Road trip from Paris
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Aug 22, 2012 7:57 AM Last Post By: regards
Aug 17, 2012 3:15 PM
Road trip from ParisHello,
My wife and I are planning to rent a car in Paris and drive out for a week in mid-September. The idea is to experience the country side, find a quaint little place and chill out. We have no ideas about the area and what would be nice to see and do. Plans are wide open. Can anyone please make suggestions for a trip?
Thanks for any help. Cheers!
Aug 17, 2012 3:33 PM
Aug 18, 2012 12:00 AM
2Go North and you can see the Normandy beaches (and cemeteries) involved in the 2nd world war.
Go South West and you can explore the Loire valley with numerous castles and wineries.
Head South East to Chamonix and go for hiking (or just sunbathing) in amongst the French Alps.
Head directly South to the Med for some quiet beach time.
You could pick almost any direction to be honest, and see whatever you like. My suggestion would be to take a train to the local area, then hire the car. Driving out of Paris is a bitch and a lot of autoroutes are tolled.
Aug 18, 2012 3:10 AM
3Go north-east for a viste of Monet's garden and house in Giverny
Go east for a Champain tasting and to see the cathedral in Reims
Go north-west to Bayeux for the tapissery and the Mont St. Michel, try Calvados in Calvados.
Go west and discover castles of Combourg, Fougeres, Guipry, Les Iffs, Langrin, the parlement of Britanny / Rennes
Aug 18, 2012 12:28 PM
4there are tonnes of options. I am afraid you'll have to look at a guidebook and decide for yourself.
The Loire Valley, Champagne, and Burgundy are all a 2hr drive from Paris. Butw ith a week you could also go further afield. It also depends a lot on your travel style. are you content to spend a week in, say Burgundy, exploring smaller towns, renting bikes for day trips through teh countryside, or are you one of those people who wants to 'hit' as many 'sites' as possible in 1 week?
A GPS would be handy. you can bring your own or rent one (count on min 10 EUR/day)
Aug 20, 2012 6:50 AM
5Definitely take the train out of Paris and rent the car in a smaller town. Nuts to drive in Paris. Normandy is wonderful...history and great butter! The fortified farmhouses are very picturesque and many feature chambre d' hote (sp?!) as in rooms to rent. Deauville is a wonderful and slightly off the beaten track beach town. And Avignon is always a great trip, with Provence, the Med and Chateauneuf du Pape. Enjoy!!
Aug 21, 2012 9:13 AM
6A possible itinerary is:
Day 1; North-west and just out of Paris is Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spended the last period of his life. Things to see or visit like L’Auberge Ravoux, cemetery, spots where paintings where made, etc.
From there you can drive via Pontoise to highway A15 and go west to Gisors / Rouen. After about 10km, in the meanwhile the A15 is now named D14, turn left at village La Villeneuve- Saint-Martin and follow route D28 south to Les Mureaux. Halfway there is Chateaux de Villette, better known as the fictional residence of Sir Leigh Teabing of the Da Vinci Code. As far as I know it’s not possible to visit it like a museum, as it is a luxury hotel.
Close to Les Mureaux take route D913 west to Vétheuil and drive along the river Seine to lovely La Roche Guyon and go further to Giverny. Not only the house and gardens of Monet are interesting, also the nearby Musée des impressionismes.
Giverny belongs to the charming Vexin region and offers a lot of possibilities to stay in a chambre d’hote (B&B) on the country side.
Day 2; Close to Giverny is Vernon and from there you can drive via highway A13/E5 (toll) to Rouen. You can also follow the scenic route along the right bank of the river Seine from Giverny to Les Andelys, but it will take more time to go to Rouen. Nice city centre with half timbered houses and beautifull cathedral. Go further and visit the old harbour of Honfleur and if there is enough time drive along the coast to Deauville.
Day 3; If you want to see the WOII beaches of Normandy, look for a place to stay near Bayeux. If not visit the famous tapestry of Bayeux in the morning and head further to Le Mont-Saint-Michel in the afternoon.
