Old Sep 1st, 2017, 10:54 AM
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We are planning a trip to Normandy in May. I've heard wonderful things about Honfleur and thought we would stay there for 4 days and make the drive to the D-Day area daily. I'm rethinking this and wondered if we should stay a few days in Bayeux. I would love input and suggestions!
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 11:28 AM
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I've been to both but didn't stay in either, I was just there during the day for each. Both are small so I personally can't imagine staying 4 days in either one of them. But if you need to stay somewhere for that time, I'd pick whichever is more convenient to your travels.

It sounds like you are thinking 2 days Honfleur and 2 Bayeux, and that sounds like a better plan to me.

I presume you have looked at a map and know how far it is from Honfleur to some of the D-day sites, like Omaha beach. Honfleur is kind of an odd choice for visiting them.
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 12:35 PM
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We stayed three nights in Bayeux and it worked well. Some of the best dining there. We spent days touring and had dinner there in the evening. Nice village and market day on Saturday.
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 12:44 PM
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Bayeux is also a lovely old town -one of few in Cotentin Peninsula not decimated during WW2 - it has a lovely famous cathedral and also in a museum Queen Matildha's famous 1066 Tapestry depicting the successful Norman Invasion of England and subsequent battle where William the Conqueror beat the army of Saxon King Harold.

You could easily day trip from Bayeux to Mont-Saint-Michel for a day too but for most two nights in Bayeux would be enough and two in Honfleur where you could day trip to other nearby seaside gems like Deauville and Trouville.
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 01:58 PM
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I arrived in Bayeux, an easy direct train ride from Paris, for an overnight stay so that I could go on a full-day tour of the D-Day beaches beginning the next morning. After checking into the Hotel Churchill, we unfortunately missed seeing the tapestry that PalenQ mentioned- the museum closed at 6p. Bad planning. We walked through the town and had dinner that night - I don't know what else there is to do there but it's not where I would choose to spend four days. I highly recommend Overlord Travel for a full-day tour of the Normandy beaches. And dress warmly. It was cold and rainy in early September.
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 04:42 PM
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Here's our trip report:
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Old Sep 1st, 2017, 04:44 PM
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I adored Honfleur, but can't say whether it would suit your needs as well as Bayeux or not. I also enjoyed Bayeux, but didn't stay there...
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 01:49 AM
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Honfleur is a pretty little place but I have to admit that after I've walked around the inner basin and the fisherman's basin I've had enough, so 2 nights, not so excited.

Bayeux certainly the walled town is worth a wander, the tapestry is a wow for a couple of hours. But it is a good base to explore other places so I'd drop in for 2 nights without any problems.

I'd consider going onto the Cotentin (not sure Bayeux is really on it) visit St Mere l'eglise, maybe the US beaches with roads named after US Sargents and then go up to St Vaast or Barfleur to see the real rugged Normandy granite coast with sea food to die for and little granite houses down little lanes. Maybe two nights up here.

You might also like the Camembert trail and the Cidre trail down near Bayeux.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 06:50 AM
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Cherbourg though a bleak poorly rebult town from war destruction IME does have one to me awesome site - the old trans-Atlantic ship terminal - a huge hulking structure that hints at its old glories and a lovely port area:

Coutances is a nice regional town with a great cathedral.

Avranches also and from the garden of its bishopric there is an awesome view of Mont-Saint-Michel far in the distance -drop down to the coast here and see the Mont hovering across the vast expanse of sands/water in the distance. Seeing it from there I just imagined the hopes and dreams ancient pilgrims must have had as they saw their mecca and anticipated answers to their prayers in the distance.

If driving to MSMichel Coutances and Avranches are on the way.

Yes Stes-Mere-Eglise for the nice small town and Paratrooper stained-glass window in parish church showing American GI dangling from a church tower he got snagged on for hours.

So lots on Cotentin Peninsula and environs than D-Day beaches
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 08:32 AM
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I agree with bilboburgler about Honfleur. We arrived in the morning, took a bunch of pictures, had lunch and left.

We spent 5 nights in Bayeux and didn't run out of D-Day sights. How much time you should spend there depends on what you want to see.

No one has mentioned the Peace Memorial (museum) in Caen which, if you haven't researched the events of WWII and D-Day, is an excellent introduction and resource for understanding all of the battle sights.

I also don't think Arromanches has been mentioned. You can still see remnants of the artificial harbor (floating piers) erected to off-load men and heavy equipment.

Five landing beaches extending over 50 miles, plus Pont du Hoc. Multiple cemeteries, recreated hedgerows, museums and memorials everywhere... There's so much. This might help you plan:
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 08:34 AM
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Cherbourg port with a fine aquarium and a nuclear launching submarine (cheap to visit) is good, plus you can visit the area's German fortress which lurks over the city from a mountain top. (to add insult the Allies by passed it rather than waste shells). The famous brothels are now gone "the Umbrellas of Cherbourg" for those who can remember back that far.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 12:37 PM
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We too spent the afternoon in Honfleur and thought that was sufficient. Bayeux is more convenient for touring the area. I also hate changing hotels if I do not have to as it wastes time and there is more work finding a second hotel that I like at the right price. We did both MSM and Honfleur in one long day. Also recommend the Overlord tours.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2017, 03:36 PM
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Gee 'Umbrellas of Cherbourg' I always thought referred to an Allied paratrooper landing!

I thought it was Umbrellas Over Cherbourg"!!!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 01:47 AM
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Paratroops not used at St Mere or Cherbourg, the first used gliders and metal croaking frogs (see the longest day) the second, the navy just sailed in.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 07:42 AM
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Actually I'm talking nonsense about the Battle for Cherbourg, it did use American and UK troops with many of the Usa marching up from St Mere, British commandoes were put ashore along the coast to try and stop the Germans blowing up the port, shelling from allied Battleships was rejected as we would have only done the Germans work for them.

Famously the Germans ran out of ammo but got a large final shipment of iron crosses so they could bolster morale.

Fighting was house to house.

If you visit the town the old town based Gestapo HQ is still pock marked with bullet holes, left as a reminder.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 10:47 AM
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I'm glad to see that acknowledged this as I was about to make a few comments.

As a major deep sea port, Cherbourg was an important objective for the Allies. Despite the heavy fighting, shelling and the German efforts to destroy the Harbour it began receiving ships by mid-July 1944.
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