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16 replies
Driving Trip from Paris to Amsterdam - What to see in 8 Days??
manyak55
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Thanks for checking out this post…

My wife and I plan on renting a car in Paris and driving up to Amsterdam. Our travel plans so far look like this:

June 17 – Arrive in Paris
June 18 – Paris
June 19 – Paris (pick up rental car) leave Paris
June 20 – ?
June 21 – ?
June 22 – ?
June 23 – ?
June 24 – ?
June 25 – ?
June 26 – Return rental car in Amsterdam
June 27 – Leave Amsterdam for Tel-Aviv (night flight so we have the whole day in amsterdam).

Any help and specific things we should be sure to see is greatly appreciated. We are WAY into food, wine, street culture and farms, the slow life and beauty. We are not into clubs and crowded touristy places.

The drive from Paris to Amsterdam is ONLY 503 km which is the similar to Los Angeles to San Francisco which we do VERY often (so no big deal). We enjoy long drives and stopping in tiny villages for an amazing lunch and checking out cool bed and breakfasts and that sort of thing.

We are trying to stick to a budget of $200 US per day for lodging and food (not including car, flights and gasoline).

Thanks.

clevelandbrown
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Generally, you pay a premium for renting a car in one country and returning it in another, so you might consider taking trains, and renting a car only when you want to get out of town.

Also, there is a lot to see in Paris, so if this is your first time there, I would add a day or two.

Many Americans like to visit the invasion sites in Normandy, the there are a lot of villages and good food in that area. My suggestion would be to take a train to Caen and base there, and rent a car to visit some of the towns and sites, and the peace memorial. There is a Best Western hotel called something like Dauphin there that has an excellent restaurant. We didn’t stay there, but next time we will. Some people like to stay in Bayeaux, which is a village (Caen is a small city). You could even venture as far as Rouen and return the car there. There are plenty of other places in Normandy to see.

I would then catch a train to Brugge, about as scenic an old town as there is.

After that, I would head for Amsterdam on a train, but I would stop for a day in The Hague. They have some great art museums there, and are a local tram ride from Delft, another interesting place.

You may be too late for the tulips in Amsterdam, but there are more great museums there. I would suggest a day trip to Haarlem, which is an attractive village nearby, and has a church with, many believe, the greatest organ in the world.

My suggestions reflect my prejudices, of course. I’m sure others will post with other things well worth seeing.

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Cil
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I agree with Cleveland about adding time to Paris.
I also agree about the invasion sites and the Peace Memorial in Caen.
Actually, I agree with much of what Cleveland says—it just depends on what you yourselves like to do and see.
We found Rouen enchanting. We also enjoyed Lille (it, however, is a bit different from Rouen, more urban, but still very walkable.)
I thought Bayeux was kind of synthetic and expensive, but the Tapestry is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in Europe—very impressive.
There is also Champagne tasting (and visiting the caves) in Reims or Epernay.
Have not been, but have heard good things about both Ghent and Utrecht.

oldlady
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I tend to agree with Cleveland about train vs. driving for this area. Train will be much faster to get to the places you want to explore, so it generally makes more sense than renting a car. This may be a situation where the a rail and drive railpass works. What’s the reason you want to drive this?

We rented a car in Caen to explore Normandy, which was a great choice. We took the train from Paris, took the city bus to The Memorial (I consider this a must see) then back to the train station to pick up a comparatively cheap 24 hour rental to tour the D-day sites.

Don
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Brugge, Delft, Kinderdijk. Of these, you really only need a car for Kinderdijk, but even that can be done with bus from Rotterdam or Dordrecht (maybe even a water taxi? if I recall).

manyak55
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OKAY – here is the latest on our trip…

Leave Los Angeles June 16
Arrive in Paris June 17th – See the city and see family (no hotel needed)
June 18 (Friday) – See the city and family (no hotel needed)
June 19 (Saturday) – Pickup the rental car around 10 am with keys in our hand for a flat in Cannes – drive somewhere to have an amazing dinner in a beautiful town between Paris and Cannes and stay the night. NEED dinner recommendations and BED&BREAKFAST or Small Hotel recommendation as well.
June 20 (Sunday) – Arrive in Cannes – any tips or pointers or things to see is appreciated (we have a car)
NEED TO BE IN AMSTERDAM by Friday night June 25 with a stop in Paris to drop off the keys to the flat in Cannes.

