We would like to take a small guided tour of the D-Day beaches, preferably from Paris (we have only one day). The mini-van tours with knowledgeable ex-pat guides charge the same for 1-8 people, which makes it expensive just for two. They will not add people to your group, so it's the same price for one person or eight people. Anybody know a way to get a knowledgeable guide for two at a more reasonable price?
Private tours are not going to come cheap, when you consider that you must pay for the intellectual expertise of the guide AND the use of a vehicle. I know of a retired British General that owns a B&B in Nomrandy and does tours but he like other qualified guides don't come cheap. You may want to check the museum in Caen for their selection of tours http://normandy.memorial-caen.com/ but in the end personal attention does come at a cost.
You get what you pay for, and in my experience the knowledge and context of the Normandy invasion provided by a guide is priceless. If you want that guide all to yourself, of course you are going to pay through the nose, and that is a reasonable demand.
When we were looking to book a D-Day tour, we found an abundance of "private tours" (paying a flat rate for a group of people) and not so many "scheduled tours" (paying a per/person charge) . We finally found Victory Tours (http://www.victorytours.com/) that does both. We are booked with them for October, so I don't have actual experience with the tour yet.
We were delighted with the day we spent touring with Christophe Rault in June. We have engaged several private guides in Europe over the years, and I believe Christope is the best we have ever hired. His fee was 325E for a full-day tour, using our car; we thought that was more than reasonable. My husband drove and Christophe gave directions and narrated. He was extremely knowledgable, and he had a notebook full of photographs and maps. It was fascinating to stand somewhere and then see a historic photograph of that exact spot taken during the D-Day Invasion. As a French citizen and a life-long resident of the area, he had insights and experiences that an ex-pat would never have. We left from Bayeux where we were staying at a B&B, but I assume he could meet you at a train station in the area. He charges more if he uses his own car.
Thanks to everyone for the advice. By going through all the guides in the Rick Steves book, we were able to find a couple of the guides he recommends who do shared small group tours. We have arranged such a tour through D-Day Battle Tours, and will report back after we've been there!
Our party of four had an all day tour with Edward Robinson to Port du Hoc and Omaha Beach. Included was a stop for lunch that was one of the better meals we had while in Paris and London. Not only was Edward very knowledgeable about the D-Day events, he was very entertaining as well. Never had a dull moment and he answered all our questions usually with proof to back up his answers. The entire day was a learning experience. Our whole party agreed this was the best day of our vacation, that we would definitely call Edward again on another trip, and would advised anyone to contacted him for a tour.