France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

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Raymond
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France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Raymond »

My wife and I are planning a two-week (more or less) trip to France in late June 2023.

We plan to visit Paris and Normandy, and would like recommendations for accommodations and things to see and do in both areas (neither of us have been to France.) My wife's interested in art museums and quirky stuff like the Catacombs of Paris. I'm interested in history, particularly medieval and military.

Would the Montparnasse area be a good central area to stay?

Since we are flying in and out of CDG, would you recommend staying in Paris for a week, then taking a train to Caen, renting a car there and driving to our hotel, stay in Normandy for five days (thinking of this hotel: Domaine Utah Beach) , back to Caen to return the car and return to Paris for a few days before going home?

Food-related suggestions would be great too (restaurants, bakeries, etc.)
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sabhen
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by sabhen »

Montparnasse is Ok. Plenty of restaurants in the area. I'd rather not drive in Paris. I prefer public transport. I took once same day train to Caen from Paris to visit Normandy and Omaha beach.

Then I used a local bus just in front of the Caen train station to get to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and back. The driver was a friendly French woman and I was her only passenger. She took me off-the beaten track not usually taken by tourists on a more scenic route and I had a wonderful visit overall.

There are usually long lines at the Catacombs. So be prepared to wait. The patisseries are all great!

Enjoy your trip.
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Mel Lindauer
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Mel Lindauer »

sabhen wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:44 pm Montparnasse is Ok. Plenty of restaurants in the area. I'd rather not drive in Paris. I prefer public transport. I took once same day train to Caen from Paris to visit Normandy and Omaha beach.

Then I used a local bus just in front of the Caen train station to get to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and back. The driver was a friendly French woman and I was her only passenger. She took me off-the beaten track not usually taken by tourists on a more scenic route and I had a wonderful visit overall.

There are usually long lines at the Catacombs. So be prepared to wait. The patisseries are all great!

Enjoy your trip.
I took the train across France from Paris and then an 11-day river cruise that included stops to visit Normandy, Omaha Beach, and the American Cemetary. Those were efinitely the most moving part of my three weeks in France. It included being inside a German machine gun bunker atop the hills overlooking the Normandy beaches, wondering how those machine guns didn't wipe out the entire Allied invasion force. And trying to imagine how on earth the Rangers scaled those cliffs to take out the machine guns. Moving stuff for this Marine.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
bhough
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by bhough »

Was just in Paris. Can only speak for a there. You can buy a 7 day metro pass, but they want you to tape a picture to the pass. If you are taking a train, say to Versaille, the attendants may ask to see your pass and give you heck if you don't have a picture. Pro tip: bring along a small passport sized picture of yourself and some scotch tape.

Wife will love the top floor of the Musee D'Orsay. My young family got tired after walking to the place and milling around the first floor, so they almost missed all the iconic impressionist stuff at the top. Pro tip: Start at top floor.

Must see the Louvre. Versaille was very cool, but inside was a little overcrowded. Must see Jardin Luxembourg and the Tuilleries. I'm a bibliophile and there were a ton of used bookstores around Jardin Luxembourg. i'd recommend you give yourself a few hours to browse if possible.

Hotel Invalides is a former military hospital that is now part museum part military offices. You will like this, wife maybe not so much. Also has the tomb of Napoleon which is very pretty architecturally.

There are many neighborhood bakeries for you to avail yourself of. Baguettes are heavenly. We did some dining out (Chef and the Vache was quite good), but mostly bought from the grocery store and ate in our room to save money. Pro tip: you weigh your own produce in the produce area and print out a sticker that you put on the bag. Don't check out with unweighed produce. They are very nice, but it creates work for the clerk.

Have fun!!
dsmclone
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by dsmclone »

Love Normandy.

We got off the plane at CDG and rented a car. Drove to Caen and visited a WW2 museum. If I had to do this over I would have saved it for the way back to Paris, we were too tired to appreciate it. We then drove to Bayeux and stayed the next 4 days at the Churchill Hotel. Visited all the WW2 sites and also did a day trip to Mont Saint Michel. We are usually not big into tours but we did do a one day tour of Normandy and we learned so many things from a guy that was really passionate about the subject. This was probably 8 years ago so I'm not sure the tour even exists any longer.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Zeno »

You will have a wonderful time.
Last edited by Zeno on Sun Aug 07, 2022 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
homebuyer6426
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by homebuyer6426 »

My general advice is to not buy your plane tickets more than 3 months in advance. The sweet spot on prices is usually 1-2 months, and the longer ahead you do it, the greater your rescheduling/cancellation risks.

