If you plan to spend some time in Paris, I would encourage you to rent a car and spend some time in the countryside. There are so many beautiful cities you can visit, we stayed near Mont St. Michel and Bayeux which were two great choices. Mont St. Michel is located near several really interesting castles and towns worth visiting. When we took this trip we spent the first night in Paris, then woke up early to spend the next two nights in Mont St. Michel, and two nights near Bayeux. We ended this trip with five nights in Paris.
This post is a simplified version of the more detailed, Road trip through Northern France. Check out this post for stories, tips, and additional helpful information.
- Start your morning in Paris with a delicious croissant and hit the road.
- You could stop in the Palace of Versailles (I suggest close to a full day for your visit, this could also be a day trip with public transportation from Paris if you are returning, depending on your schedule).
- Château de Fougères (3 hours and 37 minutes from Paris; 40 minutes southeast of Mont St. Michel)
- €8,50; open 10:00am-12.30pm and 2:00-5.30pm.
- The audio tour is very interesting, is offered in several languages, and informative- this castle is definitely worth a visit. If you are crunched for time you can park and wander around the castle and check out the exterior.
- Combourg Castle (43 minutes southwest of Mont St. Michel)
- You cannot see the castle from the road (it is surrounded by high walls), you will need to pay admission fee in order to see/tour the castle (tours are only offered in French). We asked if we could just peak in to see it, and it was not allowed, so we paid for the tour.
- Old Dinan is a little town in the Bretagne Region that survived the bombings of WWII, about 46 minutes southwest of Mont St. Michel.
- Le Moulin de Moidrey is an adorable windmill perched on a small hill a few miles from Mont St. Michel.
- Stay the night near Mont St. Michel.
- Spend several hours exploring the awe-inspiring Mont St. Michel which is open 9:00-7:00pm.
- If time permits take a drive to see these neat places nearby:
- Pointe du Grouin: a beautiful lookout point over the water about 49 minutes northwest of Mont St. Michel. You can even see the abbey across the bay!
- St. Malo: a seaside town where you can visit Fort National, Grand and Petit Bé (both forts), a Cathedral, shops and restaurants. Beware of aggressive seagulls! See story in the full post.
- Stay the night near Mont St. Michel.
- Leave the Mont St. Michel area.
- If you didn’t get a chance to visit Pointe du Grouin or St. Malo you can check these out in the morning, it would be the opposite direction if you are heading to Bayeux, so you will have to decide where you want to spend your time.
- Drive toward Bayeux and make a stop at some beaches and port cities.
- Explore Bayeux, a quaint town an hour and 20 minute drive northeast of Mont St. Michel, and two and a half hours from the Palace of Versailles.
- Stay the night in Bayeux (1 hour and 20 minute drive northeast of Mont St. Michel).
- Explore the D-Day Beaches and museums of your choice (see the full Northern France Road Trip post for details). It is possible to see a large amount of history in one day, however if this is of particular interest you may want to consider at least two days to visit.
- Stay the night in Bayeux and leave for Paris the next morning.
Day 5: Back to Paris
- Leave Bayeux and head to Paris. On the way you can make a couple stops:
- Arrive and decide to live in Paris for the rest of your life.
Tips for your Road Trip:
- Don’t be afraid to make pit stops along the way if you see something exciting!
- Stop even if it is to pet a cow or smell some flowers.
- Always buy water at the gas station.
- Always use a bathroom anytime you see one…you never know when you’ll find yourself in potty emergency.
- Have snacks available!! Many restaurants close in between lunch and dinner which could leave you hangry.
What tips are on your Road Trip list?