A week in France - WWYD

Hey Champs - I am heading over to France for work, I will be working a couple of weeks in Cherbourg up until the end of June, then will need to be in Paris a week and a bit later to fly back home. I need to fill that time with something and I don’t really know if travelling out of France will be wasting time. Are there any must see towns/cities that I should check out?

One thing is I might have my boss tag along but If I come up with something that is a bit out of the ordinary he may just do his own thing as well. I don’t think he would make a good travel partner.

Hit me up with what you would do, suggestions etc.

Ride the diagonales

There’s plenty to do around Paris if you like random wandering, coffee & pastries, museums, gardens etc.

It’ll be busy with tourists and quite warm weather in June.

If you’ve got a day to spare I can recommend a day trip (you can get a coach tour) to Normandy to visit the WW2 invasion beaches and military cemeteries - if you’re into that kind of thing. Normandy is great for apples, Calvados and Ciders too.

If you go to the major tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower, ignore people who ask if you speak English. Invariably they’re beggars/thieves/pickpockets.

I wouldn’t bother with Sacred Cours. It’s a beautiful cathedral but it’ll be packed with tourists and pickpockets.

I spent most of my time in Paris randomly wandering and finding interesting things by accident. The Metro is easy to get round and there are stations all over Pairs.

C’est bon!

If you’re looking for interesting eats around Paris.


Ha, thanks Blakey - I don’t think I will have time to knock that over. I did think about taking the Kumo and riding back to Paris from Cherbourg but to be honest, I have never cycle toured before and doing it in a foreign country might be a little overwhelming for me.

Cheers Snowflake. I should have mentioned I have already been to Paris and knocked over all of the tourists spots when I was about 21. I would definitely approach it differently now I would imagine and try and find cafes, good eats, take a bunch of pics with my new camera and find interesting little hubs of the city like I did when I was in NYC.

I think I should be able to head to Normandy as a day trip when I am working in Cherbourg as the French won’t allow us to work on Sundays and we are only 75kms away from Ohoma beach. I will have a car there so I should be able to drive up.

I do have one of my best mates working in Brussels and he has invited me to hang with him for a weekend. He is the sort of dude that won’t sleep and will jam as much into that 48 hours as possible though. That could also be an option - it’s just getting there, I could overshoot Brussels and head to Amsterdam (again, I have been there when I was younger but I did love the city and not for the obvious reasons of weed and sex shows).

I am also trying to learn a bit of French via Duolingo. It’s going okay!

Since you’re in Cherbourg, watch “les Parapluies de Cherbourg” beforehand. I’ll allow you English subtitles - see if that Duolingo prep you’re doing works :wink:

Given you’ve got a car I’d go down to Brittany, stopping along the way. June will be a great time to be there. I think you should be fine with tourists as this is not a big holiday month in Europe. My picks for Brittany would be:

  • the northern coast, especially around Perros-Guirec and the pink granite coast. Very cool, good walks to do.
  • the ‘abers’, which are basically inlets/estuaries, the northwest Britany coat is full of them. Very dramatic, lots of cool Celtic history that you can discover by doing coastal walks. The village of L’Aber Wrach would be a good base.
  • it’s a bit of a long way, but the Carnac stones alignments are very cool. The French equivalent of Stonehenge (actually very different in aspect to Stonehenge, but similar is history/mystery).
  • Breton crepes, urchins, oysters, good cider, hydromel.

Paris - I think hanging out in Le Marais is always cool. It’s pretty hip (cool eateries and shops) and the architecture is awesome. Velibs (the rent-a-bike racks you find in the streets) see a lot of use and are a great way to go around, there’s a lot of people on bikes in the city and motorists are pretty good with bikes around them.

MTB world cups? lenzerheide is jul 1/2 and vallnord is 8/9… both 11hours or so drive from Cherbourg ('parently… I’ve never been, never done that particular drive… googled it). I’d go vallnord because the courses seem much radder and party with CG is more likely afterwards.

Thanks for the input! I’d mention that I only have the car when I am working at Cherbourg - so day trips from Cherbourg on Sundays is all I will have for that (2 separate Sundays at this stage if the job goes to plan). Then after that I will have to give the car back so no road trips for me… unless I rent a car and then return it for my flight home to Paris.

Not sure what the train situation is like in Europe, but I could train it to Amsterdam - then to Brussels - then to Paris. Travelling like that and cramming a lot into a week is pretty draining though.

I’ll have a think, google etc and I could just end up wandering the streets of Paris with the camera, drinking coffee and eating food.

For those that have travelled in Europe… what is the best way to view how the European train system timetables/costs?

I have noticed this site - but not sure if there is something more official.

This sounds pretty dang nice.

Eurail / InterRail websites will have good journey planners. Otherwise there’s Rome2Rio, which is usually pretty handy for journey planning.

Fun fact detour: there’s an old French railway timetable that’s often used as an example of great, innovative graphic design:

Oh wow … that is amazing. No doubt someone has had their way with that graphic and reproduced a modern take on it in some way.

Given you will be in Cherbourg, I would consider checking out Guernsey and or Jersey?

Yeah those two Islands look interesting!

Somebody did one for Melbourne.


Now thinking of getting a train down to Chamonix from Paris… 6 hour trip each way though. Sure cuts into some time.

Canberra train:

So I rode north from Paris through Lille, Brussels then up to Amsterdam as part of my trip last year.
Outside of Paris highlights were Vimy Ridge, Roubaix and Brussels. Lille seemed cool enough to that I’d go back but I only had lunch there. The best things about getting out of Paris is every bakery and deli’s food is fucking amazing unlike Paris which obviously caters a lot for tourist. Note: I did get good food in Paris but that was because I was staying with someone who grew up there.

Good insights. Thanks champ… I might get a feel for the little villages around Cherbourg. If I have two Sundays then I might make a beeline for the Normandy beaches… then south to Mont Saint Michael which looks pretty crazy.

Just not sure that bakery/delis or anything for that matter… will be open on Sundays in France, so it may be slim pickings for Sundays sitting in a pub in a small town.

If you do get to Belgium, I’d skip Brussels and get to Ghent and/or Antwerp as both of these cities are A+