Hotels in some places can sell out much earlier though, so you may want to lock those in well ahead of time.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Mapmaker »

dsmclone wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:10 am Love Normandy.

We got off the plane at CDG and rented a car. Drove to Caen and visited a WW2 museum. If I had to do this over I would have saved it for the way back to Paris, we were too tired to appreciate it. We then drove to Bayeux and stayed the next 4 days at the Churchill Hotel. Visited all the WW2 sites and also did a day trip to Mont Saint Michel. We are usually not big into tours but we did do a one day tour of Normandy and we learned so many things from a guy that was really passionate about the subject. This was probably 8 years ago so I'm not sure the tour even exists any longer.
We also enjoyed the Churchill Hotel. You can walk to the Bayeux Tapestry from there.
We used Overlord for our tours.
https://www.overlordtour.com/
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CenTexan
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by CenTexan »

We have enjoyed many trips to France (including Paris and Normandy area).

We "accidentally" visited the Bayeux tapestry and for years now have laughed about how lucky we were to stumble into it.

In Paris, the Medieval Art Museum has the famous Unicorn tapestries - another lucky "stumble" for us.

And the be aware that the Louvre guards/staff will begin herding visitors out about a half hour before official closing time - so plan accordingly.

Mt. Saint Michel was a bit difficult to get to, but an exotic memory worth the effort and cost.

Have tissues/handkerchief available when you visit the US cemeteries . . . (choke) . . . but definitely visit.

One tip - in Paris, ask for a hotel room that looks onto a back courtyard instead of the street - especially if it has no AC. You wouldn't believe how noisy a room facing the street can be (garbage trucks at 0-dark-thirty, etc).

Enjoy!
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Mel Lindauer »

CenTexan wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:11 pm We have enjoyed many trips to France (including Paris and Normandy area).
....
Have tissues/handkerchief available when you visit the US cemeteries . . . (choke) . . . but definitely visit.

Enjoy!
I can concur with that, especially if you have served in the military and know the history of the invasion and how many brave American warriors died there.
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Raymond
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Raymond »

OP here, thanks for all the great suggestions and tips. We definitely plan to visit all the Normandy beaches, especially as friends of ours from the UK will be coming over to join us during that part of the trip (they'll make their own arrangements once we tell them our travel dates.)

Any advice on dividing up the trip as mentioned in my original post? Paris first, then Normandy, then back to Paris before returning home? Or straight to Normandy first, then Paris? Of course, we'll be jet-lagged, so going straight to Normandy from CDG might not be the best idea...

Also, any particular advice on renting a car in Caen or Bayeux and driving in Normandy?
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by bob60014 »

We're going in September and taking into account jet lag and just being initially overwhelmed, plan on going to the WWII sites at the end of the trip.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by oxothuk »

You will want a car to properly appreciate Normandy, but I agree with the others that you will want to pick it up outside Paris. If you want to start your trip in Normandy, just take the train from CDG to Caen after you land, walk around some, and spend the night. Next day you will be recovered from jet lag and safe to drive.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by quietseas »

Paris Museum Pass
https://www.parismuseumpass.fr/t-en

In addition to the 4 popular museums (Louvre, D'Orsay, L'Orangerie, and Pompidou) there are dozens of smaller museums, not famous, but interesting such as the Musee des Plans-Reliefs (Napolean era models of fortified cities) and Musee Rodin which has a large outdoor garden. Having the pass encourages you to make use of your Metro pass and go out and see some parts of Paris that are less travelled by tourists.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by oxothuk »

One other thing to keep in mind is that one-way car rentals are very reasonable as long as you stay WITHIN France. This gives you a lot more flexibility in designing an itinerary.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by delamer »

In late April, we did a river cruise on the Seine with an added few days on a motorcoach tour that took us to St. Malo, Mont St. Michel, and Utah Beach (one day each). The cruise itself included a day at Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.

We also added an extra day in Paris at the start, for a total of 2.5 days there. I would have liked another day.

The cruise was via Avalon Waterways. The, obvious, advantage is that the ship gets to your next destination overnight, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of a car. The included tours were such that you spent a couple hours with the other passengers and then had plenty of time to explore on your own. Or you could forgo the ship tours and sightsee on your own.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by GerryL »

Raymond wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:04 pm OP here, thanks for all the great suggestions and tips. We definitely plan to visit all the Normandy beaches, especially as friends of ours from the UK will be coming over to join us during that part of the trip (they'll make their own arrangements once we tell them our travel dates.)

