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Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

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Fullerton...
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Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

We have our tickets (one way) to Paris September 1, 2014. Now the planning begins! Originally we planned to spend a month in Paris and renting an apartment to try and "live like a native" even though we do not speak French! :0 my romantic idea for a newly retired and active couple was to go for a month, take a cooking class, "hang out" and be happy with no particular schedule. Now, we have rethought our trip based on a desire to get to the countryside (Provence) and spend time in Normandy where my husband's namesake uncle gave his life.

Question for the day: if we have 4-5 weeks and a budget how about this itinerary:

September 2-16 Paris

September 16-20 Normandy

September 20-30 driving through Provence

With this schedule coupled with the fact we have been to France only once as a couple and that was June 1987 for the Paris Air Show (business) we need to be "close in" to the center of activity to make sure we see the main sights.

We have been married 44 years, love travel and adventure. We enjoy the finer things in life but more than that love the experience of adventure. Not sure if we should rent an apartment in Paris or do a hotel. Any advice welcomed ....is this a good plan?

Merci!

Candice,

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

Definitely do an apartment in Paris to live like a local. We have done this a number of times now and love it as well as finding it less expensive.

The difficulty with your choices of where to go is that they are at opposite sides of the country and it becomes a matter of how you intend to go between them.

You can easily take a train to Bayeux and stay, see the beaches and cemeteries and do a tour, as well as visit the Bayeux Tapestry of course. Back to Paris I imagine and then a train on to Avignon. The TGV is very fast and inexpensive if booked with SNCF well in advance. In Avignon hire a car from near Avignon TGV station and settle in a nice central place to visit the countryside. Allow at least a week, more if you can. Drop the car and train back to Paris to fly home.

We have stayed at Uzes, L'Isle sur la Sorgue and Sablet (maybe a touch too small for us) We go back to L'Isle next year and also a few days at Vaison la Romaine. In our opinion a base town with car excursions daily is the way to go, rather than shifting from town to town.

That said, we tend to do driving holidays interspersed with week long stays as above. For example

…blogspot.com.au/2011/05/encore-provence-par… and onwards.

Our website at www.nickbooth.id.au gives more ideas, and some travel tips at the bottom of the page.

Edited: 06 November 2013, 05:50
Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

We actually did a ten day trip that included your destinations, and the way it worked for us was to put Paris in the middle. This kept us from having one marathon day of travel between Normandy and the Cote d'Azur, and as our first day was going to be about "jet lag," we "bit the bullet," sleeping a bit on the train and a bit more in our Bayeux hotel. We had a nice night in Bayeux before taking our tour the next morning. By the time we arrived in Paris, we were adjusted to the time change and had the energy to tour that exciting city. We flew to Nice (1 1/2 hours + pre-flight arrival), but a train also works (5-6 hours). When booked in advance, even the major airlines are quite reasonable, and be careful about the baggage allowances on the regional airlines. We travel for both pleasure and business and as an admitted overpacker, we often find the difference in the airfare on Air France is balanced by the baggage charges on Easy Jet...but they both work. We flew home from Nice.

Here is my trip report on how we did the Paris>Normandy>Paris part or our trip, and you will find tour guide and places to stay links in the report. Also, check the "Top Questions" topics along the right margin of this page and scrolling along the green bar along the top of this page, select "Things to Do" in the "Normandy" drop down.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187179-i607-k5174…

We are not young travelers, and we'd do this again in an instant. After a morning arrival, the train to Bayeux was no worse than when we've had a connecting flight. No matter where you are or what you are doing, jet lag is jet lag, and this plan worked for us. We found that we were better when we kept moving, and I hope this gives you some ideas!

Edited: 06 November 2013, 16:16
Fullerton...
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3. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

Thank you! I will look up your blog. We had considered doing Normandy first and now you and another person have recommended doing that....so we will!

If you have rented an apartment in France could you share the information on the location you chose? And, the company you used? So appreciate your response!

Candice

Fullerton...
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4. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

Thank you, Troggs! We will look up your trip report. We will also adjust our itinerary to go to Normandy first. I appreciate your comments regarding the jet lag and we can sleep on the train and at the hotel once we arrive. This makes sense!

After reading, reading, reading...we decided we would love driving around Provence more than staying the entire time in Paris. Our trip is evolving. Also appreciate the info on packing and paying extra on overweight luggage in other countries. We found this out when we travelled in Asia the hard way...after shopping extensively :0 we plan to travel "light" this trip.

So appreciate your response!

Candice

Louisville, Kentucky
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5. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

For your Provence travels, look at the Provence versions of Frommer's "Great Drives" and Eyewitness' "Backroads" series. If you can't find these in you local book store, they are usually available on Amazon.

Know the automatic transmissions are not the norm in France and particularly, not in Normandy. Should that be your choice, you best bet is going to pick up a car in Paris, and I'd be tempted to go to where the fleets are the largest: airports, but as is typical in the US, expect to pay an airport fee. Also, know that reserving an automatic doesn't always mean that you will get one. It means that they will make their best effort to get you what you want, and it happens...but most often in larger fleets. We were fine with a stick shift and the little driving we did in Normandy, but for a longer trip through Provence, we would prefer an automatic. You will know what's right for you.

I'm glad putting Paris in the middle appeals to you. This was the first trip I planned using to TA, and this order just made sense. To get to the Cote d'Azur from Normandy, you have to pass through Paris, and while most people think these destinations are too much of a "stretch," they work when ordered this way. These are the places we wanted to visit, and we found a way to make it happen!

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

We stayed with Perfectlyparis last trip at this apartment

www.perfectlyparis.com/Rooftop%20Vista.html

and absolutely loved it for the view on Paris and the fabulous welcome we received as well as the location which we chose very carefully to suit our needs. The only difficulty for me was getting in and out of the shower which was a bit of a step up, hard with my knees.

Next trip we stay here http://www.vrbo.com/195967 and so far all dealings have one very well.

In Provence we have stayed with several different people but none of those apartments are currently available.

California
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7. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

Plan to spend about a week in and around Nice, where there is much to see. The coast is simply gorgeous, and the medieval perched villages rival those in the Lubéron.

I strongly recommend that you pick up copies of the Michelin Green Guide to Provence and the companion one for the Côte d'Azur, along with--if you can find it--the Cadogan Guide to the South of France. Those are invaluable for trip planning. For driving information, head to the viamichelin.com web site, but note that the estimates there of travel time usually fall a bit short.

We had a nice little apartment in Nice, close to the Promenade des Anglais, the pedestrian rue Masséna, the Place Masséna, and Vieux Nice. If you're interested, send me a private mail (just click on my name, at the left) and I'll send you the link.

For Paris, Paris Perfect apartments get many rave reviews in the Fodor Europe forums.

8. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

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Removed on: 21 July 2014, 13:35
Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

alysmcg, you are not allowed to advertise your apartment on Tripadvisor. The rest of your post is informative. Repost that by all means, but not about the apartment.

10. Re: Paris/Normandy/Provence September 2014...help Planning

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