30 July 2012

Disney & Normandy - Plan A

I have spent a few hours working on the Normandy trip. At least the part that comes after the trip to Disneyland Paris.

Disney was all done and dusted months ago with the hotel booked nearby for the Sunday night so we can be at the gates bright an early (or as early as we can). The hotel is an ETAP, soon to be rebranded as an Ibis.  It's cheap, has a loo and shower in the room and is less than £30 for the night. Lovely jubbly. Of course you have to sort out a breakfast.

A batch of Tesco vouchers accounted for about 80% of the fare and I had to add some cash to confirm the booking.  As we have all day to get down to the hotel at Chelles, I booked a slightly later crossing to save us getting up too early. I'll start to look for places to stop on the way to make a 200 mile motorway run a little more interesting. Maybe we'll try to avoid the A26/A1 or A16 routes down towards Paris.

Plan A
To make the most of the 5-day crossing I needed to look at alternatives, and although it might have been nice to stay east of Paris and head for Champagne for a few nights, I was very taken by southern Normandy on the trip to the MotoGP in May and so I looked for hotels over that side.

On our off motorway run between Alencon and Le Mans we passed through Beaumont sur Sarthe with its medieval centre to the side of the main road.  So overnight 1 is there.

Claire would like to visit some more of the Plus Beaux Villages de France and there are only a couple in the area. Most appear to have been crammed into the Dordogne! Maybe another time?

So rather than stay in one place I have devised the trip as a tour.  In the morning we check out from Beaumont and then head off to stop 2 calling into one of the Beaux Villages at Sainte-Suzanne. It's slightly south west of the overnight, but only about half an hour driving and the route back east goes to the north of Beaumont to Alencon. Alencon has an old city centre, but we may not have time to call in.

Stop 2 is in Vimoutiers.  It's near to where I want to go. The Memorial and Battlefield at Montormel.  Montormel is on the top to the valley where in August 1944 the retreating German army was encircled and fought their way out suffering enormous casualties. We narrowly missed it in May as the GPS location was wrong on their leaflet. It's right on the website now! I hope.

It is actually on the way to stop 2, but I doubt we will time to call in, so I plan to go back the morning after and then head for stop 3 in Rouen.   Of course this is all open to change depending on weather and traffic.

There is a second Beaux Village at  Le Bec Hellouin between Lisieux and Rouen and so that we can stop in there on the way. 

We should arrive in Rouen in  time for a quick look at the city centre and then have all of Thursday to check it out a bit more before we head back to the tunnel for an early evening Shuttle home.

Now that all that has been done I have to print the paperwork for each of the hotels. I have already created an itinerary on my Tom Tom Rider but then when I exported it, checked it in Tyre, that Claire's Tom Tom XL doesn't seem to have the capability to actually import ITN files created on another model of Tom Tom. So instead I had to connect it to the Acer Netbook, where Claire has her Tom Tom Home, and then using booking.com's website and manually entering the co-ords for the Etap.

I downloaded the Plus Beaux Villages POI file from the Tom Tom website, but strangely neither of the Normandy villages linked below appear!!

Three weeks to go and things could change yet....



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