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Giverny gardens day 1

We fly to paris in 3 weeks. Plan is land (7;30 am) get car and head out of the city to Normandy. Stopping for the Giverny gardens on the way. Question 1 - do you tHink we need the timed entry tickets purchased before? And anyone have guesses on the right time to pick? 90 minute drive... I’m thinking 10;30...

Posted by
7067 posts

I have no idea about current levels of crowding. However, 10.30 sounds way too early; traffic can be bad in the mornings. If you do decide to book, 12 or so would be safer.

I also hope that you are not driving much further than Giverny after your visit, because driving after the long flight east is really not easy and potentially dangerous due to tiredness. The drive from the airport to Giverny is quite tiring, navigation is not easy and there is busy suburban traffic.

Posted by
1097 posts

We did this exact thing in 2016. We were there before noon but our flight landed at 6:10. I actually think we were there not long after they opened (10?).
We drove on to Bayeaux and, yes, we were tired but took frequent stops and there was not a lot of traffic after we got out of Paris. I never felt we were taking an unacceptable risk.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Celeste - sounds like you did exactly what we are doing. Don’t worry, seats on plane to allow sleeping or would not be taking the risk. Have done similar in other countries. If you were there by 10 I’ll assume 11 since we land a bit later... Any recommendations in Bayeux? We are there 2 nights...

Posted by
1097 posts

Yes, the tapestry for sure.
We took a full day tour of the d-day area with Chris,
Fabulous day. 100% would do it again.
Drove to Honfleur one day to go to the Satie museum. My husband is a musician, may not hold much appeal otherwise. :)

Posted by
2588 posts

I did the same thing 15 years ago and dozed off on A13. Luckily, there are grooved sides which alert drivers that they are drifting off the roadway, and I awoke before disaster occurred. I have read accounts of those who were no so lucky.

Taking an all night flight into CDG, picking up a rental car upon arrival, and driving more than an hour is very dangerous. Fatigue is the number one cause of traffic accidents/deaths on the French autoroute network.

In the strongest terms possible, I would urge you to change your plans.

Posted by
256 posts

Yesterday (17 Sep Friday) we drove from Burgundy (town of Meursault) by way of the southern edge of Paris to Honfleur, with a stop at Giverny. We arrived at Giverny about 1:30pm and did not need to buy advance tickets as there were only 2 people in line in front of us.

After after spending about 2 hours at Giverny we had lunch and then drove 90 minutes to Honfleur, arriving about 6:15pm.

Posted by
2475 posts

Agree totally about the dangers of driving while tired and jet-lagged. What you could do instead is to take the train to Vernon, then walk or take the bus to Giverny, spend a night or two, then take the train to Mantes-la-Jolie, where there are lots of car rental places. THEN drive to Normandy.

Posted by
10395 posts

I have to agree with Tocard. An hour drive is my limit when arriving in Europe. Unless you have flown overseas multiple times and know you can easily sleep on a plane I wouldn’t assume you will get much, if any sleep.

Posted by
783 posts

We drove to Giverny after arriving at CDG and saw the gardens in the afternoon, stayed overnight at a lovely B&B, and saw the gardens again in the morning. If you have time to spend one night there, that would minimize the driving while tired.

Posted by
982 posts

The last time we picked up a car at CDG and headed to Giverny, everything took much longer than expected. Getting the car took well over an hour, and the NAVI took us on a back street route with lots of traffic. We soon realized our planned lunch stop in Vernon wasn’t going to happen if we wanted to spend time in the gardens. Took a quick boulangerie break instead.

Honfluer was a good overnight plan after Giverny. Luckily my driver has no problem sleeping on planes, but that was about as far as we wanted to drive. With the Saturday morning market in Honfluer, and a stop at Pegasus Bridge, we still didn’t get to Bayeux until late afternoon. If you take the time, it’s enjoyable driving.

Posted by
74 posts

We arrived at CDG at about 8 am on Sept 11 (ten days ago), and the lines to get through passport control were insane. We waited at least 45 minutes, probably more like an hour. I have never picked up a rental car at CDG but it could take quite a long time, based on experience at other smaller French airports.

Posted by
6 posts

We just returned from Paris. We went to the gardens the day before we left in the early morning and stayed about three hours. It was not crowded at all. We showed our passport and the CDC card to gain entry, no problem.

We were on a rtiver cruise and did not drive in Paris. I can tell you that traffic is insane. We left the eiffel tower area at 8:30 by limo and it took use one has a half hours to get to the airport. Traffic in Paris is bad.