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Best route to Normandy?

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Best route to Normandy?

Okay...so I've gotten advice on wether or not to rent a car or take the train from Charles de Gaulle to Bayeux, after a flight from Canada.

We have decided on renting a car. Listening to other travellers it seems the drive out of Paris seems to be the most daunting. So I was wondering.....instead of skirting around Paris and hitting rush hour traffic, would it be less stressfull to take the N104 to N184 to N14 ( Cergy)then drop down through Les Andelys and from there connect to the A 13. We it make the trip that much longer? Also we enjoy scenic rural drives....Is it worth it?

Thanks in advance for the feedback...... I've booked most of our trip after researching Tripadvisor! It's a great help.

Saratoga Springs, NY
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1. Re: Best route to Normandy?

When we take our trip, we are taking the train. There's no way I would get behind the wheel right after a flight from the US or Canada. We will take the train (for us, probably to Rennes instead of Bayeux) and stay overnight before we rent our car.

We'll drop the rental car at a city in the Loire and take the train back into Paris when we're done exploring the countryside. I just don't think driving in Paris sounds worth the aggravation.

Le Bugue, France
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2. Re: Best route to Normandy?

Renting a car for Normandy is a great idea, but if you're stressing out about driving out of Paris - and I wouldn't - why not just take the train to Caen and pick up the rental car there?

You can't, by the way, take a train from CDG to Bayeux. You have to go into Paris to the Gare St-Lazare. And Bayeux has only one place that I know of to pick up a car rental and it's in like a gas station a walk away from the train station. Rent the car in Caen (can't get there directly from CDG, either).

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: Best route to Normandy?

Driving a car for 4-5 hours under the effects of fatigue, jetlag, and disorientation (unfamiliar car and roads) makes you a hazard to yourself and others. Please reconsider.

Metro Vancouver
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4. Re: Best route to Normandy?

We rented a car at CDG for the day AFTER we landed. As it is my buddy, the driver, would never have found the right exit from the peripherique, had I not been there to check the signs (being French I was familiar with them).

He drives from Canada to Seattle and beyond on the I 5, under all sorts of weather and on his own without any problems..but around Paris was a challenge. On the way back, after a few days driving on various type of roads, from freeways to country lanes, he was OK.

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5. Re: Best route to Normandy?

Thanks folks...but the car is rented....would just like some info regarding an alternate route....anyone?

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6. Re: Best route to Normandy?

The route via Cergy that you suggest is a good idea. I just hope you won't kill people by falling asleep at the wheel. If it is before 9 a.m. expect considerable traffic as far as Cergy.

Ottawa, Canada
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7. Re: Best route to Normandy?

Car rental arrangements can often be changed easily. I made changes with AutoEurope a few days before a rental in Nice and there were no problems.

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8. Re: Best route to Normandy?

On one trip I rented a car at CDG and drove to Normandy and another time took the train to Caen and rented the car from there and thought taking the train was MUCH easier. You can even take a two hour nap on the train after your long trip.

In Paris I tried to map out a route that would avoid Paris traffic jams and that did not work well. I wasted about 4 hours taking an even longer route. Taking the train to Caen was really easy and they had my car waiting for me (and the rental car offices are across the street from the train station).

In addition, I changed my rental car reservations several times as they were doing repairs on the track and I was unsure about the travel day. I recommend that you rethink the CDG rental car option (or if you do leave from Paris just take the main roads and not try any short-cuts to avoid traffic).

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9. Re: Best route to Normandy?

I can see giving yourself a break from the autoroute. The autoroute never seems like France to us. We prefer the scenic route if we have time and most of our trips are about having time.

In fact, we don’t feel our trip has really started till we get off the fast roads and can dawdle.

We have only been on the N14 a little short of Vigny and don’t remember anything scenic. Michelin doesn’t show the N14 as scenic and they should know. An N road is likely to be busier than a D road.

If you look at the viamichelin website, there are lots of green roads west of Cergy. We’ve wandered around there a number of times. We like the drive from Meulan to Oinville and Sailly and on to La Roche-Guyon.

This is our welcome from France. The roads curve, each little village greets you with a floral display, and the houses with their immaculate gardens look so French. If we’re lucky a boulangerie is open somewhere on the route.

At La Roche-Guyon we get out to walk along the bend of the Seine there, look at the chateau at the foot of the cliffs, admire (or not, depending on its current state of upkeep) its kitchen garden, putter along to Giverny, and then to Vernon. You could look at your watch then and decide whether you want to get on the autoroute near Vernon or if you still have time to go to Les Andelys before you must be in Bayeux.

10. Re: Best route to Normandy?

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