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1/2 or full day D-day tour from Bayeux

We will in Bayeux for 2 nights, arriving early afternoon Sept. 23 from Honfleur and leaving early afternoon on the 25th heading to Mt. St. Michel. Trying to decide if we should do the full day or half day Overlord tour. Suggestions?

Posted by
16770 posts

I would definitely go with the full-day tour. That's what I took, and I didn't think there was any wasted time. In fact, if you want to have time to see all of the Airborne Musrum at St. Mere Eglise, you might consider packing a ready-to-eat lunch.

Posted by
1539 posts

Another vote for full day. We stayed in Bayeux and booked a full day tour - with overlord. It was amazing.
The second day we booked a full day tour to Mont St. Michel - same guide - again and amazing tour.
We actually book through Viator - a consolidator......but when we were picked up, it was an Overlord Tour. Our Guide Adrian - both days and he was wonderful.

Posted by
1135 posts

You do not say if you have a car or not. If you don't have a car, do the full day tour. If you do have a car, the following may be of interest to you:

I have done it both ways. a 1/2 day tour covers the main sites in the Omaha Beach area. A full day tour adds time for lunch and the Utah beach sites. Neither tour took us to Arromanches or the German Cemetery or allowed time to go in the Visitor's center at the American Cemetery. (It is very worthwhile. However, both times we were advised that it took awhile to get through security and we would not have time to do it justice with the time they set aside for the American Cemetery. I found that to be very good advice.)

Trip one: We arrived early afternoon in the Utah Beach area. (We had visited Mont. St Michel in the morning) We toured the museum, visited the beach and did St Mere Eglise (Including the Airborne museum) on our own. The next day, we did a 1/2 day tour of the Omaha Beach area. We arrived back in Bayeux about 12;30 PM. After the tour, we visited Arromanches and the US visitor's Center at the American cemetery (I believe it stayed open until 5) and drove to the German Cemetery (in 2012, it stayed open until 7) on our own.

Pros: We got to visit the 2 museums in the Utah beach area. We got to add in 2 sites that were not on the 1/2 day or the whole day tour in the afternoon (Arromanches and the German Cemetery) plus visit the American Cemetery visitor's center. All 3 of these were extremely worthwhile.

cons: We did not have a guide with us for the Utah Beach area. However, I actually preferred the museum as our guide did not give as much info at Utah as she did at Omaha sites.

Trip two: We visited Omaha and Utah beach on an all day tour (no time to do any museums). The next day, we visited Arromaches, US visitor's center, and the German cemetery on our own.

Pros: Our guide did take us to a couple of sites we did not see our first trip on the way to Utah Beach. The most significant one was the church that served as a hospital. It could easily be done on your own.

Cons: We were not able to visit any museums in the Utah beach area, (we were told we could quickly visit the Airborne museum in St. Mere Eglise, but we knew we had spent 1 1/2 hours there on our previous visit and the time we were given would not be enough. We had already seen both museums on our previous visit, but the couple we were traveling with had not, so I did feel bad for them).

I honestly preferred trip one with the 1/2 day tour and more time to visit museums and other sites on our own. (but them I am used to independent travel and have time to study up and educate myself before leaving.) You could do the 1/2 day tour, visit Arromanches, the American visitor's center and the German cemetery in the afternoon. Then you could stop and do the Utah sites in the morning before continuing on to Mont. St. Michel. Or you could do the whole day tour and visit other sites before leaving the next day. Whichever you decide, I highly recommend watching Band of Brothers and The Longest Day before you leave. If you only have time for one: The Longest Day is best.

Posted by
42 posts

I enjoyed every minute of the full day tour that was part of Rick's 11 Days in France tour but, there is no reason that a half day tour wouldn't be just as enjoyable. Portions of the D-Day beaches tour can be highly emotional. It is very gratifying to see that the French people visit these locations.

Posted by
768 posts

I did the full day with Overlord and loved it then did another day on our own which allowed us to go to La Cambre,German Cemetery and Arromanches.
Mike

Posted by
56 posts

Thank you for all of the input. It looks like we should do the full day tour. Connie, thank you for the detailed information and the movie recommendations. We are looking forward to out trip in September.

Posted by
1135 posts

You are welcome. Both my trips were in September, and I know you will have an amazing time!

Posted by
1030 posts

If you have more than a casual interest in D Day and WW II I would suggest the full day tour to be the better choice.

On our RS tour, the evening before our D Day tour, my friend and I watched the opening scene from "Saving private Ryan ". I had it on my tablet. While it may be overly dramatized it really set the scene and mood for the next day

Posted by
185 posts

Stacie: I agree with all that the full-day tour is best. When you make reservations, figure out the itinerary in advance and use the afternoon of the 23rd to visit some of the sites that the tour will miss. I strongly recommend visiting Arromanches and spending some time in the museum--as I recall, they have a 15-20 minute movie that highlights the use of the Mulberry artificial harbor sections. And, you positively must visit the Bayeux Tapestry while in Bayeux. Enjoy your trip,

~Darrel

Posted by
10 posts

It depends on if you want to have time to see anything else. You could do 3 full day tours and still not see everything.

We had limited time and so did a 1/2 day tour with Overlord, supplemented by our own visit to Arromanches at a different point. The half-day was intense and worthwhile, but I did feel somewhat relieved to have the rest of the day as even a half day was exhausting.

Btw, contrary to a poster above, our 1/2 day tour included the American cemetery.

Posted by
1135 posts

Lindnuck- I may not have been clear on what I was saying In the interest of clarity: We did go to the American Cemetery on our 1/2 day tour, but were advised that with limited time, going in the visitor's center there would not be a good idea. (They said: you can go, but just getting through security will use a large portion of your time and you will not have time to really see everything). We spent the time we had in the cemetery part of the site which was very worthwhile. We had to return to see the Visitor's center. (that was our choice, we could have tried to go in, but then we would not have had anytime out in the cemetery. ) We were also told the same thing on our full day tour. (although that tour was a private tour and I am sure we could have asked for more time. We, however, wanted to take advantage of having a guide to see as many sites as possible, so we returned later). I suppose different 1/2 day tours allow different amounts of time at sites. However, since our 1/2 day tour was an Overlord tour, I assumed that it would be the same for the OP. On our private, full day tour, we could have requested going to any of the places we wanted. However, we decided to stick with Omaha and Utah beach areas because we knew we could do the others on our own. (the other couple with us had never been to Normandy, and they wanted the guide for the 2 American areas). I hope that makes it more clear to anyone using this thread to make decisions. Thanks

Edit: Other than that miscommunication, you and I seem to be kindred spirits. I really enjoyed having some time to explore on our own as well.