I know April and May is a great time to visit the beaches but we might have to plan for later. What about September?? Our concern is weather and crowded tourists. What are the pros or cons for September? All thoughts welcome please!
I was there in mid-August two years ago. It was lovely! We stayed in Bayeux. I didn't feel like it was crowded at all. The nice weather was a total bonus, my moods definitely follow the weather. Sitting on the sea wall at the beaches and having a picnic was time to relax and ponder the scene on the beach in front of us, both past and present. In fact, we went to Paris after that and while everyone continuously warns about Paris in August, it was fine. Hot, but great energy. (The first time I went to Paris it was in high 50s in early September, and I hadn't packed well. I was kicking myself for not buying that Iceland national sweater on our layover in Reykjavik.)
I can recommend the Hotel Lion d'Or in Bayeux. We did our own tour of the beaches, and took the hotel up on their picnic basket lunch to take along. Ham with butter and brie on baguette, mind blown! How does everyone stay so thin?
I've visited the Normandy beaches eight times. Six of them were for the D-day anniversary—which is typically the busiest time for that area. But there were always places to go and things to see that weren't at all crowded even then. I went once in mid/late September and you could barely tell it was an area visited by tourists. The weather may be rainy, but that is true any time of the year for that area. Bring a raincoat and you should be fine.
June-August is the least rainy period of the year. Normandy tends toward being overcast and coolish, so excessive heat isn't common there. I'm sure it can happen; I got some 88+F days in Brittany last year, which is also usually on the cool side.
We were in Bayeux in September 2019 for two days of D-Day tours. Both days began with heavy rain, but the guides soldiered on, and everyone either had ponchos or else had the sense to stay out of the rain. By the second stop the rain was over each day.
We were in Bayeux in April 2010. No rain, and it was slightly cooler.
We weren't bothered by crowds on either trip.
Most restaurants in Bayeux are closed on Mondays; so if you're spending Monday night in Bayeux, consider asking your hotel to book ahead for you.
We have been there in February, June and August. June was the busiest, but not that different than our August trip. February was great in that there was hardly anyone there, but of course the weather was cold/windy/rainy. We loved it though and would go back that time of year in a heartbeat, FWIW.
We were there last September. There was quite a bit of rain, but it was just bad luck as one of the tour guides told us that the previous few weeks had been mostly dry.
The only place where crowds were a problem was at the restaurants in Bayeux. Most of them open at 1900, and if you did not have a reservation and / or arrived at 1905, you were out of luck. Suggest that you make a reservation one day in advance.
The WWII tourist attractions were not too crowded. There were people at each of the beaches, but still plenty of room for everyone. Our tour guides never had problems finding a parking spot.
Be sure and hire a rental car for taking in the beaches on your schedule in September or any time. We did take a full day tour but then returned in our car the following day to visit places we barely had time for, including the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, about 20 minutes from Bayeux. We were a little disappointed with the tour as we spent too much time with the guide explaining detailed tactics at every stop. With your own car, you can drive to other sights including Mont St. Michel, about 90 minutes via the 4 lane motorway and arrive before the tour buses and crowds take over. Send me a PM if you want more details on driving, car rental, getting to Bayeux by train from Paris or a ferry from Portsmouth, UK. Good luck.
I’ve been there 10+ times and September is a good month to go. As another poster said, i love it there any time of the year. Normandy is a very special place and the locals are friendly, warm and welcoming.
I highly recommend Hotel d’Argougrs in Bayeux. Wonderful owners, beautiful property, lovely gardens, gorgeous flowers everywhere, great breakfast included, free parking, large clean rooms, large clean bathrooms, good beds, very quiet... in the heart of charming Bayeux.
I also highly recommend the WWII museum in Bayeux, our favorite one.
I visited the area in either the second or third week of September and it was really nice. Very comfortable temps and no rain. I think April and probably May would be a good chance of rain in the coastal areas.