Any advice on dividing up the trip as mentioned in my original post? Paris first, then Normandy, then back to Paris before returning home? Or straight to Normandy first, then Paris? Of course, we'll be jet-lagged, so going straight to Normandy from CDG might not be the best idea...

Also, any particular advice on renting a car in Caen or Bayeux and driving in Normandy?
I think your idea of starting in Paris and taking the train to Normandy is good. I have never driven in France, so I won't address those questions, but a car will help you visit more places that may be challenging by car or bus.

In Normandy, be sure to visit Honfleur, but avoid the weekend if you can because a lot of people come from Paris for a day or weekend visit. It's a good idea to plot out your days by keeping track of the day of the week, so you can be sure your plans fit in to closures and special events. Anyone visiting in September should check out the dates of the Journees du Patrimoine -- actually European Heritage days, so not just France. It's a mid-month weekend when hotels in many towns get fully booked and many sites are swamped.

There are so many places to see in Normandy. (I hitchhiked around there in my youth many years ago.) One of my favorite towns is Granville, a former "bathing resort." It's on the north end of the Bay of Mont St Michel, so the tides are wonderful. The expansive beach completely disappears twice a day.

I'm not a fan of the Montparnasse area, although it is convenient for trains heading to Normandy, it is not so convenient for walking to key sights. I prefer the area around where the 5th and 6th arrondisements meet. Very central. This year I will be staying at an Airbnb in another central location, on the edge of the 1st where it meets the 4th. (I get around Paris mostly walking.)

Have a wonderful time. Avoid the urge to get "everything" in and enjoy just being. You will return.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by mecht3ach »

Raymond wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:28 pm Would the Montparnasse area be a good central area to stay?
That sounds like a lovely trip!

I would definitely *not* characterize the Montparnasse area as a central place to stay (it's not terrible, but a bit far south, though the area is lovely). Everyone's tastes differ, but two areas where we particularly like to stay are around Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Rue Montorgueil. Those areas balance convenience to sights (walking if you are up for it, Metro if you can't walk much) without being horribly expensive (there are both good independent hotels and AirBnBs around there). They are also filled with charming bistros, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Le Marais is also nice (and a bit cheaper) but further afield, and the area around Rue de Rivoli/Palais Royal is quite central but has more big posh shops and is less charming (imho).
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by LearnsTheHardWay »

I think you have a good plan to spend some time in Paris first, and then head to Normandy.

DW and I visited the D-Day beaches on a shoestring budget and drove around with a guidebook. We went back decades later with our kids and got a guide. The guided trip was a much better experience for us.

If you have your own rental car, I recommend hiring a guide that will go along with you in your car. Our guide was Magali Desquesne, and she was great (we have no connection to her). If you do a web search you could find her, but I bet other guides also have the same kind of tour. We had four people for a tour, and by driving our guide in our rental car, it was less expensive or at least comparable to a group bus tour for the four of us.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by oragne lovre »

I went to Paris with my family several times and even ran a Paris marathon. I think renting an apartment gives some visitors more freedom in deciding when to check in or out, eating "at home" or not, sampling various kinds of wine other well-intentioned renters leave behind. Renting can also be more cost-effective if you plan to stay for a week or more. Getting up early in the morning to get freshly baked baguettes, just like Parisiens do, is an experience that should not be missed. Paris is more a walking city; strolling around arrondissements may land you at unexpectedly beautiful gardens or buildings - you may want to check out a pocket book entitled "Quiet Corners of Paris" by Jean-Christophe Napias to get an idea. Taking a boat trip on Seine river early in the morning or late afternoon is recommended. Eating at small restaurants where local Parisians hang out, such as Au Petit Bistro in Quartier Latin, can give you a bit more authentic experience. Please learn some basic greetings in French to start conversations with waiters, waitresses, vendors, etc. you'll get much friendlier, better service for your money and be prepared to be talked back to in English with French accent :happy

Enjoy your trip!
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chickadee
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by chickadee »

We took the train from Paris to Caen and rented a car there near the Caen train station. We use Auto Europe to broker the deal. About six car rental companies are clustered across from the train station. Turn the car in there when you are done in Normandy and train back to Paris. I personally wouldn’t rent a car on jet lag day one. So yes, do two stints in Paris. Choose two different neighborhoods for fun. Also, Bayeux is a nice place to stay. We took a private D Day tour with a guide and really enjoyed it.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Bogle7 »

