Paris: Day Trip to Normandy

Sep 21st, 2007, 11:27 AM
  #1  
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Paris: Day Trip to Normandy

Hello - I'm taking my parents to their first trip to France this coming January. We will be there for 7 full days. My dad is a big history buff and I thought he would like to see the area/history around the D Day invasion.

Has anyone done this as a day trip from Paris? It seems to be roughly a 3 hour drive each way - is that correct?

Is the drive worth the history the area offers or should we bag this?

My mom and dad don't travel much and this will most likely be the one/only trip to France.

Thanks in advance.
jodeenyc is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Hi Jodee,

My husband and I will be there in Nov, and have booked a full day tour with a company called Battlebus. The tours have gotten great reviews, but they reuire that you stay in Bayeux the night before as the tour starts at 8:30. We will take the train from Paris, and I think that it is about 2 hours travel time. Check out the Battlebus website. I think that your Dad would really enjoy the tours. Good Luck!
macksix is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Hi!

My husband and I did this with our 13 year old son in July. It was a long day, but so worth it! It was one of the absolute highlights of our trip. I am not usually a tour person, but we took a day trip with Paris Trip - they keep the groups small (although we reserved privately for a non-regular day tour and only had one other person with us - yes, 4 people, one guide). Here is a link to the site:
http://www.paris-trip.com/tours.asp?id=7

Battlebus gets good reviews, but you have to go to Bayeux, as already mentioned. It is also possible to drive, but that makes a long day even longer ... plus, we really valued having a guide as it added a lot to our experience. It was not inexpensive, but it was pretty much at the top of our list of what we wanted to do and see so we decided to go for it.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask additional questions. And, if you click on my name, you can read more about it in my trip report if you are interested.
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:02 PM
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For such a special trip it would be very worthwhile to take Macsix suggestion.Train to Bayeux the night before even if you do not check out of your Paris Hotel.

However, I would make sure to tell your Paris Hotel management that you will be gone 1 night so they don't think you have flown the coop.
gplusg is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:08 PM
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By the way, when I just took a brief look at the website (we planned this months ago), I didn't see the max number of people so you might want to double check. Also, we started at Pointe du Hoc and ended at Caen - I don't know why the order was one way or another, but if it matters to you, ask.
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:36 PM
  #6  
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Thank you all for your quick replies.

So it seems that driving out for the day and doing ourselves is not the recommended option, correct?

full4all -Thanks for posting the website. 12 hours is a lot of history! Kudos to you!

Now I'm torn between doing Paris and taking perhaps two days out of our seven to do this. Again parents need to see a lot in Paris AND they specifically wanted to see Versailles as well which (sorry thinking and typing at the same time) could be combined on this trip I guess....

too many options
jodeenyc is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 01:52 PM
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mms
 
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We have done Normandy twice.

The first time was as a day trip. Long, but worth it. It was our only option on that trip and we were determined to not miss it. Our hotel arranged a private driver for the day.

This summer we were back and spent a couple days there. We did the full day tour with Battlebus, which was excellent. We were kicking ourselves for not booking the 2 day tour. Anyway, I would seriously consider taking the train to Bayeux the day before and staying there so you can take that tour. We stayed at the Churchill Hotel in Bayeux, which Battlebus does their pickups/dropoffs from the edge of the hotels parking lot. So it is as convenient as can be. The hotel is nice, and a great location for in town. The train ride is 2 hours, and you can buy tickets online ahead of time. We booked 90 days out and got great PREM fares.

Whatever you do, do not skip this area!
mms is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 02:25 PM
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Having visited all of the above -- I recommend finding a way to do a guided tour of Normandy.

We took a tour with victory tours (google it for the website) - Roel's pickup is the Bayeux train station at 9am - about 15 minutes after the train from Paris arrived (at that time). There was a family coming from Paris and we waited for them (we were early). A small van (max 8 people) is what he uses.

imho, I would skip Versailles. I know there are many who enjoy it, but since you want to see Normandy, I think that would be too much to do. I, personally, would rather spend the extra time visiting Paris. Especially with a long day to Normandy, I would take 'easy' days before and after.

I loved Normandy and thought it was well worth it. If your father or any relatives landed there, you can tell your guide their unit information in advance and they will look up the details for you.
surfmom is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 03:11 PM
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We used Battlebus and were very pleased. We did a 2 day tour, it was a little much for me but my husband enjoyed every second. You definitely should stay the night in Bayeaux Normandy is an experience you should not miss.
rrspieg is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Hi MMS,

Just wanted to know which website you booked through to get your train tickets to Bayeux. I had not thought of booking them this far in advance, but it sounds like a great idea.

Thanks!
macksix is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Hi
I just reading the responses from people. We returned from Normandy last week, spent three day in Bayeux at the Hotel Churchill Hotel. It's an excellent hotel, the owners were very nice, helpful and spoke English well. The problem for some people may be it has no elevator. There is free parking out back. We drove there, spent 2 days at the beach landings and 2 museums, including the airborne museum in Ste. Mere Eglise If you have time and stay over visit the Bayeux tapastry that describes the story of William the Conqueror and the invasion of Britain. There is some great seafood out this way.
aeiger is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #12  
mms
 
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macksix--I used the voyages-sncf.com website. You can only purchase tickets 90 days out, so mark it on the calendar. The PREM fares sell out fast, so what I did was purchase our tickets to Bayeux when it was 90 days out, then purchase our return tickets a few days later when it was 90 days out for those. Most of the trains do a change in Caen, but we took the ones that didn't. There is a really good thread on how to buy these tickets. Do a search for MorganB and the guide to buying tickets. It was a lifesaver for me!

aeiger--I agree with everything you posted
mms is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Thanks MMS!
macksix is offline  
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