Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

A week in Normandy plus some touristy UK stops

A week in Normandy plus some touristy UK stops

Jul 29th, 2012, 12:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
A week in Normandy plus some touristy UK stops

I would imagine that the specifics of my trip (an American family in the Midlands, UK driving to Normandy) are somewhat unique; however, hopefully there are bits and pieces that can help some in their planning.

We crossed the channel via the tunnel, stayed a night in Rouen and then 5 nights in Bayeux before heading back on an overnight ferry to Portsmouth.

As usual, photos and comments on my blog. I'll add some trip report info here a little later as well.

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/normandy.html
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 03:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
Thanks for sharing yet another family outing! It is fun to revisit places I have been and to see some new ones. The kids seem to be growing fast!
irishface is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 03:32 PM
  #3  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,176
I very much enjoyed your photos and report. It was nice to see places we have been to as a family as well, and of course places we still want to visit. Traveling with kids is so much fun. Our are older now, and still fun to travel with, but of course it changes from when they were young. Your report is making me want to plan yet another trip
mms is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 04:00 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,949
I always enjoy your FFO's (Fun Family Outings)! Thanks for sharing your trip!
willowjane is offline  
Jul 29th, 2012, 07:17 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,139
Thanks for sharing your trip report.
We will be in Normandy in September and hope to visit many of the sites you did.

We are also staying at the Chateau in Bayeux for 4 nights so am looking forward to our stay and have booked a dinner there also.

Pictures looked great and weather looked great too!
aussie_10 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 12:31 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,909
great set of photos,
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 08:50 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Hi Indy_Dad,

Looks like a great trip. Your kids are about the age of my grandchildren –excellent age to tour and explore.

I recently took a tour of Normandy so we visited many of the same sites. You first pic of “Les Braves” monument on Omaha Beach was great. Glad you had good weather. When we were there in early June, the weather was ferocious. In fact, I only saw that monument from the bus.

Same weather at the cemetery but it was still moving. I did not walk out among the graves as far as I might have in better conditions.

One question – where did you park at MSM? I know that you cannot park on the causeway anymore.

Again, thanks for sharing your family’s adventures.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 11:29 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Thanks for the responses.

@latedaytraveler -- there is a big parking lot outside of town now for MSM. It's well signposted. You have to trek a bit into town to then catch the shuttle or walk some more across the causeway. They have a pay station near the restrooms near the parking lots to pay before you leave (8.50€ for any decent stay).

@aussie_10 -- we booked our dinners at Chateau de Damingy on the day. I'd suggest trying it early in your stay. You may find you want to do it more than once (as did we). You can't get a meal of that quality in town for that price.

More later . . .
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 31st, 2012, 06:57 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Indy_Dad, thanks for the explanation. Just wondering since the parking situation has changed at MSM.

Really enjoy reading about your family travels…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 01:06 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,028
Thanks for another fascinating trip report. I really think you are going native - not French native, but U.K. native, as this is the sort of holiday that many middle-class British families would identify with. It's a world away from the "how many famous places can we see in a short space of time" trips that appear so often on this site. You also drove your right-hand-drive car on the right-hand-side of the road, the idea of which scares some people witless.

I note that you had to wait at the Eurotunnel terminal because you arrived 2 hours early. My experience is that Eurotunnel will invariably offer you the next available shuttle, whatever the time of your booking. You can choose whether to go straight away, or spend some time in the terminal. Similarly, if you arrive late, they will offer you the next available shuttle. That does take away some of the pressure to arrive at Cheriton at exactly the right time. Then M25 and M20 are notoriously unreliable regarding congestion.
chartley is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 03:06 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Thanks, Chartley.

As we drove down on the first Saturday of the summer holidays, the next available option wasn't available for us and we were told to stick to our assigned spot (full up apparently).

That said, seeing how it is done, we probably could have merged in perhaps 1 train (15 minutes) before since the boarding process was a little more "general" than I would have assumed.

