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Tour guide recommendations for D Day beaches

My husband and I will be traveling in Provence first and then a week in the Normandy region in mid April through early May next year. We will end our trip with 4 nights in Bayeux. We are setting aside 2 days for the D Day beaches. I would appreciate recs for guides and thoughts on having a guide 1 day (and self guiding the 2nd day) or hiring the guide for
2 days. We would not mind being part of a small group or on our own. We plan to stop in Caen on our way to see the museum there and to also spend 1 day touring Bayeux. Thank you for your tips!!

Posted by
1179 posts

When I researched our trip in 2019, i decided that a guided tour wouldn’t give us enough time at each spot. My husband and son can (and did) spend HOURS in the museums. We toured on our own because the tours I read about had museums stops of about an hour max. My husband reads Every. Single. Plaque.

I think doing a guided tour on the first day, then touring on your own the second day is a great idea. You get the benefit of the guided commentary, and a brief overview. Then you can decide which places you might want to revisit, or go to places not included on the tour.

Posted by
59 posts

We have been there twice. The first time we spent 2+ days and used Battle Bus Tours - which I believe became Overlord tours. Absolutely incredible experience. One highlight was going to the church of Angoville-au-Plain. Our second trip, we had a car (stayed both times in Bayeux) and drove back to that church as it was such an incredible experience. https://www.normandythenandnow.com/the-scars-of-angoville-au-plain/
I think of mix of day tour and then on-your-own is a great idea. It is truly an incredible experience.

Posted by
763 posts

We had Allan Bryson, and he was Excellent! Worth every penny. Just Google "Allan Bryson Normandy" and you'll find him. Look further down and you'll see the Tripadvisor reviews agree with us.

To be fair, there are other good guides as well, and you can see more by entering "Normandy Tours" at the search box on the top of this RickSteves page.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you for your suggestions! Anyone use Dale Booth or Mathias Laclere or DDay Battle Tours?

Posted by
12 posts

We used Dale Booth Tours this past May for a two-day American tour, and I highly recommend this tour group. Debbie Booth was great to work with scheduling tours and answering questions, not just about the tour, but do book up quickly. Smaller more intimate tour which we really enjoyed, and extremly knowledgeable. Since you asked I would recommend a two day tour, and not a self guided tour, what these guides share during a tour is more than worth it.

I would also recommend Villa Lara in Bayeux, this hotel surpassed all our expectations. A great location, super rooms and way over the top customer service. Just in conversation we'd mention something we wanted to do and before you knew it they had booked it in our name. My wife was ill one morning, and within half an hour they had set up with a doctor's appointment and a taxi waiting outside the hotel to take us there.

Posted by
25 posts

I checked with Dale Booth and they are unavailable (already!) for our dates in May 2023. So, I found that D-Day Battle Tours (Ellwood was not available but other guides are) is an option, as well as one day with Mathias LaClere. Both have good reviews, and I know I need to make a decision quickly because they all book up quickly,
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has used either of them before making my decision.

Many thanks!

Posted by
68 posts

I second the Battle Bus tour. My husband still talks about it and it has been years since we did it.

Posted by
478 posts

I highly recommend Sylvain Kast with D-Day Experience Tours. https://www.d-day-experience-tours.com/about-me/
We chose a one day tour with him and then we toured the second day on our own. Pre-arrival communication with Sylvain was prompt and thorough. He is extremely knowledgeable, personable and accommodating. Prior to our trip, I sent Sylvain information on a deceased family member who served in Normandy during the invasion. Sylvain researched their unit and was able to provide us with additional information about their service. He also located a rather obscure monument that had been erected for that unit. He is a terrific guide!

Posted by
192 posts

If you haven’t booked already, we did a private tour with Mags in early July, and it was fantastic. She was ver knowledgeable and fun. She also does a lot of volunteer work with the veterans and has a true passion for keeping their stories alive and helping them when they’re able to visit Normandy.

https://www.dday4you.com/

Posted by
31619 posts

My suggestions for good D-Day guides would be.....

I did note your earlier comments that Dale was booked up (not surprising).

If you have a "generous" budget for the tour, you could also try https://www.ddayhistorian.com/tours--services.html (Paul Woodage). He's an exceptional guide but may not do tours regularly.

Your best bet for a cost effective shared tour is probably Overlord Tour, but you'll need to book ASAP.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks to everyone who sent their recommendations! We decided to go with Mathias LeClere for a 1 day private tour and will spend our other 2 days self guiding the D Day sites and Bayeux. All of the suggested guides had great recommendations, so it was just the way the recs were written and his response that sealed the deal. I am sure we would be pleased with any of them.

Posted by
7 posts

Can anyone tell me how large the shared group tours with Overlord Tours were? We're looking for a smaller group tour. Thank you!

Posted by
2567 posts

Can anyone tell me how large the shared group tours with Overlord Tours were?

We enjoyed two shared group tours with Overlord in September 2019. Both tours had 8 people, as I recall. The van was big enough for 10 people - one couple had gotten on the van for the wrong tour at the meet-up place.