Bayeux or Caen base for D Day touring

Jun 14th, 2016, 06:01 AM
Original Poster
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Bayeux or Caen base for D Day touring

Two girlfriends and myself will be in Normandy for 3 days early September. One guidebook recommends Bayeux, another Caen as a base for D Day touring. Would like to know what Fodorites who have been there would recommend, and if you can recommend a hotel (approx. 150 euros/night if possible). Also would you recommend a half day tour, or visit on our own?
Any help appreciated! Thanks
crennaker is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 06:25 AM
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Bayeux, for sure. Caen was blown to smithereens in WWII and is mostly rebuilt. Bayeux was spared. But do spend a day in Caen if you can. There's a good deal to see there, including Le Mémorial, which can take 2-4 hours to see properly.

You won't see much of the D-Day sites in a half-day tour, and you can't really visit on your own without a car. How much time do you have there?
StCirq is online now  
Jun 14th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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Another vote for Bayeux. If you want to see the tapestry, bet there about 10 minutes before it opens in the morning so you can pay for admission right away and beat the tourist buses.

From Bayeux you can easily visit Mont Saint Michel and the D-Day Beaches.
halfapair is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 07:03 AM
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Bayeux generally, especially if you're American because the access to Omaha Beach is relatively quick and easy. Visit the American Cemetery at Omaha. Easy to do on your own.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 07:08 AM
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Bayeux is a beautiful old town that most people would recommend; I stayed there for two nights on my visit to the D-Day beaches. I felt that the town emptied of locals after 5PM and that in the evening, all I saw were other tourists. I spent one night in Caen, and it felt like a regular, vibrant town full of locals at night. Because of that, I liked Caen better as a base.
Andrew is online now  
Jun 14th, 2016, 07:10 AM
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Definitely Bayeux; recommend the Hotel Churchill. If you are traveling by train from Paris, take the train to Caen, pick up your rental car and visit the Memorial Museum that day before driving on to Bayeux. Caen will have a larger selection of cars than renting in Bayeux.
Scootoir is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 07:22 AM
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We just returned from Normandy. We stayed in the Ibis Bayeux Port En Bessin, in the town of Port en Bessin about 9 km from Bayeux. The hotel is well within your budget, and the town has several restaurants right on the port/water. We trained to Caen, rented the car, toured the Peace Museum there, then went to the hotel, on the the first day of our arrival. It wasn't too bad at all for the jet lag concerns.

We took a full day tour from Overlord Tours and loved it! We also had one day for ourselves and went to Mont St. Michel. If you arrive there early, you will still have time to see additional D-day sites. We chose to head directly to Bayeux and the Tapestry Museum, followed by dinner there.
apersuader65 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2016, 12:29 PM
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On the other side: Caen is a city with more choices of accommodation, dining, etc. Its "peace" museum gets good reviews and runs tours to the beaches. Seeing how Caen has been reconstructed over 70 years is interesting (if you are curious about such things.) And the fortress castle of William the Conqueror, who went the other way across the channel to conquer what is now England, has been partly restored with a small museum. It's right downtown.
More generally, there is an array of tours of the beaches, including some that concentrate on the experience of British Commonwealth armies, including ferocious tank battles around Caen. Some are small-group, others private. Paying for a full day's tour may look expensive, but the amount you can see and learn from a good guide far exceeds a DIY drive-by.
Southam is offline  
Jun 15th, 2016, 08:51 AM
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apersauder65, my husband and I are going in September staying 4 nights in Bayeux and 4 in Rouen. Did you or are you going to write a trip report? Any tips, suggestions or recommendations to pass along?
AGM_Cape_Cod is online now  
Jun 20th, 2016, 10:28 AM
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Cape_Cod - yes, I plan on writing a trip report. I've returned to two weddings and grandkids birthdays. It'll be a few more days/week before I get to it. As for your days, Rouen itself is about one day to 1.5 days. The rest could be well spent traveling to the beach towns of Deauville or Honfluer. We stayed in the Mercure Rouen Centre Cathedrale. Loved the hotel and its location. Nearly impossible to find, and we didn't have a car to park there either.

The concierge recommended (and got reservations for us) at La Petite Auberge and we enjoyed our meal there.
apersuader65 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2016, 10:46 AM
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Bayeux is a beautiful and cozy medieval town. We had a great stay at Le Lion d'Or Hotel.
Olgavictoria is offline  
Jun 20th, 2016, 11:10 AM
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Another vote for historic Hotel Lion d'Or. Churchill and Eisenhower spent time there during WWII. It's restaurant is outstanding too. Reasonable prices, nice rooms, parking. No elevators. Village center near the must see Bayeux Tapestry.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jun 20th, 2016, 11:49 AM
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Having stayed in both Bayeux and Caen on several occasions, I would recommend Bayeux for the first time visitor. But as Southam points out, Caen has much to recommend it.
laverendrye is offline  
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