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  #1  
Old 12-30-2016, 04:53 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Suggestions?

I am planning my first ever ED trip for late April. My son is studying in the UK this spring, and I am flying over in late April to spend 10 days visiting him. The primary goals of the trip are:
  1. Take ED, tour the Welt, and maybe the factory;
  2. Visit Normandy and the D-Day beaches;
  3. Spend lots of quality father-son time building memories.

My initial thought was to head from Munich to Neuschwanstein to Geneva over the course of 3 days ... spend 2 days driving from Geneva to Caen via the Loire Valley, Orleans and LeMans ... 2 days exploring Normandy ... return the car in Paris and fly home from CDG. My questions:
  • Is that a great plan, a terrible plan, or a meh plan?
  • Is the French countryside from Geneva to Caen spectacular and worth the drive? Or would we wish we had dropped the car in Geneva, and gotten to Caen by train or plain?
  • Is the driving in France going to be lovely? Or characterized by rude drivers, bad roads, clogged traffic and malicious gendarmes?
  • Would we come home to have more experienced travelers tell us "Gee, it's too bad you didn't take the ________ route that's 10 miles north or 10 miles south, as the scenery and roads are infinitely better"?

Here's an idea of my "first cut" at the itinerary (though I would stay off the Autoroutes wherever feasible): https://*******/maps/q2RYQVymZsv (Replace the ******* with GOO dot GL).

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Last edited by quackbury; 12-30-2016 at 05:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2016, 01:42 AM
pawarrant pawarrant is offline
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I would suggest you pick the car up in Munich and spend a several days exploring the area around there. I would skip Geneva as it is expensive and not much to see. Instead, I would drop the car back off in Munich, fly to Paris and spend some time there without the car as having it in a city is more of an inconvenience. I would take a train to the Normandy countryside from Paris as a day or two trip, then return to Paris and fly out of there. I can not answer your questions about driving in the French countryside, as I did not have the car anytime I was in France.
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2016, 07:59 AM
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You have selected a very "doable" route for your first ED. I like pawarrant's suggestion about skipping Geneva and not using your car to tour the sights of Paris. Geneva is right on the lake and has the United Nations Building (which is an interesting tour) and a fountain (Jet'd eau) which is 450' +/- high. But other than that I don't remember anything else that would make me go back.

I would substitute Alsace for Geneva. I liked Riquewihr, Colmar and Mulhouse. They are pretty little cities and Mulhouse has an excellent car museum with some impressive Bugattis.

I would keep your car at least until you have toured Normandy and drop your car in Paris. The beaches and sights are best visited by car. If you are interested in touring minor palaces (chateaux) in a beautiful setting I would spend a couple of days in the Loire Valley just south of Paris - not far off your planned route. Chenonceaux, Chambord and Villandry would be at the top of my list for a visit.

Keep us posted on any mods to your trip plan.
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2016, 08:46 AM
alex777 alex777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
I am planning my first ever ED trip for late April.
What car are you going to buy? You will be fine with new 5, however many other cars might not be available for ED in April-July 2017.
I was planning M4 ED in May. My order was placed in November; I planned my trip and bought air tickets. Unfortunately, I was informed that BMW ends 2017 M4/M3 production in February, and car will not be available for ED in May. I do not want to describe my feelings.
As a result I went to local MB, drove AMG c63S. We negotiated a deal in 2 min. Local MB dealer gave me 12% off from current MSRP. But, much more important my plans were not ruined.
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2016, 09:18 AM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions! I will look at Alsace instead of Geneva.

We really have no interest in seeing Paris this trip. Maybe next year, if ISIS is less of an issue. We would drop off at CDG, but not go into Paris proper. We'd rather check out more WWII sites. Maybe Bastogne?

As for vehicle: It's time to replace my wife's car ( she'll be driving my son's X1 while he's abroad), and she's leaning toward another F31 wagon, this time a 330i. My dealer says we have till late January to finalize our order, but I will reconfirm.
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Prior BMW's
2014 328i SportWagon
2011 535ix MSport
2011 X5 35D
2008 ///M3 Vert
2008 X5 3.0
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2006 X5 3.0
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2016, 09:45 AM
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dkreidel dkreidel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitony View Post
You have selected a very "doable" route for your first ED. I like pawarrant's suggestion about skipping Geneva and not using your car to tour the sights of Paris. Geneva is right on the lake and has the United Nations Building (which is an interesting tour) and a fountain (Jet'd eau) which is 450' +/- high. But other than that I don't remember anything else that would make me go back.

