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France Ports Cannes, Corsica, Marseille, Nice, Sete, St. Tropez, Toulon, Villefranche

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  #1  
Old August 26th, 2011, 03:15 PM
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Default What to do from Le Havre

We have a day in Le Harve on a Saturday in December and was wondering what the experts of Cruise Critic recommend.
We don't want to visit Paris as its too far and we have been lots of times before.
We have visited places in this area before but as a stop before catching the ferry back to the UK after a few weeks on the West coast of France.

Where do people recommend and what sorts of things did you do?

Thanks, Gillian.
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  #2  
Old August 26th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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We'll be taking a tour of the D-Day beaches (and seeing more) in Normandy. An alternative was Honfleur. But after talking to people about the experience in Normandy, it's something very important to me on the itinerary. They may be running Rick Steves show on Normandy on demand or on the many travel channels on cable or PBS.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Thanks for reply - we have been to the D-day beaches a few times, great scenery but with a history and remembrance of what went on during WW2. Arromanches in particular is a lovely French town and its really interesting to see the remains of the Mulberry Harbour in the sea, think there is also a new museum on the hill above the town.
Totally recommend the beaches but a bit bleak in December and there are not many museums, visitors centres etc just the seaside towns that were there before and during the war.
Will have a look on You Tube for the programme you recommended as live in the UK.
Gillian.
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Old August 26th, 2011, 05:20 PM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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What jumps out in the OP is that they are asking about December! Living in Southampton the OP must have a good idea what to expect regarding the weather which many not be good. Many of the nice towns along the coast such as Honfleur, Fecamp, Deuville, etc will be pretty much on their winter schedule which means many things are closed for the season. As to Normandy, that area will also be pretty empty that time of year and I guess most folks do not want to stroll on Omaha Beach in Dec. Given the time of year we would probably just opt for a city such as Rouen or Paris (I know you do not want to go that far). Perhaps my question to the OP would be why you are going to Normandy that time of year?

Hank
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Old August 26th, 2011, 06:39 PM
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Good question Hlitner and I expect it to be cold and wet in Northern France in December!
After returning from the Mediterranean in the Summer on the QE we saw a deal for £299 on QM2 for 4 nights with Blake performing.
As I am 40 in October it seemed it good way for my husband and I to have a break without our daughter for my birthday.
He would like to stay on the ship when we reach France but I wondered if there was something different I could recommend to him to get off the ship for a few hours, as I said we have seen bits and pieces of Northern France but always with a car and en route back to the UK by ferry, this would also usually be in the summer and a few hours on the D-day beaches and neighbouring seaside towns for a walk and an ice cream was always enjoyable. I totally agree that it not the thing to do in December!

Any more suggestions? what would you do? or would you just totally avoid Northern France in December??

Gillian.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 01:54 AM
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The QM2 is quite a ship (we did a crossing on her last year). What to do is a tough question (you already know this) and we are trying to put ourselves in your situation. Normally we would suggest you just rent a car and drive yourselves along the coast (perhaps towards Normandy) and just visit a few towns. We were particularly impressed with the Peace Museum in Caen...and this might be a nice trip if you did rent a car. But as we discussed, so much will be closed that it might be a little depressing. This is why I tossed out the idea of just taking the train to Rouen (a lot closer then Paris) since its a major city not dependent on summer tourism. Rouen certainly has plenty of shopping, some nice cathedrals, etc. If the weather was lousy we might be tempted to just spend the day on the ship. One frustrating thing about LeHavre is the awful public transportation options. Its not even easy to get a regional bus to Honfleur!

It does sound like you got a terrific deal on the cruise (with decent entertainment as a bonus) and I suspect we would also jump at that same deal if in your situation.

Hank
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Old August 27th, 2011, 06:51 AM
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Thanks for reply, I will look into Rouen, have been en route to their once a long time ago, think it was a Sunday and most of it was closed!
Remember a clock?? but not much else.
Now to find out re public transport and the Cunard trip (probably expensive!)
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Old August 27th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Hank, before John Bull chimes in. Le Havre is in Normandy

You probably mean the D Day beaches but Normandy (as M. Bull is like to say) is bigger than that. I might suggest that if the day is pleasant (for Dec) Étretat for coastal beauty. Otherwise as Hank says, get thee to Rouen.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moyaroo View Post
Hank, before John Bull chimes in. Le Havre is in Normandy

You probably mean the D Day beaches but Normandy (as M. Bull is like to say) is bigger than that. I might suggest that if the day is pleasant (for Dec) Étretat for coastal beauty. Otherwise as Hank says, get thee to Rouen.
You might have noticed I mentioned Fecamp which is close to Etretat (we generally go to both towns when we are in that area). But we are not sure how pleasant it would be on a nice chilly, windy, day in December in either of these coastal towns. And you also need to figure that many of the cute shops, cafes, etc. will be closed that time of the year.

