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Paris/London- Normandy in between?

Old May 10th, 2017, 10:50 AM
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Paris/London- Normandy in between?

We are traveling to Paris for a few days and then we were planning to take Eurostar to London to visit friends. Easy.

However, S/O would like to see the D-Day beaches and I wouldn't mind seeing Mont St. Michel as well.

I'm having difficulty figuring out how to do this exactly and how much time to factor in. I understand it's tough to go from Paris to Normandy as a day trip so my ideal scenario would probably be to check out of Paris hotel early morning, get to Normandy (by train? or by rental car?), tour beaches and/or castle (can we do both same day?) (tour on our own or with a tour?), spend the night nearby (where?), and instead of going back to Paris, hop on a local flight to England? (doesn't have to be London, but somewhere with easy train access) - I would be fine spending a night/day touring a quaint English town before heading to London.

My instinct is to say "not this trip" because that train from Paris to London would be simple. But before I scrap the idea altogether, I thought I would stop here and ask my Fodor's friends Truthfully, If someone thinks I could make this work (relatively painlessly), I'd like to, since the ONLY request my S/O had was to see the Normandy d-day beaches!

thanks for your help!
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:05 AM
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We are hoping to do a similar thing in the fall or next spring, so I am curious about this as well.
Although, we will be going to London first, on to Normandy, Mont St. Michel etc., then to Paris and flying out of Paris. At least that is the plan for now.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:19 AM
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You can take a ferry to Portsmouth and then a train to London or fly from I think Deauville.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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There are flights (not every day) from Caen to Southend, which is way out on the east coast, an hour's train ride from central London. Otherwise, there is the overland route Le Havre - Portsmouth (almost two hours' train ride from London).
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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:44 AM
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You cannot see much of Normandy and MSM in one day. Two full days or three nights would suffice. Whether you should do it or not depends on how much time you have for London and Paris.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:00 PM
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Caen, Cherbourg, Le Harve and St. Malo (much further west) all have ferries to England, I think most from Cherbourg land at Poole/Bournemouth, you would want Portsmouth in terms of a bit closer train to London but not by much. Many of the ferries are overnight, you can book cabins (tiny).

Bayeux is often preferred/suggested as a base because it's a pretty town and also has the amazing Bayeux Tapestry. Caen is very convenient with an an incredible D-Day museum. http://normandy.memorial-caen.com

You can arrange a tour to the beaches and cemeteries through the museum, there are several other tour companies as well. Not a lot of charm in Caen or Ouistreham, its port, as the Germans and Allies bombed the hell out of them, but possibly would be the best base without a car and for a short stay.
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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:02 PM
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Just read the part about wanting to see Mt St Michel, if that's the case, leave St Malo in the mix as a possible departure point to the UK. Just avoid booking to Plymouth as that will take quite far southwest in England.
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Old May 11th, 2017, 04:18 AM
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Thanks everyone. I will start looking at some of these options.
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Old May 13th, 2017, 01:17 PM
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Ok, after reading up on your suggestions, I'm thinking of taking a train from Paris to Bayeux late afternoon, get a hotel in Bayeux, walk around, have dinner, relax.

Next morning - take a tour - link below - it's a full day 8am to 6pm and I think S/O would love it, we'll have to watch "Band of Brothers" before going:
http://overlordtour.com/overlordtour-tour-3.html

I don't think I want to spend the extra day going to Mont St. Michel, it's just too much. Perhaps my next trip.

Still trying to figure out the best way to get to UK. I guess Caen to Southend by plane. I'd prefer to fly into Stansted but that's more complicated.
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Old May 13th, 2017, 01:25 PM
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I took a ferry from Oustreham - port of Caen - to Portsmouth (or was it Southhampton?) - day boats were as low as 39 euros if booked in advance - I did the overnight boat that has private accommodations too - save on a hotel cost and have the trappings of a cruise -lots on divergences on board.

Bayeux is close to Caen- few minutes by train - stay there for the D-Day tours (mini-buses pick up at many hotels) and great cathedral and very famous Queen Matihlda's Tapestry documenting the 1066 Norman Invasion of England - then take train to Mont-St-Michel

stay the night

then take buses that take you to Rennes train station for TGV trains to Paris.

For info on trains check www.voyages-sncf.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Book far in advance for sweeet discounts on TGVs - Bayeux to Pontorson (railhead for Mont-Saint-Michel is a regional train with no discount for advance purchase - just buy in Bayeux or Caen.)
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