We plan to go by train to Bayeux (& stay 2 nights) to visit the historic battle sites one day and possibly try to see Mont St. Michel the following day ( or en route to Paris?). We will be traveling by train from Provence to Normandy & go on to Paris by train after our visit. I appreciate any suggestions about tours, transportation, what is realistic...Our sons are 17 & 13, love history. We will be in France for 2 wks in late August. Thank you!
I spent 5 nights in Bayeux in April a few years ago and loved it. I would see if Battlebus tours will allow teens on their tours. They are wonderful and you learn personal stories of some of the men that fought for us. I also hear that Overlord tours are good also. I think that driving on your own you will miss a lot. Since you have such a small amount of time in Normandy make it worth your time with a tour from a good company. Your sons will love it if they like history. There are many smaller museums that I really enjoyed and think are better than the larger one in Caan that was expensive. (Only in my opinion). I thought Mount Saint Michael was wonderful but it gets VERY crowded during the day. We arrived at 3:00 and could barley walk the streets. We checked into our hotel for one night and at 6:30 or so it was clear of all the day trippers. We visited the monestary early when it opened to avoid the crowds. I am not sure if the train takes you there or not, we had a car for our trip. I would spend two nights in Bayeux and then head to the Mount in the late afternoon and spend the night. You could leave after seeing the monestary in the morning.
My family spent 2 days/nights in Bayeux last summer. Arrived by rail mid-afternoon from Paris and drove a rental car to M-S-M. Spent the next day on a Battlebus tour (now not operating as Battlebus any longer - but owner still runs tours). Next morning was the Bayeux Tapestry. Looking back, that was too much stuff to jam into 2 days. I would consider not going to MSM (it's close to a 2 hr drive ea way), and spend more time on the D day sites. If you must see MSM, then you need to understand your vistits to various D Day sites will be fairly short in duration. Bayeux was our favorite spot on our visit to France and Germany. Stay longer if you can, we wish we had.
Check our bonjourlafrance.com Normandy events calender. We once stumbled upon a cider featival, with live musical and cultural as well as kids activties. Also, I understand they light up Mont St. Michel some nights in summer.
I agree with Chuck about not going to Mont St. Michel. I love MSM but 2 nights for Bayeux and the D-Day sites isn't enough, let alone adding MSM. Look at the thread titled "Paris to Normandy" below this one to see Ken's post and recommendations for tours. We've been to Normandy 5 times, staying a week each time, and we (including my teenage son) love it there. Bayeux is a great base, and I highly recommend staying at Hotel D'Argouges. I also highly recommend the WWII museum in Bayeux which is the best one of all imo.
'(it's close to a 2 hr drive ea way)' Nah. It's an hour and a couple of minutes. The first seventy-five miles is freeway with a posted speed of eighty per. The trick is to stay on the freeway until you're south of Pontorson and then head straight north that last three miles or so. It's not to hard to work in a trip to MSM in the evening after you're done with everything else. The best time to see it is at night from the causeway. Also, at night, you can walk the main drag and the eastern wall (but not get in the abbey) in way less than an hour.
I'd trust Ed's drive time estimate to MSM over mine. I think we got hung up in the "bocage" just like the Allies.
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions! Great food for thought. I plan to do more research & then come up with a plan- Best,