Paris to Normandy

Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:32 AM
  #1  
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Paris to Normandy

Hello Fodorites:

We are planning a trip to Paris with a side trip to Normandy next year. Preliminary plans have us going in mid or late April, get off the plane in Paris, and take a train to our destination in Normandy for 2-3 days, and then return to Paris for the remainder of the trip.

What is a good city to base a tour of Normandy D-Day sites?
How hard are the logistics to get to Normandy from Paris after a 9-10 Hour flight?
Any good D-Day tours?
How is the weather in April?

Any appropriate counsel would be helpful.

Thanks in advance
Greg
VolGreg is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Bayeux is a perpetual favorite D-Day base for FodorFriends it seems and for good reason.

One of the few if perhaps only city in the area not destroyed by war it retains an old charm. Fairly compact there is also the astounding Cathedral and the Uber famous and immense Queen Matilda's Tapestry done shortly after the 1066 Norman Invasion ('liberation of England') and still hanging in a local museum

From Bayeux mini-bus tours take you to the nearby sites such as the Colleville-sur-Mer military cemetery that overlooks some of the beaches that saw the heaviest invastion and German defensive action.

There are about a dozen mini-bus tour companies and they will pick you up at your hotel.

And from Bayeux you can take a train to Pontorson for Mont Saint-Michel then the next day a train or bus to Rennes for TGV back to Paris.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:49 AM
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I would spend a night (or more) in Paris before catching a train to Normandy.

Besides making for a less exhausting first day, it also offers the opportunity to stay in two differnet neighborhoods while in Paris.

How many nights in total is your trip?
bardo1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:52 AM
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Thanks;

Total trip not counting travel days is 9-10days.

Greg
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Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:52 AM
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You will need to go into Paris to get a train to Normandy; this fact led us to rent a car at CDG, drive for a couple of hours to Les Andelys and spend the night there. We drove on to one of our destinations in Normandy the next day. This worked well for us; depending upon your energy level after a long flight, you might not want to schlep into Paris and then get on a train for Normandy. But everyone is different and some prefer it this way.

We stayed in Bayeux as our base for Normandy and used Battlebus for our D-Day tour. The weather in early/mid May ('05) in Normandy was cool-- quite chilly, windy, and rainy on the beaches. I wore cashmere sweaters under my raincoat. Paris (took the train there from Caen, where we returned the rental car) was a bit warmer but still wore the raincoat every day.

Regardless, it was a wonderful trip, and we were pleased with how well the logistics worked out.
grandmere is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 07:05 AM
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toursAn in-depth tour of Juno Beach and inland Private/Personalised Minibus Tours Private D-Day/Battlefield Tours · Military/Staff Rides ...
www.battlebus.fr/tours/

BattlebusBattlebus is an established company offering top quality Normandy tours for small groups ... Minibus Tours of the D-Day Beaches and Battlefields of Normandy ...
www.battlebus.fr/
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 07:09 AM
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Have you thought of renting a car? We rented a car and drove from Paris to Normandy. It doesn't take long to get there - a couple of hours. I would spend the night in Paris for your first night, then drive to Normandy the next morning. You'll be refreshed and it's probably a better idea to drive in a foreign country for the first time in daylight! We were staying in an old farmhouse in the countryside, and each day took a different side trip to see the Normandy sites. We enjoyed having a car because we could alter our route if we saw something interesting (which we often did!) Best advice - get a car with a navigation system. It is amazing how accurate and helpful those things are . . . "at the next roundabout, take the third left. . . " As for sites to see in Normandy, we highly recommend Honfleur. It is the most beautiful town - a great spot for a lunch destination. While visiting the D-Day beaches, be sure to check out Pont du Hoc - much of it has been left unchanged. It is a very emotional journey.

Bon Voyage!
Attnymom is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Greg,

Based on 9 nights total, I would spend just one night in Paris before heading to Normandy whether you take a train or rent a car.

If you take a train, it leaves from Gare St. Lazare which isn't a bad area for one night. There are six different Metro lines at the St. Lazare station.

Even if you rent a car, you can pick one up at many locations outside the city center (an easy metro or RER ride) if you prefer not to drive in central Paris.
bardo1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 07:50 AM
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Spending a night in Paris requires a superfluous check-in/check-out process.

I would:
• Go to the RER station in Terminal 2
• Buy a ticket to Paris for 8,20€
• Get on the next RER Ligne B train (they all go to Paris)
• Ride to Gare du Nord
• Change to the RER Ligne E
• Ride to Gare St-Lazare (it's covered by the same ticket)
• Buy tickets for the next train to Bayeux

Next morning, go to the Tourist Information Center in town. They will book you a driver/guide that charges for a carload what the others get for each person.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:11 AM
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Superfluous to some perhaps. When I touch down in Paris I am already exhausted.
bardo1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Tant pis pour vous.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:29 AM
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I imagine I am not alone. After a sleepless 10 hour overnight flight, shuttles, immigration, etc. I am sure many others would be happy to stop travelling for one day.
bardo1 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:34 AM
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And just as many would prefer to continue on to their destination. I don't think it's reasonable to assume that everyone has your flight duration and/or tolerance for time zone change. Notice that I prefaced my plan with "I would" - I do not recommend it for everyone, only offer it as an alternative. You seem to be telling OP that only your way is workable.

Furthermore, people post on this board almost every day describing how they landed at Heathrow, transferred to Waterloo, and rode the Eurostar to Paris the same day. Or flew into Frankfurt and got on the next train to Munich.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:38 AM
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Thanks to all.

Any ideas on hotels in Bayeux?
VolGreg is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:01 AM
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Notice that I prefaced my plan with "I would"

I did. Please notice that I did the same. Also, the OP clearly stated his flight duration.
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Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Re: Bayeux. From Sunday's Chicago Tribune travel section: http://tinyurl.com/2c5emv
 
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:05 AM
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We stayed at the Hotel d'Argouges, right in Bayeux, w/in easy walking distance of Tapestry, restaurants, Battlebus Tour pick up, etc. It is reasonably priced and the common rooms are lovely (reception, breakfast room); the "chambres" are adequate but clean. It books early (we booked in Jan. for May) and is popular with Fodorites.
grandmere is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:19 AM
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We flew into CDG and drove straight to Bayeux. If you have a overnight flight and sleep well it is no problem to drive. It really doesn't take long to get there.
eric502 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:32 AM
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We stayed at Le Lion d’Or, 71, rue Saint Jean, 14400 Bayeux, Phone: 011 33 2 3192 0690 for two nights. It is walkable from the train station and to the Cathedral and the Tapestry Museum.

It's a nice hotel, and the food was good. They got us a van tour.

We also had a very good dinner at Le Petit Bistrot, a Fodors recommendation.
carolyn is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:35 AM
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In Bayeux, we stayed at the Hotel Churchill just this summer. The hotel was great. Not fancy, but well kept, fantastic location right in the center of everything, and the staff were extremely helpful. The town is small enough that it is easy walking distance from the train station to the hotel, if that interests you at all.

We did the one day tour with Battlebus, and it was exceptionally good. We were kicking ourselves for not making time for the 2 day tour. We had been to the area once before with a private driver, but this was much better. BTW, the Battlebus tours leave from the edge of the hotels parking lot.
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