I would substitute Alsace for Geneva. I liked Riquewihr, Colmar and Mulhouse. They are pretty little cities and Mulhouse has an excellent car museum with some impressive Bugattis.

I would keep your car at least until you have toured Normandy and drop your car in Paris. The beaches and sights are best visited by car. If you are interested in touring minor palaces (chateaux) in a beautiful setting I would spend a couple of days in the Loire Valley just south of Paris - not far off your planned route. Chenonceaux, Chambord and Villandry would be at the top of my list for a visit.

Keep us posted on any mods to your trip plan.
This is a good plan. I've done two ED's where we spent time in the Loire Valley - once from Paris to Nante, down through Biarritz and then through Spain...and once the reverse dropping the car in Paris. The Loire in April will likely be beautiful. If you elect to spend time in the Loire Valley I can provide you the names of some great chateau's that provide overnight accommodations.
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2016, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post

Here's an idea of my "first cut" at the itinerary (though I would stay off the Autoroutes wherever feasible): https://*******/maps/q2RYQVymZsv (Replace the ******* with GOO dot GL).

Thanks in advance for your help!
Regarding the Autoroutes they can be your friend if time is a crunch, I remember reading in this forum someone advice about adding extra travel time that Google Maps says it takes. This is sooo true.
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  #8  
Old 12-31-2016, 11:35 AM
Kanuck Kanuck is offline
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Looks like a great trip. I too would skip Geneva for Black Forest/Alsace. It is definitely better to have a car in Normandy if you want to see everything. We've stayed in Bayeux instead of Caen in Normandy. Nice little town that was largely undamaged on and after D-Day.

It is a lot of driving though and you will likely find you have to get on motorways to make time. Secondary roads are normally more scenic but can take substantially longer. French motorways are well maintained but have tolls. If you get stuck in traffic, it would normally be around large cities. French drivers not as good as German, but it is still better driving there than US/Canada.
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  #9  
Old 12-31-2016, 02:50 PM
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ChicagoBigHouse ChicagoBigHouse is offline
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Driving in France was great, not as good as Germany, but easy.

I got nailed by a speed camera but only a few mph over the limit so it only cost me 65 dollars.

I second the Alsatian region. It was wonderful!




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  #10  
Old 01-01-2017, 09:21 AM
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Trinitony Trinitony is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
We really have no interest in seeing Paris this trip. Maybe next year, if ISIS is less of an issue. We would drop off at CDG, but not go into Paris proper. We'd rather check out more WWII sites. Maybe Bastogne? .
A few thoughts on places to visit in Normandy - in no particular order:

Le Mémorial de Caen: Excellent WWII Museum - with emphasis on D Day. A good place to start your tour of Normandy.
http://normandy.memorial-caen.com/

Pointe du Hoc
: It is hard to believe that any soldier, with all his kit, could scale this cliff. Fortunately for us it could be done.

The American Cemetery in Colleville sur Mer
The cost of war.
http://normandy.memorial-caen.com/or...colleville-mer

The Mulberry Harbors: Arromanches has some of the remains of a Mulberry Harbor - the other MH was destroyed by a storm shortly after D Day. I liked the tiny museum, near the beach in Arromanches, which has a model of the harbor demonstrating how large quantities of supplies could be off loaded in enemy territory when no existing harbors were available.
http://www.musee-arromanches.fr/ports/

Longues sur Mer: This is one of the better preserved German gun batteries that was part of the Atlantic Wall. It includes four guns in individual concrete casemates and the command post.
https://www.european-traveler.com/fr...-mer-normandy/

Bayeux Tapestry: OK, this commemorates another invasion, but if you have any British ancestry it certainly affected those who were alive in 1066. It is 230' long and covers the lead up and the Battle of Hastings.It was created in the 1070s and is, I suppose, the equivalent of today's slide show.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry

Sainte-Mère-Église: The church where John Steele, an American paratrooper, got his parachute caught on the church steeple. A paratrooper still hangs from the steeple. Fortunately John survived the war and is not the paratrooper that still hangs from the steeple.

Honfleur: Not really connected to D Day except for its location. I thought it was/is a very pretty little seaport and a good place to have lunch.

Hotel/B&B: Victoria B&B in Tracy-sur-mer. We stayed in this B&B while visiting the Normandy beaches. It was very convenient for sightseeing although quite spartan.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re..._Normandy.html

Off topic, but if you want a taste of WWI you might tour the fortress (Fort Douaumont) in Verdun. But it's quite far off your planned route.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Douaumont

Last edited by Trinitony; 01-01-2017 at 09:25 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-01-2017, 12:30 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Wow. I expected the board to be helpful, but you are really exceeding my expectations. Thank you all so much.