We arrived so early precising for the unknown traffic issue. It was no problem, but better safe than sorry.

It's still not a proper British holiday because I only took 1 week. Everyone here seems to prefer the 2-week block. That's too much family closeness at one time for us.
indy_dad is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 03:09 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,028
Since you were travelling on the first Saturday of the school holidays, that would make the shuttle a lot busier. I understand that the busiest days are usually at the end of the school half-terms, especially in February, but any school holiday would create extra demand.
chartley is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 03:46 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,892
I loved the Photos of France. It was the worst sort of trip report in that I want to down tools, get in the car, and head off for the ferry port
willit is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 05:13 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Since you were travelling on the first Saturday of the school holidays, that would make the shuttle a lot busier. I understand that the busiest days are usually at the end of the school half-terms, especially in February, but any school holiday would create extra demand.

Right -- that's why I couldn't slide into an earlier slot. They were all full so I had to wait my turn. (Just to be clear -- I think we are saying the same thing!).
indy_dad is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 10:19 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,641
just found this indy - again you have explored parts that in my 55 years in the UK i have yet to reach.

hopefully this will NOT be happening in cornwall, but you never know!
annhig is offline  
Aug 1st, 2012, 10:33 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 834
Looks like you had another fun and successful family trip. Your France pics brought back a lot of good memories from our trip to the same area last year. Thanks for posting them. The ferry looked like it was a pretty cool thing to do. I would really like to try that if I ever get back there.
john183 is online now  
Aug 1st, 2012, 01:12 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Glad you chimed in, john183. I wanted to let you know that your report on Etretat was a key factor in us deciding to go (along with another recommendation from another guest at our B&B). We really enjoyed it.

Looking forward to Cornwall, annhig. Can you dial up the nice weather for the week we are there? We've had good luck so far . . .

Also, no singing required to drive on the right. It was surprisingly easy to revert back for me.
indy_dad is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2012, 09:38 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,641
Also, no singing required to drive on the right. It was surprisingly easy to revert back for me.>>

yes, but how did you get on driving back on the LEFT again - that's the test!
annhig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2012, 12:38 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
yes, but how did you get on driving back on the LEFT again - that's the test!

No singing required for that either. I guess I'm auto-ambidextrous now.
indy_dad is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2012, 12:54 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Okay, back to some trip report info.

Where we stayed:

Rouen, Ibis Rouen Champ de Mars (1 night)
2 double rooms, 50€ each with pre-pay. Easy access with car. 10-15 minute walk into the historic center. Very basic, but fit for purpose.

Bayeux , Churchill Hotel (2 nights)
1 family room, 190€/night. Stayed here because the chateau below wasn’t available all 5 nights. Nice choice for staying in town. Parking worked out but their claim that they have parking is a little dubious (not 24 hrs in my book though there are some options that aren’t too far away). Very helpful and friendly staff, particularly the gentleman in the afternoon. Pricey breakfast was not included so we ate elsewhere.

Bayeux, Chateau de Damigny (3 nights)

http://www.chateaudamigny.fr/?lang=en

2 rooms, €80 each including breakfast. 5 minute drive into Bayeux. Family run and very peaceful. Fairly new B&B with 5 rooms. Rooms were nice; nothing fancy about the common areas or outside but friendly. Best part was the ”table d’hotes” with the hosts and other guests. 28€ pp (half for kids) including multiple course and drinks. Vincent has trained as a chef in addition to running the B&B and the food was outstanding and spending the night with the other guests was very enjoyable. We did it two nights. Best food of the week; felt very French. Highly recommended.

English Channel, Brittany Ferries (1 night)
Overnight ferry (11 pm to 6:30 a.m.) from Ouistreham (Caen) to Portsmouth. Cozy cabin for 4. £344. This worked out really well and was a neat experience. We slept well.
indy_dad is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:18 PM.