A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches


Many people have asked and keep asking me: “What town would you recommend we stay in that is close to the Normandy D-DAY beaches we are seeing, yet quaint and has restaurants….”

Here are all my answers.

Over the last few years, I have taken many US and international visitors to the Normandy D-Day Beaches.

When planning to visit these historical sites, logistics is the key, especially if you plan to get there during an Anniversary of the D-Day landings, like the one we will have this year, the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

You should stay in Bayeux, a small town preserved from the bombardments of this terrible battle thanks to its vicinity to Caen, which was completely destroyed.

Related read: Top Ultimate Trips in France, Excluding Paris

Here is an overview:

Where to Stay in Bayeux?

I just felt like sharing some of my experience with you now. In Bayeux, there are countless charming hotels where you can find a very good deal.

An important thing to remember about these places is that the tourist season is from March to November.

From November to March, most tour guides and tourism professionals are in a kind of “vacation mode” after a very busy season.

The peak season here is really mid-May to late June. Prices can seriously rise for hotels around the D-Day Anniversaries, and availability can be scarce if you don’t book well in advance.

Related read: The Best Beaches in Normandy, France

Here are some of the best hotels in Bayeux

Hotel Reine Mathilde

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

My favorite choice. Also, it is the only one in town open year-round. Conveniently situated in the heart of Bayeux’s historic center, our hotel allows you to easily explore the wonders of Old Bayeux on foot. With its beautifully renovated old house atmosphere, it provides a relaxing and comfortable retreat. Indulge in gourmet and relaxing moments at the renowned Reine Mathilde hotel, featuring a restaurant and sun-soaked terrace, all nested within the medieval city.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Hotel Villa Lara

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

The local Ritz is as good as the Ritz in Paris but much cheaper. Located conveniently in the heart of Bayeux, this property offers proximity to various attractions and delightful dining choices. With a five-star rating, this property ensures a luxurious and enjoyable stay, providing a wide range of in-house amenities to enhance your experience.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Hotel Tardif Noble Guest House

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

This is a very nice hotel in a 17th Century building. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Bayeux at the exquisite Hotel Tardif, an 18th-century noble property located in the heart of the city. Just a short 15-minute drive from the iconic D-Day beaches, this hotel has a storied past, having served as the residence of a royal botanist from Versailles and the Army Minister of Napoleon.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

La Cheneviere

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Simply the best. It’s really chic, with a swimming pool, a Michelin-rated restaurant, a spa, and lots of amenities. One minus, not in the center of town but ten minutes drive.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Manoir de Crépon – Suite Directoire

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Chic and great restaurant. Amazing swimming pool and spa treatments in the summer. Enjoy a coastal getaway at Le Manoir de Crépon in Crepon, where you’ll be just a 10-minute drive from Juno Beach and America Gold Beach Museum. This charming bed & breakfast is conveniently located 19.9 km (12.4 mi) from Caen Memorial and 22.9 km (14.2 mi) from Omaha Beach.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Chateau de Bellefontaine

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

This is two minutes from Bayeux. It is the perfect choice for those who want to sleep in a Chateau but are still almost downtown. Located in the heart of Bayeux City Center, this property offers convenient proximity to various attractions and enticing dining options. With a 4-star rating, this property boasts a wide range of in-house facilities to enhance the quality and enjoyment of your stay.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Chateau de Sully

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Grand Hôtel Château de Sully – Piscine & Spa, a 17th-century property situated in Bayeux, provides guests with a restaurant and a convenient location just a 5-minute drive from the city center. With Omaha Beach only 11 km away, guests can also indulge in the complimentary spa facilities, including a sauna and hot tub.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Clos de la Croix

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches
A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

Now, if you prefer a B&B, this is the BEST place by far. Set in Bayeux, in a historic building, 300 metres from Baron Gerard Museum, Hôtel particulier “le clos de la croix” is a sustainable bed and breakfast with a garden and terrace.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

How to Get to Bayeux from Paris?

In order to get to Bayeux from Paris, you have two options:

By Car

If you need a car and are okay to drive in France, you should take the A14 Highway West to ROUEN, then the A13 heading to CAEN, and then you’ll see signs to BAYEUX closer to CAEN.

It should take about 2h30 – 3hrs drive to reach your final destination. You can always refill the tank on the French highways and get some snacks and food. Yet, the fuel price here is quite high, and the fuel on the highway is the most expensive you can find in France. Most of the French people buy from supermarket chains. It’s much cheaper.

If you choose the car option, remember you might have to drive through Paris. That is not something to be done by “Sunday drivers”, as traffic and the way Parisians drive is more hectic than in NYC. Many scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians do respect the lights and stops.

Also, leaving Paris center to Bayeux, you might have to cross the famous Arc de Triomphe roundabout. The kind of “black slope diamond” experience.

Driving outside Paris and in the rest of France is very easy. Just pay attention to your speed. Maximum 130 km/h on the highways. In Bayeux, parking is not a problem.

