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Normandy in 2 days

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We are planning to travel to Normandy in July for 2 days. I am looking for suggestions on where to stay and a guide or Tour. Going to the beaches, WWll museum and cemetery. (If possible to get them all in) Also, will be taking the train in from Paris and I am not planning on renting a car. Where to stay? Hotel, B&B or VRBO? Looking for recommendations.
Not planning on renting a car is the tricky part? Can I get to sites without the use of a tour guide? Public transport?
An dI see several mentions of Overlord.... we are definitely looking at the those which I think answers the ? of hotels? BUT does anyone think the hotels by the sea can accommodate? and anyone stay there?

Posted by
3107 posts

I think the hotels by the sea would be a challenge without a car. On the other hand, the train station in Bayeux drops you off within an easy walk to town and many good hotels. But if you haven't made reservations yet for July, you need to hop to it.

We stayed at the Hotel Churchill in 2010. Perfect location. Ownership has changed since we were there, but it still gets excellent reviews. Before Christmas, I tried to book a room there for our upcoming 2019 trip, but only the most expensive rooms were available.

http://www.hotel-churchill.fr/en/

We are staying at the Hotel d'Argouges in September. http://www.hotel-dargouges.com/en/

Since we toured the American sites on our first trip, we have booked the Canadian and British Sectors tour with Overlord Tours. Our previous guide service, Battlebus, no longer exists. We chose Overlord based on its consistent positive reviews.

https://www.overlordtour.com/

Posted by
579 posts

If you plan far enough ahead you can stay in Bayeux and join a tour that drives you to many of the places you mention. We went with Dale Booth for his two-day American beaches tour but his July dates are fully booked. I stayed at the Hotel Reine Mathilde in 2013. They have an attached bistro and if memory serves breakfast is available but not included in the cost of the room.

Posted by
1027 posts

In answer to your question, no. You cannot get to most sites using public transportation. You would need either a guide, or a car of your own.

Posted by
3111 posts

There are lots of guides and tours to choose from, some better than others in terms of how knowledgeable the guide is and how fluent in English. In addition to vetting those qualities, you'll want to find the right combination (for your needs & preferences) of factors like the stops where they'll take you, time at each destination, size of vehicle (big bus or small van or private car), and price.

Posted by
10342 posts

Stay in Bayeux. Our historic hotel, Lion d’Or, is where many WWII leaders have stayed, and they booked us on a small group tour for the American beaches and history. Wonderful dining room too. We also toured the very interesting British and Canadian beaches on our own, easy to do and with good signage. We rented a car in Paris, returned it to CDG.

Posted by
768 posts

In case the previously mentioned tour guides are booked, I also recommend Alan Bryson of www.firstnormandybattlefieldtours.com He is recommended in Rick Steves' current France book. He starts in Bayeux and will take you in his minivan. He's great.
Don't try to see the sites without a tour guide or you'll have no idea what you are looking at. Tour guides are WELL worth the money in this case.

Posted by
32110 posts

A few thoughts on your questions.....

I'd suggest staying in Bayeux, as it's the most convenient base for touring the D-Day sites and some of the tours depart from there. There are lots of suggestions for hotels in the previous replies, and you could also check the RS France 2019 guidebook. If your budget will allow, the Hotel Churchill would be a good choice. Bayeux isn't "by the sea" but it's a wonderful town with some good hotels and restaurants. While there you could also see the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which describes a much earlier battle. There's also an excellent WW-II Museum in Bayeux.

Public transport won't be an option for touring, as it doesn't cover many of the historic sights and would waste a lot of your very short time. Take the train to Bayeux, and use one of the excellent tours.

There are quite of number of D-Day tours available in that area, and Overlord Tour is a good choice as they're well rated and they provide transportation. Which tour to take will depend to some extent on your budget and availability of spaces in tours. A private tour would be the best option as it would focus more on your specific interests, but of course that's also the most expensive option. Whichever tour you decide on, pre-booking well in advance is a really good idea!

Some of the popular tours.....

If you were referring to the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach, some of the full day tours cover that site. Check the Itinerary of any tours you're thinking of taking to confirm that.

Could you clarify if you're spending three nights in Normandy? If you're only spending two nights, that will only allow a partial day and one somewhat rushed day for touring the sites. Three nights would be best.