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Driving Normandy

Edmonton, Canada
5 posts
1 review
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Driving Normandy

We're driving from Bruges to Caen, stopping in at Dunkirk, Dieppe and Le Havre... and hoping to see a bit of the coast in between if there's time. I'm wondering if anyone has anything suggestions to offer since we've never driven in Europe and the Canadian highways are so wide open and fast between centres... What should we know, what should we NOT miss, what should we avoid........ any advise would be great.

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Vancouver, Canada
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12,039 posts
74 reviews
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1. Re: Driving Normandy

Hi Beverly,

Welcome to the forums.

Sorry, wrong forum. This forum is for assistance in using the site, its features and technical support.

You should post on the Normandy Forum which is here:

tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g187179-i607-Norman…

The France Forum is here:

tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g187070-i12-France.…

To find a destination forum, you can enter the name of the city and the word "forum" in the search box top right (above the green bar): e.g. Paris Forum. To find a list of the forums, type forum in the box and you'll see a link to all of the forums including the Beyond Destination forums.

I've done it and it's a wonderful trip; I'd suggest asking about the newish driving laws in France.

Regards,

L4

Massachusetts
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1,954 posts
TripAdvisor Staff  
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2. Re: Driving Normandy

Hi Beverly,

I noticed that you inadvertently posted your question in the TripAdvisor Support forum, so I have moved the topic on your behalf to the Normandy forum. I hope you find the information you need to plan your upcoming travels.

Kind regards,

TA_Jane

TripAdvisor support Team

Edited: 06 March 2013, 11:50
Paris, France
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12,643 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: Driving Normandy

HI Beverly,

I and others can give you lots of suggestions and advice but you'll need to tell us how many days you're going to be in the area. Have you already booked accommodation? If so, where? What date are you leaving Bruges and what date will you be leaving Normandy? What are your interests and what do you want to see and do in Normandy? Why have you decided to stop in Dieppe and Le Havre? So if you can give us an overall idea of your vacation then it's easier to make suggestions.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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90,292 posts
14 reviews
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4. Re: Driving Normandy

I have put together some notes on driving in France. See www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchDrive.htm

Boca Raton, Florida
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722 posts
72 reviews
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5. Re: Driving Normandy

Sydneynick - your driving tips are great. Despite having driven in France quite a few times, I learned a lot. (Actually hubby driving, me navigating :-) Thanks.

Edmonton, Canada
5 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Driving Normandy

Thank-you very much, that's an awesome page of driving information.

Edmonton, Canada
5 posts
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7. Re: Driving Normandy

Only two days... one day to drive from Bruge to Dieppe -- I've booked a B&B there. One day to drive from Dieppe to Caen - another B&B booked near Juno Beach. My main concern was whether I could get from one place to another within a day. This would be very easy in Canada because of the condition of highways and wide open space between centres -- nothing but wide open highway with not much traffic... only landscape for miles and miles and miles here. I was concerned that I would be in for a big surprise if I scheduled only one day for a 130km drive along the Normandy coast.

Ottawa, Canada
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7,772 posts
21 reviews
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8. Re: Driving Normandy

The first day is the longer drive.... about 300 km. As far as road conditions are concerned, French roads are in much better shape than our heaved and potholed roads in Eastern Ontario! There is the option of an autoroute for much of your drive... try to avoid it as much as possible as what you'll see will be very limited.

There are all sorts of interesting diversions... if you have any interest in medieval history make a small detour to Crecy en Ponthieu and see the still intact site of the Battle of Crecy. There's a raised viewing platform... I could almost hear the 'swish' of the longbow arrows as they arced through the air.

http://goo.gl/maps/WnhwV

I visited Dunkirk in 1972. It was amazing to stand on the beach where so many British and French were so improbably evacuated to England. I stopped at Dieppe too that day but my memory of it is dim.

You'll have a much shorter drive day 2. Stick to the coast road as much as you can. After you cross the Seine, unless you are well behind schedule, return to the coast road at Honfleur. You'll have a lovely 2 days drive.

I always find when driving in France it pays to get an early start... there are always things to distract you and small towns to look around that you'll stumble across enroute.

Not sure if Nick has updated his driving in France page lately but in the last couple of years the French authorities have really cracked down on speeding. Watch the speedometer carefully! Speed limits outside of towns used to be merely a suggestion... now they are the rule!

I like to use Google Maps for planning a driving route in general... to get to specifics use ViaMichelin.com You can select scenic or fast routes for example.

Bon voyage!

Edited: 08 March 2013, 13:21
Paris, France
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12,643 posts
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9. Re: Driving Normandy

On your drive from Dieppe to Caen the two most obvious places to stop for a visit would be Etretat and Honfleur, both beautiful oceanfront towns. Here are their tourist office websites:

etretat.net/office-de-tourisme-etretat/…

http://www.ot-honfleur.fr/

Use the website viamichelin.com and get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The drive times given do not consider stops (fuel, food, bathrooms) nor do they consider bad weather and bad traffic. I find the drive times very accurate when these factors are accounted for. Based on a lot of experience driving in France I also find this website to be more accurate than any other, including google.

Edmonton, Canada
5 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Driving Normandy

Exactly the information I needed, thanks very much for all of that.

Beverly