DDay Tours - private or group?

May 28th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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DDay Tours - private or group?

My husband and I will have one full day this fall, September 20, to spend seeing the DDay sights. I am questioning whether a private guide (well-rated) is worth the extra money (360 euros) versus a group tour with Overlord (190 euros). We are both very interested in the history but we are not "hard-core" WWII buffs by any means. I am worried that the tour group experience may be too big and too hard to follow everything, especially since I have some light hearing loss? But, I'm also thinking 360 euros is a lot to spend since we aren't huge buffs; would it be money well spent versus allocating that money to a different portion of our trip -- namely, other tours in Paris? I'm okay with spending the money on the private tour as long as there really is a major difference in experience. If you think private vs group wouldn't really be a big advantage for our interest level, then I don't think it makes sense to spend the extra money. Help?
candj83 is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 10:23 AM
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for me just seeing the main D-Day locals is enough - read up on it and be your own guide but take the mini-bus tours as they are the only way to get to the key places sans auto - there is a skeletal bus service but not practical for seeing much. And on the bus tour I'm sure they have been around enough to know that mainly older folks or a lot of older folks with hearing problems come on.

Is that saving $170 euros total for two or per person - hopefully for two. Yes go to the Foilies Bergeres or some pricey show in Paris with the savings.

The advantage of a private tour is you can tailor your own route with special interests but you just want the overall - the cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer - a poignant sobering sight and the main American Landing beaches right out front of it.

BTW D-Day in French is Jour-J!
PalenQ is online now  
May 28th, 2015, 10:47 AM
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I did a group tour, but I tend to like those, anyway. I've had good experience with them in many countries, usually the guide is well-versed and knowledgeable, and I actually enjoy meeting other people.

I've never been in one that was that big, not sure your reference, maybe it's different from mine. I never had trouble hearing or understanding, either. The one I did for WWII Normandy was Normandy Sightseeing Tours, not Overlord (do not know Overlord so maybe you have heard they have real large groups, don't know). The group size was only about 6-8 people, not a -problem for me. The limit was a small van, anyway, so don't think there could be any more.

So I thought they were excellent, that's all I can say. Part of the time, you were on your own, anyway, of course but that was just to give you about 45 min free time at Am Cemetery or a few other spots for less. There were talks at each stop, of course.


I did the afternoon Omaha Beach tour as I just came from Paris for the day by train to Bayeux. Their tours are 60 euro half day, 90 euro full day. I can't even imagine paying 190 euro for a group day tour??!! That can't be right, what does it include and for how many days? their website says 60 euro half day, also, and 95 euro full day.

Were you paying them to drive you to/from Bayeux? It's easy to get there by train for not much money at all, which is what I did.
Christina is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 11:03 AM
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PalenQ and Christina,

Yes, the prices include both my husband and I. The private tour is 360E for two people, Overlord is 95E so 190E total. Sorry for the confusion! So yes, we would save 170E if we opt for the group tour.

We will be staying in Bayeux for three nights so we will be planning on taking a full day tour.

Thanks for the suggestion for the sightseeing tour group. I will look into them as well. Overlord has tour bus sizes of either 8 or 19, I think? It'd be MUCH nicer to get in on the smaller size but there is no guarantee what we'll get, according to my correspondence with them.

It sounds like a group tour would fit our needs. We do enjoy meeting other people as well, so that could be nice, too.
candj83 is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 11:50 AM
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I had read a great deal about the landings at Normandy and had seen a lot on TV also, so going without a tour worked fine for me. My sister was less knowledgeable, so she read Stephen Ambrose's book on D-Day as we were in the area. She felt that even reading just that one book helped her understand the history.

However, I think you'd enjoy the private tour very much. My guess is that you'd never regret spending that money for what will surely be an unforgettable experience.
Pegontheroad is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Cornelius Ryan of course also wrote a definitive description of D-Day - "The Longest Day".
PalenQ is online now  
May 28th, 2015, 12:07 PM
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We did the Overload Tour #2 with less then a dozen people in a minibus. I don't remember seeing anything larger leaving from Bayeux that morning, or during the day.

