Driving from Germany to Normandy

My husband and I are planning a trip in Oct. We are considering flying into Frankfurt then renting a car and driving to Normandy. Our trip will last 10+days. Has anyone made this drive and is it easy to maneuver ...my husband is bilingual in German and we have driven in Europe a number of times before but never to France.

thanks for any input.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8700 posts

If you pick up a car on one country and drop it off in another, you will pay a hefty international drop-off fee. It might be cheaper to rent two cars and take the train across the border between drop off and pick up points.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2395 posts

There are numerous highway routes that take you between both places, pick one that avoids Paris metro area. Or pick scenic local routes for part of the trip.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
1395 posts

Just because Frankfurt is a busy air hub does not mean that you should fly there. You didn't indicate if you have any desire to hit some German sites on the way. To put it inversely, we once got a Lufthansa connector to Cologne from Frankfurt (United) for virtually nothing - booking on the United website. If you are going to Normandy as your first stop, it's crazy to fly to Frankfurt unless it's free, for some reason.

Would you fly to Boston to visit New York City?

Posted by Terri Lynn
Nashville, TN, USA
738 posts

That sounds like a great trip! You can stop wherever you want on the way and will see some fantastic scenery and be able to try local restaurants and shops. You don't even have to get caught up in the Paris traffic.

Posted by Jeff
333 posts

We drive about once a month from near Frankfurt to a spot near Vire. The A-4 takes you across France through Paris and then to the N13 on into Normandy. Alternatives also are to swing north at Reims and go up and around Paris through the outskirts of Amiens, by Le Havre and back onto the N13 east of Caen. Final route which is deceptive on the map but competitive for time and distance is to head north from Frankfurt to Aachen then past Leige on to Amiens and continue on down to Normandy. The trip through Paris is either a breeze or a nightmare of some degree. Swinging around Paris by way of Reims, Amien, etc adds little to the trip but keeps you moving along.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5055 posts


If you do take the northern route, swing by to Amiens, a very nice city to take a break in.

Posted by Bets
3354 posts

Unless you will also return the car in Germany, you should take the train or bus two hours south to Strasbourg, France to pick up the car or another place just over the border in France. Driving in France is as easy as Germany, except there are speed limits on the autoroutes.

Posted by Sara
104 posts

I agree with many of the suggestions above. Consider driving to Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, or Freiburg (near the Black Forest open air museum) to drop the car. Then take the train to Strasbourg (approx. 2 hours, 50 Euros) or Metz (approx. 4 hours, 80euros). Then pick up your rental and continue on. To know for sure the best place to pick up and drop off, ask your rental car company. We recommend www.autoeurope.com (consolidator) for their customer service and prices.

Then on your drive up to Normandy you can visit the WWI battlefield Verdun and associated museum, Amiens and/or Reims & the Champagne region. Bon Voyage!

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9896 posts

French autoroutes also comes with tolls, e.g., €30-40 one way on this route. www.viamichelin.com helps compare tolls and route options, and even estimates fuel prices.