Paris

1. Hotels
We always stay at the Hotel Delambre https://www.delambre-paris-hotel.com/en/
My wife has also stayed at the Lenox Montparnasse Hotel Paris on the same street. http://lenox-montparnasse.parishotelsfr.com/en/

While it is in the unfashionable 14th Arrondissement, it is where the 5th, 6th, and 14th intersect.
The Vavin Metro station (line 4 and a straight shot to Gare Nord) is very convenient at the east of the street, while the Edgard Quinet (Line 6) is at the west end.
Lots of very good restaurants in the immediate area.
There are some very famous restaurants near the Vavin Metro station: Le Bistrot du Dome, La Coupole, La Rotonde Montparnasse

2. Museums
Musée Marmottan Monet (closed Mondays) https://www.marmottan.fr/en/ Off the beaten path in the 16th. We liked it, a lot.

The Centre Pompidou (closed Tuesday) https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en/ Huge. Lots of modern art. I loved it. Wife not so much.

Musée d’Orsay (closed Mondays) https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en This is wife’s favorite.

Les Catacombes (closed Mondays) https://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en My father-in-law and I loved this. Very different.

Musee Picasso – Paris (closed Mondays) https://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/ A chronological collection. Very imformative

Musée des égouts de Paris (closed Mondays) https://musee-egouts.paris.fr/en/ Different. Quirky.

3. Restaurants
We use Yelp and TripAdvisor with this method.
Standing in front of the restaurant, I look it up on Yelp and wife on TripAdvisor. We look at the rating and read some reviews. We are not trying to find a great restaurant, but are seeking to avoid a crappy experience. This has worked very well for us.

Normandie

1. Museums

Normandy American Cemetery https://www.abmc.gov/normandy

La Cambe German War Cemetery https://www.liberationroute.com/pois/27 ... y-cemetery Very different and a must visit.

Bayeaux Tapestry Museum https://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/ A 900-year-old story of the Norman Invasion of England. Awesome.

Mémorial de Caen https://normandy.memorial-caen.com/muse ... -world-war Lots to see/learn.

2. Hotel

Chateau de Sully https://www.chateau-de-sully.com/en/ - We loved the place and the location. Michelin 1-star restaurant.

3. Restaurants

Our favorite meal was lunch at Chez le Bougnat in Dives-sur-Mer https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_ ... mandy.html
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rhatfiel
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by rhatfiel »

We stayed in Bayeux for our time around Normandy. Loved it. Stayed at the Chambres d'Hôtes Le Petit Matin. Definitely make a trip to Mont Saint-Michel while in the region in addition to all of the amazing WWII sites to see.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Hockey10 »

Here is the itinerary we used a few years ago:
Flew into CDG
3 nights in Paris
Train to Bayeux
5 nights in Bayeux
Train back to Paris and spent last night at hotel at CDG.

All in all, the schedule worked out well for us. We did not rent a car but instead did 3 separate full day tours of the American sector, the British sector, and Mont St. Michel. On the last day in Bayeux, we walked all over town.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by dsmclone »

You asked about order.

Even though it's a little painful, grab the car at CDG and it's about a 3 hour drive that's really easy once you get out of the metro. If you've driven in any large metro, it's not a problem. Just be alert for motorcycles lane splitting. You'll want to have a car in Normandy. Use Google maps and download the offline version before you go.

Then on the way back drop off the car at CDG and take the train into the city.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Capsu78 »

I’ve done this trip, including jet lag. My strategy would be to arrive in Paris, get a hotel near Gar Nord. Spend first day on the Hoho bus tour to get your bearings and ride much of the route. It’s easier way to spend a “jet lag” day than pushing onto Normandy and gives you a list of the places that are “must see” on your return to Paris.
A sunset up by the Basilica on Montmartre can be magical.

In Normandy, my SIL HS history teacher did this the day after the 75th D Day anniversary and we had a blast:
https://www.retro-tour.com/en/tour/d-day-tour-premium/
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Capsu78 »

dsmclone wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:22 pm You asked about order.

Even though it's a little painful, grab the car at CDG and it's about a 3 hour drive that's really easy once you get out of the metro. If you've driven in any large metro, it's not a problem. Just be alert for motorcycles lane splitting. You'll want to have a car in Normandy. Use Google maps and download the offline version before you go.

