I am planning a trip to France and then down into Switzerland and Austria this September. i would like to spend a few days in Paris with a 1 day trip to Normandy. I'm looking for ideas for an itinerary.
Bayeux, Normandy is 2 1/2 hours from Paris by train, so you'll spend five hours of your day trip getting there and back. This website has an overview, which might give you some suggestions for an itinerary. Are you making the trip for the D-Day beaches, the Tapestry, the food or something else? https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/france/normandy
If it's the D-Day beaches, be aware that there are many tour operators running day trips from Paris. I haven't taken any of them as we went on our own with our rental car. However, there is a lot to see -- just the American Cemetery and its museum could fill up a day. Since you only have one day, I would suggest choosing a tour that focuses on what specifically interests you. And, there may be bargain-priced tours (I don't know for sure) but quality is probably more important than price given your time constraint.
From Paris to Normandie for a day you can pick a tour to visit a few sites in the D-Day beachead area or Mont St Michel. The Norman countryside, Bayeux, the Tapestry all are mostly out of reach on a day tour.
Normandie is so much better than a drive by…consider an overnight jaunt. One night in a hotel in Bayeux and tours both days with an evening return to Paris on the second evening.
We spent 4 days in Normandy in 2019, and another overnight in Mont St. Michel. Granted, my husband is a WWII buff and wanted to see everything, but I would recommend at least two days and an overnight there. We traveled in September and stayed in the beach town of Arromanches and it was wonderful. All the summer tourist stuff had shut down except for the restaurants. It was our favorite town and B&B out of all the places we stayed on our two-week trip.
Hi karl, it’s possible to do a nice (long) day trip to Normandy. Are you interested in the D-Day beaches or something else? We booked a half day small group tour. We took the early train from Paris to Bayeux and the guide met us at the station. The tour included Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and a few other sites. They dropped us at the train station and we were back in Paris for dinner by 9:30. It would have been great to have more time (we are returning for a week this fall) but if you just have a day, it can be done. My BF said it was the best day of our entire trip.
@Donna which tour company did you use?
Overlord Tours has a full-day tour designed for folks spending the night in Paris. Clients take the early train and are picked up right as the Bayeux train station. At the end of the tour, they're dropped off back at te train station. It's tour #2FS. I didn't take that tour, but the tour description is quite similar to the tour I took while staying in Bayeux. It's certainly the case that staying in Paris and taking Tour 2FS makes for a much longer sightseeing day.
There's considerable transportation time required to get around the various invasion sites included in D-Day tours. On a half-day tour starting in Bayeux (as most do), you'd spend a considerable percentage of your time sitting in the van and moving from one site to the next. I'd much prefer a full-day with a higher percentage of time actually walking around the invasion sites.
One day in Normandy would be well served with an Overlord or other D Day Tour. If you can, visit Bayeux Tapestry before you head out. The Bayeux cathedral is nice- they are redoing the stained glass.
To Kelly’d Rather Be Traveling - I'm sorry but I can't find the name of the company. It was advertised as a 5 or 6-hour tour and it wasn't Overlord (I would have used them but they were booked). It was a good day and we saw a lot.
I have done three Normandy tours—all Juno Beach (with my son in '09, my wife in '11, and with my wife and 13 year old granddaughter in '22.)
The very best tour guide was a fellow who was then with Battlebus but who later went on his own—Allan Bryson.
When we were there in '22 we had a 1/2 day Viator tour and the contracted guide was excellent as well. I've forgotten his name and the company he actually worked for.
In '09, my son and I took the train from Paris/Caen/Bayeux. We visited the Museum in Caen and stayed over in Bayeux at the Hotel Reine Mathilda to be able to catch the all day tour the next morning. We also did the one day trip to Mont St. Michel offered by the Hotel Churchill, I think it was.
In '11 I had a rental car so my wife and I also visited the museum at Caen and also stayed over at the Reine Mathilde. We did the Juno Beach tour but the guide was younger and, well, less knowledgeable.
In '22, we again took the return train from Paris-Bayeux. The 1/2 day tour ws enough for a 13 year old. The excellent guide was extremely knowledgeable.
I would also highly recommend Overlord Tours. We did a private tour with Steve in May and it was absolutely excellent. We stayed in Bayeux for 4 nights and had 3 days in Bayeux which was fabulous with the cathedral, tapestry, war museum, restaurants, shops, etc etc.