France in June



HuskyHawk

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Taking family vacation to France in June. Wife and daughter want to hit some WWII and WWI locations, including travel through the Somme, Bruges (Belgium), Dunkirk (briefly), Normandy and some other spots like Mont Saint-Michel and St. Malo. Then we will travel through the Loire Valley for a couple of days before spending a little time in Paris.

Any suggestions? Locations to stay or things to see in Loire and Paris particularly (beyond the obvious). We will have a car.
 

huskypantz

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I have nothing to add concerning sites outside of Paris but it is pretty cool that sundown in June is between 945 and 958pm.
 

HuskyHawk

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I have nothing to add concerning sites outside of Paris but it is pretty cool that sundown in June is between 945 and 958pm.
Yeah we did Scotland in June two years ago, and you can add over an hour to that up on Skye.
 

storrsroars

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Wife and I are doing Paris/Belgium in September and doing some WWI/II sites as well. Last time I was in Paris I happened to be there during the Summer Solstice, which is a huge street party and quite a lot of fun, so if you can arrange to be in a city that night, I'd recommend it. Lots of fun just walking around with all the street entertainment.

Also, I might lose the car in Paris. Really no need for it once you're in the city and parking sucks. Metro goes everywhere.


Not sure how many kids you've got or their ages, but it's really easy to get "museumed out" in Paris. Personally I'd skip the Pompidou (modern art) in favor of d'Orsay (which is mostly all impressionists). If you want to see 20th century art, the Musée de l'Orangerie is usually less crowded than the Pompidou and IMO has better overall quality of exhibits. Just walking around and hanging out in cafes also has major appeal to us on this trip. Unless you really feel the need to do Versailles or one of the other nearby palaces, there's really no reason to leave the city if you're only there for 2-3 days.

As for WWI stuff, we'll mostly be doing that in Belgium but we are interested in taking a look at one of the major trench systems somewhere, after having seen "They Will Not Grow Old."

Of course in Belgium, since we're not dragging along kids, beer is on the itinerary ;0
 

HuskyHawk

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Wife and I are doing Paris/Belgium in September and doing some WWI/II sites as well. Last time I was in Paris I happened to be there during the Summer Solstice, which is a huge street party and quite a lot of fun, so if you can arrange to be in a city that night, I'd recommend it. Lots of fun just walking around with all the street entertainment.

Also, I might lose the car in Paris. Really no need for it once you're in the city and parking sucks. Metro goes everywhere.

Not sure how many kids you've got or their ages, but it's really easy to get "museumed out" in Paris. Personally I'd skip the Pompidou (modern art) in favor of d'Orsay (which is mostly all impressionists). If you want to see 20th century art, the Musée de l'Orangerie is usually less crowded than the Pompidou and IMO has better overall quality of exhibits. Just walking around and hanging out in cafes also has major appeal to us on this trip. Unless you really feel the need to do Versailles or one of the other nearby palaces, there's really no reason to leave the city if you're only there for 2-3 days.

As for WWI stuff, we'll mostly be doing that in Belgium but we are interested in taking a look at one of the major trench systems somewhere, after having seen "They Will Not Grow Old."

Of course in Belgium, since we're not dragging along kids, beer is on the itinerary ;0
I'm not sure we will even go inside a museum in Paris. Maybe the Louvre. But I'm not standing in line to see the Mona Lisa. We will see how it goes. Beer and wine will be on the agenda, kid or no. Mine just turned 16.

Debating what to do with car. May stay out by CDG and just take the train in to Paris, or we could dump the car, take the train in and stay in the city. But I don't really like taking big suitcases on the metro. Are they using Uber in Paris?
 
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Normandy was something. We were able to visit a family member's grave site. If you are more of a history buff there is the Bayeux Tapestry nearby depicting the events of William the Conqueror 's Battle of Hastings.
There are a number of evening light shows throughout the valley during the summer. Coming up from the Loire Valley I would recommend stopping in Chartres, it had the best market days if you can time it right. Also has a yet another famous cathedral.
 

HuskyHawk

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Normandy was something. We were able to visit a family member's grave site. If you are more of a history buff there is the Bayeux Tapestry nearby depicting the events of William the Conqueror 's Battle of Hastings.
There are a number of evening light shows throughout the valley during the summer. Coming up from the Loire Valley I would recommend stopping in Chartres, it had the best market days if you can time it right. Also has a yet another famous cathedral.
Definitely history buffs. Thanks for the tip.
 
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Download duolingo and try to pick up a little French before going! If you have time, go to Brittany, my favorite region in the country, though most people prefer the south. I just like how green Brittany is and it never feels too hot or too cold.
 

