2 Days in Normandy- Drive or Tour?

Feb 13th, 2003, 12:59 PM
  #1  
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2 Days in Normandy- Drive or Tour?

My son and I will spend several days in Paris this June. We would like to visit the beaches and other sites in Normandy. We are only able to spend 1 and 1/2 days there, however. Our best choices appear to be to take a day tour from Paris (ParisVision,etc.) or to rent a car and spend 1 night, perhaps in Bayeau, before returning to Paris. I fly out the next morning. If we rent a car, we would tour Versailles in the morning,then drive to Normandy that afternoon and tour the next day until we need to head back to Paris. Do you think the car trip is worthwhile or would it be better to take a day tour? Your thoughts will be appreciated.
bobdal is offline  
Feb 13th, 2003, 01:19 PM
  #2  
rex
 
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A recunnret theme - - almost a universal truth - - is that it is hard to get a good deal on a car rental of less than three days. Not impossible, but frequently, the same price for three days as one.

You have three choices, and you have only named two: rent car for your self, take a "tour" - - or do it yourself by train. I have no experience with the latter, but others here might end up sharing their positive experiences doint it this way.

There is enough to fill a week and half (maybe a month and a half) in Normandy, so some focus might help answer your question. Take a look at www.normandy-tourism.org - - but be prepared to come away frustrated with too many good ideas (of things you'd like to see) for you to fit in. Perhaps you can rank the two or three most important to you and your son.

And keep in mind that you can leverage your lodging expense(s) by getting out of Paris for one more night than you planned. Spend less, or get more or both, by getting out of the big city.

Best wishes,

Rex
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rex is offline  
Feb 13th, 2003, 01:43 PM
  #3  
 
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You may be trying to do too much in seeing Versaille and the D Day landing beaches in 1 1/2 days. Having seen both I would choose D Day landing beaches, American Cemetery, etc. over Versaille. You can see Versaille by taking a train (maybe 40 minutes) to Versaille and make this a half a day trip. We drove to Bayeux from Paris and spent 3 days and wish we could have spent twice that time. It may be more efficient to take the train to Caen, rent a car or pick up a tour than trying to drive. Someone else who may have done this may be able to offer the best suggestion.
rlbplf is offline  
Feb 13th, 2003, 01:53 PM
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Just having been to Versailles, I wouldn't think to combine that with a long ride to Bayeux, leaving you really only a few hours to see the beaches.

First of all, Versailles itself is a very large estate with the main palace, many outbuildings, and extensive gardens. There are substantial walking distances among those places. Going there for less than 3-4 hours would be too rushed imo. It's easy to spend an entire day there. Also, there's no need to have a car to go to Versailles from Paris; it's a short ride on the RER suburban train system from the heart of Paris. Once you get out at the Versailles Rive Gauche station (check because not all Versailles trains stop at that stop), you have about a half-mile walk to the chateau.

Many people drive to the Normandie beaches but they usually have 2-3 days to spend there. Alternatively you can do the bus tour from Paris and just have one very long day, but at least you will see the highlights.

There are also battlefield tours that are run by the museum in Caen, as well as tour organizations that you can hook up with from either the Caen or Bayeux train stations. That might be a better way to do a short overnight visit.
elaine is offline  
Feb 13th, 2003, 01:55 PM
  #5  
 
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Agree with rlbplf on choice of D Day beaches ovr Versailles. Another suggestion is train from Paris to Bayeux(Approx. 3 hours I believe) Stay on Bayeux overnight and train back to Paris.
Tours of D Day beaches can be found at
www.normandywebguide.com
Have fun
John is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 11:49 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for your helpful replies. Based on your suggestions, I have done further research. My tentative plan is now as follows:

1. 9:08 am train Paris St. Lazarre to Bayeux, arriving 11:17 am on Saturday, June 14.

2. D-Day Tour (with Normandy Sight Seeing; thanks for the link, John), 1:15 pm-6:00 pm.

3. Spend the night in Bayeux.

4. 9:04 am train on Sunday morning to Paris connecting with train to Versailles, arriving 11:45 am.

5. Tour Versailles.

6. Train back to Paris for dinner.

7. Perhaps stay Sunday night at hotel near CDG airport (I have a 10:15 am flight out the next morning.

This itinerary will enable us to see some highlights (I realize its rushed and much more time would be desirable).
Its also significantly less expensive (E98 for 2 for the train round trip and E90 for 2 for the D-Day tour vs. E396 for the Paris Vision day trip to the Normandy beaches,etc.)

Any further thoughts/suggestions? Do you think we would have time to quickly see the Bayeux Tapestry before our D-Day tour starts? We will have 2 hours after arrival if the train is on time. Any suggestions on a hotel near CDG? How much in advance of my flight do I need to get to CDG? Thanks again for your help.
bobdal is offline  
Feb 14th, 2003, 12:17 PM
  #7  
 
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To really see the tapestry properly you should see the film before the actual viewing of the tapestry all of which takes about an hour and a half I would say. Think about visiting the cathedral in Bayeux instead. It dates to around 1000 AD and you could take a quick look around before the D Day tour. Another option might be the British cemetery which is in Bayeux proper or a D Day museum. I didn't visit the museum so can't comment on it. At the British cemetery is a very large monument with the phrase in Latin that translates something like, "we who were conquered by William have come to liberate you". Long memories are alive in Europe!

Otherwise you could just walk around Bayeux for awhile. It is a very pretty village. Sorry I can't help with the CDG hotel question.
rlbplf is offline  
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