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Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

New York
posts: 380
reviews: 9
Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

I am considering flying to CDG on July 1 and renting a car to drive up north, make some scenic stops along the way and spend a couple of days in Normandy and then back to CDG to fly home on the 4th. Is this a heavy traffic time? Is renting a car a good idea? What are the best stops along the way - both up and back down to Paris? Is there another city that's better to fly into that has direct flights from New York? Any other suggestions for us?

Thanks,

Carey

Paris, France
posts: 161
reviews: 16
1. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

Well , the dates you mention are a bit 'delicate' .. because the school summer holidays are just starting on the 30th of june , so the week end will be busy on the roads with probable traffic jams ..

If you only have 4 days , the best is to use the highway , join the seaside quickly and spend your time there ; you can visit Deauville , Le Mont Saint Michel , Honfleur a lovely little harbour with painters galleries where i would be surprised if you don't fall in love with a painting ! i am sure you won't regret your visit .

But at that time of the year , be ready not to be alone , and absolutly , i say : absolutly , make reservations for the hotels .

If you have any questions , just ask :)

New York
posts: 380
reviews: 9
2. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

Merci!

Ohio, USA
posts: 19,030
reviews: 4
3. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

It is *never* a good idea to get into a strange car and drive on unfamiliar roads with signage and driving conventions that you are not accustomed to immediately after an overnight flight crossing six time zones. The combination of jet-lag, sleep deprivation, fatigue and disorientation are a potentially highly dangerous cocktail. Judgement, reaction time and perception are all negatively affected.

Picking a very busy period to choose to do it only makes it more questionable IMO.

rochester, new york
posts: 2
reviews: 1
4. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

I did precisely that last June. Spent D-day in Normandy touring all five of the invasion beaches. It's an easy and well marked highway drive from CDG to Normandy. Giverny is a nice stop on the way but it's not so far a trip that you need to break it up. Renting a car is the easiest way to go. I stayed in Caen and did look into trains (which can get you there and back easily) but felt that a rental was the best for me.

I'm not a veteran and abhor war, but was absolutely stunned and moved by my trip to Normandy. The American cemetary at Coleville Sur Mer is truly a sacred place. I also visited a hard to find German cemetary with over 20,000 German casualties of WW2. If your trip is to look into some of the D-day history these places are worthwhile. If you are going to take in other sights you'll find this to be beautiful country and will be warmly received. Hope you have a nice trip.

ehourihan@harrisbeach.com

Rochester, New York

Rochester Hills...
posts: 1,846
reviews: 63
5. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

We JUST got back from a trip to Normandy (arrived home last night). We did the same thing......picked up a car at CDG (Hertz). Yes, we arrived in CDG at about noon after an overnight flight and drove to Normandy. We made sure we slept on the plane and I navigated while my husband drove. It was easy navigating ONCE WE GOT OUT OF THE PARIS AREA. I had turn by turn instructions from www.viamichelin.com and they were absolutely spot-on and made the trip very, very easy. Roads are excellent in France.

The main road (I want to say the A13? Can't remember the number now) between Paris and Caen (Normandy) is a toll road, but well worth the toll with the speed that you get. Do realize that the beaches of Normandy are VERY popular with Parisians, so I would absolutely make sure they you are not arriving on a Friday and leaving on a Sunday and thus avoiding travelling the same route as all the Parisians going to and from the coast for the weekend or a holiday. We saw the toll road heading back to Normandy on Easter Sunday as everyone was heading back to Paris and they were at a dead stop standstill in a traffic jam starting at around Deaville/Trouville area. While it took us about 2 1/2 hours to drive from Bayeux (west of Caen) into Paris, it must have taken those poor folks 9+ hours! Ooo la la. That is something to be avoided. Imagine New Yorkers heading to the Jersey Shore, or all of Boston heading up to Maine. That's the kind of traffic to expect, but worse. But if you leave on a day that is NOT a big travel day, then you have smooth sailing.

If you look like you might be hitting heavy travel days, you might want to consider flying into CDG, then catching a connecting flight in Caen, or even taking the train from Paris to Caen. Either way, you can pick up a rental car in Caen. You could also connect into Rouen, but that is a good bit further east than Caen and would involve more driving to get into the heart of Normandy.

6. Re: Driving to Normandy from Paris in early July

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