HuskyHawk

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Download duolingo and try to pick up a little French before going! If you have time, go to Brittany, my favorite region in the country, though most people prefer the south. I just like how green Brittany is and it never feels too hot or too cold.
We will spend a lot of our time in Brittany. We aren't going anywhere near the south. Paris -> Somme/to Bruges -> Dunkirk/Calais -> Normandy/through Brittany -> Loire Valley -> Paris

I'm hearing impaired, so while I can learn to read a foreign language, I can't pick it up conversationally. I have enough trouble with English and can only really hear that by being able to predict words used in context of conversation. I am somewhat wary of this trip as a result. But I'll get wife and daughter to try that.
 
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Excellent choice in regards to Brittany. I really fell in love with that region, went back 5 times. I think it might be my favorite place but it has been 10 years since I last went. I just remember there being lots of little towns and unique nature spots to see, cool old architecture.
 

SubbaBub

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We will spend a lot of our time in Brittany. We aren't going anywhere near the south. Paris -> Somme/to Bruges -> Dunkirk/Calais -> Normandy/through Brittany -> Loire Valley -> Paris

I'm hearing impaired, so while I can learn to read a foreign language, I can't pick it up conversationally. I have enough trouble with English and can only really hear that by being able to predict words used in context of conversation. I am somewhat wary of this trip as a result. But I'll get wife and daughter to try that.

Bonjour Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle
Bonsoir...^^^^
Excusez moi, parlez vous anglais
Pardon
Désolé
Merci (Beaucoup)
Bonne nuit
Sil vous plait
Au revoir

This is all you really need. Your accent will give you away as an American assuming something else hadn't already. If they speak english and want to help they will offer. Most tourist areas they do but it is most important not to assume they do and to be polite.

Greet every shopkeeper, waiter, etc with the appropriate greeting and title. Bonjour Madame...

Say "please" (SVP) a lot.

If you can muster, "Desole, je ne parle pas francias" before you ask if they can speak English you are in the top 5% of all US tourists and you will mostly be treated well.

Worst thing you can do is start speaking in English without a formal greeting. Doesn't matter who you are speaking to, hello and goodbye are the bedrock of french manners.
 

storrsroars

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HuskyHawk

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Yeah. Wife and I are going in Sept. Funny thing is last time I was in Paris, Notre Dame was surrounded by scaffolding for restoration work, so never will get the opportunity to actually see it.
Sad that I never will either. It was high on my list of things to see in Paris, probably at the top as I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and Louve.
 

HuskyHawk

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Bonjour Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle
Bonsoir...^^^^
Excusez moi, parlez vous anglais
Pardon
Désolé
Merci (Beaucoup)
Bonne nuit
Sil vous plait
Au revoir

This is all you really need. Your accent will give you away as an American assuming something else hadn't already. If they speak english and want to help they will offer. Most tourist areas they do but it is most important not to assume they do and to be polite.

Greet every shopkeeper, waiter, etc with the appropriate greeting and title. Bonjour Madame...

Say "please" (SVP) a lot.

If you can muster, "Desole, je ne parle pas francias" before you ask if they can speak English you are in the top 5% of all US tourists and you will mostly be treated well.

Worst thing you can do is start speaking in English without a formal greeting. Doesn't matter who you are speaking to, hello and goodbye are the bedrock of french manners.
Thanks. This helps. I can manage 75% of this now. Should be easy to pick up the rest. Wife and daughter can hopefully do better.
 
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Thanks. This helps. I can manage 75% of this now. Should be easy to pick up the rest. Wife and daughter can hopefully do better.
Especially if you'll only be in France for a few weeks, subbabob's list is more than enough exhibition of giving a flying # 2. However, be sure to add the all important c’est de la merde to your vocabulary. In any restaurant, it's particularly helpful.

Additionally, one of the more enjoyable hobbies among family or friends visiting France is nominating the worst US American trash-of-the-day/hour and typically even worse now their Chinese cousins. Bon voyage.
 

HuskyHawk

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Especially if you'll only be in France for a few weeks, subbabob's list is more than enough exhibition of giving a flying # 2. However, be sure to add the all important c’est de la merde to your vocabulary. In any restaurant, it's particularly helpful.

Additionally, one of the more enjoyable hobbies among family or friends visiting France is nominating the worst US American trash-of-the-day/hour and typically even worse now their Chinese cousins. Bon voyage.
Not knowing French, I still knew what that phrase means. I was once stuck at Taylor Port near Oporto, Portugal at lunch. Year 2000. They would not bring us the check and we needed to leave. No smartphone back then. No English speakers working for some reason.

So, to this day I recall the phrase “A contra, se faz favor”. The only thing I know in Portuguese.
 

