Local tours of D-Day sites in Normandy

Old Jan 2nd, 2002, 10:57 AM
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Local tours of D-Day sites in Normandy

We are thinking of taking a train from Paris to Normandy and then view the beaches, cemetery and other historical sites. Would like to use a local tour company to do this. Looking for any recommendations and information (web addresses?)on these companies.
We are trying to decide between Bayeux and Caen. Any pros and cons on either? Prefer a "village" atmosphere. Probably spend 1 or possibly 2 nights before heading back to Paris. We likely will not have a car. Hotel or small B&B recommendations would be helpful too.
Thanks for your help
Old Jan 2nd, 2002, 11:16 AM
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Hi David

We stayed in the B&B below when we were in Bayeux in June 2000. Loved the big rambling house, owned by Col. and Rosemary Chilcott. The Col. leads tours to the beaches. We didn't do his tour (it's pricy and more in-depth than we wanted), but others on this board have posted positively. You may want to do a search on "Chilcott," if the search function is working today.

We chose Bayeux over Caen because we wanted a smaller town. We were happy with our choice. Don't miss the tapestry--rent the audio guide, view the short film, but skip the mock up before you get to the tapestry.

Le Manor des Doyens
St Loup Hors
14400 France
From US: 011 33 2 31 22 39 09
[email protected]

Bon voyage
Old Jan 2nd, 2002, 10:52 PM
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I did a similar trip in 1999 and had a great time. You'll definitely want to stay in Bayeux. It is a lovely small village. Caen is more of a modern town (I think it was destroyed in the war, so not very "quaint" now).

Sorry, I don't have any recommendations on tours. We rented a car, which was very easy and convenient. The beach sites and cemetary are amazing. Definitely try to take some time to wander around Bayeux -- see the tapestry and the old church there. Also, if you have time, the war museum in Caen is GREAT.

Have fun! PW
Old Jan 3rd, 2002, 09:00 AM
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You can contact me directly, I will be happy to organize this package for you and your family . We have local tours from Bayeux and train tickets from Paris + hotel in Bayeux.
email me for info.
Old Jan 14th, 2002, 06:57 PM
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Message: I'm interested to hear from PW or others where they picked up there car to tour Normandy & Brittany. Is it easier to get it at the airport in Paris ,or should you train or bus to Bayeux or Caen, etc. I'm concerned about how dificult it would be to drive out of th airport area. We are planning to do this trip in the fall & would appreciate getting info. on driving.
Old Jan 14th, 2002, 08:11 PM
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Another vote for Bayeux. We stayed at the Chateau d'Argouges (recommended by Karen Brown book) at a very reasonable rate. We've recommended the hotel to two other groups of friends, and everyone was very satisfied, especially at the price ($65 for a double in October 1999; rate essentially the same for friends in November 2001). In answer to Paul's questions about driving: We rented from the Hertz station in Paris so I can't comment on driving in the airport area, but we had no problems finding our way to the highway from Hertz. We generally stayed on secondary roads which may be a bit slower but are certainly more interesting. Visited Giverney and spent the first night in Rouen. Visited the Peace Museum in Caen and then spent two nights in Bayeux. If you're in Normandy to tour the D-Day beaches, the Peace Museum is a must. We found the driving (on secondary roads) to be stress-free (though a detailed map is essential), and the local people extremely friendly and welcoming.
Old Jan 14th, 2002, 11:20 PM
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Definitely Bayeux for the "village atmosphere". Caen was flattened during WWII and is mostly an assemblage of concrete blocs now. Reminded me of East Berlin. While in Bayeux don't pass up one of the world's great art treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry.
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 04:29 AM
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We (myself, husband and son) are doing this as a day trip from Paris while we are there next week - would prefer to overnight in Bayeux but since our trip is so short, it was day trip or not at all.

We are taking the train from Gare St Lazare to Bayeux at 9 a.m., arrive 11:15, then taking a half-day tour with a company called Busfly Tours (www.busfly.com). The train is 151 Euros for 3, the tour is about 90 Euros for 3. We then take the return train to Paris at 6:30. I don't remember the exact cost for Parisvision tours but think it was quite a bit more, and we didn't want to rent a car since our time is so short.

