I'm finalizing my plans for a September trip that will include Paris, Normandie, Brittany and Loire. Here are a few questions I'd like to get your opinions regarding:
- Time in Paris. I'm thinking I'll likely spend between five and seven nights in Paris, flying in and out of CDG. My question for the group, are there advantages, disadvantages to splitting that time roughly evenly at the start and end of my trip? Or would it be better to lump the days together? If so, would it better to spend the time in Paris at the start (arrive morning Sept. 16) or at the end (leave mid day October 3)?
Maybe the answer is six of one, half dozen of the other but I'm open to opinions and experiences.
For Normandie, I'm thinking a half day guided tour of the D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestry. Conceivably I could accomplish those in one full day, two nights in the area. I'm looking at some Airbnb choices. My questions, is it definitely better to stay around Bayeux than Caen (or closer to the beaches)? Will I miss something if I don't add a third night, second full day, other than just going slower?
Between Normandie and Brittany. I'm thinking a half day at Mont St Michel. What is the earliest I can arrive? I'm thinking of leaving Normandie early (I'll pick up a car in Rouen after leaving Paris) getting to Mont St Michel before the crowds then leave before noon. Is this long enough to quickly explore or should I plan to spend a night in the area so I have more time to see the island?
For Brittany, I want to visit Carnac. Other than that my goal is simply to see local architecture, taste some local seafood and visit/stroll at least one beach in the area. Right now I'm thinking two nights at a hostel near Carnac, which means driving past St. Malo and Dinan with maybe a quick stretch at Josselin. Should I plan an intermediate stop for a night rather than two near Carnac?
After Brittany, I'll drive to Loire (thinking Saumur), drop the car, rent a bike and ride for four or five days. Originally I had thought of ending in Orleans, drop the bike, stay a night, then train to Chartes for a mid day look around and on into Paris. When I looked at train schedules, however, the train from Orleans to Chartes transfers in Paris. I have an unnatural loathing for backtracking so now I'm thinking of Tours to Chartes and then into Paris. If I choose this option, I'd probably skip Orleans, see my last Chateau by bike at Chambord then ride back into Blois, drop the bike, spend the night and take a train to Tours in the morning to connect to Chartes. Will I miss a ton if I skip Orleans. Do I gain by seeing Tours (originally planned to skirt it in favor of riding in the country)?
Last opinion. If you had to trade, which would you choose - a night in Paris, Normandie, Brittany or Loire (or conceivably Rouen, Chartes or Orleans)? I have 17 nights. If I plan seven nights in Paris, two in Normandie, two in Brittany and five in Loire, I'll have one more night to play with.
Thanks for you opinions and advice,