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need new ideas for Europe trip

My family has been to London, Paris, the Bavaria region of Germany and Austria over the past few years. I would like to re-visit Normandy ( I am a WW II buff and was only there for a few hours 4 years ago. I would like to spend 2 days in the Normandy area. Here is where I am stuck. I would like to spend at least 2 weeks in Europe and I would prefer to drive. Where would you suggest we go next? Does the Alsace(sp) region of France and then Belgium and Holland make any sense? Is it drivable? Any new ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Posted by
28 posts

Since you are a WWII buff, study up on where other major battles were fought in France, Belgium & Holland and make them tour destinations. WWI sites may also interest you. Read the 'Band of Brothers' which will give you some good ideas. Mix in some of the 'must see' sites for others in the family. A possible route: CDG airport to Normandy - Tours (Loire chateax country)- Beaune/Dijon (wine country)- Alsace (Colmar area) with day trip across Rhine to see Black Forest (Oberkirch) - Southeast Belgium (Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge) - Holland (Operation Market Garden sites) - Brugge (it's beautiful)- back to Paris. It's quite drivable if you avoid large cities(congestion and no place to park).

Posted by
157 posts

Another cool place for WWII would be northern Italy. It's very interesting to visit Riva Ridge where the 10th Mountain Division helped turn the tide of the war. There are a lot of fabulous villages throughout northern Italy and you can swing into Tuscany and Umbria easily with a car.

Posted by
206 posts

From Normandy, Brittany is a beautiful and often overlooked part of France. The other direction might offer you more in the way of battlefields. Check out this site, it might help you plan: Have a great trip.

Posted by
3313 posts

Oradour sur Glane is pretty far south. It's near Limoges.

Driving back from Normandy towards Belgium ought to be pretty easy. Apart from WWII sights, you could see Rouen and Giverny and then continue on to see Bruges in Belgium and smaller towns in Holland. Alsace is another direction farther south.

All of this is perfectly drivable.

Posted by
12040 posts

If you travel to Normandy again, the wonders of the Loire valley are a few hours drive away. I haven't been to Alsace, but the Rhine region of Germany is close by. From there, you could drive through Luxembourg to the Ardennes in Belgium... and from there... enjoy Belgium's chocolate and beer.

Posted by
852 posts

Richard, if you decide to spend a bit of time in the Normandy-Brittany area and want a good base to operate from, you may want to consider this place...
it's central and quite reasonable... click on ...

bon voyage! P.

Posted by
1568 posts

If you have not seen Band of Brothers, I would definitely recommend you rent it and watch before you go to Normandy.

I would also suggest you visit Haguenau, is near the Rhine. And also, Bastognein Belgium.

There is also Nijmegan and Eindhoven in Holland. In addition I would suggest you read the places visited on these tours. You will have a car, therefore, you can travel on you own. This site lists the names, etc.

I you are a AAA member you can get all the maps you need to plan your itinerary.

Enjoy your planning and your trip.

Posted by
1589 posts

Richard, have you considered the WW1 battlefields? Try the Verdun area. They are easy to tour and never crowded. Certainly not as grand as the Normandy area, but interesting to a military buff.

Posted by
340 posts

Richard, Our family did a driving tour that included 3 days in Alsace (based in Strasbourg) exploring the medieval castle villages along the Route du Vin, Strasbourg Cathedral and then the Black Forest - Cuckoo Clocks, hiking and the facinating Vogtsbauernhof Outdoor Museum. You could head north and explore the castles along the Rhine or continue east exploring more of southern Germany (Bodensee area is lovely)then through Switzerland into Italy.
Or, if you are starting out in Normandy why not see a couple more stops in France then ferry your car over to England and explore the Midlands, Cotswolds, or even into Scotland. Sounds like a lovely dilema to have, trying to decide where to spend 2+ weeks in Europe!

Posted by
98 posts

After Normandy, we visited Mt. St. Michel and then St. Malo and Dinan. Brittany is a picturesque region.

Posted by
4 posts

ITALY - Italy was wonderful, it does not have all the WWII stuff that you are interested in, but obviously has ALOT of history. I would fly into Milan, drive south to Florence, stay in the Tuscany area for a couple days seeing the small hill towns, drive down to Rome. Possibly go south of Rome to Naples, Sorrento, Isle of Capri. Pompeii is UNBELIEVABLE. Then just take the return flight from Rome.

We took a similar trip last year for 3 weeks. We also threw in Venice for 3 days. It was a GREAT trip.