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Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

Fairfax, Virginia
1 post
2 reviews
Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

Hi Everyone,

My parents, brother and I are planning a trip to France. We'll be in Paris first and I used to live there so we're all set with what to do. I haven't spent much time in the countryside though and here's the tentative agenda. Any advice on if this is the best route, etc. would be very welcome!

I'm struggling on what to do after Mont St Michel - what's the best way to see the caves at Sarlat and some Chateaux before we head back to Paris? Should we drive straight from Mont St Michel to Sarlat and then hit the chateaux on the way back to Paris? Or do the chateaux first? We'll have a rental car the entire time.

Tuesday May 8, 2012

By 11am - Check out of hotel and take metro to the airport to pick up the rental car at 12pm. Drive to Bayeux; check out city of Bayeaux; Cathedral – open until 6pm; Go to Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, Normandy, to view the Tapestry. Museum is open until 6:15pm

Spend night in Bayeux (hotel is booked)

Wed. May 9, 2012

Tour guide pick up and we do Normandy Beaches: D-Day Battle All day; Spend night in Bayeaux again (hotel is booked)

Thursday May 10, 2012

Drive to Mont St Michel (leave by 8am to arrive by 9am)

Mont St Michel open 9am- 7pm (crowds are very bad from 11am-4pm) then drive to St. Malo (?) and then onto Amboise

Check into Amboise or Tours….which is better base for chateaux? Any recommendations on hotel?

Friday May 11, 2012

Chenonceau early by 9am; then Chambord (30 min from Chenonceau) and then back to Chaumont as we head back to hotel

Stay in Amboise for evening or Tours

Saturday May 12, 2012

Amboise – explore city or do a wine tasting in nearby Vouvray

Spend night in Amboise or drive to Sarlat?

Sunday May 13, 2012

Caves at Montignac, Lascaux, Aquitaine

Drive back to Paris??

Spend night in somewhere between Sarlat and Paris??

Monday May 14, 2012

Drive from Sarlat to Paris – 6 to 7 hour drive

Return rental car to CDG by 4pm and metro to hotel in Paris

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
38,175 posts
11 reviews
1. Re: Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

When you lived here, did you ever look at driving distances? You have a superhuman amount of driving packed into a pretty tight schedule....so here's the details:

1) why would you go to CDG to pick up the car? You're adding well over an hour to your driving time to Bayeux, as well as a lot of very heavy traffic and stress.

Pick up your car at Gare du Nord, from where it's a fairly short, straight shot to the peripherique and points north -- or one of the major portes into the city -- any of them would make more sense than trucking all the way out to CDG, including taking the train right to Bayeux, which would eliminate three days of rental, plus parking charges.

2) It's a little over an hour from MSM to St Malo, then 4-5 hours after that to get to Amboise (which is the better "end" of the Loire for visiting chateaux.) You really, really don't have time to see MSM AND St-Malo AND make that long drive to the Loire.

3) amboise to Sarlat is still going to be the better part 6 hours at best.

4) Lascaux is just outside Montignac (the ticket office is actually IN Montignac) -- these are not two separate caves.

Aquitaine is the old name for the region -- it's not a specific place. (remember Eleanor of Aquitaine? Yep, she's the hometown girl here.)

But the bottom line is that you're driving 6 hours each way for ONE cave. Why?

5) And again -- I have no idea why you would drive the extra hour and a half to get from the Porte d'Orleans (where you enter Paris when you return from the Dordogne OR the Loire) all the way around the city and up to CDG. If you just feel the need to turn the car in at an airport, at least pick Orly -- it's at least on the right side of the city.

Return the car in the city...or drop the car in Tours and take the train back into Paris.

You've got a lot of traveling to do in a frightfully short amount of time -- quite frankly, if you are only going to give one zoom-by day to the Dordogne, then don't bother -- it's worth much more of your time --time you simply don't have in this trip. So stay north, with Normandy and the Loire, or go south to the Loire and the Dordogne, but trim one of the three off your list.

Edited: 14 April 2012, 01:11
Val-de-Marne, France
Level Contributor
9,720 posts
2. Re: Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

It makes no difference whether you tour the Loire on the way to Sarlat or back so it's up to you.

1. Mont St Michel is not an hour from Bayeux but a good 90 minutes so if you leave at 8, with the new parking scheme starting April 28 you won't be at the entrance of the village before 10. Mont St Michel itself is open day and night so I guess you meant the abbey open from 9 to 7. In any case, it is never that crowded at the top and in the abbey, the crowds are at the bottom of the village and the further up you walk the fewer people.

2. Near Amboise I have stayed at Château de Pintray B&B and Prieuré de la Chaise B&B. A lot of people blast Amboise as being tourist hell but I have never observed that myself as I never experienced crowds there (and yet I travel during school vacation since I'm a teacher). It is a sleepy lil provincial town with not much in terms of restaurants but I like it and find it the most convenient location for touring the eastern Loire Valley (Chambord, Chenonceau, etc...). It is also very rich in history pertaining to wars of religions and Leonardo da Vinci.

Tours is a big city. Fine when you arrive by train and find yourself immediately in the old town center, hell if you are travelling by car. The outskirts are typically ugly as in many cities. Since I live in a city for me cities are not my idea of a vacation but it's different for everyone. If you want rural and provincial, go for a smaller place. I love Loches and Chinon but they are less centrally located for the sites you plan on visiting.

3. It is almost 5 hours of non stop driving between Amboise and Sarlat so it's a 5hr30 to 6-hour trip total. Did you really take this into account on Saturday? It seems a long way to go for an overnight to 2-night trip.

Val-de-Marne, France
Level Contributor
9,720 posts
3. Re: Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

Oh I didn't even see you were leaving so late on day 1 and were picking up a car at CDG. If you do that there is no way you will be able to enjoy Bayeux much that evening as it will be close to 4 pm by the time you park your car in Bayeux. Why not just take the train there?

I agree with Sunshine it is too much territory to cover in so short a time. You can do two of these three regions but not all three.

Check viamichelin for driving times and add time for stops (supposed to take a 20-minute break at least every 2 hours and if you travel in the middle of the day won't you stop for lunch at some point?). Take into account the time needed to park and walk from the parking lot to the sites you want to visit which can add another 20-30 minutes.

Edited: 14 April 2012, 01:38
4. Re: Trip from Paris - Bayeux - Mont St Michel - Amboise - Sarlat

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