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Driving From Paris to Lyon

My husband and I are visiting friends in Lyon in early September and want to take several days to drive from Paris. Arriving CDG in the morning, we want to rent a car and drive to Auxerre, and stay overnight. From Auxerre we plan to drive to Beaune via Vezelay, stay in Beaune one night before driving to Macon. Stay in the Macon area one night and drive on in to Lyon through Beaujolais country. We hope for this to be a leisurely drive while seeing a few sights and vineyards along the way. Does this seem like a reasonable driving trip? Any suggestions for places to stay? We have our accommodations in Lyon.

Posted by
10340 posts

Sounds like a good leisurely plan, except for driving after an international overnight flight.
Auxerre is a regional capital built over Celtic, Gallo-Roman and Medieval towns; it has a long history, and has a stunning placement overlooking the Yonne River. For a cute town, Chablis is 14 kilometers from the Auxerre Nord exit. I don't know anything about hotels.

If I were doing it, I'd take a taxi into Paris, sleep at a hotel, take a taxi to Orly the next morning to pick up a car. Then drive leisurely for two days but not stay the night in Macon.

Posted by
2588 posts

Overall the itinerary is very workable with one exception. Auxerre is too far to drive safely from CDG after an all night, transatlantic flight. Even if you are familiar with the route and the traffic is minimal, it will be close to 3 hours, possibly more from the airport. The big danger is the monotony of the autoroute which allows drivers to doze off at high speed.

Consider taking the TGV to Dijon, spend the night in Dijon, and rent a car the following morning.

Posted by
510 posts

To each their own.....I have no problem getting a bit of sleep on a short overnight flight and I don't obsess about time changes. For years I would arrive in Europe after an overnight and head right straight to customer meetings or work. I would rent cars, go by train, whatever fit the bill. Arriving in the AM you will always need to wait until early afternoon to check in to an accommodation. What do you do with yourself and your kit while you wait? I would most certainly drive through to Auxerre. By the time they arrive they could then check in if they wish.
Again, another departure from what many folks do, I would drop off my bags at the hotel and head right out to explore. I would not return to the hotel until after a nice meal and a few drinks.
A very common time travel/change mistake that many folks make is that they don't embrace the local time immediately. I have found that by immediately getting onto a local schedule that the time change does not hit me until the third day and then only in a minor way. Alternatively when you travel to Asia you usually arrive late in the evening. There I suggest heading to the hotel and going right to sleep. The airline probably has already feed you an evening meal. In the AM, rise and shine on local time and go all day. Here the second day will be the one that is a yawner. Push through.

Posted by
10340 posts

Except that research has equated driving after the transatlantic to driving drunk. If anyone is interested, they can Google it.
I am assuming the OP knows his/her/their bodies, and limits, and are experienced travelers.

Posted by
510 posts

Hmm...having done both I would say that (at least for me) that "Dr. Google" is once again off in the weeds. But I agree and as previously noted, to each their own. The OP should make that call but knowing that it's not such an unusual thing to do and not a departure from the norm, at least for some of us.

Posted by
5697 posts

We enjoyed Lyon but if/when we visit again we will NOT drive IN Lyon -- made Paris seem like a driver's paradise.

Posted by
542 posts

you might consider going straight to Beaune and making it a home base. Rent a car in Beaune and drive to Auxerre/Vezelay for the day. Less packing and unpacking and you can enjoy the wonderful town of Beaune. then you can turn the car in at Beaune and take the train to Lyon.