There are many parking spots, and all the hotels have parking spots for their clients.

By Train

Another easier way to get to Bayeux is to get on the train. About 2 hours 20 minutes by train, direct train.

You should head to Gare St Lazare. St Lazare train station. There is more than one train station in Paris, so ensure you get to this one when heading to Bayeux. St Lazare train station connects with northwestern France. It is about a 10 minutes drive (when traffic is okay in Paris) from the Champs Elysées.

You can get your train tickets from this official website from the US.

From other places, visit this website.

Like all the train stations in Paris, St Lazare train station is a rather big one, so take some time ahead of you to avoid missing your train.

Onboard the train, there are restrooms, but very rarely are there snacks or cafes to buy. The train company provides free wifi and plugs to charge your devices.

At the train station, you can buy anything you want regarding food & drinks.

When you arrive at Bayeux train station, in case your guide does not meet you upon your arrival (a common option for many travelers who have just one day to visit the Normandy D-Day Beaches), you’ll find taxis right in front of the train station to get you safely to your hotel. You can pay by credit card on all the taxis.

No Ubers here, sorry.

Arriving at Bayeux train station

By Plane

This airport, though international, does not operate many flights each day, but you can find a connection to other major cities in France, in the UK, Spain, and Northern Africa.

Then, from the airport just take a taxi to your hotel in Bayeux. There are always many taxis when planes land. It takes about 30mns drive and should be under 70EUR one way.

Related read: Top Tips for Booking Flights in Europe During Summer

Where to Eat in Bayeux?

Bayeux has a great choice of cafés and restaurants.

When in Bayeux, you’ll feel like in a little ideal town of France, where it feels good to walk slowly and wander around by the water mill, the Cathedral, the Convent where the amazing Bayeux Tapestry is kept.

There is a match for everyone from simple pizza and beers to more fancy dining.

Here is my shortlist of best restaurants:

  • La Maison Blanche
    For those who want to combine a really fun evening with delicious food, all in a Cabaret atmosphere, this is the place.
  • Le Pommier
    Excellent, traditional, perfect location and service. Book well in advance.
  • L’Alchimie
    Small restaurant, yet the chef deserves a big Wow. Just delicious fresh local food.
  • La Rapière
    Simply the best, so book as soon as you can. You won’t be disappointed, believe me.

How to Get the Most of Your Day Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

If I can give one good piece of advice as a tour guide myself, it is to book your tour, whether group or Private, as soon as you can. One year in advance is not a problem at all. The best guides and companies get booked many months ahead.

Also, read the reviews about your guide. TripAdvisor reviews, unfortunately, do not always match what a guide company does, as competitors and even anyone can pit a review on a guide on this platform.

I once had a review for the Mont St Michel, saying that this place was not worth it… I am not the Mont St Michel. Some companies like Tours by Locals allow only their clients to put reviews to guides they had. I recommend this.

Check out all tours provided by this tour guide.

Group Tour vs Private Tour

Well, there is a real bonus of having a tour guide just for the day, but it comes with a price. It is really worth your money, as a Private Tour will allow you to customize the day as you want, and you’ll have a guide just for you.

Group Tours, especially the ones of the Normandy D-Day Beaches, tend to be quite like “cattle herding,” and the quality of tour guides is clearly not the same as for the ones doing mostly Private Tours.

Now, another simple way to get the guide to be the best is to remember that he is doing that almost year-round, so a smile, some questions, and a happy face help a lot to break the ice.

French people are very sensitive to behavior and politeness. Do not forget it.

The Normandy Landing Beaches: Private tour

Marked by engraved headstones, battle-scarred landscapes, and the fading memories of the heroic “Greatest Generation,” we will honor the brave young men who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We must ensure their incredible story is passed on from one generation to the next!

You will explore various topics such as:

  • The preparations for Operation Overlord
  • The daring assault of the first Allied waves
  • The construction of artificial harbors
  • The implementation of General Patton’s deception plan known as Fortitude
  • Daily life under German occupation
  • The relationship between the liberators and French civilians.

In addition, you will cover topics such as the involvement of French Resistance fighters, construction details of the Atlantic Wall fortifications, and German positions, not forgetting important aspects such as the war effort of women or the contributions of minorities such as code talkers in the postal services or balloon barrage battalions.

Every historical fact presented is supported by meticulously detailed military maps and archives, as well as photographs of both Allied and German forces.

Price: from €740 per group (up to 7)
Duration: 8 hours
Cancelation: Free up to 24 hours before
Reserve now & pay later
Pickup offered
Mobile ticket
Tour in English or French

Included are:

  • Lunch for driver/guide
  • Lunch for participants and entrance fees for paid sites/museums

Click here to book your tour directly with the tour operator.

Bunker at the Normandy Landing Beaches - Private tour.
Bunker at the Normandy Landing Beaches – Private tour.

