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Paris to Normandy Day Trip

Paris to Normandy Day Trip

Old Feb 16, 13, 4:38 pm
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Paris to Normandy Day Trip

My husband and I are visiting France for the first time in March. During our seven night stay in Paris, we want to explore Normandy for a day. I'm looking for recommendations on whether to just take the train and wander around on our own, or perhaps join a group tour?

We typically enjoy exploring on our own, but I'm not sure if it's really possible to just get off the train and visit the sites.

Any suggestions and recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 16, 13, 10:48 pm
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Did you try doing a search?
"Normandy" generates multiple threads, including
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...questions.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...st-michel.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...ndy-tours.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...-normandy.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...und-6-jun.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/franc...thout-car.html
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Old Feb 17, 13, 1:51 am
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Beyond the linked threads which offer a wealth of input I'll only add I considered it last May while in Paris but found the various memorials and battle sights quite spread out and not easily seen without a car or by tour so opted to come back and visit when I had longer to spend in Normandy.
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Old Feb 17, 13, 3:48 am
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If you have only a day, join a group or rent a car. Getting there by train is easy, but the interesting sites are not beside the train station. You have to move around and the best way is by car. It's all freeway from Paris and not too much traffic in March, so no problem driving there.
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Old Feb 17, 13, 4:20 am
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If time, money and convenience are among your priorities, I would suggest going by train from Paris to any city in Normandy near the sites you would like to visit. From there, I would use the tourist information in the town to contact tours that would bring you to the specific sites you are interested in.

The tours provide transport, local knowledge and service. I've never done a comparison, but I suspect the cost of a tour would be lower than the cost of a private car. And yet, no less convenience.
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Old Feb 17, 13, 11:10 am
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The only thing to really do if you need to do it all in one day is to take the train to Caen. Make a reservation with the Caen Memorial Museum, they will pick you up at the station, and then take you on a 5 hour minivan tour of the Normandy beaches, with a tour guide in English. They give you lunch, and then return you to the train station. You can also tour the museum, a wonderful place with loads of exhibits and artifacts from the D Day invasion.

See "The D Day Tour" here:

http://www.memorial-caen.fr/portailg...er&Itemid=1745
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Old Feb 17, 13, 1:54 pm
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spend the night. eat in one of these places. half the price of paris. half the attitude.

http://www.gourmet.com/travel/2009/0...es-in-normandy

one or two may be gone by now. call in advance. ask them where to stay.

when going to the countryside, always eat and stay in the countryside.
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Old Feb 18, 13, 6:48 pm
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We did a day trip to Normandy two years ago. We bought advance-purchase train tickets (nonrefundable, but cheaper) to Bayeux and booked an afternoon tour through Normandy Sightseeing Tours. We had enough time before the tour to walk around Bayeux, see the tapestry, and get a sandwich at a bakery. The tour guide was great; it was well worth the cost, because he not only explained various battles, he had historical photographs too. We caught the late afternoon train back to Paris.

It was a long day, but it was quite relaxing, since we weren't driving. We will return for a longer visit to Normandy and Brittany, but we were glad we did the day trip because we saw some sights we were interested in without the inconvenience of checking out of our apartment and into a hotel (since we'd already done some hotel-hopping before Paris).

We spent 12 days in Paris, so I didn't mind giving up a whole day to go to Bayeux; but if I only had a week, we might have spent the whole time in Paris.
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Old Feb 19, 13, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by menton1 View Post
The only thing to really do if you need to do it all in one day is to take the train to Caen. Make a reservation with the Caen Memorial Museum, they will pick you up at the station, and then take you on a 5 hour minivan tour of the Normandy beaches, with a tour guide in English. They give you lunch, and then return you to the train station. You can also tour the museum, a wonderful place with loads of exhibits and artifacts from the D Day invasion.

See "The D Day Tour" here:

http://www.memorial-caen.fr/portailg...er&Itemid=1745
This is your answer. We did this same thing a few years ago, leaving out of Gare du Nord on a ~8:00AM train, took a taxi to the museum, toured it, then left on a five hour tour of the cemeteries and beaches. Taxi back to the train station, quick dinner in a resto across the street, then a ~8:30 train back to Paris.

It can make for a very long day, but still can be done in one day if you don't want to be away from Paris overnight.
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Old Feb 20, 13, 5:38 pm
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Try Grayline tours from the heart of Paris to Mont San Michel
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Old Feb 23, 13, 10:38 pm
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Thanks everyone! This is some great information!
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Old Feb 27, 13, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by NotDuncan View Post
This is your answer. We did this same thing a few years ago, leaving out of Gare du Nord on a ~8:00AM train, took a taxi to the museum, toured it, then left on a five hour tour of the cemeteries and beaches. Taxi back to the train station, quick dinner in a resto across the street, then a ~8:30 train back to Paris.

It can make for a very long day, but still can be done in one day if you don't want to be away from Paris overnight.
The trains to that area of France depart from Gare St. Lazare.
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Old Feb 28, 13, 11:15 pm
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
The trains to that area of France depart from Gare St. Lazare.
Yes, Gare St. Lazare. For some reason, (maybe heading north from Paris?) I had Gare du Nord in my head.

The rest of my itinerary still works, for a (long) one day trip to Normandy. It is doable, if one isn't willing to take a full night away from Paris.
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Old Mar 1, 13, 10:34 am
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I've done the tour with the Caen Memorial museum. It is wonderful, guides are terrific, speak perfect English, and the tour is very moving, we basically owe the freedom of the Western World to the guys and that invasion. It's pretty awe-inspiring.

The Tour people will pick you up at the Caen RR station and take you back at the end of the day. I didn't do that, but we had 2 couples on our tour that were going to and from Paris the same day. There is no TGV, but the ride is about 90 minutes from Paris.
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