Then on the way back drop off the car at CDG and take the train into the city.
There is also a way to avoid the Metro area altogether, which was our plan. Unfortunately, my navigator used google maps and we ended up driving right into the heart of Paris as rush hour was starting… with a manual stick after having been awake most of the night watching movies. My SIL said “ I know how to drive a clutch”. After losing a half hour of him trying to get out of the rental car lot, I had to pull him and summon my long lost clutch driving skills. Fortunately I had a couple hundred thousand miles of experience to aid me in “getting back on the Bicycle”.
So, it is important to print a map to bypass Paris if you decide to head to Normandy from CDG.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by eddot98 »

We are no experts on Paris at all, but we have visited it on 3 different trips for a week each time. We paired the Paris weeks with other destinations, like London, the French Riviera, and Belgium. In Paris we stayed on Avenue George V once just off the Champs d’Elysee and 2 other times right on the Champs d’Elysee. I don’t know the Arrondisements well at all, and even had to look up that we stayed in the Eighth Arrondisement. It was a very convenient place to stay as we could walk to the Place de Concorde, the Arch de Triumph, the Louvre, the Tuleries, Musee d’Orsay, etc. For once, money was no object as we usually travel to Europe in November and used Marriott points for the stays. Another time we stayed on the outskirts of Paris and took day trips to Chantilly, Normandy, Bayeux, etc., then on to Amsterdam.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Pacific »

I recommend this (if 15 days is acceptable): https://www.uniworld.com/eu/river-cruis ... n-to-paris

or this for 7 days (with 7 more on your own): https://www.uniworld.com/eu/river-cruis ... s-to-paris

We were on just the Paris-Normandy-Paris cruise the first time and the Avignon-Lyon the second year.
Unbeatable due to the fantastic guides that are provided.

We found the trains in France to be excellent and since we also flew out of CDG, we took the train from Lyon back to Paris.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by oldcomputerguy »

CenTexan wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:11 pm Have tissues/handkerchief available when you visit the US cemeteries . . . (choke) . . . but definitely visit.
Definitely. My wife and I just returned last week from a two-week trip to France which included a stop at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. While we were there, they did a ceremony which included the placing of a wreath, the bells playing the Star-Spangled Banner, and a recording of "Taps". Much choking up on my part, and I'm pretty certain I wasn't the only one.
eddot98 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:54 pm In Paris we stayed on Avenue George V once just off the Champs d’Elysee
That is where we stayed as well. We were able to walk from our hotel to several of our planned points of interest with not much difficulty. (The walk to the Musée d'Orsay took us down the Quai d'Orsay, which is a very nice, scenic walk.)
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Raymond
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Raymond »

OP here, thank you to everyone for the fantastic information!

Have a lot to digest, but I guess my wife and I shouldn't delay booking hotels and getting airline tickets - I understand getting the best fares three months before traveling, but since everything else revolves around the flights, I don't want to risk missing the specific dates.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"
oxothuk
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by oxothuk »

dsmclone wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:22 pm Even though it's a little painful, grab the car at CDG and it's about a 3 hour drive that's really easy once you get out of the metro. If you've driven in any large metro, it's not a problem. Just be alert for motorcycles lane splitting.
I took a rental car from CDG to Normandy a few years ago, and the "motorcycles lane-splitting" on the Peripherique are what made the trip especially stressful. And that was after a short flight from Berlin, not an overnight from the USA.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by tigermilk »

Some years ago we did a Paris to Normandy trip. With a car it opens up quite a bit. On the way, make a stop at Giverny to tour Monet's home. We were there in a June and the gardens were spectacular. You can wander the grounds and see the inspiration for his works.

Also on the way is Les Andelys. It is a small town, but you can visit the castle ruins of Richard I. When we went to No4mandy we actually stayed in Rouen,

I had to travel several times to Les Mureaux for work and took my bike with me. I gained an appreciation for the back roads, so much that when we drove to Normandy and back to Paris I stayed off the highway to enjoy going through small, idyllic towns.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by talzara »

Capsu78 wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:56 pm There is also a way to avoid the Metro area altogether, which was our plan. Unfortunately, my navigator used google maps and we ended up driving right into the heart of Paris as rush hour was starting… with a manual stick after having been awake most of the night watching movies. My SIL said “ I know how to drive a clutch”. After losing a half hour of him trying to get out of the rental car lot, I had to pull him and summon my long lost clutch driving skills. Fortunately I had a couple hundred thousand miles of experience to aid me in “getting back on the Bicycle”.
It's easy to rent cars with automatic transmissions at international airports that see a lot of American tourists. They're harder to find at city locations that are used mostly by locals.