Our guide was a member of the French army reserves and was very knowledgable on the history: https://www.pinterest.com/sanfermines/omaha-beach/
Robert2533 is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 12:10 PM
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sorry, I didn't think of the 190 euro for two people. Now I wasn't focusing on you having a hearing issue, but in the group I was in, that wouldn't be a problem, you could easily position yourself close to the leader. I can't recall if he spoke while we were in transit in the van or not, and if you'd miss something there possibly. You could still try to position yourself sitting closest to him even there. I know it wasn't close to 20.

If Overlord won't guarantee you the size, Normandy Sightseeing clearly says up to a maximum of 8 people, I'd book with them. They were excellent, no reason not to. Personally, I would regret very much paying 360 euro for a private tour if it weren't necessary, that is an obscene amount of money for me. And I am a history buff, actually, but not a super WWII hobbyist, of course. In fact, if the private tour isn't that good, you probably will really regret it even more (what if you don't like the person, for example, it happens). At least, write Normandy Sightseeing and ask what they charge for a private tour for comparison. They were always very prompt in responding to my emails.
Christina is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 12:14 PM
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I won't spend the extra for the private tour given your interest level.

I think a small group tour would be perfect. We did a smaller tour in a van and it was a wonderful experience.
davispeets is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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I was in Bayeux in August - busy time of course and the Tourist Office had brochures and was booking several D-Day Tours - maybe the site has some info on them.
PalenQ is online now  
May 28th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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I can only imagine a private tour being worth it for specific circumstances of people with personal links to certain happenings with special people or places that they would want to see. Otherwise, both private and public tours will take you to all of the same places and tell you all of the same things.
kerouac is online now  
May 28th, 2015, 03:23 PM
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Some tour companies run itineraries for special interests, such as the Juno Beach route for Commonwealth landings. Small vans can be flexible, depending on the driver/guide. When I mentioned a famous film clip of troops coming out of a landing craft in front of some shoreline buildings, the guide turned the vehicle around and drove us to see that skyline.
Southam is offline  
May 28th, 2015, 04:27 PM
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We took Overlord Tours two years ago and enjoyed it very much. A small minivan picked us up in front of the Churchill hotel next to where we were staying at the Villa Lara in Bayeux. The tour guide was very well informed and interacted with the group very well. I would do it again if I had the opportunity.
waterdog is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 12:35 PM
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Thank you all for the great replies! It's so hard knowing what to do in these situations and you've really helped give me the confidence to make a decision with going with the group route.

PalenQ, I got a chuckle from your suggestion...I looked up Foilies Bergeres and for the dates we will be there it will be a show of traditional American music. It would be funny to travel to France to see a show of America.
candj83 is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 01:06 PM
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Robert2533, I forgot to add, thanks for the pinterest link. Lovely pictures. I imagine the fogginess added to the experience.
candj83 is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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I must say that either I'm not tha tmuch knowledgeable and I'm getting bored, or I am and I find myself irritated by approximations of the guide.
So either way, I go by myself, alone, with a parerguide in the best of cases.
pariswat is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 02:44 PM
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We stayed in Bayeux for three nights and did it on our own. My husband is a history buff so he had this one down. I enjoy tours but liked that we did this at our own pace and reflected on what was important to us. The American cemetery was so impressive and moving. We spent a lot of time there.
flpab is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 02:45 PM
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and if you're into biking you can do about the same tour as the mini-bus tours in an easy day - at least I did. Bike rentals available in Bayeux.
PalenQ is online now  
May 29th, 2015, 02:48 PM
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pariswat, I know what you mean! I researched the Battle of the Bulge history a lot and picked my Dad's brain so we could retrace his time there. I didn't want a tour guide. We just did a tour in Ireland and loved all the things we saw but wanted the guide to shut up at one point. I was lagging behind and he waited for me to catch up so I could hear....I just wanted to soak in the views at that point.
flpab is offline  
May 29th, 2015, 07:23 PM
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Just remember, not all guides are created equal. Some are full of information not normally avaliable to the general public, and some are simply full of hot air.
Robert2533 is offline  

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