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Paris/Normandy Help!

AirCanada had some good rates to Paris this fall from ATL. I'm trying to plan a trip for my daughter (15) and I. We had planned to go this summer but it is here already. I don't have time to read up on everything right now so I need some suggestions. How will the weather be in November. I plan on spending a 2-3 days in Paris and I want to go to the Normandy Beaches and Mt St Michel. Should I rent a car to drive to Normandy? I've driven oversees before. Might hit the Joan of Arc in Rouen if we drive. Should I hire a tour guide for Normandy? I want to see the Ranger monument there. I've got some Ranger friends. I've got Rick's book and video. I've just got to take time to sit down and plan everything out. Is the subway/train the best way to get around Paris? I've done The Tube in London before? My daughter,as any I suppose, wants to pick up some jeans/clothes? I plan to try to see the eifel tower, Arc De Tromphe, Notre Dame. Anyway, Any help, suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Lodging Suggestions? Thanks Tom

Posted by
9363 posts

If you're not going until November you have plenty of time to read up and plan your trip according to what your interests are. Hit the library and look at a variety of different travel guides, then purchase a copy of one or two that meet your needs the best. They should also give you information for tours that might be available to the Normandy beaches.

Posted by
31621 posts

Tom, it could be a bit cold or rainy in November, but if you dress accordingly, that shouldn't be a problem.

YES, the Metro or RER is absolutely the best way to get around Paris. Try to base yourselves in a fairly central location (I like the Rue Cler area), where you will be within easy walking distance to a Metro stop and also some of the sights.

A Paris Museum card would be a really good idea. Check their web site for details.

I'd suggest travel to Normandy by train, as it's an easy trip and use Bayeux as a home base. You can also see the Tapestry while there. It's a beautiful town. To visit the beaches, I used BattleBus Tours and would recommend them highly! The Guides are extremely knowledgeable, and you'll get far more out of the visit this way.

To visit Mount St. Michel, you could rent a car in Bayeux for the day or whatever. This would also allow visits to any special sites you want to visit (Ranger Memorial) if these are not covered by a tour.

Happy travels!

Posted by
207 posts

In '05 we took a train down near Mont St Michel and picked up a car. Whatever you do, spend the night.... it is special and dawn watching the tide come in is phenomenal... it was an easy drive through St.Lo and to the battlefield sites of Normandy. We used Arromanches as a base (Hotel de la marine- A Rick choice- be sure to see the German Cemetery as well as the deeply moving American Cemetery... we dropped the car in Rouen, which was a fun place to spend a couple of days and then take the train to Paris. George

Posted by
61 posts

Even if you have driven abroad before, I wouldn't recommend driving in Paris. It just seems like it would be a pain. We took a taxi to Orly and rented a car there for the drive to Normandy and Mt. St. Michel. Great drive- no problems. Tolls are much higher than you see here in the US.

Rick's recommended hotels should be available in November since not high tourist season. The Hotel Londres Eiffel was very nice and convenient to Eiffel Tower and easy walk to the metro for everything else.

You must go to the American Cemetery if you go to Normandy. Would highly recommend the La Marine in Arromanches, and the Auberge St. Pierre in Mt. St. Michel for lodging.

What a lucky 15 yr old!!

Posted by
157 posts

Tom,

Did a similiar trip a few years ago. My suggestions would be to rent a car with a GPS for the Normandy portion of your trip.

The Paris Metro is also a great way to get around the city.

I used the Rick Steve's Guide to Paris & France too ( Get both since, the Paris Guide is much more detailed ). I also use the DK Eyewitness guides for the detailed street maps etc.

As far as hotels If you want to stay in the Latin Qtr Hotel des Grandes Ecoles or near Rue Cler Hotel Muguet. I've stayed at both and have been very pleased

Posted by
875 posts

We just returned from visiting many of these sites. Got to Paris 2 days earlier than we could get in our apt and stayed in the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles. It was a lovely small hotel.
We took the train from Paris to Caen where we rented a car and drove to our hotel past Bayeux on the road to Arromanches. We did the Battlebus American Highlights 1-day tour, and it was awesome. Our guide was young, ex-British military and so knowledgeable.
It's a fairly easy drive to Mont St. Michel, but I agree that you should spend the night in the area. I missed the morning tide and was very disappointed.
Your daughter may be shocked at the clothing prices in Paris...very high.