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DD Beaches tours-how to pick

I have read Rick Steves' France book, scoured the web, and remain overwhelmed about what tour company or group to chose. What I know is that I have one full day planned in my itinerary for touring DD Beaches and related area. We are staying in Bayeux, and don't mind a group tour, maybe just not a giant group. We will have a car and will be able to go back to see 'more' if we want the next day. We do not feel that we want a private tour.

Does anyone have personal insight on what company to chose, or pitfalls to avoid?

Posted by
1926 posts

There are many, many very favorable comments regarding Overlord Tour on this forum. If you use the search bar at the top of the page, and search the company's name, you will find them. I did not use them. I did a private tour (which was spectacular), but since you do not want that, I won't elaborate.

Posted by
590 posts

Depending on the number in your group, a private tour may not be drastically different in price than a group tour. We toured with Sean Claxton privately and had a wonderful day. Otherwise, Overlord Tours is highly recommended by other forum users.

Going to send you a PM.

Posted by
766 posts

We are doing a private Overlord Tour in April, mainly because all the private tour guides were already booked. You don't say when you are going, but book soon or you will miss out completely!

Posted by
78 posts

We took tours last year with Bayeux Shuttle. For the American sector tour, the van had about 12 - 14 passengers. The guide was excellent. They pack a lot of info / stops into a full day.

While we did get to spend time at the major sights, there were times where we were rushed. I could have spent an extra hour or so wandering around each of several sites including Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, St. Mere Eglise, Utah Beach etc...

Also, the day we went had rain for about 2/3 of the day. At Utah Beach in the morning, it felt like a monsoon. At Omaha Beach in the afternoon, the sun was out. Following up a day later on your own time with a rental car would be a good strategy.

Posted by
16770 posts

I think most (maybe all) of the tours operating out of Bayeux use vans rather than buses, so size of tour group may be no issue. You can use the "Contact Us" link of a company's website to ask about that. I was very happy with my Overlord tour (a long-established company), but in truth I'm not sure I've read a negative comment here from anyone who has taken one of the tours originating in Bayeux. I know several people have liked Dale Booth; I believe he has public tours as well as private ones.

Posted by
7640 posts

I did a tour with Dale Booth on the Rick Steves Paris and Heart of France tour. He was excellent. I'd agree that there are many favorable comments on Overlord and Bayeux Shuttle as well.

Posted by
20 posts

We have settled on Overlord, just trying to decide now between British/Canadian or American tour. Would love to do both but feel it will be too much for our short stay. May cover a few things on our own with rental car as well.

Posted by
1447 posts

We used Dale Booth and he used a van that would hold 8, although I don’t think we ever had that many. He is exceptional, if he’s not all booked up.

Posted by
506 posts

You wrote "...trying to decide now between British/Canadian or American tour."

We chose the America tour because, being Americans, we were more familiar with what happened there (Omaha and Utah beaches are the focus of American movies). But we want to come back another time for Juno, Gold, and Sword!

Posted by
30932 posts

can,

As the others have mentioned, Overlord Tour is a very popular option with many on the forum, and they seem to be very well rated. Their tours are reasonably priced and use a Van so the groups are on the smaller size. Dale Booth is also exceptional but unless you're travelling with a large group (ie: everyone splits the cost), you may find that Dale's tours are above your budget.

As you have a car, you could also consider Visit D-Day tours (Chris Emery), as he will travel with you in the car and provide more of a personalized tour. You'll have to contact him for prices and other details.

Whichever tour you decide on, it would be a really good idea to book that well in advance.

Depending on your level of interest, time frame and budget, you may want to cover not only the American sites but also British and Canadian, to get a broader view of the landings and the various battles that took place. Some examples of other sites are the Pegasus Bridge Museum or the Juno Beach Centre. Again depending on time and budget, you may also want to have a look at the Maisy Battery, which was only discovered a few years ago (2006?).

One other minor detail. As you may be aware, it would be prudent for each driver listed on the rental form to have an International Driver's Permit, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. You can easily obtain an IDP at any AAA / CAA office for a small fee.

Posted by
3436 posts

The Commonwealth tour I took several years ago -- the company is now closed -- spent some time away from the beaches, following the important tank battles in the Falaise where many Canadians fought. We missed some of the American sector and also the site of the famously tricky portable dock deployed by the British. You're right that there are more opportunities than one day can cover.