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Brittany and Normandy

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1. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

alright, im off to Northern France soon and need to know what the best places are for history, culture, small towns and cities. Im there for about 2 weeks and already plan to see Bayeux, D-Day Beaches, and St. Michael's Mount. Any other Ideas?

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

I went to Caen for a week this past November, so maybe I can give you a few tips! Caen itself is a beautiful little city - you can visit the Abbeye des Hommes and the Abbeye des Femmes, the castle (which is just walls now), the Caen Memorial, and all the quaint little streets. If you need a cheapish place to stay, I stayed at the St. Etienne for about 23 Euro a night (you get your own shower, but it's 2 floors below...).

I also took the bus up to Juno Beach, which is where the Canadian troops disembarked on D-Day. I highly suggest you rent a car, if you can, to tour the beaches. Organized tours are very expensive, and busses are very infrequent. I saw lots of little B&Bs all along the coastline. The towns all end in "-sur-Mer", if you'd like to look them up.

Enjoy! I loved the little of Normandy I saw. Do tell us all about it when you get back - I'd love to hear how everything went.

3. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

Hey Thanks Tina!
Im gna use Bayeux as the starting point for the D-Day landings - is that a good option? i wont be renting a car tho - ill prob hav to fork out the bucks for the guided tour. I will check out Caen tho too, thanks!

4. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Hi Jeff,

I stayed in Caen itself and ventured out only to Courseilles-sur-Mer and St.-Aubin-sur-Mer - so I'm not sure about Bayeux. The bus routes cover everything, but try catching 2 different busses that each run every 2 hours. It was a bit mad. However, there are plenty of D-Day tours to choose from - but be prepared to fork out $$$!

Here are a few sites I dug up for my trip:

MAPS - Normandie-Calvados

Bus Verts de Calvados

INFO - Normandy

JUNO BEACH

You can take a look at my blog (I'm not self-advertising! Honest!) about Normandy, too!

5. Posted by Cbppc25 (Full Member 75 posts) 10y

Hey Jeff,
I currently live in Brest on the western tip of Brittany. I have seen most of western and southern Brittany and there is a good bit too do here! Here are my suggestions. You can google image search any of these to find some good photos.

For great towns I recommend
St. Malo
Rennes - biggest of Brittany
Quimper
Morlaix, St. Brieuc
Vannes
Brest (maybe)
Nantes

For some nice natural sites try
Any of the breton islands (I really liked l'ile de brehat)
Heulgoat -good for an sunny afternoon, big boulders everywhere in enigmatic patterns.
Most of the coastlines - esp. the west and north coasts.
Pointe du raz - south western tip

And history,
You can always visit the bombed cities, like Brest and Lorient, but they're not as pretty as others as everything is newer. The south coast has a huge amount of megalithic sites that date as far back as 4000B.C.
Carnac - probably the most popular one.
Cairn-de-Barnenez - northern coast. a 2 euro, 30 min bus ride from Morlaix.

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/mapserv/ has a good list of just about all of them everywhere, except I dont think Barnenez is on there. Its surely worth a visit though.

Not sure about elsewhere, but when/if you're in finistere (the western region of brittany) there is a 2 euro bus route. the website with schedules and maps is
http://infotransports.cg29.fr

Happy to help if you need anything further.

Chad

6. Posted by Cbppc25 (Full Member 75 posts) 10y

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I have some pics online from some of these places if you wanna see em.
www.flickr.com/photos/chadbender

7. Posted by le_ffrench (Budding Member 39 posts) 10y

I am a bit late on this thread but wish to reply too.

The first important thing is: where do you plan to stay?
If you want to explore Normandy as well as Northern Brittany, I would advise staying at two different places in order to enable you to reach interesting areas quickly. Having a car is compulsory to move around easily.

Here are some locations you might find interesting. They would be reachable easily if you stay near the D. Day beaches. Links are towards photo galleries on my website.

Cliffs of Etretat
Marais Vernier (if you like birdwatching and traditional Normand rural habitat)
Honfleur and surrounding area
Of course, Mount Saint Michel is a must, but once you're there, you drive go up the western coast of Cotentin, to explore the areas known as the "havres".

8. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

hey thanks all for this help! and especially for the links u all sent!

9. Posted by yolandac8 (Respected Member 159 posts) 10y

I went to visit my friend in Brest, and got the chance to travel around that area. I went for a day to Quimper and just loved it! I thought it was very laid-back + a very beautiful city.

Brest is far away from everywhere really, and doesn't have that much to offer, although the area sorrounding it is just beautiful. Try "Le Conquet", "Point St Mathieu", Camaret et "Point Penhir".

Here you have a link to a great map where you can look for all these places not far from Brest.
http://www.espace-sciences.org/science/images/images-maj/perso/fute/finistere.jpg

10. Posted by blackAlice (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

I was in Normandy this August. Principally I was visiting the landing beaches. I found a very good company in Sainte Mere Eglise called ddaybattletours. They operate a nice cafe next to the business and the owner, Ellwood, gave me a very good tour to Omaha Beach, Colleville cemetary and Pointe du hoc.

They have a web site at:-

http://www.ddaybattletours.com

I would definitely say that they are worth a visit and were stunningly easy to find.