"A Terrific Base for Normandy and the D-Day Beaches" Bayeux by vichatherly

Bayeux Travel Guide: 189 reviews and 558 photos

I've been lucky enough to stay for a few days in Bayeux on two occasions. My first was in the summer of 2009 and my last was in the summer of 2013.

On both visits Bayeux was the base for exploring the WWII Normandy D-Day beaches.

There is so much history to see in this area that I think you'd be kidding yourself if you think you can cover it all in one short holiday.

On our 2013 trip we took it a bit easier but still managed to get to

A re-visit of Bénouville for Pegasus Bridge and the Memorial Museum

A re-visit to Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer for the American Cemetery

La Cambe for the German cemetery

Saint-Côme-du-Mont for Dead Mans Corner

A re-visit to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont for Utah beach

A re-visit to Longues-sur-Mer for the gun battery

A re-vist to Arromanches-les-Bains for Gold beach and the Mulberry Harbour,

I hope to be back soon to see more.

Normandy 2009

We stayed in beautiful Bayeux for a long weekend, three nights in a lovely family run Bed & Breakfast.

We wanted to visit the World War II beaches of Normandy. The beaches cover an area of over 60 miles and so we based ourselves in Bayeux, which put us in a fantastic central location.

We managed to visit all five of the D-Day beaches as well as find time to take a look at the Cathedral and the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

Because we only had four days, we took time before-hand to plan. This went rather well and it meant we did achieve the objective of setting foot on all five landing beaches.

We took the Brittany ferry across from Portsmouth to Caen, landing just after midday French time. We then took the small coastal road to our first stop which was Arromanches

We packed into our short stay the following villages and towns

Arromanches-les-Bains for Gold beach and the Mulberry Harbour,

Sainte-Mère-Église for the church and the US Airborne museum,

Sainte-Marie-du-Mont for Utah beach

Maisy for the batteries at Maisy and Pointe du Hoc

Colleville-sur-Mer for Omaha beach

Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer for the American Cemetery

Courseulles-sur-Mer for Juno beach,

Bénouville for Pegasus Bridge and the Memorial Museum,

Ouistreham for Sword beach

Merville-Franceville-Plage for the gun battery and Ranville for the CWGC Cemetery.

Useful Reading - Homework is half of the fun

I found that a decent guide book was indispensable, especially if you doing the tour around on your own steam.

A great book to get, which will really help on your planning is Major & Mrs Holt's Pocket Battlefield Guide - Normandy Landing Beaches

It has six different itineraries which take on different areas of the landings. Each had a detailed map and estimated time to take the tour.

1 - US Airborne Operations & Utah Beach, 3 hrs 30 mins
2 - US Rangers Operations Pointe Du Hoc & Omaha Beach, 4 hrs 45 mins
3 - Bayeux, Arromanches & Gold Beach, 5 hrs
4 - Canadian Operations/Juno Beach, 5 hrs
5 - Allied Commando Ops/Sword Beach, 3 hrs 30 mins
6 - British Airborne Operations, 4 hrs 30 mins

You can get this book direct from the authors at www.guide-books.co.uk

Also a good book to read before during and after is "D-Day" by Stephen Ambrose. This is a very readable account of the day.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A beautiful French City
  • In a nutshell:It's more than just a Tapestry
  • Last visit to Bayeux: Jun 2013
  • Intro Updated Jan 23, 2014
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Comments (2)

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    Really nice page, Vic. We had a couple of weeks in Bretagne last year, but there's no much to do in that region that you can only scratch the surface and we didn't make it this far east. My husband is keen to do the Normandy beaches - maybe being German, he's hoping for more success this time around? :)
    Regards
    Cathy

    • vichatherly's Profile Photo
      Aug 1, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Thanks for the comments Cathy. We are a bit closer tahn you to France and so we have more chance of popping over. Last trip to Normandy was, with our 19th month little fella and so I had to cut back on the number of D-Day visits. Also it meant that we were were babysitting and so missed out on the French cuisine in the evening. We'll be back and so next time will work it out better .. maybe take a babysitter with us ... lol

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Jul 31, 2009 at 1:47 AM

    Interesting Normandy pages. I've made a note of La Rapière for our next visit to the area in September - thanks for the Tip.

vichatherly

“Soaking up as much culture and beer as I can :)”

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