Be sure to select automatic transmission when making the reservation. Don't just pick the lowest-cost car in a size class. Automatic transmissions cost more, so the lowest-cost car will be a manual.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by delamer »

tigermilk wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 4:01 pm Some years ago we did a Paris to Normandy trip. With a car it opens up quite a bit. On the way, make a stop at Giverny to tour Monet's home. We were there in a June and the gardens were spectacular. You can wander the grounds and see the inspiration for his works.

Also on the way is Les Andelys. It is a small town, but you can visit the castle ruins of Richard I. When we went to No4mandy we actually stayed in Rouen,

I had to travel several times to Les Mureaux for work and took my bike with me. I gained an appreciation for the back roads, so much that when we drove to Normandy and back to Paris I stayed off the highway to enjoy going through small, idyllic towns.
We stopped at Les Andelys on our river cruise. The castle, the views, and walk to it were amazing.

There are parts of the castle still standing that are 1,000 years old. Hard to fathom.
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. - Alexandre Dumas, fils
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Pacific »

Raymond, you may wish to read this interesting piece which came out today:
12 Things to Know Before Going to Paris

https://www.johnnyjet.com/12-things-to- ... 5-32694158
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by gerntz »

Don't know what your previous experience with Paris is, but I think you've overloaded on Paris versus other parts of France, even just Normandy and areas nearby. If first trip, I'd do 5 days Paris & 10 days elsewhere.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Raymond »

OP here, thanks for the fantastic additional information! So much to see and do...
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by GerryL »

Raymond wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 6:52 pm OP here, thanks for the fantastic additional information! So much to see and do...
Yeah. I go back each year. This year I will be staying 4 weeks, with 5 nights in Paris. I was into Slow Travel before they called it that.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Timely thread since wife and I are traveling to France (from Boston) in mid-September. We are taking a Road Scholar "Art Voyage" that starts in Nice and travels up the Rhône to Paris, with lots of art along the way (!). However, we are spending five nights in Paris before the Road Scholar program begins.

We are Paris neophytes - my wife has never been to Paris, and the last time I was there was ... 1972.

We are also AirBNB neophytes.

All that said, we have an AirBNB reservation on Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré. This is just north of the Jardin des Tuileries and just north west of the Louvre. Map here -

https://www.google.com/maps/place/22+Pl ... d2.3320491

However, the AirBnB reservation is not final - we have a few weeks to change it.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this neighborhood from the experts contributing here.

Thank you in advance!

Small Law Survivor

Edit: happy to share the AirBnB listing. via PM. We are unsure how to evaluate these listings, and any assistance would be welcome.
71 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50-50 s/b, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
TXJeff
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by TXJeff »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:39 am Timely thread since wife and I are traveling to France (from Boston) in mid-September. We are taking a Road Scholar "Art Voyage" that starts in Nice and travels up the Rhône to Paris, with lots of art along the way (!). However, we are spending five nights in Paris before the Road Scholar program begins.

We are Paris neophytes - my wife has never been to Paris, and the last time I was there was ... 1972.

We are also AirBNB neophytes.

All that said, we have an AirBNB reservation on Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré. This is just north of the Jardin des Tuileries and just north west of the Louvre. Map here -

https://www.google.com/maps/place/22+Pl ... d2.3320491

However, the AirBnB reservation is not final - we have a few weeks to change it.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this neighborhood from the experts contributing here.

Thank you in advance!

Small Law Survivor

Edit: happy to share the AirBnB listing. via PM. We are unsure how to evaluate these listings, and any assistance would be welcome.
You have selected a perfect location for art lovers who have never been to Paris before. As you note, you are a stones throw from the Louvre. You're also close to the the Musee d'Orsay. The Picasso Museum is a 20 minute metro ride or a beautiful 30 minute walk. And the Pompidou Center is even closer. Bonus is that your main metro stop is Tuileries, on line #1, an automated metro line--no human driver--so even if there's a transport strike, this line will be working.

Note that this is a very "touristy" area, so there will be lots of English spoken, translated restaurant menus, etc.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by heartwood »

I suggest you confirm that your hotel has air conditioning. We stayed in a great hotel in Caen several years ago, only to leave after a night in June because of no A/C. Don't remember either name.

We had a similar experience in Rome in late Sept more recently. They had turned off the A/C for the Fall. At a 4 star hotel.

