Has anyone rented a car in Bayeux? Is there another option from Paris? We are headed to the Normandy beaches from Paris mid June and are hoping to find a car for 6. Any thoughts or advice? Caen might be bigger. I'd love to hear from anyone with experience doing this! Thank you!!!
Yes, Caen is bigger and should have more rental options. If you don't find what you need there, look into renting from CDG airport.
One note of caution about parking at the Normandy beaches: There are two kinds of parking lots, one for buses and one for regular cars. The regular car lots have a horizontal red bar above the entrance so that tall buses can't enter. If you park in a bus lot (a lot without the horizontal bar), you may get hemmed in by unhappy bus drivers who won't let you out. This happened to us because we didn't realize it was a bus lot -- when we arrived about 20 motorcycles were parked there.
Last i knew, Bayeux has only one place to get a rental car, a small gas station far from the train station, you’ll need to take a taxi to get there. Even if you reserve ahead, you get what they have at the time. We did it once, they only had one car available - not the one i reserved through the agency (i forget which big name agency it is). After that experience, we take the train to Caen where there are many big name agencies right outside the door of the train station and they all have many cars so you have a better chance of getting what you reserved. Then it’s an easy 20-30 min drive to Bayeux.
I'm a big fan of D-Day tours conducted by people who not only know their stuff but also know how to drive efficiently between the stops. You have six people. Have you considered looking for a private tour? Car rentals are very, very expensive right now. Sure, paying for a driver/guide would cost more, but it would also provide a lot of added value. A lot of the companies doing group tours also offer the private option. Whether they are already totally booked up for mid-June, I do not know. Two places to start would be Overlord Tours and Dale Booth. The latter may be more expensive.
I've rented in both Bayeux and Caen, as well as dropped off in Cherbourg. There are definitely more options and more convenient places in Caen, and is my preferred spot now. And it is only a 15–20 minute drive to Bayeux. It will take you that long to get to the aforementioned gas station. That being said, I found the station staff helpful, and a couple of times they drove me from there to the train station. Plus, when you are dropping off, you can make sure you drop-off with the tank topped off.
We are renting in Caen, and have done this before. However, selection is very limited right now even there. Guess I'm learning to drive stick. For 6 people you probably will have to rent from CDG. At least, that's the case for Avis, based on my recent rental inquiry. You might have better luck with another company.