Any day trips or activities to see/do anywhere in the vicinity is greatly appreciated. *NEED *Hotel in Amsterdam and Great Food recommendations as well.
June 26 (Saturday) – return car in Amsterdam
June 27 late night – flight to Tel Aviv

Any tips or pointers are appreciated. Cheap rental car, etc.

EDITED to add that in Cannes the place we are staying at is family (no cost) and that we want to rent the car for convenience sake – and it IS cheaper then trains. Rental car for the week will be about $480 US + gasoline for approx. 2,500 to 3,000 KM which can cost?? How much for gas?

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So now you’re suddenly going from Paris-Cannes-Amsterdam instead of Paris-Amsterdam Smile that’s quite a big trip, at least for european standards Smile

In between Paris and Cannes you will pass Beaune which is a lovely small town in the middle of the Burgundy area. You can do some wine tastings there, and have a look around. Good to stay for a night, especially if you are by car (no driving after wine)

From Paris to Amsterdam you can visit Bruges. It will be a busy week though it seems!

The route: Paris-Cannes-Beaune-Paris-Bruges-Amsterdam takes about 2400KM so I guess if you do 3000KM in a week it would make sense to look for a rental car that runs on diesel.

Benzin costs about 1,50 euro a liter a does 10k per liter, diesel costs 1,10 per liter and does 15 k per liter.

So if you have diesel , for 3000 k calculate 220 euros for diesel or 450 euros for benzin. Smaller cars are better on fuel. Also calculate 100 euro (or more) for tolls in france (peage).

Did you ask how much a one way drop off fee for your rental is , for Amsterdam-Paris? It could be as high as 500-1000 euro!

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Something about your trip doesn’t make sense. You’re taking two days to drive Paris to Cannes. It will take another two to get from Cannes to Amsterdam. That’s 4 of your 10 days spend driving back and forth. That leaves 6 days to see paris, cannes and Amsterdam? My suggestion would be to get a multi-city airline ticket and arrive in Amsterdam, train it to Paris, then train it or fly to Cannes and depart Cannes for home OR arrive Paris, take rental car to Amsterdam, then train or fly to Cannes and get a rental car there to see Nice, Monaco, etc. Deaprt Cannes

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

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I missed Cleveland’s comment about rental cars…You pay a huge premium to rent in one city and drop off in another (count on an least 1.5 times the regular price). To be honest, you could easily do your trip entrely by train and save yourself a lot of stress.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

manyak55
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So here is another update.

Briefly, our trip goes like this…we land in Paris June 17 and leave from Amsterdam on June 27 (late night). So we have all that time in-between to do what we want! Our itinerary is below. I am requesting any help/assistance in dining and hotel recommendations as well as an overall opinion on the itinerary. All comments are appreciated.

  • June 17 arrive in Paris. I’ve been a few times but my wife hasn’t. We will be staying with family in Paris. We’d like to do as much as possible in the short time that we have. Saturday AM we pick up the rental car and leave…
  • June 19 leave Paris for Cannes with a rental car. We love driving and don’t mind it at all – we even think it is more convenient than trains, etc. The drive from Paris to Cannes is about 900 km which should take about 8 hours. We would like to split this trip with a stop somewhere beautiful between Paris and Cannes where we can get a great meal and stay at a nice, small hotel or B&B.
  • June 20 (Sunday) arrive in Cannes. Here we will be staying with family as well. This part of our trip is where we get to rest and hang out a bit. We plan on taking day trips to the surrounding cities, etc. So we’ll stay in Cannes Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night.
  • June 23 (Wednesday) AM we leave for Parma. I lived near Parma and would like to go back to the restaurant I worked at to visit them and say hello. The drive from Cannes to the restaurant near Parma is 420 km which should take about 4 hours. I’d like to stop somewhere in between for lunch (maybe Genova or a town nearby) and get to Parma in the afternoon.
  • June 24 we leave Parma with our sight on Amsterdam. From Parma to Amsterdam is 1,200 km which is about 11 hours of driving. We’d like to split this with one night around the 500 to 900 km area. This is where I could really use some suggestions. In one direction we can go through France and then Luxembourg and Belgium and in the other direction go through Germany. Possible options are Strasbourg and Luxembourg but your help is greatly appreciated here.
  • June 25 arrive in Amsterdam. Take in the city before our flight on Sunday night.

