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Paris & Heart of France 11 Day Tour - Is there much walking from bus to hotels?

For those who have taken the tour or already know about it:
Does our RS tour bus drop us off right at each of the hotels with the probable exception of Mont St. Michel ?

(Edit add:) We're trying to get a better understanding of our luggage set-up. We know we're encouraged to use only carry-ons but we are pretty fit. We've driven to Mont St. Michel before and walked to the top on a day trip so we know that's a good vertical climb. We're trying to decide on luggage while trying to travel as streamlined as necessary.

Merci beaucoup!

Mike H.
Illinois

Posted by
7630 posts

Well, sometimes the hotels are different for each tour.

Bourges - I stayed at the Best Western Hotel d'Angleterre and I'm pretty sure the bus got right there to the front.

Amboise - I think it was Hotel Belleview. Bus up to the front

MSM - Yes, this is a trek. The bus parks in a lot. You take a shuttle across the causeway to near the entrance of MSM. You then walk up the main street and depending on where your room is located, you may need to continue up that street with your suitcase, maybe up a flight of stairs and continue up a bit.

Bayeux - I think the bus dropped off right in front. I also think I remember that we needed to walk across the road with our suitcases to the parking lot when we were ready to leave.

For MSM, you are only there 1 night. I recommend taking in a small day pack with limited toiletries, a clean shirt and unders and night wear. Leave your suitcase in the luggage bay of the bus so you don't have to fool with it. I used my "bus bag" - small day pack I had on the bus with a jacket, guidebook, electronics, snacks. I put my clothing in a packing cube, popped it into the day bag and just used that to go out to MSM. You can re-pack in Bayeux. My hotel room there was huge, lol!

Posted by
25 posts

We did this tour in 2017 after the switch from Bayeux to Arromanche. Hotels are not necessarily the same from year to year (or even tour to tour in the same year).
That being said, we had about a two block walk in Bourges that was our longest track other than MSM. Some of the hotels were more like a block away, or across a large parking lot. I really don’t remember any of the drop-offs being right outside a hotel door.
The recommendation for MSM is that you reduce down to your day bag, leaving everything else locked on the bus for the night. The bus will drop you in one of the satellite parking lots, you walk to the shuttle bus, which takes you to the causeway, then walk across the causeway. Very glad we did that-had a tight spiral staircase in the hotel that would have been miserable with any kind of suitcase.

My daughter and I were the only ones in our group who did not use rolling suitcases-we used carry on size duffel bags. The suitcases ranged from carry on size to full size bags. I think the main issue with the big bags was getting them on the tiny elevators we had in some of the hotels (my daughter and I just grabbed our bags and hiked up the stairs).

Posted by
2941 posts

I did this tour last year. The tours do not always use the same hotels. The farthest we walked was 3 blocks, but we did do that twice.

At Mont St. Michel, you will be advised to transfer just what you need for the night to small bag or pack and leave the rest of the luggage on the bus. This works great.

Posted by
60 posts

I did this trip last fall; I’d agree that about 3 blocks was the farthest we had to walk from the bus to the hotel. Your guide will advise you on how to pack for MSM; a small overnight bag is all anyone brought. Remember the suggested RS luggage guidelines are for not only your convenience but for the size of the bus storage as well. If everyone brought a large suitcase I’m sure it would be a tight squeeze in that luggage area!
Will you be using public trans to or from the airport? Larger bags could be difficult to manage...

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you for your response and all the detail. That's very helpful. We are very much looking forward to our first RS trip!

Mike H.

Posted by
4 posts

My husband and I took this same tour starting on Friday, April 19, 2019. Our suggestion is you pack light with clothing that dries quickly after hand washing. There is no time to find a place to do laundry. We hand washed every evening and used the towel warmer and hair dryer to dry our clothes. The two laundry opportunities mentioned are simply two times where you will be in the same hotel two nights in a row, but with sight seeing and dinner, you won't have time to think about looking for the laundromat. If you give your laundry to the hotel service you won't get it in time before you leave the next morning.
We were never lucky enough to have the bus stop in front of the hotel. In fact, the first night after Paris we carried our luggage up a hill and with many stairs before arriving at the Best Western Hotel d'Angleterre Bourges.
For Mt. St. Michele you will be asked to take an overnight bag and everything else will stay behind with the bus so plan on having a small backpack or duffle bag for the overnight stay.
We strongly suggest you take hand sanitizer and face masks. We had one person coughing from the beginning of our trip and my husband and I both came home sick and heading to the doctor's office the same day as our return. Our tour guide also got sick.

Not sure why people who are sick don't take precautions not to infect others, but it is best to be proactive yourselves. Wish we had.

