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6 days in Normandy

My husband and I will be going to Normandy in May. We will be staying in Bayeux and have 6 full days there. We’re mostly going to see DDay sites. I’m interested in history and architecture. Very excited about seeing the Bayeux Tapestry.
What are some places/things to do in the region? We will have a rental car so can do some longer day trips.
Thanks in advance,
Nathalie

Posted by dhyingling
19 posts

Be sure to see Mont St. Michel. Stay on the Mount overnight if possible to have some time there when the day trippers are gone

Posted by Bruce
Deep South, USA
138 posts

First - I want to highly recommend a very detailed guidebook devoted to the D-Day sites - 'Major & Mrs. Holt's Definitive Battlefield Guide - D-Day Normandy Landing Beaches'. I used this book to literally 'map-out' a 4 day campaign to see all the sites that intrigued me from a 5 minute stop for a plaque dedicated to the 3rd Royal Para Squadron near L'auberge in the East to the small but excellent 'World War 2 Museum' in Quineville in the West (and everything in between of course). The book gives details of each site, including pictures and travel time information that allows you to really lay out your days along with a good history lesson included.

Another vote for Mont St Michel. William the Conqueror's birth location (the castle is a bit newer) 'Chateau de Falaise' was interesting also.

Have fun!

-Bruce

Posted by Bill G
USA
210 posts

We used the Lonely Planet book and thought it was good. The most detailed book is the Michelin Green guide to the region. Read thru these or other books and see what appeals to you.

Posted by merbick7361
Greenville, SC
17 posts

Vote # 3 for staying overnight on MSM. It's amazing what a different place it is at night-and the ability to roam without mobs of people was priceless. My husband and I took the train from Paris to Caen and then rented a car--the Peace Museum in Caen is well worth an afternoon. We enjoyed the tapestry as well, but it wasn't crowded and took less than 2 hours, as I recall. For our DDay sights, we booked a tour with Dale Booth-it was a travel highlight of our lives. A guide is able to put the surroundings in so much more context, no matter how much you know about the war. Enjoy!

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
7010 posts

The tapestry is a relatively quick visit but you'll also want to spend some time wandering around central Bayeux at some point during your stay. And the cathedral is worth a visit. I enjoyed the walking tour conducted by the tourist office as well.

The Caen Peace Museum took me essentially all day, but I'm slow in museums, especially historical museums with a lot of posted explanatory material. There are a couple of abbeys in Caen that survived the war, plus a tiny medieval street now restaurant-filled. The bulk of the historic city was bombed to smithereens during the war.

In Normandy I also liked Honfleur (very touristy), Cabourg, Deauville and Rouen. The town of Falaise itself was pretty much obliterated during the invasion but has quite an interesting and relatively new museum about civilian life during the war (including coverage of the Resistance).

Fougeres is in Brittany but south of Mont-St-Michel. Very picturesque. It's at least a 2-hour drive from Bayeux, though.

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
917 posts

We spent 5 nights near Bayeux at bandbnormandie.com, about 6-8 miles from Bayeux, just outside Villers-Bocage. Perfect for us and around 90 miles on a four lane motorway to Mont St. Michel and around 15 miles to the beaches and the American Cemetery, behind Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. We drove to Mont St. Michel and arrived before the hordes of tour buses and had the place almost to ourselves. You might also spend the night there as some have suggested. We spent around 90 minutes there and left as the crowds were arriving and packing the place. We then drove around the bay to Cancale, in Brittany, about 20 easy miles, and had a super seafood lunch there, with MSM visible on the horizon. We then drove back along the coast a ways, then through Avranches and then, with our GPS and a Michelin map of Normandy, took the back roads, stopping in little villages and bought wine, cheeses, and Calvados back to La Ferme du Pressoir. Odile's breakfasts are to die for. It remains one of our most memorable trips of over 20 years of international travel. Others can help with some other day trips around Normandy and Brittany. You might get on tripadvisor.com, Normandy forum or Bayeux forum for more specific tips and day trips.