where to base ourselves in Normandy

Oct 4th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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where to base ourselves in Normandy

There will be 7 of us. Our two kids and spouses, and one toddler. We would spend perhaps 3 night is Paris, but then would like to head to Normandy. With this many people ( we would rent 2 autos), we'd like somewhere that would lend itself to convenient day-trips, yet also be a great place to simply stroll that city which is our base.

We will certainly want to see the Normandy beaches.

Any ideas of a city, and any ideas of a facility??
ekellyga is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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We very much enjoyed our stay at the Churchill Hotel in Bayeux. This is a lovely town, not bombed in WWII, still retaining its' charm.
Bette is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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We liked staying at Chateau de Damigny outside of Bayeux.


indy_dad is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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You don't say how many days you will be in Normandy. If more than about five, you could select two bases: for the D-Day beaches, Bayeux is best, and the Churchill is atmospheric (but often full). Also consider the Lion d'Or in Bayeux. Farther east, Honfleur is a perfect small town with oodles of charm, and makes a good base from which to explore Rouen, Deauville-Trouville, the cider country inland from Trouville, and even Giverny.
Geonev is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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Geo, thank you. I forgot to ask for recommendations of places for our day trips.
ekellyga is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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You can do a day trip to Mt. St-Michel. I also recommend Hotel Lion d'Or in Bayeaux; their restaurant is excellent too.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Very often folks use guides to see some of the important sites. This topic came up recently on this thread:

We used Battlebus (they were excellent) but they have since broken up the business and gone out on their own.

In addition, I would recommend:
Mt St- Michel
the Bayeux Tapestry
Peace - Normandy Museum in Caen
we did a self drive tour of the British beaches (Juno, Sword, Gold)
Hornfleur (on our list for next time!)
Bette is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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When will you be there? Bayeux is such a pretty town, interesting in and of itself, and an easy trip to the Normandy beaches. There are also a number of very good restaurants. We like the Hotel Churchill and also the Hotel d'Argouges. Whatever you decide, with such a large group, I would suggest that you make reservations soon.
mamcalice is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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We stayed at the Manoir de Quesnay, which is about 8 miles from Bayeux and a lovely historic building with very modest rates. Fun for exploration by people of all ages and easy access to the invasion beaches.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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You can rent a van instead of 2 cars if you want to save money on car rentals. As has been mentioned, if you said how many days you'll have for this trip and what are the interests of some in your group you can get better suggestions.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 02:27 PM
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If you are especially interested in D-Day, you should visit the WWII Museum in Bayeux. It is more about D-Day and Normandy, whereas the Caen museum is more of a general WWII and peace museum.
tom18 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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I highly recommend the Hotel Bayeux. It is clean, plain, on the edge of town so easy to get to the highways, 5 minutes from the Tapestry and 5 minutes from the Cathedral, secure car park right next door. It is VERY reasonable, maybe particularly attractive since you need several rooms.
We found the rooms to be larger than many hotels. It has a nice breakfast room.
You don't quite say how long you want to tour Normandy, but it is possible that MSM may be just a little too far.
Get the Michelin Green Guide to Normandy, which has pages of suggested tours--and what to see. and while tours can be good, sometimes just doing it on your own at your own pace, and seeing a select number of things can be good. There is a lot of repetition in the museums attached to the various beach sites. I would not miss Omaha, Arromanches, the American cemetery, Pont du Hoc--and if possible, St. Mere Eglise.
When we did Normandy as a part of our France trip, we left from CDG, did our tour (6 days, but went to Rouen and Honfleur) and then returned to Paris/Orly via chartres, and then did our Paris stay.
In Bayeux be sure to eat at Le Petite Bistro--it was the best meal we had in France that year!! Make reservations. Don't miss the Tapestry either.
Gretchen is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 03:24 PM
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Great info, folks. Thanks. We'd probably rent two cars so that people can go off in different directions depending on their interests. We will likely be going in late Sept of 2014.
ekellyga is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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With a group your size, you could take an Overlord Tour for the day and see the D-Day beaches and other areas in one of their vans. Check out their website. We used them last year and were very satisfied.
waterdog is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 08:28 PM
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Since you are dring you can use Rouen as your base town/city.

From Rouen it is about an hour and a half to the Normandy Beaches.

Depending on your interest and where you are from , you might just want to visit certain beaches.

The driving distances between the beaches is not that great.

The beaches from west to east are:
1. Utah Beach for the Americans, you will perhaps not go here.
2. Omaha Beache for the Americans...you will want to come here.
3. Gold Beach for the British ( the town here is Arromanches) and
you will want to visit here.

4. Next is Juno Beach for the Canadians, they have a lovely new museum that opened up about 7 years ago.

5. Sword Beach for the British.

From Juno Beach to Arromanches ( Gold Beach) is 8 miles apart.

Then another 10 miles down brings you to Omaha Beach.

After you have visited the beaches you can loop around on your way back to Rouen and visit Bayeau or Caen or

you can go the other way to Honfleurs and from Honfleurs go backover the lovley and magnififent Normandy Bridge.

There is lots to see in Rouen , so you might want to use this as a home base.

To visit the Cemeteries,the most convienent to visit is the very well manicured American War Cemetery at Omaha Beach.. don't miss a visit here.

The Canadian War Cemetery is 3 miles from Juno Beach .. a 20 minute drive,at a village called Beny-sur -Mer.

I visited both Cemeteries

I nice simple map of the Normandy area will serve you well in deciding which direction you would want to go to get to the beaches.

Try to visit Honfleurs if you can, it is a nice quaint French town with a Basin right in the centre of Old Town ,like a large square swimming pool !!

Like I said driving distances are not that great.

For example:

From Rouen to Caudebec-en Caux is 27 miles
From Cadebec -en - Caux is 32 miles ( but a 45 minute drive).

I just got back from touring here for 10 days, a week ago.
Percy is offline  
Oct 4th, 2013, 08:35 PM
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I mean from Caudebec-en Caux to Honfleurs is 32 miles.
Percy is offline  
Oct 5th, 2013, 06:42 AM
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La Fringale in Bayeux was the best meal I ate in all of France. Very reasonable also. Bayeux is a lovely village with a train that will take you to Paris direct. There is a nice laundromat in town. We stayed at a B&B and but wish we had stayed at the Churchill instead. La Cambe was the German cemetery and well worth a stop. Such young men.
flpab is offline  
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