WestHartHusk

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Especially if you'll only be in France for a few weeks, subbabob's list is more than enough exhibition of giving a flying # 2. However, be sure to add the all important c’est de la merde to your vocabulary. In any restaurant, it's particularly helpful.

Additionally, one of the more enjoyable hobbies among family or friends visiting France is nominating the worst US American trash-of-the-day/hour and typically even worse now their Chinese cousins. Bon voyage.
You can throw the British into that hobby. For many, a simple bonjour is a step too far.

If you find yourself with the British, make a disgusted face at them and make sure your French waiter/bartender catches it. You will be treated well.
 
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You can throw the British into that hobby. For many, a simple bonjour is a step too far.

If you find yourself with the British, make a disgusted face at them and make sure your French waiter/bartender catches it. You will be treated well.
Same thing outside of the Île-de-France if you share an eye-roll with your French waiter every time your Parisian friends goes way over the top of the gradiouseness of Paris, its culture, people, art, heck, the air they breathe.

If you really want to make French friends, point out the mess PSG was on and off the pitch before a some oil tycoons from Qatar decided to try and buy a Champions League title. Oh, and since that deal in 2011, they still have not even made it to the finals yet and won't this season either. Marseille is the only French Club to win it so far in '93 while Saint-Étienne, Reims, and Monaco have all made it to the finals.
 
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HuskyHawk

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Same thing outside of the Île-de-France if you share an eye-roll with your French waiter every time your Parisian friends goes way over the top of the gradiouseness of Paris, its culture, people, art, heck, the air they breathe.

If you really want to make French friends, point out the mess PSG was on and off the pitch before a some oil tycoons from Qatar decided to try and buy a Champions League title. Oh, and since that deal in 2011, they still have not even made it to the finals yet and won't this season either. Marseille is the only French Club to win it so far in '93 while Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Reims, and Manaco have all made it to the finals.
This is all pretty funny. Didn't know anyone actually followed French football clubs, even in country. Glad we will be in Paris only a short part of the trip.

I had good fortune with locals in Ireland by merely being friendly and drinking beer. Being from the Boston area helps. Enthusiasm over a big Irish rugby win against England was certainly viewed as a plus.
 
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This is all pretty funny. Didn't know anyone actually followed French football clubs, even in country. Glad we will be in Paris only a short part of the trip.

I had good fortune with locals in Ireland by merely being friendly and drinking beer. Being from the Boston area helps. Enthusiasm over a big Irish rugby win against England was certainly viewed as a plus.
In France, football is a city sport. And while there are a local of local rivalries, say Nice versus Monaco, the only teams that have a 'national' interest are Paris St, Germain (PSG), Lyon, and Marseille with most fans outside of Paris routing for their local team or anyone who can beat PSG (PSG is at the top of Ligue 1 this year by 21 points over Lille). Some French fans will root for PSG in international play (Champions League) as a sign of national unity. Of course, French fans are very loyal and proud of their National team, aka FFF or Les Bleus. Unlike the US, Les Blues plays nearly all of its 'home' games at their designated national stadium outside of Paris - Stade de France. This makes sense as its France's largest stadium by far (+14K over the next largest - Stade Vélodrome in Marsaille) and most people in France can get to Paris within 3 to 6 hours depending on one's proximity to the nearest TGV line.

I am a Lyon fan because 1) I am a soccer fan and 2) as the city I studied abroad in did not have a Ligue 1 team at the time, Lyon was the nearest 'big' team to where I live. Took me about 90 minutes to get to Stade de Gerland (since replaced by Parc Olympique Lyonnais/Groupama Stadium) by train and foot from where lived. Thus, I caught about 3 games, one of whcich was againts a hapless PSG team at the time and had fun at teh match and then dinner late as Lyon is a very undervalued city when it comes to its cuisine. Also caught an Ajax game in the Netherlands and Barelona at Camp Nou while I was backpaking. The club in the city I studied in was later promoted to Ligue 1; but, I think they had the same owners at Portsmouth in the Premiership as they went into bankruptcy not long after and have just earned their way back to Ligue 2 status. The positve result those was one heck of a brand new stadium.

stade des alpes.jpg


And, as for Ireland, I was in Ireland last summer and happened to be in Limerick the day after they won the National Hurling title over defending champ Galway in a thrilling match in Dublin. They had a big celebration at their home stadium, which was just up the street from our hotel. It was a wild and fun night.
 
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HuskyHawk

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Thanks for the advice everyone. Off to France tomorrow evening. Time to pack. Tried DuoLingo, which is a really nice little app. I still struggle to hear differences in words, but I seem to pick up a few words of written French reasonably well.
 

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