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5 days between Normandy and Chamonix

2 friends and I are driving the above route in France in early October after 2 days in Normandy and 3 days in Paris. It's not a lot of time and I'm wondering:
1- WILL we need to book accommodations (seems difficult to decide where we will be each night)?
2- Will we have time to see some chateaus in the Loire Valley, and till enjoy 2 days around Burgundy?
Tks

Posted by
4689 posts

You might get better answers if you say whether this is a student-budget dirt-cheap trip or mid-level. This is shoulder season, and you might have no trouble with last minute rooms, but you have to consider that some small hotels won't participate in your cell-phone last minute booking. I would not want to spend extra time queuing in a TI office to get a referral of unknown quality, or wait while they keep calling until some B&B answers . (It's not a good comparison, but a TI (on an island resort area) in Corsica was unable to produce a cabdriver willing to leave his family and work off-season for us, one day in October.) We always book in advance. You will find that the things you want to see are 15-25 minutes from the main highway, and you are not going to make spur of the moment decisions about a beautiful castle you see from the road ...

Please also say if you have been to Europe before.

Posted by
5 posts

Tks Tim,
Have travelled Italy, and other countries so I understand the late minute booking issues. We enjoy having a car and not being too restricted, but that being said, it can be a waste of valuable time looking for accommodations. We'll need to decide on probably 1 night in Loire area and the remainder in 1 spot in Burundy. We are budget bnb usually but might like to stay at a vineyard and stretch the budget!

Posted by
13962 posts

I like to use viamichelin.com for driving routes. Orleans to Beaune is 5+ hours net driving (optimal time).
Beaune to Chamonix is another 5+ hours. So, no you won't have much time to enjoy Burgundy, except as you drive through.

Posted by
4689 posts

There are so many Chateaux, it's hard to recommend one or another to someone whose interests we don't know. We happen to like gardens, so Villandry was important to us, and you might consider what Rick Steves calls a "splurge" night at Chateau de la Bourdaisiere (check spelling) which specializes in Dahlias and tomatoes, near Tours.

I haven't been to Burgundy, but I'd check whether there are still any "harvest" events in October. At least you won't have to worry about lack of air conditioning.

You do have a very long drive. I'd mention Perouges as a very special stop when you get near the east. We also enjoyed Rick-recommended Besancon, too. I do my rough planning with Google Maps, but then add 20% to all times. Whenever you go to a mountain, check for seasonal closings and lift schedules. Remember that if you have only one day available, you can't skip it if the place is fogged in that day.

Posted by
603 posts

La Chevalerie (see RS guide about accommodations outside of Amboise) is lovely and inexpensive. I've stayed there on two separate occasions.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for your help.
Has anyone stayed at Chateau De Pray Guest House near Ambiose? It appears to be a Chateau, but the reviews indicate you do not necessarily stay in the actual chateau?
Any suggestions for accommodations at a working Vineyard?

Posted by
4125 posts

Normandy > Burgundy > Chamonix.

Assuming "5 days" = 5 nights, so that your 6th night is in Chamonix, and assuming that "2 days" (on the ground in Burgundy) = 3 nights, then my answer is that this is doable but hectic.

Your first day would get you to the Loire valley with time to do some sightseeing. The second day is a bit longer on the road so I would be very judicious about making stops Guedelon or Vezeley, not both. The earlier you hit the road, the more time you will have.

The first part of your trip sounds awfully rushed (I sure hope that 2 days in Normandy = 3 nights etc), so I hope you are up for this. There are chateaux in Burgundy and Normandy too, the famous ones in the Loire are Renaissance. I hope you find them worth the detour.

That time of year, with a car, you can get away with finding lodging by calling ahead the morning of, if you are not especially picky. A car will take you to the next town if the first town is full.

There is nothing wrong with a whirlwind, but I hope you have weighed your options for simplifying this itinerary. These include saving either Normandy or Chamonix for another trip (both are outliers in this plan), or skipping the Loire and taking the train to Burgundy (and renting a second car there) which is faster.

Have a great adventure!

Posted by
11738 posts

I think 2 days in Loire and 2 days in Burgundy is doable. You will lose at least a full day to travel. It's fairly fast paced but possible.

Regarding pre-booking vs. last minute. I've done both. I wouldn't want to count on last minute in Paris but in October, I expect you can find something in most of the country. My French friend is quite comfortable booking last minute with tripadvisor.com

Posted by
13962 posts

The OP isn't clear about the timeline. I understood 5 days after Normandy that includes 3 days in Paris. My answer would be a lot different depending on the route and the number of days. Is it Normandy - Paris - Chamonix or Paris - NOrmandy - Chamonix? How many days/nights after Normandy/Paris before arriving in Chamonix. Could be any between 2 and 5, it seems.

Posted by
5 posts

Yes, for clarification, we are in Paris before Normandy and,therefore have 5nights after Normandy for the Loire/Burgundy areas. As suggested, we may cut Chamonix. That being said, we may just enjoy the lengthy drive from Normandy onward and book as we go. I think we will book a night in Loire and go from there.
Thank you for the help.

Posted by
13962 posts

Assuming you have to return to Paris to fly home, I think dropping Chamonix will give you more time to enjoy the beauty of Burgundy. I based in Avallon for 4 nights, went to charming towns and villages - Vézelay, Noyers, Auxerre and Saulieu - and Château Bazoches-du-Morvan, Château de Chastellux, Fontenay Abbey.

Posted by
4125 posts

If you are headed to Murren next, that's an argument for working Chamonix into another, future trip. Where are you going to return your rental car?

Doing the maths: 2 days in the Loire + 2 days in Burgundy = 6 nights. Unless you really mean only one day and some change in one of those places, the 5 nights you have budgeted are not enough for that.