For those that have done this, how did you like it? There are quite few to choose from. We really like the fact that a guide with more knowledge than us will be there with all kinds of facts, stories and can answer questions. My concern is, being that Sainte Mere Eglise and Utah Beach are the farthest points from where we are staying, is an hour at each place enough time without having to go back? The Airborne Museum at SME has been suggested and so has the museum at Utah Beach. Thoughts?
Yes, an hour are at each is enough. We did a tour of American beaches, not a full day, and then visited the British and Canadian ones on our own. They are very interesting too.
I was happy with my Overlord tour. That company gets lots of positive comments here. Others have praised Dale Booth Tours.
On my tour our lunch break came at St-Mere-Eglise, which is where the Airborne Museum is located. Our guide pointed out a casual, sit-down restaurant (probably a creperie) but also a bakery that sold decent pre-made sandwiches for those of us who wanted to go to the museum. It was a nice day, so sitting on a bench to eat the sandwich was fine. I then had almost as much time in the museum as I would have liked. My tip is to take some form of lunch with you so you don't even have to take time to stand in line at the bakery. You cannot eat in the tour van, however.
I used Bayeux Shuttle. I chose the 8 hour Normandy American Tour. It is priced reasonably and the guide was extremely knowledgeable. You can find the company here. https://www.bayeuxshuttle.com/
Also, I understand Dale Booth does excellent tours. However, his is a private tour and you pay the same price whether there is one person or eight. It is much more expensive for a couple.
Dale Booth or Overlord Tours. You are spending how much on a trip to Europe? Normandy is NOT the place to go cheap. Thousands of men (boys actually) paid a much higher price there.
We're spending a lot. All the tours are priced about the same. Overlord and Bayeux Shuttle almost same price per person, 115 euros. Dale Booth, looks like price is per day for up to 8 people. 675 euros for the time we are there. I guess that is for full capacity of the van? What if only 4 people book for that time slot? Is it more expensive per person? Bayeux Shuttle voted best tour by trip advisor.
A friend and I hired a private guide for two days when in I was in Normandy. David Booth was not available, so we used another guy with high marks on TripAdvisor. Our guide was amazing and greatly, greatly enhanced our visit to the beaches and inland sites. If I had a question, I asked it. I didn't have to compete with 14-15 other people to get the guide's attention to get my question answered. Plus, I did a ton of reading before the trip, and the guide was able to work in very specific places I wanted to see (like Objective WXYZ where Staff Sergeant Harrison Summers led 15 men to capture an artillery company of around 200 German troops that occupied 12 buildings). My friend and I split the cost of the guide between the two of us; it was pricey but well worth the cost.
(The guide is no longer offering tours, so there is no point in me giving his name.)
I think you will have a very good experience with Overlord tours or another highly-rated company offering group tours. I think you will have an excellent experience with a private guide.
What if only 4 people book for that time slot? Is it more expensive
Yes. Most private guides charge a set fee whether 2 people or 8 people take the tour.
We will probably use Overlord because its literally a 1 minute walk from where we are staying to the pickup and drop off site. Says pick up location is Place de Québec. There's only one Place de Québec in Bayeux, right?
Yes - right next to the Churchill Hotel.
When I was most recently there, in 2016, my sister and I did a full day "Omaha Beach/Band of Brothers" tour with Overlord Tours. It was my sister's first trip to Europe and I chose that tour because she's a huge fan of the BofB TV series, as am I. It was beyond phenomenal. The day after the tour, with a rental car, we revisited the American Cemetery and were there for taps, and saw the other beaches and Arromanches. I booked in July for our October trip, so if you're going this October I'd recommend booking soon. During your time in Bayeux, be sure to take some time to just wander the small town.
Another vote for Overlord--we did the Band of Brothers tour in 2017 and it was excellent.
We booked this tour today. I hope we have good weather while we are there.
Yay - you will have a fabulous time, regardless of the weather. When I was there 2nd week of October 2016, we were blessed with amazing weather - except for the day of our Overlord tour. It was overcast, drizzly and windy ... but that was ok and honestly, is kind of fitting.
We went with Overlord and it was terrific,got a Lot of info at the different sights and the pickup was right by our Hotel Churchill,a very moving experience at US Cemetary.
In 2011 we stayed in Paris for 2 weeks. Very early one morning we caught the first train to Bayeux, and met a guide from Overlord at the train station not long after the sun came up. Ten hours later he returned us to that train station...with a whole new appreciation for the place, the days and the people. He provided information at a "fire hose" rate, and we took it all in! The airborne museum at SME is just big enough to be thorough but not overwhelming. The last stop of the day was at the Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach...our guide told us stories about people who are buried there...and challenged us to find their memorials. Our travelling companions' father had come ashore in Normandy a couple weeks after D-Day; this day helped them have more context for his stories. Yes, it was a bit expensive...but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and well worth every penny. Go with someone who can provide the context and knows the stories! And where to find lunch and clean toilets.
We had a fabulous 9-hour full day tour with an excellent British guide, Matthew Key, of Gold Beach Company. We took the train from Paris to Bayeux and walked to our hotel, Lion d'Or, where we had an outstanding, beautiful suite for two nights in really comfortable beds. John Wayne (The Longest Day) and Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan) stayed here. Bayeux was not bombed; it's a lovely, old village.
The tour was our second day, starting at 8:30. We spent the first day in the afternoon visiting the Bayeux tapestry museum (I highly recommend this), a block from the hotel, as well as the Bayeux Cathedral and the museum of the Battle of Normandy. I recommend walking outside afterward to the forest to see the rows of white obelisks - memorials to fallen reporters, who sacrificed their lives for freedom. Their names are engraved (1945-2020).
The second day was our tour with Matthew and one other couple in a comfortable large van. We got a personal tour. He is very knowledgeable and was able to answer all our questions. We first went to the German cemetery, which was quiet (no one else was there); then to Utah beach, where we had time to walk down this vast beach (which was deserted) to the ocean, as well as spend time in the museum, and have lunch at a restaurant next door.
We visited Sainte Mère église (note the paratroopers on the stained glass windows and one hanging off the church spire). We also went to Omaha beach and the cliffs at La Pointe du Hoc, and ended with the Normandy American cemetery for taps and the lowering of the flags at 5 p.m. (9,400 men are buried there as well as four African American women who took great care sorting the soldiers' mail; and there is a Red Cross worker buried there too.) Matthew showed us their photos. He has created a book of photos, maps and other important information that he used to support the information he provided. He told us the stories of individuals in the cemeteries, and explained the battles. My husband is a WWII history buff, and he learned a lot from Matthew. You can also do Canadian and British sites. The hotel even arranged for a nurse to come to the hotel to administer a COVID test required before the flight back to the U.S. The results were emailed by the next morning.
Take the time and spend at least a night in Bayeux. It's worth it. And the food is great!
We just finished a full day tour of Utah and Omaha beaches with Olivier of Normandy44 Tours. It was a private tour, 400 euros for three. He picked us up at our B&B in Bayeux.
He is very knowledgeable on D-Day and flexible on what you see. He took us to several places I wanted to see.
He said it was normally very busy this time of year, but not this year. The various stops were not crowded and parking was always available. Good time to go.