We are a group of 6 adults travelling from London to France for a Saturday and Sunday night in mid September before picking up a RS 6 day tour of Paris on Monday afternoon. (The other 2 couples haven't travelled to Europe before.) The original plan was to go to Normandy, but due to the hub and spoke train system it seems we need to go to Paris on the Eurostar and change to another train station to get to Bayeux. This still seems to be better than a ferry. Because there are 6 of us with luggage, renting a car isn't really an option. We would have Sunday to pick up a tour of the beaches. Considering check in for the Eurostar, changing train stations in Paris and going to Bayeux, I would think we're looking at a minimum of 7 hours travel time. Is there a better way to do this or should we consider doing something else? I see Reims is about 45 min out of Paris, but without a car and on a Sunday, I'm not sure there would be much to do as most of the wineries may be closed on Sunday. There is some interest in Giverny. Would Vernon be a better idea? I wanted them to have a village experience, if possible. Thank you for your input!
I can't help with your transportation issues but I loved Reims, and some champagne tours were available on Sundays (I visited in July).
The town of Chartres is just an hour outside of Paris.
For daytime travel I agree that taking the Eurostar to Paris and then a different train to Bayeux would be better than taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. Depending upon your departure time your total travel time can be under six hours. However, if you're open to traveling overnight, you could board a Brittany Ferry at 22:45 and arrive at 06:45. Reclining seats would be cheapest, but for not all that much more you could book a 2-berth cabin and a 4-berth cabin, both with ensuite bathrooms. Or book three 2-berth cabins so each couple will have private accommodations.
Note, however, that if you want to take an all-day guided tour of the D-Day beaches, you would need to take a taxi from Ouistreham (the Caen ferry port) to Bayeux. On Sundays the first train from Caen to Bayeux doesn't depart until 11:02.
Merci for your posts! I will pass this information along and see what the others want to do.
Sounds like you don't want to drive in France, so your plan to take the Eurostar to Paris and then a local train to Bayeux works best. Since you have to change from Gare du Nord to Gare St. Lazarre in Paris and you have lots of luggage, I would take a taxi between these stations rather than schlepping my bags in the Metro. If you catch an early train from London, you can be in Bayeux by late afternoon--enough time to walk around the city center and even visit the tapestry. It's smart to hire a guide for the next day who can take you to the beaches. You can spend the night in Bayeux and easily make your RS Tour start on Monday. If you missed the tapestry on Saturday afternoon, you can visit it now before you leave for Paris. Since this is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, everything will be spiffed up and very festive. Do it!