Hank
P.S. Where is John Bull hiding????
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Old August 28th, 2011, 08:53 PM
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Will the weather be as bad in November? The things that I had planned are closed by 11/1, so I guess Rouen is the best bet. What's the best way to get to Rouen from the port?
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Old September 22nd, 2011, 10:24 PM
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Default normandy beaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by hubofhockey View Post
We'll be taking a tour of the D-Day beaches (and seeing more) in Normandy. An alternative was Honfleur. But after talking to people about the experience in Normandy, it's something very important to me on the itinerary. They may be running Rick Steves show on Normandy on demand or on the many travel channels on cable or PBS.
We went to the Normandy Beaches last year and found it a "must" trip for all Americans. It was very impressing and touching to the heart. We will be taking a trip in November and wanted to rent a car as we did in the past to visit again. It was that good. Unfortunately we will be there on a Sunday and the rental companies are closed. We prefer to not do a "cruise tour" due to the cost and being confined to the cruise lines tour. Does anyone know of another economical way to get to Omaha Beach and American Cemetery, and anything else that can be fit in within the day's visit? The train in Bayeux is not practical due to the schedule where there are many tours available. Many thanks for any ideas on this one.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 04:53 PM
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On one cruise we went to Fecamp and Etretat, and really enjoyed the day, on another cruise we spent the day in Honfleur and was really impressed with the beautiful quaintness of it. In may of this year instead of dis-enbarking the next day in Southampton we left the ship in Le Harve, and took the train to Paris for a couple of post-cruise days, which could be done as a day trip if your ship has a later evening departure time from Le Harve.


Whatever you decide, enjoy Le Harve
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  #13  
Old September 23rd, 2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by europenov View Post
We went to the Normandy Beaches last year and found it a "must" trip for all Americans. It was very impressing and touching to the heart. We will be taking a trip in November and wanted to rent a car as we did in the past to visit again. It was that good. Unfortunately we will be there on a Sunday and the rental companies are closed. We prefer to not do a "cruise tour" due to the cost and being confined to the cruise lines tour. Does anyone know of another economical way to get to Omaha Beach and American Cemetery, and anything else that can be fit in within the day's visit? The train in Bayeux is not practical due to the schedule where there are many tours available. Many thanks for any ideas on this one.
We are going to do the tour with Overlord Tours. The charge is 800 euros for the day and the van fits up to eight people. We have an odd number with seven. So, it will cost each passenger 114 euros instead of 100. But as you say, I also believe that it's a must trip just by watching the various shows of the area on tv. So many young Americans gave their lives to save the free world and the place is supposed to beautiful and the visit equally emotional. Can't wait.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moyaroo View Post
Hank, before John Bull chimes in. Le Havre is in Normandy
Dammit, missed that one

I've kept out of the thread cos Le Havre isn't my specialist subject. Except for the roads out of it.
And in December??

The only suggestions I can make are
1. Rouen, as already mentioned. At least it'll be warm in the train.
2. The Peace Museum in Caen, also already mentioned. It's well worth a long day, it covers the entire War, not just Normandy ...(ooops ) ... D-Day. And it's all indoors.
Mebbe worth the drive. Esp if you take the little coast road beyond Honfleur if it's fine and bright, check out Trouville (super fish restaurants) / Deauville (think Bournemouth), mebbe drop into Cafe Gondree at Pegasus Bridge or the little restaurants clustered around the ferry terminal in the little village of Ouistreham.
Or skip round Caen to check out William the C's castle in Falaise, south of Caen. Mainly covered, and again a nice little selection of bars & restaurants adjacent.
But by train, Caen is a convoluted journey, involves I think 2 changes. Same grief as heading for Bayeux.
3. Stay on the ship.

That's my four-penny's worth.
Except it's not even worth 4p.

JB

Last edited by John Bull; September 23rd, 2011 at 06:20 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Hlitner Hlitner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moyaroo View Post
Hank, before John Bull chimes in. Le Havre is in Normandy

You probably mean the D Day beaches but Normandy (as M. Bull is like to say) is bigger than that. I might suggest that if the day is pleasant (for Dec) Étretat for coastal beauty. Otherwise as Hank says, get thee to Rouen.
You got me! Yes, I was referring to the D-Day beaches but you are very correct about Normandy being much much more then the beaches. The But I will disagree about going to Etretat. This is a nice town to visit during the warm weather season, but we do not see the charm in December.....especially if its cold. Much of the town is closed-up that time of year..although the sea views are still nice.

Hank
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Old June 11th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotong View Post
Thanks for reply, I will look into Rouen, have been en route to their once a long time ago, think it was a Sunday and most of it was closed!
Remember a clock?? but not much else.
Now to find out re public transport and the Cunard trip (probably expensive!)
We walked to the train station (about a half-hour walk from the port) and booked a ticket for our family of four to Rouen - cost about 26 Euro each for 55 minute roundtrip train. Luckily, they all spoke English at the ticket office and were very helpful explaining trains. Trains run hourly to Rouen. And it is about a mile from the train station to the Old town, which in very pretty. Historic old Cathedrals; Half-timbered buildings, cobblestone squares, yes the old clock from 1200, and a church and monument marking the spot that Joan of Arc died. Even our college age boys liked it. Grab a local beer at the pub built into the old clock tower and museum. We took the tourist mini-train around the old town at 4.5 Euro, its cheesy but gives a nice recorded overview of the old section. Very nice alternative to Paris, Normandy etc.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Last Thursday we returned from a two week land tour in Normandy. I would recommend the Caen Memorial Peace Museum, Rouen, or Honfleur. Rouen was a wonderfully walkable city with lots to see, several cathedrals, great historic architecture, lots of shops, and plenty of restaurants. Honfleur had several museums which could fill a day. If the weather doesn't cooperate, the Peace Museum can fill hours if you're into the war - we were. We had a car so can't help with transportation to and from these places but each was unique in it's own way and worth a visit. My first choice given your specific circumstances would probably be Rouen.
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