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Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 13
reviews: 1
Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

we would like to see Honfleur and are travelling from London. Is it a good idea to take the chunnel to lille and then rent a car and drive along the coast to honfleur? we are also hoping to see Giverny, Versaiiles and Provence. we have been to paris previously so we were planning only a few days there. we have 15 days of travel time. thanks so very much for any insights as to what might be best for travel.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 62,550
reviews: 12
1. Re: Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

It's the Channel Tunnel. "Chunnel" was a dreadful invention of tabloid newspapers.

You could certainly take the Eurostar from London to Lille and rent a car there.

Provence is a long way from Normandy: it would take about 9 hours of driving (plus stops) to get from Honfleur to Avignon, using the autoroutes, which are fast but are also very boring and have quite high tolls.

You can get driving directions, rather optimistic times, and estimated costs (fuel and tolls) from www.viamichelin.com

posts: 25
2. Re: Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

I suggest :

Day 1 = London to Paris by Eurostar, hire a car from gare du Nord, visit Versailles and spend the night near Giverny.

Day 2 = Visit Giverny, and Rouen on the way to Honfleur, spend the night in Honfleur.

Day 3 = Visit Honfleur and drive back to Paris, return car and then travel by train to the South of France.

OR Leave hire car in Caen and return to Paris by train and then on to the South of France.


Hope this helps,

Lucinda, Normandy Tourist Board

Louisville, Kentucky
Destination Expert
for French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
posts: 5,009
reviews: 26
3. Re: Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

We take trains for our long hauls and rent cars for our shorter jaunts. Driving for the extent of your trip would make us weary. We find that working in train travel as often as we can makes, for us, a more relaxing trip. That's us, and you will know what works for you.

To hit all of these areas without being on autoroute overload they aren't that interesting!), this is what we would be tempted to do: Arrive in Paris via the Channel Tunnel (how's that sydneynick?) and take a train to Deauville/Trouville. These are two sister sea resorts that face each other across a harbor, and Honfleur is about 20 minutes from D/T. You could rent a car in D/T, drive to Honfleur, work your way back to Paris. You could hit Giverny on your way, drop your car in Paris, train it to and from Versailles, or drive directly to Versailles and on to Provence. I haven't looked at all the car rental options on this route, but this is the site we use when we've book cars in France:


It should be doable, and we have rented a car in D/T without any trouble. I feel pretty good that the train options will work for you, and you have sydneynick, TA's train travel expert, on this thread to correct me if I'm wrong.

From there, what part of Provence do you want to visit? Depending upon where you want to go, we would be tempted to take a train from Paris to Avignon, Aix en Provence or Nice and renting a car from there. From Nice, public transportation is excellent in the Cote d'Azur, but not so much in rural Provence and Normandy. A car is necessary in these more lattter regions where public transportation is often about getting people to work and school. In the Cote d'Azur you can easily "resort hop" without a car. You can also fly to Nice from Paris, and as Nice is an international airport, you might want to look into flying home from there. If western Provence is where you want to travel, consider both Nice and Marseilles as your departure cities.

Besides Michelin, maybe these books will help you with your plan:

Frommer's 25 Great Drives in France (Best Loved Driving Tours)

Back Roads France (Eyewitness Travel Back Roads)

If you can't find these in a local book store, they are available on Amazon.

Edited: 12:09 am, November 24, 2012
4. Re: Normandy Coast. How to get there and do Provence!

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