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Dover UK to Normandy

We want to go from Dover, UK to Bayeux, France. The plan was to take the ferry from Dover to Calais, train from Calais to Caen, then rent a car for 3 days to go to Bayeux. Return car in Caen and take the train to Paris. We have taken the ferry to Calais but it was in 2011. Now it looks like you cannot take the ferry without a car. The alternative is to take the train from Dover to London and then on to Paris and Caen. We will be staying in Paris for 5 nights and I guess it doesn't matter if Bayeux or Paris comes first. After Paris we are going to Brussels.

I appreciate any ideas. Thank you!

Posted by
24386 posts

when will the trip be?

How many in the party?

Posted by
1156 posts

Take a taxi from Dover to Ashford International railway station, transfer to the Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord. From Gare du Nord you can continue to Bayeux, via Gare St Lazare or just stay in Paris.

Posted by
1450 posts

I just did a dummy booking with P&O and it was possible book a ticket without a car. When you come to "select vehicle" in the booking process you simply select "foot passenger".

Posted by
420 posts

I presume you’ll go later when circumstances permit and not right now?

Why not go to Portsmouth and take the Brittany Ferry to Ouisterham (Caen) and do your Normandie touring. You avoid going into Paris and back out to Caen.

Posted by
2 posts

Ok, more info. There will be 4 adults. I know it is too early to book since this trip is for next August. The P&O site says no 2021 dates available yet. I chose a November date, 2020 as an example and can book with a car but not on foot. Google is saying this is due to Covid. I am going to go with our plans and assume we can do foot traffic by August. Still open for ideas. Don't want to train all over Europe just to cross the channel.

After staying in Bayeux we will will go to Paris for several days and then on to Brussels and Amsterdam before flying home.


Posted by
1450 posts

It seems like they don't take foot passengers at the moment due to the pandemic. And while we can't tell what it will be like next year, I think the chances are pretty high that they will take foot passengers if the situation is under control enough for tourism to be allowed.

Posted by
17630 posts

My usual warning when someone mentions a Channel ferry: Two of my five intended ferry crossings between St. Malo, the Channel Islands and England were canceled, one of them for three days. Those were huge ships, and I was traveling during late spring and summer of different years. It's annoying when a flight is canceled, but usually the situation clears within a few hours, and there are typically many airline options available. The situation with ferries is often different: You may have traveled quite some distance to reach the ferry port, and the next ship may be 24 hours (or more) later.

Posted by
472 posts

I once booked passage on a ferry from Poole, UK to Cherbourg (2008). When I got to Poole, I received word that the French fisherman were protesting and blockading the port of Cherbourg. Brittany Ferries got us into a cab to Portsmouth, where they had gotten us a reservation to Ouistreham (Caen) and re-booked our Hertz rental from Cherbourg to Caen. It worked out in the end, but was a hassle. Kudos to Brittany Ferries though—I've got to think they lost any profit they might have made from my fare by paying for the taxi from Poole to Portsmouth.

Posted by
56 posts

We spent 5 days in Bayeux exploring the region in 2015. Stayed at the Manoir Sainte Victoire, which was one of the most memorable and beloved places we've yet to stay at. Also, highly affordable at the time (less than 100 euro/night with parking). For four people, you would need two rooms (they offer 3 rooms, all in an ancient turret).

One of our best investments was to hire a private tour guide for the day. I think we spent around 500-600 euros. He was a historian who had served as a consultant to "Band of Brothers", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Braveheart". We spent the day tracing Easy Company's D-Day +1 movements (from "Band of Brothers") and he had access to property/areas that the big operators did not due to his contacts. Worth every penny. The next day, we took a separate 10-person tour of the bigger sights and the quality was substantially less impressive.

For something different, the Bayeux Tapestry Museum is worth 2-3 hours of your time. Bayeux also has a weekly farmers market that is not to be missed. Super interesting vendor stalls and delicious food! Be sure to enjoy some local cider.