Bayeux & Caen

Old Jan 27th, 2017, 07:29 PM
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Bayeux & Caen

My daughter and I are going to have 4 nights in the Normandy region. Staying one night in Rouen, then have 3 nights - trying to decide between staying all in Bayeux or staying 2 in Bayeux and the last in Caen. Trying to see Mt. St. Michel, and take a tour of D-Day Beaches. Recommendations for where to stay and also to stay 3 nights in Bayeux or split between Bayeux & Rouen.. Thanks!
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Old Jan 27th, 2017, 08:52 PM
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If you are planning to rent a car, I'd stay all three nights in Bayeux. You can easily travel to Caen to see the Memorial Museum or whatever interests you there. We stayed at the Hotel d'Argouges in the center of Bayeux, very near the cathedral and within easy walking distance of great restaurants, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the pick up point for the D-Day tours. Easy drive to MSM, also.
The Hotel d'Argouges is a very pleasant old hotel with a friendly staff and beautiful common rooms. The rooms themselves are fine, if not elaborate. There is private parking, need to reserve it in advance.
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Old Jan 27th, 2017, 09:07 PM
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I stayed two nights in Bayeux and one in Caen when I visited Normandy a few years ago (wow - more like 15 years ago now! Time flies.). Everyone loves Bayeux it seems and shuns Caen because it was mostly bombed out and re-built after the war whereas Bayeux was better preserved or at least re-built in the old manner. Caen feels modern, Bayeux feels old. But I found Bayeux felt like a tourist town, like the locals all went home after 5PM and after that all you saw in the evening were tourists, whereas Caen felt like a vibrant, modern town, not a tourist town. I chose to stay in Caen that last night only to catch an early train, but I'm glad I stayed there the one night.

Also, I took the train from Paris to Normandy and rented a car there - and it was easier/cheaper to rent a car in Caen at least at that time than in Bayeux. I found driving in Normandy very easy, and I didn't even have a GPS at that time; now it would be even easier.

I don't think it's a mistake not to stay in Caen, but you might enjoy Caen, too - depends on your travel interests and preferences. Nothing wrong with Bayeux, and many love it.
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Old Jan 27th, 2017, 11:15 PM
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Agre with Bayeux quainter but more touristy.
Caen has a beautiful cathedral. Superb.
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Old Jan 27th, 2017, 11:27 PM
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I adored Rouen! I was very, very glad to spend a night there.

BUT I wasn't trying to see Rouen AND Caen AND Bayeux AND Mont St Michel in just 4 nights.... I fear that you may be trying to bite off a bit more than you can chew.

If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you mark up a calendar to see how your time compares to your wish list and then adjust as necessary.

No bad choices -- just some very difficult ones. Good luck!
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 01:49 AM
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I loved Bayeux... but I was just completely moved by the "tapestry" so didn't mind that it was a bit touristy. I can recommend Le Manoir Sainte Victoire B&B which is located a quick block from the center and also handy to parking. They have pretty flawless feedback on Tripadvisor and it was a charming, comfy stay. We had a lovely view of the church steeple from our room... but you must be able to navigate some steep and beautiful stairs. We loved the area and hope to return one day.
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 06:01 AM
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Caen has the advantage of being much larger so offers a greater choice of hotels, bistros etc. It suffered huge damage during WW2 so the restoration has some interest of its own. It could be your base for all three nights. The "peace" museum gets good reviews and it runs its own tour to the beaches (and any full-day guided tour is worth every dollar it costs for the insights and context the guide will provide.) The commute to Bayeux, by train or even taxi, is easy, about 30 kilometres. You could rent a car in Caen for one day to drive to Mont St-Michel. As a bonus, the castle-palace of William the Conqueror is in the centre of Caen and worth a look.
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 07:43 PM
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Thanks so much for all your help and advice! I know it's a lot to pack in - it's probably the only time I will see Normandy so trying to fit in as much as we can. One last question - best to do a guided tour of Mt. St. Michel or just tour on our own?
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 08:08 PM
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IMO, no need for a guided tour of Mont St. Michel, but you might want to rent the audio guide to the abbey. If visiting the abbey is a priority, you might want to stay on the island so you can visit it before day-trippers arrive. And the island is magical after dark, after day trippers leave!

Trying to fit things in is one thing, and I fully understand that urge! Just be sure to consider how much time you will spend en route in comparison to the time you actually spend seeing or doing anything. IME, less really is more sometimes. ;-)
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 05:11 AM
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We took a train from Paris to Bayeux several years ago and stayed at the Villa Lara. We took a D-Day tour through Overlord one day and then took the MSM shuttle run by the Hotel Churchill the next day. Both tours picked us up outside the hotel. We toured MSM on our own.
On our last full day in Bayeux we rented a car and drove to Honfleur. We enjoyed staying in Bayeux and seeing the Cathedral and the Tapestry. There is a nice selection of restaurants in town as well.
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