1 Day in Normandy - Bayeux Questions

Old Dec 9th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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1 Day in Normandy - Bayeux Questions

I've done searching on the boards, but can't seem to find an answer to my questions. So here goes:

My husband and I are going to Paris in January and want to take a side trip to Normandy. We plan on taking the first train from Paris to Bayeux, exploring Bayeux that day, staying the night, taking a full day tour the next day, then take the train back to Paris that night. My main question is: Will we need to rent a car? We're planning on staying the night at the Novatel in Bayeux, which is on the western edge of town. Will we be able to walk or taxi to the hotel? Will we be able to walk or taxi to the tour start? Will we have trouble getting to the train station without a car if it's after 5pm when the tour is done? TIA!

p.s. Side note re: walking - I'll be 5.5 months pregnant at the time...I can walk fine but might get a bit pooped hauling luggage. Thanks!
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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You won't really need a car, as Bayeux is fairly compact--and there are always taxis, including fromthe station to your hotel. Your hotel can help with taxis.
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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This doesn't exactly answer your question, but might help you plan things --

we took a tour with www.victorytours.com with Roel K. He actually meets his people for the tour at the train station -- we parked in the train station lot and found him. There was a family with us who had taken the first train from Paris to make his tour. If you opted to do that the 1st day instead, you may ask him if it was possible to:
1) store luggage at the train station (can you do this ?)
2) when he drops others off at the end of the day at the station, retrieve your luggage and if it is on his way home, ask him if he would drop you at the hotel.

I think it is great that you are spending an extra day in Bayeux to explore, but there are many who chose just to make a day trip of it. It is a long day trip, but avoids the exact issues you are trying to solve.

Alternatively, are you staying before the side trip and after the side trip in the same hotel ? Could you ask if they could store your luggage and just take a small carryon/overnight bag with essentials? Or could you store that in Paris overnight at the train station ?(I don't remember the rules any more).

Sorry, I don't really have any answers, just trying to think creatively here...
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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I definitely think you don't need a car - would be more trouble than it's worth for that short a time. You can get around Bayeux easily by walking and taxis. The only reason you would need a car is if you don't want to take one of the guided tours of the beaches. Everyone on here speaks highly of Battlebus for that. I spent 2 weeks in Normandy in May, and of course had a car as I drove around to many parts of Normandy. However, I'm still sorry I didn't take a Battlebus tour.
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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We were in Bayeux while on a Rick Steves' tour in May 2007. I was not really impressed with the town, but in awe of the tapestry. There isn't much to see in the town beyond the church and some stores. I would recommend taking a tour to the WW2 beaches in addition to viewing the tapestry. We were so impressed with our guide, Elwood, who runs his own tours. Absolutely fantastic tour. More info can be found on his website www.ddaybattletours.com.
He is English but lives in St. Mere Eglise. Hope this helps!
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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We did a similar trip this summer. You do not need a car at all for that short of a trip. I am not sure where in town your hotel is, but the town is very small and easily walkable. Upon arrival, we took a taxi from the train station to the Hotel Churchill. We should have just walked, it really was that close, but of course we didn't know that at the time. There were a lot of taxis at the train station, so with it being winter and pregnant you might as well opt for that. Then coming back you can see if you would want to walk or not.

We did our tour with Battlebus and I cannot speak highly enough of them. Great tour, extremely knowledgeable guide, and we were kicking ourselves for not doing the 2 day tour. Their pick up/drop off location is right on the edge of the parking lot for the Hotel Churchill.
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Old Dec 9th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Agree with all the others that you will not need a car. I would e-mail the hotel to ask the distance to the train station. If there is luggage storage at the train station, you might want to store your luggage on the day of your tour and have the tour driver drop you off at the train station. We took a tour with Raul and thought it was great. He meets his tours at the train station or across from the Hotel Churchill. After our tour, he dropped one couple off at the train station and took the rest of us to the Churchill. Be sure to wear very warm clothes as it is very cold on the beaches (even on a warm day!).
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Thanks all for your responses! It looks like we might have to rent a car after all...we've been trying to set up a tour, but most of or tour requests have been met with answers like "most of the museums and cafés are closed and the weather being is cold and miserable that month we just can't run more than the occasional tour."

Bummer. Anyway, it looks like we'll have to throw together a self guided tour with a car.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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You might try to email Col.Chilcott who lives just outside Bayeux and normally guides tours. He was recovering from an illness this June when we stayed with him but I know he knows of other individuals who perform guided tours. His email is [email protected]. His wife Rosemary normally checks the emails and will respond. You really should try to obtain a guide as it adds so much to the experience.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Krissy66,

I am delighted that you are renting a car. Your condition will be helped by not needing to rush. D-Day is a significant event -- the history surrounding this area is overwhelming. To start there is 50 miles involved if you start at the Pegusus Bridge and work your way back to Utah or St Mere Eglese. What are you both wanting to see? What interests do you share? In 2002 my wife and I left Paris at 6AM and drove to Omaha Beach and a few sites saw very little and drove back to Paris arriving around 9PM -- we were foolish. I asked for a good restaurant at the Novatel of which you speak -- there is a great supermarket about 1.5 miles from the hotel to purchase needed supplies for the day. Unless you plan to visit this area again I would suggest really doing your homework before going. If you have any questions feel free to ask

Craig
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Hi
We did a self guided tour this past sept. I used the Cadogan and Rough Guides. Cadagon was the better guide, it had more detail and better maps. Stayed at the Hotel Churchill for 3 nights, in Bayeux. Free parking in back. No elevator though if you need one. Friendly and helpful staff. Visited Utah and Omaha beaches. Ste. Mer Eglise and the American cemetery. It was very moving and emotional. we preferred independent touring so that we could go at our speed.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 02:00 PM
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Consider also the museum and their own minibus tours at Caen. I know people will say that Caen is not as nice to stay as Bayeux but they are so close you could stay in Bayeux, take the small train that runs between them and see the museum and do their tour. www.memorial-caen.fr although it is closed a number of days in January (at least in 2007):

Open from 02 to 06 January and
from 30 January to 11 February 2007: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm
From 12 February to 04 November 2007: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
From 05 November to 31 December 2007: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm

Closed on Mondays
On Monday 5th February, 2007
From 12 November to 31 December 2007

Closed on:
January 1st and on December 25th 2007

Or, if you do end up doing it yourselves, a helpful map is a historical one of landings put out by Michelin (I got it through Amazon or maybe even at a local bookstore in Chicago before I went.) It's name when I look it up on Amazon now is Michelin Historical Map 102: Battle of Normandy (Michelin Historical Maps).

Are you sure that time of year another day trip might not be more enjoyable (such as Rouen or Dijon where there is a mix of indoor and outdoor sightseeing)?

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