Please sign in to post.

Normandy Tour

I want to go to Normandy during my stay in Paris. If I join the museum tour, they will take me to the Normandy beach which costs 75 euro.....the price on Rick Steve is outdated...they increased the price.

Is it possible to go to the beach by foot/do-it-yourself? Or should one join the group and pay over $100 dollars? Is it worth it?

Posted by
12040 posts

"Is it possible to go to the beach by foot?" No, because the sites of the invasion (I assume that's what you mean when you refer to "Normandy", which is actually a large region of France, not a single destination) stretch over about 50 km or more of shoreline. The area is not well-served by public transportation. You either need to take an organized tour or rent a car.

Posted by
23471 posts

Technically speaking there is no Normandy beach. There are five landing areas covering closer to 50 miles than 50km - 30 miles. But I could be wrong on that point but it a big distance. And more massive is the area behind the beaches that was involved and worthy of a visit. Unfortunately a tour from Paris will require five or six of travel so your time will be limited. It would be difficult for you to do it on your own for less than the price they are charging.

Posted by
9044 posts

Of course it is worth it. It was worth these men sacrificing their lives. It is such an honor to be able to go there and pay your respects and learn about what happened here.

Do you have any idea how much research the guides need to do and how much information they need to retain to present an accurate tour? One that is professional along with being interesting to people from all walks of life and varying interests, a tour that honors the memory of what these men did?

How many hours was your tour supposed to be? You didn't name the company. Divide the 75 € by how many hours the tour is, to get an hourly rate for your guide, along with whatever transportation is involved.

We paid 120 € two years ago per person for a 2 day, American Experience tour with Battlebus. That is 60 € per day, and the tour went from 0800 til around 1700. Of couse we took time out for lunch, but still 8 hours at 60 € was a pretty good deal I think. This was about the best money we ever spent on anything anywhere, and was the most meaningful trip we have ever made.

Posted by
80 posts

I just paid 75 Euro for 5 hours of touring the beach and an unguided entrance to the museum.

Posted by
32268 posts

Judy, just to clarify your last post, you've now booked a tour with one of the Normandy tour firms? Which firm did you choose?

YES, a visit to Normandy is most definitely "worth it". I've visited several of the landing beaches and various other battle sites, but the most memorable and moving part is a visit to the American Cemetery at Colleville and/or the Canadian Cemetery at Beny sur Mer (there are lots of others in the area, but those are the two main sites). Standing among the rows of white crosses provides a very sombre reminder of the sacrifices.

Happy travels!

Posted by
80 posts

I booked the trip with the Museum. It is the Day Pass, which includes the nonguided museum tour and 5 hours of guided beach tour. The tour starts at 2pm. I assume we will finish at 7pm.

I hope there's public transportation to take me back to Paris after 7pm :)

Posted by
23471 posts

Judy, make it easy for us with some complete information. It is like pulling teeth to understand what you are trying to do. Which museum? Which city? Give us something to work with.

Posted by
80 posts

LOL! Sorry about that!

I booked the tour with the official WWII Normandy museum. Please find their website at the following address: www.memorial-caen.fr

On that site, they have different options. Please find it below:

  • THE DAY PASS, which includes a non-guided visit of the Caen Memorial Museum and a 5 hour guided tour of the landing beaches in a minivan including:

La Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, Longues sur Mer German Battery, the Artificial Harbour in Arromanches.

The departure to the landing beaches is at 1.00 pm from October till March, at 9.00 am or 2.00 pm from April till September (meeting point with the guide in the main hall of the museum).

The cost of the Day Pass is 75 euros per adult and 59 euros per child under 18, or if you choose the 9 am departure to the beaches.

  • THE D-DAY TOUR- including:

  • pick up at your arrival at the Caen railway station (at 8.55 am from Monday till Friday, 9.51 am on Saturdays, 10.57 am on Sundays)

  • a guided visit of the 2nd World War area of the Museum

  • lunch at the Museum

  • a 4 to 5 hour guided tour of the landing beaches

  • return to the train station at about 6.15 pm (from October till March),

7.15 pm (from April till September)

The cost of the D-Day tour is 109.50 euros per person.

You need to book in advance on our website or by phone (00.33.2.31.06.06.45).

Posted by
32268 posts

Judy,

That additional information helps a lot! I've never taken that particular tour, but I kind of assumed the Museum in Caen was the one you were referring to.

Regarding your tour of the Beaches, visiting La Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, Longues sur Mer German Battery, the Artificial Harbour in Arromanches within only a 5-hour period is going to be a bit rushed (to say the least!) but it will give you a quick look.

Some info on the places you'll be visiting....

> Pointe du Hoc - LOTS of craters! If your Guide doesn't point them out, look for the Widerstandsnest positions. The Monument on the cliff edge is not accessible except during special ceremonies, due to erosion of the cliff (and danger of guests falling).

> Omaha Beach - it's hard to imagine what it looked like on 6 June, but it's easy to see the "elevated positions" that fired down on the beach (a former Soldier estimated 32K rounds / minute from the MG-42's, even with stoppages & barrel changes!). Given the circumstances, it's apparent to see why the casualty numbers were so high!

