My family (of four) is going on vacation in Europe for 13 days (14th day is flight out). We're spending four of those days in Paris, and two in the Normandy region. What's the best way to spend the other seven days if we want to see a couple of other countries (not including Britain) besides France? We were planning to spend the last four days in Paris, but unsure how to plan for the rest of the days. My big concern is the drive time between countries/locations. I thought about train passes, but those are in the range of $200 per person for a four-day pass (valid for a month).
My choice would be to drive north and visit Belgium and Netherlands or you could take in Belgium and then travel east into Germany.
Is there any particular reason to fit in other countries other than a 'ticking off' exercise? You could easily fill another week in France alone.
Hopping from Paris to any other country roundtrip is only going to be cheaper than $200 if you reserve well in advance. The closest option is to head north toward Belgium and the Netherlands. Thalys fast-train tickets between Paris and Brussels or Amsterdam go on sale 3 or 4 months in advance with deep discounts for reserved, nonrefundable tickets. Other connections by local trains can be purchased as you go, to Bruges, Ghent, etc.
If you have another country in mind, then the cheapest way is generally to fly; see www.skyscanner.com.
If you were returning from Normandy by train to Paris St. Lazare station, then you would either transfer to Paris Nord station to head north by train or catch a taxi to Charles de Gaulle Airport for a fixed price of €50. Of course, if you were driving and had a car for Normandy, then you could continue driving toward Belgium, but return the car to France to avoid a high drop-off fee.
Which other places were you considering? Cities or countries? I wouldn't advise a rail pass. You're not there long enough for one thing.
The trip is partly a "ticking off" exercise. We could easily stay in France another week, but the family is really interested in Germany. I'd like to see Ghent and Amsterdam, but at this point I'm willing to just enjoy what my family comes up with. What I'm mainly concerned about is travel/driving time. I've been told it could take six hours to go from Charles DeGaul airport to Bayeux even though it looks only about three, and I was told driving to Frankfurt (also from Charles DeGaul airport) will take an entire day even though it only looks to be about three hours.
You'll get more responses if you post this in the proper section: Destination Q&A.
This section is for Trip Reports - providing details on trips you've already taken.
And once you are under destinations put it under General Europe because you are asking about several countries.