For Normandy we spent a few days on either side in Paris. We went by train to Caen and rented a car there.

Normandy was not to be missed on so many levels. The cemeteries brought many emotions.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by GerryL »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:39 am Timely thread since wife and I are traveling to France (from Boston) in mid-September. We are taking a Road Scholar "Art Voyage" that starts in Nice and travels up the Rhône to Paris, with lots of art along the way (!). However, we are spending five nights in Paris before the Road Scholar program begins.

We are Paris neophytes - my wife has never been to Paris, and the last time I was there was ... 1972.

We are also AirBNB neophytes.

All that said, we have an AirBNB reservation on Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré. This is just north of the Jardin des Tuileries and just north west of the Louvre. Map here -

https://www.google.com/maps/place/22+Pl ... d2.3320491

However, the AirBnB reservation is not final - we have a few weeks to change it.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this neighborhood from the experts contributing here.

Thank you in advance!

Small Law Survivor

Edit: happy to share the AirBnB listing. via PM. We are unsure how to evaluate these listings, and any assistance would be welcome.
While you are cruising up the Rhone, I will be with a Road Scholar program that starts in Bordeaux. My first RS France trip was the south-to-north Rhone cruise in September 2015, but without the art focus. Enjoy your too brief stop in Lyon. I've been back several times since that quick introduction and will be spending 5 nights there this trip.

I think the Paris Airbnb location is good. (My own Airbnb in October is less than 2k to the east near Les Halles.) Very central. Touristy, but with plenty of real Paris neighborhoods. I've actually taken a couple of guided walking tours in that general area. Be sure to explore the covered passages, which are clustered nearby. Each has a different personality. My favorite is Jouffroy. https://worldinparis.com/covered-passages-of-paris
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by mecht3ach »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:39 am All that said, we have an AirBNB reservation on Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré. This is just north of the Jardin des Tuileries and just north west of the Louvre. Map here -
Very nice choice of area to stay, especially for art, as others have said. Also, while it may be a more touristy area, there are lots and lots of small cafes and bistros around there frequented by the locals, too. Of course, there are many amazing Michelin-star options in Paris if you want to splash out, but if you want something more moderate, Le Grand Véfour is right up the road a bit, and does a lunch menu that is excellent (and they have covered outdoor seating in the breezeway and on the park, if you are shying away from eating indoors). They were a 3-Michelin-star restaurant, and then a 2-star one, but after Covid, they changed their focus to brasserie food. The cooking is still amazing, though! Moreover, if you do eat indoors, the decor is everything you might stereotypically picture for a classical French restaurant.

As to your comment about being an AirBnB neophyte....does the flat have at least 10 reviews (and preferably many, many more) from users that have reviewed multiple listings in multiple locations? It's much riskier otherwise.
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:39 am As to your comment about being an AirBnB neophyte....does the flat have at least 10 reviews (and preferably many, many more) from users that have reviewed multiple listings in multiple locations? It's much riskier otherwise.
Hmmm .... the flat has 10 reviews, exactly. They are all May - July 2022, so it looks like this flat is new to AirBnb. They are all positive.

As far as the reviewers having reviewed multiple locations/listings, I'm not sure how to do this. When I look at a reviewer I'm shown reviews of the person by AirBnB hosts they have stayed with - not that customer's reviews of other AirBnBs. Is there some way I can do this?

thanks!
71 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50-50 s/b, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Small Law Survivor »

GerryL wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 5:14 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:39 am Timely thread since wife and I are traveling to France (from Boston) in mid-September. We are taking a Road Scholar "Art Voyage" that starts in Nice and travels up the Rhône to Paris, with lots of art along the way (!). However, we are spending five nights in Paris before the Road Scholar program begins.

We are Paris neophytes - my wife has never been to Paris, and the last time I was there was ... 1972.

We are also AirBNB neophytes.

All that said, we have an AirBNB reservation on Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré. This is just north of the Jardin des Tuileries and just north west of the Louvre. Map here -

https://www.google.com/maps/place/22+Pl ... d2.3320491

However, the AirBnB reservation is not final - we have a few weeks to change it.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on this neighborhood from the experts contributing here.

Thank you in advance!

Small Law Survivor

Edit: happy to share the AirBnB listing. via PM. We are unsure how to evaluate these listings, and any assistance would be welcome.
While you are cruising up the Rhone, I will be with a Road Scholar program that starts in Bordeaux. My first RS France trip was the south-to-north Rhone cruise in September 2015, but without the art focus. Enjoy your too brief stop in Lyon. I've been back several times since that quick introduction and will be spending 5 nights there this trip.

