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France Travel Question

Has anyone take the train from Charles de Gaulle airport to Bayeux, France (touring Normandy)? If so, what is the best way to travel to Bayeux from this airport. From what I can tell it would take us over 6 hours to get there once we've landed after a 12 hour flight! Suggestions or confirmation of this info would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other tips re: Normandy. Thank you very much.

Posted by
506 posts

You definitely have to travel from CDG to Gare St. Lazare, the train station that trains to Normandy leave from. I guess that's about an hour by taxi although I think you can do it by bus or the RER train, and you want to arrive at least 30 minutes early so you don't feel rushed. The train itself makes a few stops, but I seem to recall it was about 3 hours.

Coming off a 12 hour flight I'd be tempted to spend one day in Paris, maybe self-guiding Rick's audio tour "Historic Paris Walk" to get over the jet lag.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/train-to-bayeux-4f97284c-81ce-48fd-9778-4b0ff6aca2a0
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/best-place-to-get-train-to-bayeux

Normandy is wonderful - we spent five nights in Bayeux at the Hotel Reine Mathilde. We had a private tour two-day tour with Dale Booth of the American beaches, spent a day seeing Bayeux: the tapestry, cathedral, and a walking tour of the town, and rented a car for a day trip to Honfleur where the light is indeed spectacular.

Hope this helps,
Marty

Posted by
227 posts

If it were me, I would take a direct 2h 30m train from CDG to Rennes. Contact nanny bag.com to see if you can store your luggage there while you visit the cathedral. From Rennes, take a direct 3h train to Bayeux.

Posted by
4205 posts

This website identifies train options between CDG and Bayeux. There are no direct trains. Your choices are to make at least one or two changes at cities like Rennes or Le Mans vs. going into Paris' and getting a direct train from Gare St-Lazare. The latter has two advantages: (1) you'll pay no more for tickets bought at the station, meaning you're not tied to any particular train, and (2) you can spend a night in Paris if you want a break between the flight and the train.

Posted by
1653 posts

I would definitely not go via Rennes or Le Mans, it is far more expensive and connections are sparse (missed train = stuck for hours or overnight). Cab to St Lazare Station, followed by direct train to Bayeux, is the best way to go. Unless you are unlucky to face an unusually long waiting time at St Lazare (there can be gaps in the train schedule), you are looking at 4-5 hours of travel rather than 6.

Posted by
4125 posts

IJM: As you can see, the train from Paris is probably your best bet if you want to get to Bayeux that first day.

In your place I would also take steps to minimize jet lag (fasting, melatonin, light exposure etc.). This is worthwhile in any case.

If you would care to share your entire itinerary, we might be able to make some useful suggestions not included so far.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so very much for all of your responses. It sounds like Paris to Bayeux is the best way to get to Normandy, since no direct trains go from CDG airport. A long day for sure! But, sounds like it's very much worth the effort.

Posted by
443 posts

Personally, if I go alone, I always take the RoissyBus to Gare Saint-Lazare. It takes you directly from the curb outside the airport to next to the Opera Garnier—a seven minute walk to the train station and €12/pp. Much preferable to tunneling underground and schlepping bags up and down stairs or escalators. If you have several people, or a lot of bags, or you just want to treat yourself, take a taxi. It is a fixed fare if you go to the official taxi stand (I think it is now €52 for the right bank, which includes Gar Saint-Lazare). If you are picking up a car in Normandy, you'll find more, and more convenient rental car options in Caen, which is only 20 minutes down the road from Bayeux.

Posted by
385 posts

Bayeux is about 2hrs 45 minutes from Gare St Lazare. Take a taxi from CDG to St Lazare and you’ll be in Bayeux quickly. Use the Oui.sncf.com app to check schedules and buy tickets. I can’t fathom going to Rouen, Le Mans or Rennes in order to get to Bayeux. Train services from Normandy to Paris are so frequent that I see locals commuting to Paris for work. Don’t know where your info comes from but even after a 12 hour flight you can be in Bayeux for at least a late lunch. Good Luck whatever you do!

Posted by
5397 posts

AndPharmerPhil knows of which he speaks, because he does this often!

Posted by
101 posts

We did this in 2017. Landed at CDG in the morning around 9-ish. Took a taxi to Gare St. Lazare. We arrived early enough before our 2pm-ish train to eat lunch at a cafe across the street. The train to Bayeux took just under 3 hours. We walked from the train station to our B&B (took about 15 minute but taxis are available if you’re not into walking). I powered through, he took a 1-hr nap then we wandered around town & had dinner.

Long travel day but when we woke up the next morning around 7, we had adjusted so it was worth it.

Have a great trip!