Normandy Tour recommendations

Feb 7th, 2003, 09:48 AM
Original Poster
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Normandy Tour recommendations

I will be in the Caen/Bayeux area in June and want to tour the D-Day battlefield/beaches. Can anyone recommend a good guide company?

Alternatively, is it reasonably easy for an American to rent a car and tour the area alone?
Tarn is offline  
Feb 7th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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It's great to tour on your own - - but the bad news is that it is hard to get a good car rental rate for a one day rental.

On the positive side, Normandy would be very worth your time for three days, or seven days of your time.

Best wishes,

[email protected]
rex is offline  
Feb 7th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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here are some websites about tours in Normandie


Caen's Museum of the Battle of Normandy offers guided minivan tours of the D-Day beaches. Tours include admission to the museum. Half-day tours depart at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and cover Longues-sur-Mer, Pegasus bridge, Arromanches, Courseulles, and Douvres for $50. Full-day tours ( 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) add the American and German cemeteries, St. Mere l'Eglise, and lunch, and cost roughly $75. (Contact the Caen Museum and pay in advance, tel. 02 31 06 06 44

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:

Driving yourself, advice from this message board
Advice from Fodor’s forum:
Jan 2001: “ I sent the www. normandy-tourism. org website staff an email and
requested their literature showing the D-Day sites with different routes all mapped out. We took ourselves by car to Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, following their routes. Their book, "The Battle of Normandy" is excellent - we purchased one at a museum in Bayeux. I also recommend reading Stephen Ambrose's book, "The Victors," before you go. We stayed at a B&B 1km from the center of Bayeux - I've seen it described here -
"Le Manoir au Pont Rouge" with Lt. Col. and Mrs. Chilcott (he's a retired British military historian who gave us a ten-hour battlefield tour, including other landing sites - you can easily find them yourselves but his detailed stories were fascinating).”

elaine is offline  
Feb 7th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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I have to agree...find a tour operator,. even with a car...all you will see are long beaches , if you have no understanding of what took place , it's not that impressive. You may now how many landed and were lost but the details an expert guide will supply will add to the xperience.
moonbeam is offline  
Feb 7th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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I totally agree with FMinParis. WE were in Bayeux last Sept. and took an all day tour with Francois Gauthro's company. We were in a mini van with one other couple and our guide was a 65 year old gentlemen who was born in Bayeux and lived there during WW2. He had many interesting stories to tell about the occupation and D day. Well worth the money.
John is offline  
Feb 7th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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Forgot to mention. He spoke excellent English
John is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:20 AM
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I recommend Battlebus. Based in Bayeux.
redsoxgirl is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:26 AM
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I also recommend Battle Bus, here is their link:

Half or full day tours, very helpgul, written confirmations. Half or full day tours. Speaks english, is english.

Here is a link to several tour operators:
areinert is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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I think that there is a travel agency from St. Malo called Westcapades
that you might want to look into
snorkelman is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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I just posted a full review of Battlebus as a new item. They were great.
redsoxgirl is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 09:02 PM
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We did this 2 years ago and hired a cab at a fixed rate for the day. The "cab" was a mercedes with a capable driver of limited English( at about $200 + tip).The advantage, you can arrive and leave at sites that you would normally have to linger if you were on a huge tour. And then you can linger At Omaha and other great sites without worrying about the bus. How many times in your life do you plan to do this....then go figure. We Went from Normandy to Omaha and then back to Bayeux to see the tapestry and then to Normandy took about 8 am to 6 pm. Took the round trip train from Paris.......effortless! Go and be proud of our country!
Deloris is offline  
May 11th, 2003, 08:02 AM
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I just got back from touring with Normandy beaches with my parents, in their 70's, dad WWII vet...We booked our tour with Victory Tours,
Stayed in their chateau B&B in the French countryside, Chateau de Lignerolles, and took a private, full day tour in his van. It was wonderful! Can't say enough about it. They treated us like long lost friends. This is my second time on their tour and I've sent other people to them with rave reviews! He speaks English and other languages fluently, gives a very informative tour and takes you places that commercial tour companies don't go. Check out the web site. I wouldn't go on one of the big bus tours.

masonk is offline  
May 11th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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I agree with all the above. Arromanches is a must as the Mullberry harbours are still visible (so it's not just miles of beaches). There is a museum on the front there and a little up the road is a good view point.
As for hiring a car for one day in France, I did it in Montpellier in February. Most of the rental companies refused to let me have one for just the day. One of the companies did, but at a cost of 85 Euros (just under $100), and they wanted 300 Euros returnable bond. Getting the car was a necessity for me but I still shuddered at the price.
AR is offline  
May 11th, 2003, 09:41 AM
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I had a car for a week and did it on my own, mostly because I hate being herded inside minivans without the ability to stop at each and every little quaint spot. I joined some tours in progress and got the gist of what I needed and had an exceptionally great time. One highlight was stopping at a local Calvados distillery and buying a bottle to sip in the car along the way.
usbeauty is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 05:18 PM
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We did most of the Normandy coast on our own. One thing I did want to share was that while there for 3 days, stayed at the Chateau Du Bosque and loved it. The chateau was extremely old and had a moat encircling it. The owner spoke no english but will definately will go back. It was 6-8 km from the Normandty coast.
mckinleythompson is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 08:50 AM
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My wife and I stayed with Col Chilcott and also took his tour. His is a wonderful guide as he has the personal military experience, knows quite a lot about WWII history and of course lives in the area. Our tour began with a review in his map room so that anyone who had limited knowledge of the invasion could easily understand what you would see on the tour. Our group, three couples, then decided to see the Omaha Beach area. We visited the British and German cemeteries, Pont du Hoc, several gun emplacements, drove along Omaha Beach stopping to go out onto the beach just below the American Cemetery and then up to the cemetery. In total we spent about 10 hours from start to finish and time flew by. If you have a video camera take it to record not only the sights but the commentary. We had a car and drove to see the Pegasus Bridge site just outside Caen and visited the catherdral in Bayeux as well as the tapestry. We wish we would have allowed more time for this part of France but will definitely return and will have Col Chilcott take us to Utah Beach area next.
rlbplf is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Our family of 4 contracted with the Colonel as well. It was only us on the tour which made it absolutely perfect. Since we 'dwadled' at one site, he came back for us the next morning and spent another 1/2 day at no additional charge. I'd take his tour again in a heartbeat - we saw so much and learned so much that just wouldn't be possilble trying to do it on our own. Just the driving and finding some of the backroads would have created havoc in the car!
cmeyer54 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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actually for making a tour to normandy depends from where you want to depart, but still can contact memorial de caen or cie who do tours to mont st michel too
dabo is offline  
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