Normandy/D Day Experience

Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Normandy/D Day Experience

Traveling by train to visit the Normandy area with 2 nights and 1 full day. What town do you suggest staying in and without a car how easy is it to see the beaches, museums, etc. Would love any tips. Any hotel suggestions?
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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Not possible with public transit in one day. You need to either rent a car or join a tour.) (Public transit is designed for locals and will not get you to many of the beaches, cemeteries and memorials, esp in just one day
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:11 PM
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"without a car how easy is it to see the beaches, museums, etc." Nearly impossible!

Probably, in your position, Bayeux would be the best location to spend the night.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:19 PM
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Stay in Bayeux and take a tour. Google the tour companies to see what suits you. We liked Overlord. Wide choice of tours and excellent guides. They pick up outside of the Churchill hotel.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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If it helps change your mind about renting a car in Normandy, I found driving in Normandy to be really easy - and yes, I was a little nervous about it beforehand. My biggest worries were in the first five minutes after getting my car in Caen - once I navigated out of town to the main highway, driving around was a piece of cake.

Actually, as much as I enjoyed the D-Day sites in Normandy, the beautiful countryside was a big highlight too.

I took a train from Paris to Caen and rented my car there and drove around to the sites. I stayed three nights - two in Bayeux (closer to Omaha Beach), the last night in Caen. Most people prefer Bayeux to Caen, as Bayeux is a beautiful old town (plus you can see the tapestry) and Caen (larger) was bombed out in WWII and mostly rebuilt. I happened to prefer Caen, actually. I found Bayeux a tourist trip, the kind of place where the locals left at the end of the workday, whereas Caen felt like a lively town.

If you do choose to rent a car, you may have more/cheaper options to rent in Caen just because it's a larger town. You can still stay over in Bayeux even if you rent in Caen, though. The train to either town from Paris is probably about the same. (It's been over ten years since I visited.)
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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We rented in Caen but you can rent a car in Bayeux just check the drop off and pick up times. Caen had a better schedule for us. We loved Bayeux but it is very quiet at night. Great places to eat though.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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If you don't rent a car (which I would but totally understand if you don't want to) -- you really will have to take one of the tours. Most are really excellent.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 02:11 PM
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All good suggestions. I suppose we could also take a tour that leaves from Paris and includes overnight in one of the towns. Or of course rent a car which I can see is necessary unless on a tour. Thanks so much!
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 02:20 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily tae a tour from Paris - those are VERY long days. You can take a local tour once you are in Normandy and not feel so rushed. I'd stay a couple of nights and spend one day on a tour of the beaches/battlefields and the other 1/2 a day or so exploring other bits.
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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If you are only going to the D-Day area to see the tapestry museum and take a D-Day tour then you really don't need to stay two nights and there is no need for a car. Take a train to Bayeux and on your arrival day you can explore Bayeux itself and visit the tapestry museum. The next day take a D-Day tour and at the end of the tour take the train back to Paris. If you were going to stay for more than one full day then I'd agree that a car would be worthwhile but if your only objective is to see the tapestry museum and do a D-Day tour then you don't need one. You can look at the Bayeux tourist office website to find a hotel:

http://www.bessin-normandie.com/uk/
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Old Jan 11th, 2014, 08:44 PM
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I just came back from a tour with Malcolm Clough (http://www.d-daytoursnormandy.com/) and was so impressed by his approach, enthusiasm, knowledge, and accommodating personality. I highly recommend him. And you travel by Mercedes Benz SUV. Not too shabby. It's an impressive place.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 06:51 AM
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I saw the tapestry museum and did a tour and only spent one day, I didn't stay overnight. It was a good introduction, I thought we saw the main things one one want to see, if American in a half-day tour. It was about 5 hours (1-6 pm). I preferred to do that on my own as it is cheaper and I like making my own schedule, but I think there are one-day tours from Paris. The length of day isn't a problem given you return at a very normal hour of day (early evening), and you would be doing somethign that day anyway, so I don't see why that's a problem.


I didn't have time for any other museum, though.

I really wouldn't take a tour that was overnight when you could choose your own hotel and free time, etc., but I think it is an option.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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The Churchhill hotel was very nice in Bayeux. They have a nice outdoor area where you can sit.It is very quiet at night and you can go out there and have drinks. I loved this whole area for more than the World War11 history. It is beautiful and we really enjoyed driving in the countryside and stopping in many of the villages. My husband had certain things he really wanted to see and we got way off the normal tourist trail so it is up to the individual.
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Old May 10th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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Overlord already has a good reputation . . . Registering to top an old thread to plant an 'ad' for them unfortunately may have the opposite effect of what you intend.
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Old May 10th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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It is certainly not impossible to see the beaches, etc. without a car at all. I've done it as do many others. You simply sign up for one of the many tours that take you there. Many start in Bayeux, so that would be the best base.

I used D-Day TOurs or something like that.
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Old May 10th, 2014, 12:39 PM
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janisj: Overlord already has a good reputation . . . Registering to top an old thread to plant an 'ad' for them unfortunately may have the opposite effect of what you intend.

I flagged the spam post because the same person posted almost exactly the same thing on another travel forum this morning (also newly registered there).
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Old May 11th, 2014, 02:50 AM
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I agree Bayeux. This video might help you see what is available. Two nights and one day to "see Normandy" isn't near enough time, but of that's all you can spare...

http://www.youtube.com/embed/AmrCH0AhbDg
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Old May 11th, 2014, 03:07 AM
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I don't think the OP is still looking. Posted back in January. (The thread was topped by a spammer)
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