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Tour Guide for Normandy

I am looking to book a tour guide for the WWII Normandy area. Must be able to engage children ages 9-18, family of 5. I am at a loss and would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

Posted by
149 posts

Hi!

My husband and I used Dale Booth for a private tour. I think he would be great with kids based on our discussions with him during our day about how he'd handle a tour with our son who was 11 at the time. (It's our plan to eventually take our son on a Dale Booth tour.)

However, you would need to book him way before your trip. I booked him 9 months prior and had to settle for a date I wasn't crazy about because he was already booked on the original date I wanted. But I reworked my trip around that date and everything was great.

Happy Travels!

Posted by
14161 posts

I had Dale Booth on a Rick Steves Paris and Heart of France tour and he was wonderful. What I loved was how he could tailor his info based on requests from the group. One group member had a relative in the DDay landing. I was interested in a particular Advanced Landing Field my Dad's fighter squadron used near Omaha Beach. Dale was able to work in references to both outfits throughout the day and show us specific things related to them. His knowledge is so comprehensive. He was also very engaging as a guide.

Posted by
509 posts

This is from our post on a similar inquiry a few months ago. While we were not accompanied by children, I would expect the very charming and flexible Bertrand Saudrais to fit the bill and, hopefully, the budget.

"Bertrand Saudrais (Executive D-Day Tours) offers an excellent all-day tour, customized to your particular interests. He picks you up at your hotel/accommodation, provides a top notch commentary supplemented with photos and maps, and is a charming, humorous and extremely well-informed guide.

"Detailed reviews (ours is attributed to MandR818) at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187181-d1788361-Reviews-Executive_D_Day_Private_Tours-Bayeux_Calvados_Basse_Normandie_Normandy.html

"His website: http://www.executived-daytours.com/

"Bang for Buck?" It's not cheap, but when you factor in the quality of the tour; the advantages of not having to drive, navigate, park; and the overall convenience, we felt it was a worthwhile splurge."

Posted by
768 posts

If none of the above match your days, go to Tripadvisor.com and look up Bayeux, France and then tours and you'll find the 20 highest rated. Look thru those reviews and you'll find several that talk about guides that are great with kids.

Posted by
32244 posts

lyndsey,

Some of the tours are a bit pricey but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I don't know which ones will engage children best but a few that you could consider.....

  • http://www.ddayhistorian.com/ (Paul Woodage is one of the top guides and often used by the History Channel).
  • http://dboothnormandytours.com/ (as mentioned above, Dale is exeptional).
  • http://www.overlordtour.com/ (they offer both half day and full day tours and provide transportation, so this will probably be the most cost effective choice).
  • http://www.visitdday.com/ (Chris is a retired Royal Marine Commando and I'm sure he would be able to regale your group not only with stories from D-Day but also Afghanistan. You may require a rental car for this option. Send him a note).
Posted by
1097 posts

Chris has two young daughters and his wife is also retired Royal Navy. If you have your own car, he'll be the less expensive option for a private tour, too. Can't speak highly enough of the day we spent with Chris driving all over the area ...he's great, will engage the kids and customize to what you're most interested in.

Posted by
509 posts

Lyndsey,
Happy to see Brad's endorsement of Bertrand. I would add only that our tour was the full day and we highly recommend that option. If you wish, he will finish your tour at the American Cemetery for the very moving flag lowering/taps ceremony. (Not a moment is wasted; after visiting the Airborne Museum, etc. in Sainte-Mère-Église, he took us to a little cafe/carry-out where we picked up sandwiches to eat in the car en route to the next stop while he continued his informative and entertaining commentary.) I think it would be a memorable day for the whole family.

Posted by
29 posts

We had a fantastic full day tour with Overlord. They picked us up at our hotel in a minivan - there was a max. of 8 passengers, 4 in our group and 2 other couples who booked at the last minute; if they hadn't booked we would have had a private tour with just our group of 4. Some of us were military history buffs and some weren't (like me), but the guide made everything interesting regardless of our level of expertise; I don't think he would have had problems engaging kids and teens. The sights were very moving, especially the cemetery. I hope your family will enjoy your time in Normandy - it is an amazing experience.

Posted by
171 posts

I know that you are considering booking a tour guide for WWII sights in the Normandy area and that you want one who will be able to engage children ages 9 to 18. When I made a quick check of prices a while ago it appeared that it would cost about $500 for a one-day professional tour of Normandy out of Bayeux for a family of five.

I am sure the guides who have been recommended in this thread will do an excellent job. But your kids are old enough to do their own research (if you are not leaving tomorrow) and present you with their findings. Allow each child to choose one sight/site within a broad area (say Ste Mere Eglise to Honfleur and as far from the water as Caen). What better way to get them "engaged" in the trip? What better way to prepare them for travel in adulthood?

Posted by
139 posts

Would highly recommend normandy44-tours, it was a little less expensive than some of the others we looked at, and the guide Oliver (aka Olivier) worked for years at Disney/Epcot, so kept our son interested as well as his parents.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ Brad...There are two German cemeteries in Normandy. Which did you and the boys visit? Thanks for your info.

Posted by
1162 posts

I've been to both. Most people go to La Cambe, as it is more convenient to the Eastern D-day sites (Omaha and the British/Canadian beaches). However, I found the cemetery at Orglandes more contemplative. Six souls to the marker, and many of them "unknown." It is only 16 minutes West of Sainte-Mère-Église, and the route take you through La Fiére, and Amfreville.

Posted by
14580 posts

@ Brad...Thanks for the information. The last time I was in Bayeux was in 2012 and couldn't recall the Bus# that went out to La Cambe, since the road pavement work street repair, in front of the Bayeux train station changed the location of the bus stop, etc. I'll be back in Paris early July and will check it out since I know the bus #, or maybe I'll just blow the money on a taxi. It is Bus #70 (after checking my notes), used to be able to catch it at the bus station opposite of the train station.

@ Phil....Thanks for the observation on Orglandes. That place you need a car to reach it.

Posted by
171 posts

I know this suggestion will be disqualified on at least two counts - wrong war (WWI) and wrong country (Belgium) - but the German Cemetery that I found most "moving" was Langemark. What I found most moving/sobering was the bronze statue of four men. I cannot find a good photo of the statue, but here is what I did find:
http://www.greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/cemetery-langemark.htm
Perhaps the fact that it is difficult to photograph is part of the mystique of the statue and why it sticks in your mind.

Posted by
1 posts

We were on an Overlord tour last Sunday. It was the full all day tour, and our guide, Pierre, was outstanding. He was highly informed and did all he could to make the tour personal, as we told him our Dad had landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. Great experience and strongly recommended.

Posted by
32244 posts

"the German Cemetery that I found most "moving" was Langemark."

I also found Langemark to be very moving, especially the Kameraden Grab which contains as many as 25,000 casualties (reportedly including some British soldiers as well).