We are a family of five flying to Paris from Toronto. We have a tight time line. Want to spend a day in Normandy then quickly back to Paris to Beune, latter runner, Munich...... Any suggestions on how to do this side trip to Normandy in one - two nights tops?
Take an early train Paris to Bayeux. Stay at the Churchill Hotel from where many D Day tours leave at 8- 8:30. Reserve your D Day tour places well ahead, like 3-4 months, hotel too, since they fill up quickly especially in summer months. Enjoy Bayeux for that first day then the next morning take a full day tour, return to Bayeux, spend a second night, return to Paris on an early train. Bayeux is delightful with the famous Tapestry, cathedral, and a D Day museum too. Easy to do with no hassles. You can book your train tickets at 90 days prior to travel for the great prices. It's about 2.5 hours to Bayeux and the train ride is wonderful.
Marianne, The suggestion in the previous reply should work well if you have the time. Have you researched which D-Day tours you might like to take? If you need suggestions, post another note. There's also a great D-Day Museum in Bayeux and of course the famous Tapestry, which depicts a much earlier battle. Happy travels!
I would love some suggestions of tours. My family's list of must sees includes as much of Canadian history as possible.
I took an Overlord tour, and was very pleased. They have a couple of different ones; this one would seem to work for you, as it concentrates on the British and Canadian sectors. http://www.overlordtour.com/overlordtour-tour-4.html There's a British/Canadian (and German) cemetery in Bayeux http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Commission_Cemetery Here's a British tour company with a tour focusing on the Canadian experience http://www.pegasusnormandytours.com/Pegasus_Normandy_Tours/1canhighlights.html Here's some info from the Canadian Veterans Administration http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/history/secondwar/normandy And some films here
http://www3.nfb.ca/enclasse/dday/dday.html Hope this helps
I spent three days in Normandy and could spend more time. Bayeux is a terrific "home base". The Hotel Matihilde is great. The Cathedral and Tapestry in Bayeux are worth the time. If you need to reserve time just for D-day sights, then go to Arromanches first, then as you have time, add the American Cemetary and Pont Du Hoc. We also say Omaha Beach (now a family beach with a neat monument, but no museum) and St. Mere Eglise (terrific museum there). For Canadian, consider seeing the town of Honfleur. Samuel de Champlain set sail from Honfleur to the new world. I had been to Quebec City and Montreal the year before going to Honfleur, and thought it was neat to see the two sides of his journey. Honfleur is a quaint seaside village. The old wooden church there is neat as well. Have fun!
With five of you, and an interest in the parts that the Canadians were involved in on D-Day, I would suggest you look into private tours. You may find that the cost isn't much different than booking 5 spots on a more public tour. As for limiting the time, you have a few options. Go out the night before (rent a car or train - again, with 5, sometimes the car is more economical). Stay at a hotel and then start the tour first thing in the morning. Plan to end the tour in the early evening and head back immediately to Paris. You'll be exhausted, but it'll reduce the time in the Bayeux area to only one night. You could also spend a second night, but then head back first thing in the morning.
Our family of 4 went on a fabulous D Day tour that left from Paris and returned the same evening. You can stay in Paris and not worry about another hotel in Normandy. I do not recall the tour company but they departed near the Louvre and had English speaking guides.
Another wonderful hotel in Bayeux, where we've stayed 6 or more times, is Hotel d'Argouges. Love it.
Allow me to chime in with a plug for Roel, a Dutchman (with perfect English) who runs http://www.victorytours.com/ We took his full day tour last summer and loved it. He includes a fair bit of Canadian info, and if you asked him he could probably tell you a book's worth. I know it is tempting to try to get up from Paris to do a lot of D Day and then get back to Paris all in one long day, but please consider spending one day in Bayeux, which is a fantastic little town, very walkable, and where Roel departs from.