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Paris-Loire-Normandy Transportation

I am having difficulty figuring a best route with trains and rental car. My husband arrives at CDG on Saturday, July 7th. My son and I will take Eurostar from London that same morning and meet, somewhere. Paris?

It seems easiest to meet in Paris for 4 nights, then TVG to St. Pierre-des-Corps in Tours to rent a car and continue to Amboise to stay for 3 nights before driving to Bayeaux for 3 nights around Normandy. We had planned to return to CDG airport via TGV from Bayeaux but the train schedule in the am is non-existent until noon and then it takes 5 hours! We need to catch a 3:20pm flight. Do we just drive from Bayeaux to CDG airport and return the car there?

But perhaps we should do Paris to Normandy then the Loire then CDG...

Any guidance about which way to plan? The trains have me stumped.

Thanks so much.

Posted by
43 posts

I can't imagine why the train from Bayeux to Paris would take five hours? Very confusing, it should only be about two. Maybe it's a CDG thing? Jeez.

I'll tell you what we just did and see if this helps you at all. We spent a couple of days in Paris, and took the Intercites train to Rouen (just under two hour ride). Got our car there and drove to Etretat, Honfleur, and spent two nights in Bayeux. From there we went to Mont St. Michel and Saint Malo for a few days, then drove down to the Loire Valley. After that, we drove to Chartres, left the car there, and took a TER train back to Paris (one hour ride).

Posted by
8889 posts

Waterbud, I don't know where you are looking, there are plenty of morning trains to Paris, you then need to get the métro and RER to CDG airport. There are a few direct to the airport, for example 07:59

I would recommend looking or trains on the DB website:
I found the following on Saturday 7th July:

St-Pierre-des-Corps 07:20 via Paris, Aeroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle RER 09:41
St-Pierre-des-Corps 07:59 direct, Aeroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle TGV 09:42
St-Pierre-des-Corps 08:20 via Paris, Aeroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle RER 10:48
St-Pierre-des-Corps 09:02 via Paris, Aeroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle RER 11:18
St-Pierre-des-Corps 11:02 direct, Aeroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle TGV 12:42

Posted by
3 posts

My difficulty is the Rail Europe train from Bayeaux to CDG on 7/17. The 9:19 am train (2TGV) takes 5 hrs, 53 minutes and gets in at 3:12pm. That seems ridiculous for a drive that would be 3 1/2 hrs by car. Am I looking at the wrong train?

So, I was thinking our trip would be easier CDG- Paris-Normandy-Loire-CDG, instead of CDG-Loire-Normandy-CDG, which is what I wanted to do.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

Posted by
12077 posts

I've found direct trains from Bayeaux to Paris that take less than two hours. I know when I first searched I didn't see them, I'm guessing because I picked too narrow of window for departure time. Open your search window and see if you can find something that works better. I search and book on SCNF site. I find it as easy to use as the DB site. I've had trouble, in the past, with both Spain and Italy's train sites.

If you absolutely can't find anything, check Caen and/or Rouen. I'd rather drop the car there then train than drive all the way to CDG.

Posted by
8889 posts

My difficulty is the Rail Europe train from Bayeaux to CDG on 7/17.


Waterbud, Rail Europe is an agency in North America that sells passes and tickets for some trains. It does not own or run any trains.
It has a reputation for sometimes charging more than the companies that run the trains, only selling tickets for some trains, and only listing trains they sell tickets for.

Do not use them to look up train times. Instead go to the website of the company running the trains (SNCF in France), or the DB (German Railways) website I listed earlier which shows nearly all trains throughout Europe ( ).
If you look on a rail company website you will see the 6 trains on the morning of 17th July which I listed in my previous post.

Posted by
8889 posts

waterbud, I just looked on which is a good site for buying tickets for SNCF and some other rail companies. on 17th July they are currently offering both direct trains from St-Pierre-des-Corps to CDG at €33.

