My husband and I are thinking of going on a day trip to Bayeaux from Paris to then tour Normandy. What is the most efficient way to travel to Normandy and back to Paris the next day?
This can be done but very busy. We went to Bayeux last May spent 2 nights. The train trip from Paris Gare St. Lazare is 2 hours 15 minutes with one stop in Caen. It would depend on what day of the week you are going because on the weekends the number of train trips is fewer than during the week. We took a 9:00 AM train on Saturday and spent the afternoon walking around Bayeux. The next day we went on an all day D-Day tour with Overlord Tours that was fantastic. It starts at 8:30 (having to be there about 10 to 15 minutes before) then return about 6:00 PM (18:00). I know there are other tours that would only be 1/2 days. There are trains that leave Bayeux around 8 or 9 at night that you can take back to Paris. We wanted to stay more nights there so we are going back again this year May 1st for three nights. You will love Bayeux.
What exactly are you planning to see in Normandy? Normandy is a whole state. The D-Day beaches are about 50 miles worth of things to see - a full day in itself.
The beaches and the cemetery. We would love a World War II tour or a "Band of Brothers" type tour. I am sure there is so much more this is a summary of our interests.
We took the Overlord Band of Brothers tour. It was fantastic.
When you arrive in Bayeux you'll see dozens of tours advertised. Please do spend the night (or 2) in Bayeux because the D-Day landing areas are huge. When we did this trip we booked a private guide from www.toursbylocals.com to take us around for the entire day. It was wonderful. If you find it too overwhelming to book a tour yourself then ask your hotel to help you book one.
So if you're staying in Bayeux overnight it's not really a day trip, is it? Good thing, as getting there and back, plus Bayeux and the D-Day sites, would be a very rushed day if possible at all. I haven't taken one of the D-Day tours but several have been highly recommended on this board. The Churchill Hotel in Bayeux seems to be the starting point for some of the best ones.
Don't neglect Bayeux itself -- a fine WWII museum (Caen has another), the wonderful Romanesque cathedral, and the famous Bayeux Tapestry depicting the winners' version of the Norman conquest of England nearly a thousand years ago. It's beautifully displayed and very well explained, along with a very interesting museum and film. We spent most of a morning just at the tapestry site, which is near the cathedral.
To more fully "tour Normandy" I'd recommend renting a car from Caen, where the rental offices are close to the station, or from Rouen. But that would likely take more than a day or two.
You can't get there from Paris in time for the day long tours. You could check to see if Overlord does a half day tour in the afternoon you could catch. When we did the full day tour it started at about 9 as I recall and we didn't get back till after 6 which may be too late for a return train. You might look into booking a private guide that matches your time frame.
Hi Mel, we visited Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery as a day trip from Paris in May 2014 and it worked out great. We took a morning train direct from Paris to Bayeaux and arrived at noon. We had a sandwich at the café across from the train station and the company picked us up at 1 p.m. for a half day tour. They dropped us off at the train station at 6 p.m. and we were back in Paris by 9 p.m. Just in time for dinner and to see the Eiffel Tower illuminated. My friend really wanted to see the area and that was all the time we could spare. He said it was one of the best days of the entire trip.
FYI, we booked the tour with Normandy Sightseeing Tours (http://www.normandy-sightseeing-tours.com). They also offer full-day and multi-day tours.
Seconding Donna's advice! I have also gone to Bayeux from Paris on a day trip. Took a fairly early train, spent the morning walking around beautiful Bayeux, visiting the market, and finding a casual lunch, then did an afternoon tour with Overlord and returned to Paris for a late dinner. Even if you are planning to overnight, you might consider a tour if you are planning to see the D-Day sites since it will eliminate the logistical hassle of getting from place to place. The groups are small and it's a pretty hassle-free experience. Normandy is lovely, you will have a lovely time!!
Bayeux shuttle has a tour that meets the 1st morning train from Paris. We booked that tour for this summer, but are taking an evening train to Caen, spending the night and then picking up that same train from Caen to Bayeux @ 9ish the next AM to meet that tour, returning on the 7ish train that night. I thought getting up at 6 to make a 7am train from Paris was too much for 1 day (with teens). Plus, the hotels in Caen/Bayeux were 1/2 the price of Paris.
I agree with not neglecting Bayeux. Spend at least one night there. If you don't have time for Caen and its WW2 museum ( a lot more time consuming), be sure to see the more concise Museum in Bayeux on D-Day and Normandy, the British military cemetery is nearby. In the area of the cathedral is the Tourist Office.
We took the train from Paris up to Bayeux and back. Very easy - there was a change of train in Caen, but no problem.
We stayed 3 days in Bayeux - a lot to see there and we did a 1 day tour to the Beaches of Normandy and American Cemetery . Next day we did a 1 day tour of Mt. St. Michel - it was great too.
I could have stayed longer in Bayeux, it is a wonderful town to walk around in, great restaurants, The Tapestry, lace museum and several other thing.
We booked our site-seeing tours thru Viators - they are a tour consolidator.