The question of the reasonableness of a Paris day trip to Normandy to tour the D-Day sites, in terms of time and logistics has been discussed on occasion on this forum. The premise is that there are those who are staying in Paris and don’t have the opportunity to spend the ideal overnight time in Normandy that would accommodate the best D-Day full day or more experience. As one of those determined to see the D-Day sites while spending a week in Paris, I did my own research here on the Normandy and Paris forums. Great advice here.
I’ve just returned from my week in Paris and the day trip we did to Normandy and the D-Day tour we did with private guide Malcolm Clough, and wanted to suggest that the effort was well worth it and became the highlight of our family trip to Europe this summer. We managed to comfortably and enjoyably do a full day site tour. It was not a half day compromise as sometimes discussed here as the best accommodation of the time it takes to get there from Paris (the Caen Museum tour for Paris day trippers, for instance, is essentially a half day tour). The four of us, my wife and our two teenagers, took the first train out of Paris (6:45 am) from Gare St. Lazare. I used the advice on these forums for figuring out and booking the train trip (Paris to Caen, transfer, Caen to Bayeux). Malcolm met us at the Bayeux station at 9:30 am, and got us back at the station at 6:15 with plenty of time to make our 7:02 pm train back to Paris (Bayeux to Caen, transfer to Caen to Paris) arriving back at St Lazare at 9:30 pm.
Malcolm took us in his SUV on a full day tour of the key sites, and some uncommon sites, with a wonderful picnic lunch on the beach in between stops. He even gave us a souvenir booklet to take home covering the sites and stories we covered during the day. I had discussed the itinerary with Malcolm by e mail before we left for the trip. I could go on at length about those sites, but there is plenty available in these forums about these experiences…exceptionally moving to see and experience the sites and the meaning of the history. It will be a lifetime memory.
Malcolm, a military historian, was a wonderful guide. The point of my posting is to suggest that we were able to experience a complete tour in a full day, an unhurried and relaxed tour, despite it being a day trip adventure from Paris. Having looked at the group tour provider that would pick up at the train station (Overlord is the company that does group tours) and other private guides, Malcolm’s price was quite reasonable, even with the picnic lunch and added food he provided for the train ride back to Paris (and way less expensive and travel time consuming than the bus tours out of Paris).
There are a number of guides who will meet you at the train station. Malcolm can be reached through his web site at: d-daytoursnormandy.com.