I'll let you know how this works when we get back!
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 04:35 AM
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I just checked the ParisVision website - their price for this tour is 190 Euros per person . . .
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 04:40 AM
beth anderson
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another vote for Col. Chilcott...
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 05:11 AM
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There are several ways to see Normandy and the D-Day Beaches. You can drive and do your own tour, you can drive or train and take a tour out of Bayeux (train takes about 2 1/2 hours from Gare St Lazare) or Caen, you can just take a day trip with ParisVisions or Cityrama. You can take a few other tours. Here's information:
Brochures for these two should be at your hotel or if not, just stop in any of the larger hotels and look on the counter or stop by their offices.

Paris Visions
214, rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris
Tel: 01-42-60-30-01
Fax: 1-42-86-95-36

4, place des Pyramides
75001 Paris
Tel: 1-44-55-60-00
Fax: 1-42-60-33-71
You can take a train to Bayeux and take a tour with Bus Fly tours which operates van tours of the Normandy Beaches out of Bayeaux. They offer two tours each day leaving at 8:30 and 1:30. The tours are scheduled for four hours.

Bus Fly Tours
B.P 204. 25, rue des Cuisiniers
14400 Bayeux
Tel: (from U.S.) 011-33-2-31-22-00-08 or 011-33-2-33-39-23-52
Fax: (from U.S.) 011-33-2-31-92-35-10
E mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.busfly.com
You can take a tour called Normandy Tours given out of Hotel de la Gare in Bayeux - right by the train station . They give half day tours (in English). The tours are usually about 5 hours, and only costs 140F. It takes you to Omaha beach, the American Cemetary, Pointe du Hoc, and Arromanche to see the WWII Museum.
Tel: 011-33-2-31-92-10-70
You can take a private driver with a van who will pick you up at your hotel, drive you to Normandy, and give you an all day tour. Speaks perfect English. He takes only cash. Nice guy - say hello for me if you should go with him. He uses a van that accomodates up to 6 people. Charges by the tour, not per person.
Jean-Marie Ceccaldi
44 rue Ginoux
75015 Paris
Tel (home) : 011-33-1-45-75-43-12 (from U.S.)
Cellular: 06-09-03-31-53
Fax: 011-33-1-40-93-07-32 (from U.S.)
You can take a guided tour from the museum in Caen.
You can take a tour by Col Chilcott . He conducts private tours of the Normandy WWII sights. He charges per tour plus the cost of diesel and lunch, for a whole day. The day lasts as long as necessary. He's retired from the British military and owns a 300 year old farmhouse in Bayeux where you can stay also. Contact him at:
[email protected]
Web page: http://www.vrbo.com/vrbo/352.htm
Tel: 011-33-2-31-22-39-09 (from U.S.)
Fax: 011-33-2-31-21-97-84 (from U.S.)
For more Paris information e-mail me: [email protected]
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 05:36 AM
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This is a reply for Paul. Our first trip to France, we picked up the car at the airport when we arrived to drive directly to NOrmandy. We thought that was very easy and took about three hours or a little less. We returned the car to the Gard du Nord and thought that was moderately difficult. We now have more of a sense of Paris and I think we would do a little better. But my opinion would be that the airport is the easiest.
Old Jan 22nd, 2002, 06:37 PM
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This is a question for Jean. You mentioned that driving is more stress free on the secondary roads & to have a good detailed map. What map did you use? Also what very good basic maps do others use. The Michelin Maps have been recommended to us. Are there any others that are 'better' to use. We need something that will give us the most details & be easy to use.
Thanks, Paul
Old Jan 22nd, 2002, 07:57 PM
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Thanks for all the replies and information. With a little research on my part the obvious place to stay is Bayeux.
The question i have concerns renting a car. Is it possible to rent one in Bayeux or do you do it out of Caen? We will be taking a train to Bayeux and if we can rent a car there I would consider touring the area on my own; if not then we'll be limited to taking a tour...which might be best anyway. Any info on cars is appreciated.
We have reservations at Hotel D'Argouges and are looking forward to our stay.
Old Jan 22nd, 2002, 08:22 PM
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We used a Michelin map of northern France that I called "The Tablecloth." That's how big it was. We stopped at a highway gas station (which in France are great -- food, coffee, sundries, clean restrooms) and found another Michelin map that was more focused on the Caen to Cherbourg area. It was just as detailed as the first map but slightly smaller.
Old Jan 23rd, 2002, 09:12 AM
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How was the bus fly tours half day excursion to the beaches?

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