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Is Normandy a day trip from Paris?

I have heard people say that Normandy is a day trip from Paris, but wondering if it might be too much for one day, considering the transportation aspect. Has anyone done it in a day from Paris? If staying a night is a must, any thoughts on affordable lodging between Normandy and Mont St Michel? Appreciate any thoughts or tips!

Posted by
6442 posts

In my opinion it is too far. And makes for a very exhausting, rushed day
The ww2 sights are all quite scattered and really need a full day to see/ appreciate.
We stayed in Bayeux and found the town delightful... tapestry, cathedral all worth seeing

We did a full day D Day tour with Bayeux Shuttle that was excellent, there are other companies.

If you also want to see MSM you can do a day trip from Bayeux- there are shuttle services, but most here recommend an overnight stay in MSM due to the huge crowds in the day time

What is your idea of “affordable”?

Posted by
11294 posts

"I have heard people say that Normandy is a day trip from Paris"

Not sure where you heard that, but few on this forum would agree. While there are organized tours that do go to "Normandy" in a day, it's a long way, so you spend a lot of time in transit. You certainly can do one of these tours, but Normandy is a large area; if you want to see any more than just some D-Day beaches, you need more time.

So, I think you're on the right track. The other thing people emphasize is that those who go to Mont St. Michel by day have a not great experience, as it gets mobbed at the height of the day. Those who spend an overnight on (or at least very near) the Mont, and see it in the evening after the hoards have left, then again in the morning before the hoards descend, then leave, have a much better time.

Posted by
23420 posts

Remember the D-day beaches - east to west - are over 50 miles. So it can be a full day just getting around the beaches and the various sites behind the beaches. A one day trip from Paris would be only possible IF you were seeing only one or two sites. The whole area really desires a full day and a bit more. I would not do it.

Posted by
3767 posts

It depends on where you are going in Normandy. Rouen is in Normandy and I have done a day trip from Paris with absolutely no problem. Giverny/Vernon is also in Normandy and quite an easy day trip. Mont St. Michel -- not so much, though friends who stayed in my place last October did it as a day trip on a tour from Paris and said it was terrific. They specifically turned down my suggestion to do the trip as an overnight and said the day trip tour was exactly what they wanted. If by Normandy, you mean the D-Day beaches, that can also be done as a day trip but just recognize that time constraints will limit what you have time to see but no one has infinite time to see everything and so there are always things that people will miss seeing on any given trip.

Posted by
6719 posts

Can be done in a long day, but don’t expect to see everything. You’d really need to be selective with what you visited. The roads in that area are rural, so traffic moves slowly. To properly see that area, I’d recommend a couple days.

Posted by
727 posts

As others have said, it depends exactly what you want to see and how busy a day you can tolerate. We spent five or six days there to see Giverny, the D-day beaches, Caen museum, Bayeux, and Mont St Michel from a base between Bayeux and the D-Day beaches.

Posted by
2145 posts

Hi Leslie, it’s doable. We did it a couple of years ago prior to joining a RS tour. We took an early train from Paris to Bayeux, then had lunch at a cafe across the street from the train station. A pre-arranged half day tour picked us up, spent 4 hours visiting the beaches and museum, then dropped us back off at the train station. We were back in Paris by 9:30 pm for dinner. Everything worked out perfectly! One of the best days of our 3-week vacation. Staying overnight gives you more options but a 1-day visit is possible.

Posted by
4132 posts

Giverny and Rouen make great day trips. Even combined, if you are nimble.

Bayeux, Mont St Michel, and the beaches are too far for me, but your tolerance for sitting on a train or bus may be greater than mine.

Posted by
788 posts

Seconding what Donna said. Very doable in a long, great day. No regrets at all. More time would definitely be better, but if a single day is all you have, don’t hesitate.

Posted by
1161 posts

People will debate both sides of this, but Donna says she took an "early train from Paris." What is early? 8:00am? She further states she was "back in Paris by 9:30." All of this for spending "4 hours visiting the beaches and museum" (singular?). So not counting getting to and from said train station (I assume you aren't staying right at Gare Saint-Lazare, from which where these trains leave and depart), this is a minimum 13-1/2 hour day for four hours of limited sight-seeing.

Don't get me wrong, I love Normandy. I have been seven times in the past ten years and am going back this year. But if I had a single day to spend starting and ending in Paris, I could think of countless other ways to better spend my time. My too sense...

Posted by
7209 posts

If you want to see Normandy then go there a spend a few days.

Posted by
2354 posts

I imagine it’s “doable”, but how enjoyable? I guess it depends on the person. I’m planning a trip with two history buffs (WWII nuts). We’ll be there for 3 nights and won’t see everything. They will want to read every plaque and see every monument.

You could certainly take a train, do a half day tour, and get back to Paris in one day. But the sites are pretty spread out and your stops will be more “photo ops” than anything else.

Posted by
613 posts

Normandy & Brittany are neighbors in N W France. It took us 2 weeks to do what I consider a highlights tour of the region. For one day, go to Rouen

Posted by
305 posts

Last year when I was in Paris I did the City Wonder's trip to Normandy because our original 2 night trip had to be scrapped. As it was during a train strike day this was the only way I felt comfortable to do it. It was a very long day but enjoyable. I will definitely go back but it was nice to get a taste.

Posted by
138 posts

Best would be to stay in Bayeux for a few days so you can enjoy Normandy in full, otherwise its too much for 1 day in my opinion. You will spend more time on the road, rather that experience the northern beauty.