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Northern itinerary help needed

by mlaskin100 Online Now Mar 19, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Dear Friends,

Iwill be arriving in Beauvais airport in mid May and have 2 weeks to explore
Northern france. Mont St Michel, Brittany, Normandy and St Malo have been discussed with me. Could you help me formulate an itinerary. I've never been to Northern France.

Thank you

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8 Answers
  • ranger49's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by ranger49 Online Now Mar 19, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    That is a huge request! As someone who knows both Normandy and Brittany quite well (having been a frequent visitor since the early 1960s) I do not know where to start!
    What are your interests? Are you looking for history, art, beaches - whatever?
    How do you plan to get a round - public transport or hire car?
    There is a lot more to northern France than Mont St Michel and St Malo. So please tell us a little bit more about your expectations and interests - perhaps look at some of the Normandy/Brittany pages of VT members; get hold of the Rough Guide to Normandy and Brittany - then come back with more specific questions. Oh and do get a good map of the area and use www.viamichelin.com to work out distances, driving times etc. Generally speaking driving in this area is a dream - quiet, uncrowded roads, attractive scenery and lots of interesting villages to stopp off in for a bit of sight seeing and refreshments.

    I could tell you about the Normandy beaches and WW2 memorials - but maybe that is of no interest to you?
    There are local markets in almost every small village always worth a visit. Not knowing your budget or having any idea what kind of accommodation you prefer I can't really recommend - -lots of budget hotels en route. plenty of upmarkets ones too. Our prefernece is for modest family run hotels in the association of www.logishotels.com.

    Please have a think and come back with more questions once you have a few ideas about what you want from this trip.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by johngayton Online Now Mar 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Roscoff!!!!

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    "Mont St Michel, Brittany, Normandy and St Malo"

    Mont St. Michel is an abbey in Lower Normandy; St. Malo is a city in Brittany. Normandy and Brittany are both regions and rather large areas of France. There is High Normandy and Low Normandy and beside them is Brittany and they cover northwestern France; therefore, you are talking about a huge area in 2 weeks.

    I checked your Home Page here on Virtual Tourist and you haven't listed any of your interests so it's rather difficult to narrow all the tourist sites down to a two-week itinerary for you.

    How are you traveling? You are flying in to France but then what? Are you planning to use public transportation or are you renting a car? That also makes a huge difference because you have much more freedom with a car so you can see more things. Help us help you by telling us some of these things.

    I haven't thought up a Top 10 for Brittany and Normandy but suspect I would narrow it to one of the two regions if I only had two weeks. Of the two, I'd probably choose Normandy and start with Rouen, a fascinating and historic city with a lot to see and do. From there I'd want to visit Giverny and Monet's Home and Gardens which should be lovely in mid-May. In that area you could visit Lyons-la-Foret, a charming medieval village, and the Chateau Gaillard in Les Andelys. There is also the beautiful ruined abbey at Jumieges northwest of Rouen. You can follow the Seine to see the abbey at St. Wandrille then continue on to Honfleur, a beautiful port that is an art center and has many lovely old buildings, an amazing church and the harbor with colorful boats. Follow the Channel on to Trouville-sur-Mer and Deauville, both famous turn-of-the-century resorts and a casino. Visit the "Grand Hotel" in Cabourg and spend at least a day in Caen. Move on to Bayeux viewing the Old Town, cathedral and, of course, the Bayeux Tapestry. If you are so inclined, you are in a perfect position to visit the D-Day Beaches northwest of Caen. You can continue on to Mont St. Michel and you would be lucky to get all this in within your two-week limit although I suppose you could end up in St. Malo after visiting Mont St. Michel.

    You might type some of these places into the VT Search Window above and see what VT members have written about them. There will be Travel Pages with photos, reviews, things to do and web links for more information. You can also click on the names of anyone who answers you here and go to their Home Page. Click on their Travel Pages to see what they have written about the places they suggest. It's a terrific resource here on VT so enjoy it.

    Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your trip. Northern France is wonderful, so much to see and do, great food and very friendly people.

