I was recently contacted by Overlord Tours, and they told me that our tour (for June 1st) had to be canceled due to the guide's illness. Of course we're disappointed. There are no other tours with available slots on that day. We already have our train tickets from Paris and our Bayeux hotel booked. I was wondering if it is possible to get a taxi in Bayeux to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery (and back). I've heard there's really not much car rental going on in Bayeux, and I don't want to change our train tickets and hotel to Caen. Has anyone ever taken a taxi to the beaches? Any advice would be appreciated.
Well that sucks; I am surprised a company like Overlord doesn't have some sort of contingency planning for this type thing.
Consider getting off the train in Caen and renting a car there -- you don't need to hotel there. Just drop it in Caen when you are done and take the train back to Paris using the current ticket.
Contact your hotel to reserve spots on another tour for you. Our Bayeux hotel took care of these arrangements for us.
That's very disappointing. I assume it will be possible to arrange a taxi. In case you are not aware, the invasion museum in Bayeux (outside the historic center) is very good. The cathedral and the tapestry offer other local sightseeing possibilities, and the tourist office used to run a walking tour.
Janet, you're saying that even though I have a ticket from Bayeux back to Paris, I can get on the train at Caen?
acraven, yes, even if we don't get out to the beaches, I'm sure we can find plenty to do in Bayeux. It looks like a wonderful town. I've always wanted to see the tapestry too.
And thank you Suki for the suggestion.
Have you tried booking with another tour operator. I know Overlord tours are highly rated but others are too. This one gets good reviews, Certainly worth research this or other tours.
If the train stops in Caen then I don't see any reason why you couldn't board it there, these are TER trains without assigned seats -- but I haven't done it so am not sure. It is not like an airline where your ticket for the return is cancelled if you don't use the first leg.
Any train experts who can confirm this. May ask on TA as well.
Yes, you can board in Caen, as far as I know there are no automatic platform gates there (which are the only thing that could prevent you from boarding).
Have you tried Normandy Sightseeing Tours? I know they aren't Rick's guidebook but I found them through Viator, highly rated and was able to book with them directly. My suggestion would be to call directly to see if they have space for June 1st.
I would definitely rent a car (probably in Caen) and drive to the beaches. Do a little (a lot of) research on your own as to the history and lay of the land, This is a good idea whether you get an "organized" tour or not. The more you know, the more you will appreciate the visit. Yes there are other things to do in Bayeaux—but if your intent was to visit the d-day sights, you can still do this. But no, taxis and public transportation are not logical options for this neck of the woods. You could try to find another tour guide, but this is the week of the anniversary of D-day, and my guess is they are all booked. Do it yourself. You can! I will personally be in the area that week myself (for the 9th time, 8th during an anniversary), and know it like the back of my hand. Send me a PM if you need any leads or help.
Thank's everyone for your replies and advice. Every tour I've looked at as a substitute is unavailable for June 1st. But I am considering renting a car. Hopefully it will work out. I'm sure we'll have a good time no matter what. Thanks again!
I’ve rented a car twice in Bayeux at the Hertz agent and been happy with the service. Not sure they’d still have availability so close to pick up but wouldn’t hurt to check.
I have just had 5 nights in Bayeux, although I had my own car with me.
You are hoping for a tour the week of D Day - the busiest week of the year there.
We visited the Bayeux tapestry and the Museum of the Battle of Normandy, which gives a brilliant overview of the conflict, particularly the film. We spent 1.5 hours in here. We walked across to the adjacent British Cemetery (includes many other nationalities unlike the American version, from what we saw). There is plenty colour in the pretty planting between the gravestones, which you can freely walk round.
In the sea, there are more relics from the war in Arromanches than at Omaha beach. Other than a memorial, you wouldn’t know anything happened there.
The American Cemetery is vast with numerous areas roped off to protect the grass, so you can’t access all areas. The planting is more formal with less colour and no plants between the gravestones. We were there at 5pm when they lowered the flags.
Both cemeteries were immaculately kept and poignant.
I am not surprised that tours are full - it is busy here and where we stayed said it was going to be a good year as bookings are up.
If you do it yourself, I would also suggest a stop in Saint Mere Eglise to visit the Airborne Museum and the church.
While in the church, look at the stained glass windows for a tribute to the soldiers taking part in the invasion especially those that "dropped in" to the town.
This is the first time I've read anything negative about Overlord on this board. As a respected, high-end provider, I'm surprised they didn't try to find you a substitute. I'd note that the first week of June is a peak time at the D-Day Beaches. I wonder if someone made them an offer they couldn't refuse? OTOH, Covid cases are rising in most places.
I would second Phil's comments ( above ) Try to rent a car , you can pick it up in Caen , agencies across the street from the train station . Driving there is easy and relaxed . The D514 coast road neatly connects a whole list of D-day sites including the American Cemetery , which should not be missed
I just reserved a car through Europe Car which is right outside the station in Caen. We will get off the train at Caen instead of Bayeux and drive the car to Bayeux. The next day we will see the Normandy Beaches and cemetery on our own, and then return the car that evening in Caen. We'll take a taxi back to our hotel in Bayeux, and then catch the train in Bayeux back to Paris the next day. We shouldn't have a problem getting a taxi from Caen back to Bayeux, should we?
Or maybe we'll just take the train back to Bayeux, looks like it may be cheaper.
MaryC, we will also be in the area of Bayeux at that time! Coming from Louisiana, no less. I'm glad you decided to rent a car. There is no substitute in the area. We will also be renting a car in Caen (coming by train from Paris). We've done that before, and it's a good plan. We're doing it this time, in fact.
Not sure how much time you have there, but Bayeux sites are good to visit for sure. This will be our 4th trip to Normandy since 2015, so we're now well acquainted with the lay of the land. If you'd like some advice on planning your own day tour, PM me. We took a tour in 2015, and I feel like I could give one now. If you're working from the RS France book, it's pretty brief. I'm sure RS Normandy is more in depth.
Also, are you aware of the D-Day Festival festivities program? There are may events happening throughout the week that you may be interested to attend. They are scattered all over. There is actually a parachute drop in Azeville (north of Sainte-Mere-Eglise) at 1300 on 06/01. Also, there's a walk in Saint-Laurent-Sur-Mer along Omaha beach that day at 1400 for 4 euro per person.
Finally, Omaha beach is about 10 km long and has 3 towns along its length. If you go to all the right places, there's a lot to see, not just a memorial. There are remnants of German fortifications from one end to the other. Plus if you understand the geography of the battle, you can see each of the draws off the beach. I took a map of german Widerstandnesten and located remnants of nearly every one of them, but they're easy to overlook.
Try Bayeux Shuttle. They have openings on June 2.
Be aware.....Bayeux Shuttle canceled on me two days before my tour. I was told by people in Bayeux they were having financial and legal troubles. This was last October.
Good tip, Frank II. I used them in 2018.