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Trip Report Half day tour of Normandy: my very brief report about a very brief trip

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I wanted to put in my two cents worth for anyone else considering this.... it is so counseled against, I wanted to present a different opinion.

Yes, if you have the time, try to spend two or three days in Normandy to really do it justice. BUT, if you don't have the time and you want to do the tour, you should definitely do it.

I did the tour today and was disheartened in my initial research in the adamant opinions against it and the cost and difficulty of doing it. I did it anyway and loved it. I thought it was very worthwhile and like others, felt it was a highlight of my trip. I also read that the tour would be about 250$ but my day ended costing about $140.

I highly recommend doing a professional tour rather than winging it on your own unless you have vast knowledge of the history of this event. For the average person, there is so much more depth of information the tour guides have that make it worthwhile.

Here is what I did:

Rather than book with RailEurope which would have been $90 round trip, I booked directly with SNCF which was $72 round trip for the same journey. Train is much better than bus; I saved 1.5 hours of transit each way, 3 hours saved round trip. It is the best way to get there, imo.

Here is the link: http://www.voyages-sncf.com/?rfrr=FormulaireStandard_body_accueil

I booked the 10:10 am train which got me there at 12:14 pm at Bayeux and allowed me to sleep in till 8 am rather than the 7 am bus which would have meant getting up at an ungodly hour.

I booked a tour that started at 1 pm (they picked me up at the train station at Bayeux) and went till 6 pm. It was an air conditioned mini bus with 7-8 people which was a perfect size. We went to Omaha beach and the American cemetary (which was the highlight of the experience) and Pointe du Hoc which was also amazing. Standing amidst the rows and rows of absolutely symmetrical thousands of grave markers on the immaculately kept grounds overlooking the Normandy coastline and beach as the Star spangled banner played was a very moving experience. The Memorial building was riveting as well and I was torn away after 50 minutes there. Of course, I would have loved to have more time and also do the museum in Caen but doing the day was better to me than not doing it at all. I hope to return in the future with more time to devote to this lovely area.

The tour was 60 euros plus tip so my total cost was 132 euros plus tip. I booked the 8:07 train back to Paris which gave me over two hours to have dinner in Bayeux. We ate at Renne Mathilde with a gorgeous view of the cathedral and had a fantastic camembert pizza and tagliatelle carbonara which was exquisite. The desserts were outstanding as well (crepes with hot chocolate, roasted almonds, bananas, and whipped cream). Bayeux is a charming lovely town and has a museum called Tapisserie (?) as well which would be worth visiting as well.

A link to my tour: http://www.viator.com/tours/Bayeux/Normandy-Beaches-Half-Day-Trip-from-Bayeux/d909-3193NSTB

I was very happy I did this tour and think anyone with interest in history and/or WW2 would deeply appreciate it. Again, it would be optimal to spend a few days here but one day is better than none. It is a very worthwhile experience.

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