So – now that you have an idea of what we are trying to accomplish…what do you think??!??

The rental car is much cheaper and more convenient than trains. There are two of us traveling and trains would be much more expensive. Our rental including the drop fee will only cost around $400 US. Trains will be at least $900 US and not as convenient.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to this post.

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If you’re set on driving then why not. But don’t forget that next to the drop off fee you also have to pay the rent itself, fuel, tolls, and parking. But I like driving too Smile

As I said before, between Paris and Cannes you should make a break in Beaune.

Between Parma and Amsterdam, you could make a pick between the following places:
-Strasbourg
-Heidelberg – town on the Rhine: Bingen, St. Goar or Bacharach

I would pick a German town as you were in France already

Cil
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I think you are ambitious. Couldn’t you take the train at least part of the way?
Also, when it comes to cost, don’t forget buying gas and paying tolls!

Having said that, for the stop during the Paris>Cannes leg, one idea is to top in the less touristy Auvergne. The volcanic terrain is beautiful, the Cantal cheese is tasty.
As I recall, it is a pretty straight shot from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand.
But that might not take you far enough—maybe you’d rather get all the way down to Lyon, plenty of street culture and gastronomy there.

Between Parma and Amsterdam, well, I certainly recommend the beautiful city of Strasbourg.

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Between Parma and Amsterdam my Choice would be to take the A2 thru Switzerland (great mountain scenery) to Strasbourg. Strasborg is a great old city (UNESCO heritage site) in france on the border with Germany (both countries have had ownership of it at various times so it tends to have the best of french/german food and culture). Takes about 6 hours to make the journey (you could stop in Berne for lunch). If you have time do the short sightseeing cruise (few hours) down the rhinewhen in Strasbourg

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

manyak55
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Old Itinerary:
June 17 – Paris
June 18 – Paris
June 19 – Drive 9 Hours to Arles, France
June 20 – Drive 2 Hours to Cannes
June 21 – Cannes
June 22 – Cannes
June 23 – Drive to Strasbourg, France (11 Hours with a stop in Italy)
June 23 – Strasbourg
June 24 – Strasbourg
June 25 – Drive 8 Hours to Amsterdam
June 26 – Amsterdam
June 27 – Depart Amsterdam
Total Driving: 30 Hours-34 Hours

New Itinerary:
June 17 – Paris
June 18 – Paris
June 19 – Paris
June 20 – Paris
June 21 – Drive 6 Hours to Strasbourg
June 22 – Strasbourg
June 23 – Strasbourg
June 24 – Drive 6 Hours to Amsterdam
June 25 – Amsterdam
June 26 – Amsterdam
June 27 – Depart Amsterdam
Total Driving: 12-15 Hours

First one had too much driving… thanks for opening our eyes! SO – places to see, stay, eat, etc. s’il vous plaît.

Cil
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From Paris all the way to Arles in one day?
I know you like long drives, but I don’t see how that leaves you much time for the “tiny village, amazing lunch” part of the day.

Last year we took the TGV to Angouleme, then rented a car right at the train station.
We got to see lots of pretty scenery during the train ride, and saved a lot of time.
Just an idea.

manyak55
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Cil,

That was the OLD itinerary – what do you think about the new one???

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Oops
Sorry Manyak
The new one is much, much better.
Will you be stopping at wineries?
I know Hugel (Riquewihr) is around there, they make some delicious wine.
Obernai is a charming medieval village nearby, and if you are interested in this sort of thing, the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp is about 30 miles southwest of Strasbourg.