Posted by
2941 posts

Just a response to the post about laundry. One hotel had a special "deal" where you put your laundry in a basket, paid 15 euros, and it was waiting for me when we came back from touring for the day. I'm not sure why the other poster was so negative about laundry options. I do know that the hotels that you stay in depend on whether your tour starts mid-week or on the weekend.

Posted by
6127 posts

but for the size of the bus storage as well. If everyone brought a large suitcase I’m sure it would be a tight squeeze in that luggage area!

Given RS tours are limited to 28 max and the buses they use seat 48+, I have serious doubts that storage space on the bus is an issue to be of concern.

But, the less you bring, the less YOU have to lug

Posted by
440 posts

the advice about packing light and using a single carry-on plus a day bag is not only for ease of transport from bus to hotel. Packing light means you have less stuff. Period. It is liberating. In the year or so I’ve been watching this forum (and the decades of learning to reduce my travel needs while bicycle touring and ultralight backpacking) I’ve been surprised at the level of resistance some folks have to paring down their loads to basics. It can be done. And the rewards far outweigh any perceived hassles or shortcomings.

Packing, laundry on the road, travel clothing, and luggage are all great discussion topics among RS travelers. If you watch the coach boot at load-out and load-in, you will see how the different styles of packing and luggage work in real world conditions.

Regardless, I’m sure you will have wonderful trip. If this is your first RS adventure, please consider posting a brief (or extensive) report or review when you’ve returned to normal life.

Posted by
187 posts

We returned from this wonderful tour last night. Other than MSM the longest trek is about 3 blocks. We stayed at the Waldorf Trocadéro on our last night and that was 3 blocks. Amboise was about 2 blocks on flat but narrow sidewalks.

The challenge with MSM is not only the long walk through the cobblestones streets it’s the stairs — our hotel was the closest one so we didn’t have to go up stone stairs but we did have to go up a narrow spiral staircase with + 60 stairs. There is NO way a wheeled bag would make it up the stairs. You’ll need your toiletries a pair of underpants and a clean shirt.

The other hotels have very limited and very small elevators. Wrestling with larger bags would be miserable.

Also - you will have an opportunity to go to the Laudes ceremony at 6:50 am at MSM. Do it. It is an experience like no other. 7 nuns and 4 monks singing a cappella as the sun rises. It’s beautiful and moving.

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you for all your very helpful responses. I wish I could thank each note but I can only see a way to thank the most recent note, so thanks again to those I replied to above and also to Laura, Pam, wookiemom, bogiesan and Gretchen. You've provided us with great info.

My wife and I are not accustomed to traveling light, and for international trips of 2-3 weeks we usually take one good sized suitcase to check and a backpack with handle and wheels to carry on. We are trying to trim this down for our Paris & Heart of France 11 Day tour (plus an extra day in Paris at either end). We are now thinking of still using our carry-on backpacks and taking one shared medium-sized rolling bag with us. We realize, too, that for MSM we will just be taking a little day bag for the overnight stay, and having visited MSM in 2005 (on a self-drive trip and not staying overnight) we remember the steep and long climb up.

It sounds like for the most part our stops will drop us off close to our hotels so that the main issues are cobblestone streets, small elevators, vertical climbs, and not slowing down the rest of the group. With almost half the bus unoccupied it seems like we won't be overburdening the bus storage space. For being in our late 60s we are in pretty good shape especially my wife who takes two 4-mile walks almost every day. Thanks again for all the info on your RS tours experience, including this same tour, and for your insights and recommendations!

Posted by
7630 posts

"With almost half the bus unoccupied it seems like we won't be overburdening the bus storage space."

Yes, this is a correct assessment. There is plenty of room below. In fact often the driver has his stuff in one of the bays! Many travel with a bike and one awesome driver on the GAS tour had a clothes line and had his hanging clothes in one side. I suspect he also had an iron and ironing board and perhaps a washer and dryer, hahaha! He was a sharp dresser!

To me light packing as a concept has been a process. I'd suggest starting by packing on paper as this was the best advice I got on this forum when I first started. Once you all have your clothing possibilities written down you can see what could be eliminated or changed for a more useful garment. This may not matter as much for guys but for myself I want every shirt to match every pr of pants to match every cardigan/long sleeve layer.

Your wife might enjoy looking at a fun blog with capsule wardrobes called The Vivienne Files. www.theviviennefiles.com Her stuff is generally too dressy and too expensive for my lifestyle but I can usually take her concepts and make it work for my retired, rural Idaho life! She often uses Lands End and LLBean (more my style) for her core basics.