What you can expect

Omaha Beach

Honor the brave men at the American Cemetery, where 10,000 American soldiers are buried or missing in action. Stop at Omaha Beach to explore a fortified position as part of the Atlantic Wall.

Duration: 2 hours | Entrance fee: Free

Pointe du Hoc

Visit the German battery at La Pointe du Hoc, which still displays massive craters caused by naval and aerial bombardment. Witness 225 Rangers fearlessly scaling the towering cliffs over 100 feet high. Gain insight into the Atlantic Wall and German defenses.

Duration: 1-hour | Admission: Free

Utah Beach

Stop at Utah Beach for lunch at the Roosevelt Café, built on top of a bunker that served as a meeting place for veterans. Explore the site where Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. led his troops of the 4th Infantry Division during the landing. Discover monuments dedicated to the U.S. Navy, including a Higgins boat.

Duration: 2 hours | Admission: Free

Utah Beach (continued)

We will cross the famous hedgerows that posed significant challenges to the American forces and follow the coast of Utah Beach, which connects Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to Sainte-Mère-l’Église – the first liberated village in the American sector.

Duration: 1 hour | Admission: Free

Sainte-Mère-l’Église

Take a moment to visit Sainte-Mère-Église, made famous in the movie “The Longest Day” by Charlie Company paratrooper John Steele, who landed on its steeple. Also admire two stained glass windows created especially for this church, commemorating its liberation by members of the esteemed 82nd Airborne Division on June 6, 1944.

Duration: 1 hour | Admission: Free

Historical cars during the visit of the Normandy Landing Beaches - Private tour.
Historical cars during the visit of the Normandy Landing Beaches – Private tour.

Lunch Break

There is one good restaurant for your lunch break while visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches, La Cremaillère in St Laurent sur Mer, run by Jessica Julienne.

It is just above the way down to Omaha Beach at the D3.

This is simply a Dinners like French café where you’ll get for 17EUR a good lunch. Starter buffet, main, and dessert. In the summer, they have a BBQ. Plenty of room in front for parking.

If you have a tour guide with you, remember that he/she has no breaks from the moment he/she meets you, so the lunch break (with you, his clients) is the only time during the day when he can relax a little as well as get to know you better. Take time for your lunch. French people take a long break. It’s a good occasion to have a chat and try the delicious hard cider.

Normandy D-Day Beaches - A Guide to Visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches

If you have just one day for your tour of the Normandy D-Day Beaches, you won’t have time to see all the sites in one day. This is just impossible.

Plan the Day

Depending on where you have started your day, you’ll focus on:

  • Longues Sur Mer German WWII canons
  • Arromanches & the Mulberry Harbour
  • Brecourt Manor
  • Ste Mere Eglise
  • Utah Beach
  • Omaha Beach
  • Normandy American Cemetery & Visitor Center

Trust the experience of the tour guide for the itinerary. He/she lives here and has done it many times already.

Igor shows the American Cemetery in the Normandy in Northern France.
Igor shows the American Cemetery in the Normandy in Northern France.

Useful Tips While in Bayeux

Grocery Stores

If you need some groceries or a snack, there is a small supermarket, Carrefour City, just by the Churchill Hotel, 22 rue St Jean.
Opens from 7 AM till 9 PM, except Sunday, 9 AM- 1 PM.

Laundry

Rue des Bouchers Open 7/7 7AM-9PM

Pharmacy

This pharmacy has staff who speak English quite well, and they know the equivalent of many US drugs in French – which is useful.

15 Rue Saint-Patrice, 14400 Bayeux

Cafes

A very pleasant cafe is the one of the Reine Mathilde Hotel, Le Garde Manger.

Museum in Bayeux

If you still have some time in Bayeux, I highly recommend you visit the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. There, the Bayeux Tapestry depicts the fascinating history of the Conquest of England by William of Normandy, known as William the Conqueror.

His wife Mathilda and her pet ladies handmade it between 1071 and 1085 between France and England. It is the oldest tapestry in the world and is exceptionally well preserved.

After watching the tapestry at the ground level with the audio guides, head to the first floor, where the museum gives you more insight into the context of the Tapestry.

On the 2nd floor, the movie in English gives you even more detail about the Bayeux Tapestry. You should count about 2 hours to have enough time to visit the Bayeux Tapestry.

Et voilà, you’re all set to have a great experience visiting the Normandy D-Day Beaches.

  • Rosen Igor

    As far back as I can remember, I have always loved history and telling people about it and showing them the best places to eat, have fun and do things.
    I was born in Normandy, near Lisieux, and both my grandparents lived through the German occupation and both were in the French Resistance.
    This is where my passion for digging in the past really began.
    After school in Lisieux, I studied history and journalism at the Sorbonne in Paris.
    I have been a professional guide for three years now and I really love it!
    I know and love my region. I have lived here almost all my life and I have so much to show you.
    I have lived elsewhere, but I can tell you that “paradise” for me is “here” in the green pastures of Normandy.





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