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  • Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by mlaskin100 Online Now Mar 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Forgive me for being so vague. We will rent a car in Beauvais and set off for our adventure. We naturally want to see the D-day sights. Our other interests are beaches, charming villages and good food. We typically stay in small inns or lately we've stayed in convents and monasteries that rent out rooms.(We did that in Italy last year)
    We have 2 weeks any of your help would be deeply appreciated.

    Thank you

    Margot Laskin

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  • ranger49's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by ranger49 Online Now Mar 20, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    As others have pointed out you asked about a huge area.
    You have stipulated Mont St Michel, St Malo and the Landings beaches in Normandy.
    I think I suggested that you use Maps and www.viamichelin.com to plan your itinerary and recommended
    www.logishotels.com
    as good typical, small family run inns/hotels for accommodation en route.
    I do not know of any convents or monasteries offering accommodation in these parts.
    There are, of course, plenty of beaches all along the historical Landings and on both east and west of the Cotentin peninsular.
    West of St Malo great beaches stretch for miles along Cote d'Emeraude to the Cote de Granit Rose and beyond.
    The thing is - do you want to be on the move every day? Or find a base here and there to stay for a few days?
    How much driving will you want to do in one day?
    Touring the Landings Beaches and visiting the museums and memorials can be very time consuming and draining - particularly if you take in some of the War Cemeteries. You might want to consider -
    Bayeux - a great Cathedral, the Tapestry and WW2 Cemeteries,
    Caen and the Peace Museum
    Arromanches -the Mulberry Harbour and Museums.
    All along the Beaches there are Museums, cemeteries and mmemorials.

    For something different- the medieval town of Dinan, south of St Malo.
    To the west of St Malo - Cancale famous for oysters and beaches.

    Great beaches to the west of St Malo - both east and west of Cap Frehel where we have had many family holidays.

    Do feel free to come back with specific questions after studying the maps and getting an idea of how far you want to travel each day and how many days you want to stay in one place.

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Perfect. From Beauvais you can drive the D981 directly from there to Gisors. It is a lovely town and would be a good base for visiting Lyons-la-Foret, a charming small medieval village with flowers, a market and many half-timbered houses. You could also visit Giverny from there. Rouen is certainly worth a day with the cathedral, old town area, the stunning abbey of St. Ouen and the market square with the modern Joan d'Arc church with its old, saved stained glass windows.

    Then you can continue along the Seine to Honfleur, a beautiful harbor town with museums, a very interesting church and lovely old town beside the picturesque harbor.

    Continue along the shore through Trouville, Deauville and you will see miles of lovely sand beaches with restaurants and hotels on the boardwalks. You might consider staying at the Grande Hotel in Cabourg. If not, try to have lunch or tea there.

    Visit Caen for at least a day and then move to Bayeux and base yourself there for visiting the D-Day Beaches and historic sights.

    Move on to Mont St. Michel and find a nice Logis de France in the area or stay on the Mont to see it in the evening without so many tourists. You can go to church at the Mont; it's an active parish.

    St. Malo and Dinard are across the bay from the Mont and Dinan further south on the Rance River is a great visit too.

    Type all these places into the VT Search Window and see the pictures and things to do in them to get an idea if they appeal to you.

    This should all fit into two weeks and the drive back to Beauvais is not all that bad. You can get an idea of driving times and routes at http://www.viamichelin.com/

    You can also check accomodations at the Logis de France chain of small family-owned hotels. We love them and they nearly all have very good restaurants. http://www.logishotels.com/en/

    Good luck.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by johngayton Online Now Mar 20, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Great reply Sally,

    HA! Allows me to use my set piece: Aujourd'hui cetait un beaux jour de printemps. Le soleil brillait et les oiseaux chantais sur les arbes. Mon vie, verre du vin en place et les fromages en plat, est parfait.

    What else does one need in life?

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Northern itinerary help needed

    by Beausoleil Online Now Mar 20, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Obviously, John, you did not have our weather today! We had a major rain and windstorm with blizzard conditions in the mountains. Spring indeed!!!!!!!!!!

    But the hope is there . . . 8^)

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