St-Pierre-des-Corps ➜ Aéroport Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle CDG
Tuesday 17 July
07:54 ➜ 09:42 1h48 Direct €33.00
11:02 ➜ 12:42 1h40 Direct €33.00

The 11:02 train arrives 2 hours 38 minutes before your departure, hopefully that is enough.

Posted by
43 posts

Second It's great for finding and purchasing rail tickets.

For the complete schedules, check out the SNCF website directly. There is no way a train from Bayeux to Paris, or vice versa, should take five hours. It's ridiculous. Note that there are strikes going on, so some trains may appear as "unavailable." They may be over by July, but who knows. That's another question for another thread.

We loved doing it Paris-Normandy-Loire-Paris. It was great! But I don't see why the other way around wouldn't work also.

Posted by
24061 posts

I'll be the one to say it: If you are returning to CDG for an overseas flight, I would not spend that last night in Normandy no matter how many morning trains I found on the SNCF schedule. Disastrous delays occasionally happen, and it's my policy to spend my last night within an affordable taxi ride of my departure airport, just in case. Buying last-minute one-way tickets from CDG to the US or Canada could be painfilly expensive.

Posted by
44 posts

So we did something similar...

  • Took Eurostar from London to Paris
  • Rented car from Sixt at Gare Du Nord
  • Immediately drove out of Paris to Honfleur
  • Next day drove to Normandy and spent a couple days there
  • Then drove down to Amboise for 5 days
  • Finally drove back to Paris, dropped the rental car, and used public transportation for our remaining 6 days in France

*We ended up taking an Uber from our Airbnb to the airport on the last day.

Good luck and have fun!

Posted by
4824 posts

I pretty much did the trip you describe. We tend to take a train to a less busy city, rent a car and then return it to a smaller city and take a train to Paris. When we did Paris-Loire-Normandy, we took a train to Chartres, picked up a car traveled the Loire, Brittany and Normandy. We returned the car in Vernon/Giverny after visiting Monet's Garden and then took the train to Paris. I think the trains go back and forth from Paris to Vernon at least hourly.

Your last idea Paris to Normandy and Loire might work better because I think the Tours train station has many more scheduled trains between Tours and Paris. BTW, the Tours train station is super easy to find and the rental car companies are conveniently located.

Posted by
4824 posts

and I agree with acraven, I always return to Paris in the afternoon/evening and fly out in the following morning.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all! You have explained well and added great clarity. Many thanks. I now understand what's what.

Posted by
8 posts

My wife and I just returned from Normandy yesterday. We used both Isislines and Ouibus booked through the Ouibus app to get from CDG to Rouen and return to CDG from Rouen. Trains would have been better but when we booked the buses it was to avoid any problem with the strikes and the trains. I don't recommend using the bus, though it is incredibly inexpensive (18 euros for the both of us each way), but imo, it is not user friendly. Once on the bus, everything is fine, A/C is good, and the buses make great time on the peage(toll ways), but the CDG to Rouen trip also stopped in downtown Paris for passengers and the waiting time was equal to the travel time of about 1 ½ hours. And, there is virtually no information at the stations as to where the buses leave from. And, the stop in Rouen is on the street, the so called Gare Routiere, 33 Avenue Champlain. The very low price doesn't make up for the other inconveniences.

For what it's worth, I am guessing the long travel time from CDG to Carn/Bayeux is likely due to using the TGV which goes from CDG to Amiens and then connects to Normandy destinations. I think this because earlier I also tried to book a TGV from CDG to Rouen and culd see on the SNCF map that it went to Amiens first.

My daughter and her family were with us and had to leave our Gite a day earlier than we did for a Eurostar to London. They attempted to leave their car at Rouen, for a train trip to Gare St. Lazare and subsequent transfers to Gare du Nord, but there was a protest (manifestation) that day and the streets in Rouen were so blocked that they ended up driving to Paris and dropping their rental and then using the Metro to get to Gare du Nord, it worked but they were worried about making the connection.