Trip to D-Day beaches from Reims

Jun 12th, 2019, 01:05 PM
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Trip to D-Day beaches from Reims

Hello, we are in the first stages of planning a trip to France in Oct-Nov. 2019. We will pick up a car From CDG, two days down in Fontainebleau to see castles, then head up to Reims via Epernay for three nights, for champagne and churches. We have a couple days before we head back to Paris, could we add in a trip to Normandy. Where would you stay, and would you recommend a day tour or driving by ourselves to see important D-Day sites? Thanks for any help and suggestions
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Jun 12th, 2019, 01:11 PM
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It's a long drive I suspect from Reims to Bayeux - best base IMO to visit nearby D-Day sights - drive back by Mont-Saint-Michel to Rennes, dump car take TGV train back to Paris. Bayeux is just a few miles from Colville-s-Mer and the famous cemetery area featured on recent coverage of D-Day's recent 75th anniversary. If not into MSMichel - then can drive back ton Paris via Giverny and or Rouen - maybe dump car in Rouen and take train back to Paris.

Lots of info on driving tours online - the Michelin Green Guide has great driving tours and other guides.
PalenQ is online now  
Jun 12th, 2019, 01:26 PM
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>>It's a long drive I suspect from Reims to Bayeux <<

It certainly is not too far to drive for a two day visit -- less than 4 hours. Reims to Caen/Bayeux to Mt St Michel to Rennes makes no sense that I can see.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 01:32 PM
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What about staying in Rouen? Could we grab a one day tour from there?
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Jun 12th, 2019, 01:36 PM
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It certainly is not too far to drive for a two day visit -- less than 4 hours. Reims to Caen/Bayeux to Mt St Michel to Rennes makes no sense that I can see.>

Why not with two days - first two days in Bayeux and 3rd day heading back to Paris one could easily stop by Mont-Saint-Michel and end in Rennes for high-speed train back to Paris.

Not sure what their couple of days means - 2 days getting there and 1 day getting back - but I'd suggest adding a day as Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the wonders of the world.

But if they have to return to Paris on night of 2nd day of course not possible.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 01:43 PM
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Really, three days, one day driving to Normandy, one day seeing
D-Day sights, third day driving back to Paris
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Jun 12th, 2019, 01:48 PM
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You do not have time to do what Pal suggests. It will take several hours to drive to Caen/Bayeux area. So maybe half a day there, then the next day . . for the beaches, cemeteries, museums, plus Bayeux tapestry etc. 1.5 days is the absolute minimum. Then the 3rd day drive back to Paris.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 02:06 PM
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Then the 3rd day drive back to Paris.>

easy to do on this day the few-hour drive to the Mount and then the one-hour or so drive to Rennes - return the car and blast back to Paris by high-speed TGV, an experience in itself. I can't see why this is not feasible but last I will say about it - a very easy thing to do on a third day back to Paris IMO.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 02:22 PM
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Not a great idea to take train back to Paris, almost $100 extra if car isn't returned where we picked it up. We can leave it at one of the in town Sixt locations, but not in Rennes.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 02:27 PM
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You have just about enough time for the Normandy WWII sites and a couple of other things in the immediate area - that would be easy, very interesting and a great use of your limited time.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 02:32 PM
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Oh well if have to drive back to Paris still possible - get an early start and be at the Mont when it opens then take autoroute to Paris - Chartres and its cathedral would be on the way too for a short stop. Or from Bayeux drive back via Rouen (can you return car there?) and Giverny - easily done.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Oh well if have to drive back to Paris still possible - get an early start and be at the Mont when it opens then take autoroute to Paris - Chartres and its cathedral would be on the way too for a short stop . . .

Pal -- what ARE you smoking?? Bayeux > MSM > Chartres > Paris is a SEVEN hour drive without a single stop so visiting MSM and/or Chartres Cathedral easily makes a 12+ hour day
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Jun 12th, 2019, 03:02 PM
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I have been to Chatres, seen Giverny - which I think is a 1/2 visit at the most.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 03:02 PM
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whoops, Giverny is a 1/2 day visit at the least.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 03:05 PM
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Well yes Chartres would be difficult but not impossible - depending on when they needed to be in Paris. Without Chartres, it is very possible to do MSM and take autoroutes back to Paris.

