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Where to go for 2-3 days before a month in Paris?

We have the fortunate dilemma of having an extra 2-3 days before our Paris rental (where we will be staying for a month) is available. One idea is to take the speed train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Brussels, but we really want to focus on Paris and its environs this trip. Another is to rent a car and spend the time in Versailles, Giverny, Auvers sur Oise, Chartes, or some combination, but we are leery of driving in France, especially in Paris, where we would want to drop off the car after moving into our rental. Any suggestions?

Posted by
8767 posts

With a month in Paris you will have ample opportunity to do a day trip to Versailles, Giverny, etc. What about spending a few days in Normandy, Burgundy or the Loire Valley? They are all worth a few days, as opposed to a day trip. All can be done by public transportation. In Normandy you can take a tour to get around without a car.

Posted by
5257 posts

This is a fortunate dilemma. Andrea's got it right -- rent a car and drive somewhere away from Paris, like Normandy or Burgundy or Alsace. You can get to places like Chartres, Reims, Giverny etc. as day trips from Paris, so use this time to go further afield. Get into the countryside on your way to wherever. Driving in France isn't that hard, guidebooks like RS France have chapters about it. Don't bring the car into Paris, return it to the airport.

If you don't want to drive, trains leave from CDG to various places, but without a car you'll find bigger cities more convenient. Depending on where you go, you can return to a station within Paris, making it easier to get to your rental.

Have a great month, whichever one it is!

Posted by
11 posts

Andrea and Dick, perhaps we should consider venturing farther afield. Thanks for the suggestion. Now, since we are locked in to de Gaulle, and we have visited many of the areas west and southwest of Paris (especially along the coast), perhaps we should think north and northeast? That would also mean, if we rent a car, we could return the car to the airport without ever going near Paris.

Adam, we're going to be in France from mid-April to mid-May, so I'm hoping the weather will be nice in whatever direction we go. Non?

Posted by
1994 posts

Another possibility would be Colmar and Strausburg. It's easy to do by train from Paris, and it's easy to enjoy the area without a car.

Posted by
11 posts

Merci beaucoup. We've decided not to rent a car, to stay at a hotel near De Gaulle, and to take day trips by train. This way we are not lugging our suitcases everywhere (I know, I know, but we are staying over a month), and presumably, we will be able to use the hotel shuttle to and from the airport train station. Any suggestions as to which hotel we should consider, or for that matter, avoid?

Posted by
8396 posts

We had exactly that dilemma two years ago and took the train from CDG to Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent. Loved it! I would have highly recommended this as a use of your three days.

Hopefully you won't pack much more for a month than you would for a week. My husband and I manage with just carry-on bags and small day packs for several weeks' travel. It's a matter of washing clothes and buying supplies at the destinations. On the other hand, you will probably have more accumulated when you come home.

We've stayed at several hotels at CDG over the years from the Sheraton to the Etap and have found them adequate. You do realize that you are adding 40 euro a night with your round trip ticket into Paris to catch trains for your day trips. Why don't you stay at a hotel near your rental if you want day trip outside Paris?

Posted by
5257 posts

@Bets, I think they're planning to take day trips by train from CDG, the station there serves a lot of places.

@dcastro55, we've stayed at the Ibis right in the airport the night before our flight home, it was fine but nothing special. A short shuttle ride to the train station.