touristic standpoint, St Malo has a lot more charm than Rennes does. You may find better dining in Rennes, as it is a bigger town.
Mont St Michel will be slammed with tourists (St Michel appears to be the patron saint of tourist traps). One thing to consider, given your wife's state.
If you have time check out the small town of Pont Aven in Brittany, fantastic art galleries and charming architecture. May be a bit off of your path however.
Bayeux - excellent base from which to explore Normandy and the D-Day sites. Don't miss the US cemetery behind Omaha beach.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 1:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Mountain Trader View Post
I did not take note that OP is landing at Orly, so please ignore my post as to taking a train at CDG.

A friend went directly to Rennes and while it may be geographically well positioned, she found it was a town without merit on its own. Others have any thoughts?
the old town around the opera is quite nice, but I mentioned Rennes mainly due to its geographical situation and there are plenty of food and drink options (for example "rue de la soif" street for the thirsty). Rennes is a University town and therefore with a lot of young people going out, albeit not in July and August.

For seafood go to Cancale, near St Malo. Cheaper and better than in St Malo.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by MarLim View Post
the old town around the opera is quite nice, but I mentioned Rennes mainly due to its geographical situation and there are plenty of food and drink options (for example "rue de la soif" street for the thirsty). Rennes is a University town and therefore with a lot of young people going out, albeit not in July and August.

For seafood go to Cancale, near St Malo. Cheaper and better than in St Malo.
I still think OP should think long and hard about hopping in a rental car after an overnight flight (if that's what it is) and driving over 3 hours in a foreign country. A cab to a train station, then a train to whichever destination seems much more sane.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 8:26 pm
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Thanks to everyone for such great feedback. Has been very helpful.

Expanding on some of the ideas posted, would the following be practical?:

Day 1: Cab/train to Caen or Bayeux; pick up rental car and stay near Bayeux
Day 2: Explore Normandy
Day 3: Explore Normandy
Day 4: Drive to Brittany (St. Malo or environs?)
Day 5: Explore Brittany
Day 6: Return. Catch flight from Brittany (Lorient? Quimper?) to avoid long drive back to Orly

Too much for just five days? Thanks again.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperJCM View Post
Thanks to everyone for such great feedback. Has been very helpful.

Expanding on some of the ideas posted, would the following be practical?:

Day 1: Cab/train to Caen or Bayeux; pick up rental car and stay near Bayeux
Day 2: Explore Normandy
Day 3: Explore Normandy
Day 4: Drive to Brittany (St. Malo or environs?)
Day 5: Explore Brittany
Day 6: Return. Catch flight from Brittany (Lorient? Quimper?) to avoid long drive back to Orly

Too much for just five days? Thanks again.
A cab to Normandy from Orly would be several hunfred dollars. If you want that level of luxury and cost, I would seek a reliable private car service rather than the next cab in the line.

I don't know about flights from Brittany to Orly. FYI, the hotels around Orly are generally not well rated.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by Mountain Trader View Post
A cab to Normandy from Orly would be several hunfred dollars. If you want that level of luxury and cost, I would seek a reliable private car service rather than the next cab in the line.

I don't know about flights from Brittany to Orly. FYI, the hotels around Orly are generally not well rated.
Point taken. I should have said "cab TO train," rather than a taxi all the way from Orly.
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