Driving times from Google:

Bayeux-Mont-Saint-Michel 1h 37 min
MSM-Paris 4 h 10 min

So about 6 hours driving time Bayeux-MSM-Paris

When coming to Bayeux you pass by IMO the best D-day area orientation in the Caen Memorial just outside Cannes going to Bayeux:

http://normandy.memorial-caen.com/ it also features a large relief map of the whole area.

Bayeux-Paris - about 3 hours so yes other route is significantly longer but feasible, depending on the persons.

Too bad they can't take bullet train from Rennes which I thought would be possible and then make that day to MSM more feasible.

At Bayeux yes you want to spend some time in the town itself what with the superb cathedral and the famous 1066 Tapestry - takes a couple of hours - otherwise a nice old town, one of a few to escape emasculation to ruins in WW2 -definitely the best base for what OP wants.

Again get the Michelin Green guide for lots of driving tours.

Last edited by PalenQ; Jun 12th, 2019 at 03:18 PM.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 03:20 PM
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upsala30: Just a hint - You may find google map is very 'optimistic' in their drive time calculations. But I'll step away now and let you deal with Pal -- he is the master of 'last word-itis'. If I post again he'll just keep on and on and on . . .

Have great trip.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 03:32 PM
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One nice place to hit that is not far from Bayeux is Ste-Mere-Eglise and its local parish church where one American paratrooper got snagged on a church tower and hung out there for two hours, playing dead, with bullets flying around: The paratroopers who jumped into the town are commemorated today in the church in stained glass windows:

https://www.army.mil/article/22006/c...d_during_world

Some movies re-create his dangling and overall battle of Normandy - Ste-Mere-Eglise wasthe first town liberated in the D-Day Normandy Invasion.

When driving to the d-Day sights not the big hedgerows that still line the roads and which proved to be a rather tough obstacle for Allied tanks - the most difficult objects to smash thru as this video shows - the hedgerows of Normandy were and are legendary!

Last edited by PalenQ; Jun 12th, 2019 at 03:36 PM.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 04:26 PM
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Last fall, we spent two nights Brittany and 2 nights Normandy. We found the D-Day areas, important to the US, were an easy, relaxed and uncrowded self-guided visit for us. Perhaps since they have gotten more media attention on the 75th anniversary, there may be some increased activity this year. Here is our trip report: Brittany/Normandy/D-Day 4 nights. October
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Jun 12th, 2019, 05:09 PM
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I think you need to identify what "D-Day sites" you want to see before you can begin to calculate whether you'll have time. We prefer self-touring so that we can go at our own pace. All of the sites evoke deep emotions and contemplation, and we were just unable to rush around. But you may find an organized tour that covers selective sites and keeps you moving might work better for you in the time you have.

Bayeux is a charming town, and the tapestry is an important historical artifact. However, Bayeux is 30 minutes or more from most of the things on the usual list of "important D-Day sites," although you may choose to narrow your plans to either U.S. or British/Commonwealth participation in the battle.

Peace Memorial (Caen)
Pegasus Bridge Museum (where the invasion started)
Gold/Juno/Sword Beaches
Atlantic Wall Museum
Omaha/Utah Beaches
Overlord Museum
Museum of the Landings
Arromanches and D-Day Museum there
Pointe du Hoc
Saint-Mere-Eglise and the Airborne Museum
Hedgerows and sunken roads (most are gone, so you have to seek them out)
Military cemeteries of the different countries
Falaise (where the Battle of Normandy ended)

Sunset will be at about 5:45 after Oct. 27th, so you won't have super long days for sightseeing, esp. if it's raining. I agree that Google Maps, as invaluable for planning as they are, are generally too optimistic with drive times.
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Jun 12th, 2019, 05:22 PM
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Will you be touring the WWI battle fields while you're in the Reims/Epernay area? The time you have might be better suited to that...
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