I think the Paris Airbnb location is good. (My own Airbnb in October is less than 2k to the east near Les Halles.) Very central. Touristy, but with plenty of real Paris neighborhoods. I've actually taken a couple of guided walking tours in that general area. Be sure to explore the covered passages, which are clustered nearby. Each has a different personality. My favorite is Jouffroy. https://worldinparis.com/covered-passages-of-paris
Great tip re covered passageways, thank you!
71 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50-50 s/b, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
mecht3ach
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by mecht3ach »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:01 am
Hmmm .... the flat has 10 reviews, exactly. They are all May - July 2022, so it looks like this flat is new to AirBnb. They are all positive.

As far as the reviewers having reviewed multiple locations/listings, I'm not sure how to do this. When I look at a reviewer I'm shown reviews of the person by AirBnB hosts they have stayed with - not that customer's reviews of other AirBnBs. Is there some way I can do this?

thanks!
10 is just my rough rule of thumb - if it had been 8-9, for a new listing, that might be okay (more are better, of course). It just sort of depends on the vibe of the reviews - how thorough vs. cursory are they, what kind of details do they give, that sort of thing. You're right that you can't see the exact location of the places the guests have stayed, but you can see if they have been reviewed by a number of different hosts, and where those hosts are from. It's not perfect, but it helps!

(Looking back at my own history, I've stayed at 48 AirBnBs (and more VRBOs, HomeAways, etc.) on 6 continents since 2014, and received 32 reviews from hosts. We've only had one stay that was sub-par!)
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by GerryL »

mecht3ach wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:58 am
Small Law Survivor wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:01 am
Hmmm .... the flat has 10 reviews, exactly. They are all May - July 2022, so it looks like this flat is new to AirBnb. They are all positive.

As far as the reviewers having reviewed multiple locations/listings, I'm not sure how to do this. When I look at a reviewer I'm shown reviews of the person by AirBnB hosts they have stayed with - not that customer's reviews of other AirBnBs. Is there some way I can do this?

thanks!
10 is just my rough rule of thumb - if it had been 8-9, for a new listing, that might be okay (more are better, of course). It just sort of depends on the vibe of the reviews - how thorough vs. cursory are they, what kind of details do they give, that sort of thing. You're right that you can't see the exact location of the places the guests have stayed, but you can see if they have been reviewed by a number of different hosts, and where those hosts are from. It's not perfect, but it helps!

(Looking back at my own history, I've stayed at 48 AirBnBs (and more VRBOs, HomeAways, etc.) on 6 continents since 2014, and received 32 reviews from hosts. We've only had one stay that was sub-par!)
When looking at offerings on Airbnb, I usually stick with listings flagged as "Super Hosts."
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Small Law Survivor »

GerryL wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 1:04 pm
mecht3ach wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:58 am
Small Law Survivor wrote: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:01 am
Hmmm .... the flat has 10 reviews, exactly. They are all May - July 2022, so it looks like this flat is new to AirBnb. They are all positive.

As far as the reviewers having reviewed multiple locations/listings, I'm not sure how to do this. When I look at a reviewer I'm shown reviews of the person by AirBnB hosts they have stayed with - not that customer's reviews of other AirBnBs. Is there some way I can do this?

thanks!
10 is just my rough rule of thumb - if it had been 8-9, for a new listing, that might be okay (more are better, of course). It just sort of depends on the vibe of the reviews - how thorough vs. cursory are they, what kind of details do they give, that sort of thing. You're right that you can't see the exact location of the places the guests have stayed, but you can see if they have been reviewed by a number of different hosts, and where those hosts are from. It's not perfect, but it helps!

(Looking back at my own history, I've stayed at 48 AirBnBs (and more VRBOs, HomeAways, etc.) on 6 continents since 2014, and received 32 reviews from hosts. We've only had one stay that was sub-par!)
When looking at offerings on Airbnb, I usually stick with listings flagged as "Super Hosts."
This AirBnB is not a super host. Happy to send you (or anyone else) a link to it for comments
71 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50-50 s/b, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
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Re: France trip in June 2023 advice needed - Paris and Normandy

Post by Small Law Survivor »

bhough wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:37 am (Chef and the Vache was quite good)
Could you help me identify these two restaurants, please? Want to follow your recommendation.

Thanks in advance!
71 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50-50 s/b, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard long before that) under various names
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