I might as well ask two more questions.

1. What are the "must see" places in Alsace?

2. If we decide to continue the WW2 theme, any recommendations for Bastogne / Ardennes?
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Prior BMW's
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2011 X5 35D
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  #12  
Old 01-01-2017, 01:42 PM
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Asteroid Asteroid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
1. What are the "must see" places in Alsace?
http://www.alsace-wine-route.com/
We stayed in Strasbourg and went out from there. Try the choucroute when you're in the Alsace.


Also, when you're in Normandy, you'll be close to Mont St Michel, which is one of France's most visited sites.
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2017, 02:15 PM
Porschepusher Porschepusher is offline
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We had our 440 in Alsace in October. One "must see" is the Retable d'Issenheim at Musee D'Unterlinden in Colmar. Cite de l'Automobile is worth a visit if you are interested in pre-WWI French vehicles and lots and lots of Bugattis. Visit at least one winery; Sipp Mack, in Hunawihr, is a good choice. Strasbourg is fantastic; try to stay in the Petite France area. You might enjoy the Maginot Line museum (I forget the location but it is near Ribeauville). Finally, and since you will have your new BMW, a challenging drive along the Route de Cretes is a "must do."
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2017, 02:49 PM
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Trinitony Trinitony is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post

1. What are the "must see" places in Alsace?

2. If we decide to continue the WW2 theme, any recommendations for Bastogne / Ardennes?
The three towns that I visited in Alsace were Riquewihr, Colmar and Mulhouse. R and C appealed to me because they were cute little towns - beautiful old buildings. Mulhouse, I understand, also has beautiful old buildings but I only visited the car museum in Mulhouse (Cité de l'Automobile). I was very impressed by the wide variety of makes and models of European cars. It has a handful of Bugatti Royales. These are large luxury cars built in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The Alsace region is also a wine growing area. So if you are attracted by wine, cute old towns and extensive car collections it is the place for you.

I have not toured Bastogne or the Ardennes though I have driven through the Ardennes. I did tour the Hackenburg fortress (Maginot Line) near Thionville. It was a WWII equivalent of WWI's Verdun. I found both fortresses to be worth a visit.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:57 PM
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Jason66 Jason66 is offline
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OverlordTour

We visited Normandy last June and highly recommend a guided tour by OverlordTour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and obviously quite passionate about history. It makes for a very moving and educational experience.

http://www.overlordtour.com/

If you don't take the tour, I'd recommend stopping by the little church in Angoville-au-Plain that was commandeered by a couple US paratroopers and designated an aid station. Here's a link to the obit of one of the soldiers which explains a little more:

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituar...225-story.html
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:59 AM
calbears96 calbears96 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason66 View Post
We visited Normandy last June and highly recommend a guided tour by OverlordTour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and obviously quite passionate about history. It makes for a very moving and educational experience.

http://www.overlordtour.com/

If you don't take the tour, I'd recommend stopping by the little church in Angoville-au-Plain that was commandeered by a couple US paratroopers and designated an aid station. Here's a link to the obit of one of the soldiers which explains a little more:

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituar...225-story.html
I can second the Overlord Tour (did it in 2013) and did the Band of Brothers Tour. This tour gets you into places that you and other tours can't access (Brecourt Manor where Winters led the attack on the 4 German guns shelling the beach). That tour also takes you to the church mention above.

The tour is really small and the guide is amazing. Think there were 6 people on the tour.

The tour leaves early in the morning, so you'll need to stay overnight and leaves from Bayeux. I stayed at the Hotel Reine Mathilde, but recommend that you go for the more modern addition which has bigger rooms and air conditioning.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
http://www.alsace-wine-route.com/
We stayed in Strasbourg and went out from there. Try the choucroute when you're in the Alsace.


Also, when you're in Normandy, you'll be close to Mont St Michel, which is one of France's most visited sites.
Avoid Mt. St. Michel on the weekends. Very, very crowded.

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  #18  
Old 01-08-2017, 01:12 PM
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Fabulous suggestions! Keep them coming!
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Prior BMW's
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2017, 01:12 PM
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My family and I took the train to Normandy from Paris a couple of years ago and met up with a tour guide who took us to all the D-Day sights. He was extremely knowledgeable and we all agreed that we would not have had such a good experience if we had gone by ourselves. But, we also agreed that we wished we had more time to spend in the region so that we could go back to some of our favorite places. So it might be worth keeping your car in Normandy, but taking one of the recommended guided tours initially and then driving around by yourselves afterwards. Just a thought.
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