N766UA
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Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:53 am

Hey everyone. A friend and I are planning to travel to France at the end of March to visit Normandie and the D-Day Beaches. I've got the plan to fly into CDG and take a train to Carentan or Caen, but after that I could use some advice. Is it relatively easy to travel around between places like Cherbourg and Caen? Has anyone been there and perhaps has recommendations on lodging, restaurants, etc?

Thanks, guys!
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zbrox
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:02 am

Aromanche is amazing (where they built the mulberry harbour). Great Museum. I suggest renting a car at CDG. Just by the highway and then its just a 1-2 hour drive I think. All highway. French highways are the best in Europe (sorry Germany, love the AB - but we all know what it's like driving there now). Rest places spotless clean, not too much traffic e t c.
The have tolls, but credit cards (Visa/MC) are accepted EVERYWHERE in france.
I never bring more than 100 Euro cash for emergencies.

Places to stay are everywhere and there are tiny restaurants in every village.
Just drive and enjoy.
Leave the Paris visit to the end of the trip. Drop your car of at CDG and take a bus or train in to town. Follow signs. Cost about 16 Euro/pax.

http://www.viamichelin.com

is a great routplanner with lots of useful ads links e tc.

Good Luck. Love that part of France. Love driving there just finding places.
 
Door5Right
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:11 am

My soul is in the sky...
 
cptkrell
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:32 am

You might want to walk the beach, pause to arrange some small stones in the shape of a cross in the sand, but be sure to have an aircraft carrier just offshore in the background and a press photographer to record your pain, as Clinton did. Sorry, that was immature and disrespectful.

Although I stayed not long enough to lodge, there are some very nice little eateries in Caen with good, inexpensive food and drink. The proprieters and guests were quite cordial during our visit and, although I don't know what the current atmosphere is like, I'd like to arrange a return someday in the future.

The above-noted websites will surely provide you with the info you seek, but remember that you'll probably have a better time getting off "the beaten path" and avoiding tourist-areas to meet local people and see things that you wouldn't ordinarily see. Hope you have a nice visit. Regards...jack
all best; jack
 
agill
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:52 am

Make a stop at the german cemetary there. It's an interesting contrast to the american (which you should visit too). Lots of other things to do but I guess thats a but out of the ordinary route there.
 
slider
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:53 am

I haven't been yet, but it's near the top of my list.

I'm planning on seeing Pointe du Hoc as well...don't miss that part.
 
N766UA
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:02 am

I hate to be another ignorant american tourist, but can I get away with going off the beaten path (which is the plan) and speaking very little french? I wish I could speak it but I only know english and german!
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11Bravo
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:13 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 6):
I hate to be another ignorant american tourist, but can I get away with going off the beaten path (which is the plan) and speaking very little french? I wish I could speak it but I only know english and german!

I've been there a couple of times and never had any problems with my ten word French vocabulary. Consider renting a car if you can. It'll make getting around much easier.

Check out the Internet travel sites for B+Bs in les Moulins, Colleville, Port en Bessin, and Vierville sur Mer (all on Omaha Beach). French B+Bs are usually very nice and surprisingly affordable. Also try Bayeux maybe. You're going at a good time to get discount rates. Two years ago we paid 60 Euros a night for two rooms and a killer French breakfast.

The tapestry of the Norman Conquest in Bayeux is a must see.

The Airborne museum near Ste mere Eglise is cool as well.
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bhmbaglock
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:03 pm

Lots of good suggestions above - here's a few more:

1. Mont Saint Michel - incredible place, one cool thing is that you can actually get in some quick sand on the flats outside the island. I'd love to see the tide come in there some day - supposed to be an incredible sight.

2. Ch�teau-Gaillard - the ruins of this ancient castle are magical. I kept thinking of this place when I was reading Timeline a year or two ago - brought it to life nicely.

3. Rouen - Beautiful cathedral complete with a few gouges in the outside wall courtesy of various wars. This building is also the subject of Monet's first "series" of paintings investigating the effects of differing light on the same subject(s). Also a very interesting church with Chagall stained glass at the site where Joan of Arc was burned.

4. Etretat - awesome cliff, arch, and spire in the water. Also some German fortifications on top of the cliff.

The sheer scale of the WWII cemetaries will shock you. It's something you will never forget. It's also pretty interesting to see German fortifications in random places - some very intact.

Don't forget to try the local cider, Calvados, & mussels!
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zbrox
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:09 pm

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 7):
I've been there a couple of times and never had any problems with my ten word French vocabulary. Consider renting a car if you can. It'll make getting around much easier.

As i said before. Car is a must.
re language: The french are much less reluctant to speaking english now than a few years back. But be polite. Always great people when you go inte a shop or similar (like in the south in the US)
Bonjour monsieur!
Bonjour Madame!

And say

"Au revoir" when you leave, and "merci" all the time.

Should keep you going.
 
tbar220
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:13 pm

What about going to Ste Mere Eglise and seeing the infamous church? Don't they also have a paratrooper museum there?
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B707321C
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:26 pm

My favourist in Normadie is Honfleur, Old habour with a lot of nice restaurants and galleries, then drive along the coast (only 20min) to Dauville, where you will find alot of nice (expensive type) stores and the Casino. Have also a very nice boardwalk along the beach. In my mind this the best beach in France.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:12 pm

Quoting Zbrox (Reply 9):
Always great people when you go inte a shop or similar (like in the south in the US)

Good analogy! My mother used to teach French and would take a group of students to France every other summer for 4-5 weeks. They would always go directly from Paris to Normandy for the first 4-5 days to give the kids a chance to adjust to the country in what is undoubtedly the friendliest part of the country. btw, I don't believe France is unfriendly - I've never even had trouble with attitude in Paris. Of course for some reason the French always think I'm German - never figured that one out; certainly not my hair and I don't speak German.
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flyingbabydoc
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Fri Feb 24, 2006 11:49 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 6):
hate to be another ignorant american tourist, but can I get away with going off the beaten path (which is the plan) and speaking very little french? I wish I could speak it but I only know english and german!

I think someone mentioned before, but a car is your best bet for touring the region. I would suggest you base yourself in St. Malo, which is a quaint town (the old part) and has an easy enough access for several day trips in the area (Mt. St. Michel, the beaches). It allows you to explore further south on the coast, which is beautiful. On your way from Paris, you can make a lunch stop in Chartres and visit the cathedral. It is well worth it.

I think you would be better off with english than with german there... Or just use mimic. Works many times  Smile

Alex
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N766UA
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RE: Visiting Normandie, Any Tips?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 11:20 am

What is the age requirment to rent a car in France? I know here in the US it's usually 23 and that age I am not. If I can get a car and int'l driver license I'd love to do it.
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