> American Cemetery -if possible, look for the headstones of two of the Niland brothers, both killed during the landings (there were 4 brothers in all). They were reportedly the inspiration for the movie Saving Pvt. Ryan. It's a large site & you probably won't have much time, so tour quickly!

> Longues sur Mer - only about 15 minutes outside Bayeux, and quite impressive as they're still somewhat "intact" (except for one of the Gun Bunkers that suffered an "unfortunate event" after capture). Be sure to take a Flashlight to explore the Command & Control Bunker, which is forward of the Gun Bunkers. If you've seen The Longest Day, you'll recognize the Command Bunker.

> Arromanches - not too intact, but still quite impressive to see. The pieces of the artificial harbour were massive!

Cheers!

Posted by
208 posts

Bill, I'm sure glad I am not travelling with you or Judy. I use Paris as a place to fly into. The sooner I can get out and get to the countryside, the happier I am. I am spending 3 days in Normandy this summer and will spend about 2 hours in Paris, and most of that will be from the airport to the various trains I have to take. Call me insane, (in your opinion) but many of us go to Europe to visit small towns, different areas, and the country to get out of the big city pace. True a bomb crater is a bomb crater to someone who does not care about what happened over there or has not interest in WWII history. That is MHO.

Posted by
264 posts

Hi Tony! I'm glad you're not traveling with me, too! But, that is the most pleasant disagreeing opinion I have ever heard on this board! Thank you for that! It's true, I'm a city boy! I'll be spending 2 (more) weeks in Paris again this June. Some people fall in love with Paris, and some people don't. I just can't get enough! (I will/have taken a few days trips but I will NOT sleep outside the city, each to his own)!

Posted by
80 posts

To those who gave advice/suggestions--in public and in private-- Thank you. I am grateful.

I am still debating whether to visit the Caen Beach or not...the reason: I am very sensitive and get depressed very easily.

In Germany, we went to one of the concentration camps. It took us some time to get there too! The moment I entered the yard, I could feel waves of depression. It is just a sad place. Some see the beauty of human triumph (human survivors)and history, but I see sadness. We left less than one hour later. That's also how I feel in Washington DC memorial centers.

I am grateful to those who fought for our freedom. Don't get me wrong. But when I see death and/or suffering, this overwhelming sense of sadness just takes over. A part of me wants to experience Normandy as many of you have described, but I wonder if I would have the same reaction as I did when I visited the concentration camp/DC memorials.

Posted by
208 posts

WHY would anyone go to Normandy to tour one of the most important areas and events in the world history and walk around on your own not knowing what you are doing or what you are looking at? Spend the $100, spend $200 or whatever it takes and get every bit of knowledge and history you can out of your time there. If you are not willing to do that, don't go as you will consider it a waste of your time.

Posted by
9044 posts

Well said Tony, well said. Personally, I would rather spend money here than in Paris. Sure, Paris has some lovely things to look at, lots of art and history too, but the D-Day beaches are soooo much more meaningful and deserving of my time and attention then a quick 5 hours.

Judy have you looked at staying overnight in Bayeux perhaps or Caen and taking one of the longer tours. You have spent a lot of money I am sure, coming over to France, why not spend it wisely on a tour that offers you more?

Posted by
264 posts

I have personally taken the above referenced tour sponsored by the Memorial de Caen. Yes, it's worth it; and it was plenty of time! (Pretty soon one bomb crater looks pretty much like another even though I had family members that were shot up on Omaha beach on June 6, 1944). IMHO spending more than a day outside the city, on a trip to Paris, would be insane!

Posted by
1455 posts

Judy
I think it depends if you are a "tour" person or not. My husband and I are not into "tours" and we opted to rent a car and travel to the Normandy region on our own. We took our time at the places we wanted, and spent the night at a chateau near Mt. St. Michel. It was the highlight of our 3rd Paris trip... so much so, we are thinking of going back to France, and skipping Paris.

PM me if you want to see our blog

Posted by
17 posts

We easily made the museum and tour of the beaches and cemetaries a daytrip via rail from Paris. We chose to do the museum at Caen and took the P.M. guided tour from there. The very nice guide inquired if anyone needed to connect with the train after the tour and dropped us of at the station.

However you go, the tour of these sites is very moving, especially actually standing amongst the rows and rows of white grave markers.

Posted by
1 posts

From their website they list two tours my wife and I are considering "The D-Day Tour" and the "Day Pass."

My wife and I would also be taking the train from Paris and I wanted to make rail reservations with our pass, but neither tour indicates a beginning and ending time (or I can't find it, also very possible).

http://www.memorial-caen.fr/fr/circuit_tour/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=12&lang=EN

It looks like one tour includes transport. from the rail station in Caen and the other includes the self-guided museum tour.

Can anyone help with the times and recommend which tour a day tripper from Paris should possibly take.

Thanks,

Corey

Posted by
10344 posts

And this Saturday is June 6, the 65th anniversary.