Day 4; Drive to Le Mans via Vitré. Both has really nice mediaeval city centres. As Le Mans is world famous for it’s racetrack, the Musée automobile de la Sarthe at the main entrance exhibits a lot of unique racecars. Drive further to Amboise and look there for accommodation.
Day 5; In the morning visit the chateaux and the chapel where Leonardo da Vinci is actually buried. Also nearby is Chateau Du Clos Lucé where he stayed the last three years of his life. A lot of models of the machines he invented are displayed. In the afternoon go to Chateau de Chenonceau and after the visit drive along La Loire to Chambord. As far as I know is the park free and you can wonder the exteriour of the chateau. Look for a nearby place to stay.
Day 6; Still in the mood to visit a castle you can go back to Chambord and visit the castle itself. It’s a bit empty, so that can be disappointing. Head further to Chartres and enjoy it’s cathedral and city centre.
Day 7; Drive to Fontainebleau to visit the castle. There is also among many interesting things the room where Napoleon signed his abdication as emperor of France before being exciled to Elba. For al those who have an interest in history, Fontainebleau is certainly a place to go. Another option is Vaux le Vicomte, not royal but has certainly the “grandeur” of it, one France finest chateau. Back to nearby Paris.
The length of this itinerary is about 1000km, but with the necessary detours it’s easily to cover 1500km, or even more. Ofcourse you can tailor it as much as you like to your personal pace and preferences. You can also select a few highlights,what gives more time to stay longer in one place. So for example an alternative for the same itinerary can be in short: Paris – Giverny – Honfleur – Le Mont-Saint-Michel – Amboise – Paris. The Vexin region, Normandy and the Loire Valley are lovely and good places to explore the countryside.
Best is to make a list of the B&B’s of the places where you want to stay before leaving. So as soon as you know where you want to stay, you can phone the owner/keeper if there is place. In mid-september most B&B’s have a room free to receive their guests. They have also most of the time local tourist information or tips what to do in the region. And can help you with a phone call for the next place to stay or helping to rent bikes. My personal experience is that there is much more to discover then just the beaten path. Use in case you want to explore the country side a good satnav or a well detailed roadmap, preferable scale 1/150.000. The latter easily to find in many larger supermarkets
Most B&B’s or Chambre d’hôtes are member of Gîtes de France, meaning a certain level of quality is garanteed. Prices per night for a double room with breakfast starting from about €50,-.
Google www.gites-de-france.com for more info.
Well I hope this will help you and wish you good luck with your trip.
Aug 21, 2012 6:46 PM
Aug 21, 2012 10:41 PM
Paris is easier than many other European cities due to its easy lay out. Get on a boulevard out of the city, then on the ring road, which is close to the center, and take the right exit. That's it.
I live in Paris without a car- i rent one 3 times a year for trips to Burgundy etc and never had any problems driving out of the city. Just avoid rush hours (including Sunday evening when man people return from weekend trips)
Aug 22, 2012 6:49 AM
9I agree MTL. I think it has more to do with people's confidence in themselves as a driver than anything else.
When I lived in Greece I was amazed at how many tourists would say, 'oh I left my license at home' when someone suggested renting a car. At first I believed them that it was just an oversight on their part. But eventually I came to realize that they were not comfortable driving in another country and for some, on the other side of the road.
So while I agree that driving in Paris is no harder than driving in Rome or New York or Sydney or anywhere else, I understand why people write, don't do it. They just assume everyone else would be as uncomfortable as they would. They are of course wrong and definitely don't subscribe to your signature line.
If it has 4 (or 2) wheels and an engine I'll drive it anywhere, anytime.
Aug 22, 2012 7:57 AM
10#7 Beautifull your first post in here.
Normandy is wonderful as the butter is great.
The fortified farmhouses - can you show some?
Chateauneuf du Pape. Enjoy!!
Enjoy what? The many different restaurants, the beautifull hotels, one of the rare wineyards in this part?
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