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Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

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Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

We will be spending a week in Paris, (actually, in the suburb of Vincennes), and my father, (his first trip to Europe, let alone Paris), has told me his dream is to visit a few of the DDay beaches, and of course, the American Cemetery. In reading through many of the forum, I realize that a one day trip is not advised, (due to time needed for visit, cost effectiveness, etc.), however, for this trip, that is all we have. I told my father we can return to France in the future and stay in the Normandy region and do more in depth touring, but he seems to think this could be his one and only trip to France. I've read the various links and tour info. The linkParis tour seems to be the easiest, (as far as having all the planning "taking care of"), however, it is quite expensive, (~$300 American pp). There would be 4 of us in the group: my father, his wife, my 18 year old daughter and myself. I have been to Paris several times as a teacher leading student tours, but our "day trips" only involved an hour or so outside of Paris, (and all the planning was done by the tour company). For this trip, I am doing all the planning, (and frankly, it is a bit intimidating)! We are staying a week in London, (renting an apartment), then taking the Eurostar to Paris, for our weeklong stay in Vincennes, (timeshare exchange). Is there any advice/help you could offer re: DDay tour from Paris? Is the linkParis tour our best choice, or another option? Or is this a trip that should be saved for (hopefully) a return visit to France? Thank you so much for your help.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

I would go up by train to Bayeaux the night before, stay at the Churchill or another hotel near there and take the all day tour with Overlord the next day and train back late to Paris. This really is an excellent tour and takes in Omaha, Utah, Pointe du Hoc, Angoleme, the Airborne Museum and the American cemetery. The groups are fairly small although in summer they might use the larger bus and the group might get as large as 24. I rarely do tours and though this one was excellent. I think they have a half day tour which might work well also but I expect that one starts in the morning as well. The tours were about 80 Euro apiece as I recall but then of course you have the train ride to Bayeaux and back. The half day might well be enough -- you can look on the Overlord site and see what is included and what the timing is.

Since you are getting the apartment in Vincennes at a real break, just spend that paid for night in a hotel in Normandy.

If this is his dream, I would make sure it is realized. You don't know if there will ever be another time. Another option would be for a couple of you to take the day trip or the overnight trip -- all 4 don't need to go, but at least one person should for company. For our family the same rule is followed around Paris -- we don't all go in a herd everywhere but split up often into pairs to do things everyone is not interested in. One on one time is a bonus.

San Diego
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2. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

Janet has given you excellent advice that if it were me and this was a dream for my father, I would follow.

Just a bit more info to add: the Overlord half day tours run both in the a.m. and the p.m. The morning one would start too early for you to get there that day, but the afternoon one starts at (I think) 1:30 pm. We did the morning one and returned to the Churchill parking lot at 1 p.m.; our guide ran to get a baguette to snack on before her next tour started.

That being said, while we enjoyed the tour, the half day is really just a taste. We regret very much not doing the full day and I would urge you to do what you can to make that happen for your father.

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3. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

There is nothing to add to the above posts except to say you will probably save more than $400 doing it on your own. If you decide to go with Overlord, try to make your reservation well in advance.

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4. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

I agree with Janet that your best bet is to travel to Bayeux the night before your D-Day tour and then take an evening train back to Paris after your tour is over. If you only have one day, I recommend taking the one day Victory Tours from Bayeux. This D-Day tour waits for the first train from Paris and then ends in time for you to take the train back to Paris (don't miss the first train from Paris or they will not wait for you). Below is a link to the Victory Tours web site. There may be other tours that wait for the first train from Paris but I am not sure.

http://lignerolles.homestead.com/

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5. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

I too agree with Janet about heading over to Bayeux the night before.

Another guide that is excellent is Allan Bryson. He used to be with Battlebus, but when they disbanded he started his own company which is firstnormandybattlefieldtours.com/tour-guide…

I highly recommend Allan! We did the one day tour and were kicking ourselves for not doing the 2 day one. This was 3 women, from teenager to mid 60's, FWIW.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

I just returned from visiting Normandy over the D-Day anniversary week. If your father's dream is go there, I urge you to do so. You will not regret it. I agree with Janet's advice to arrive the night before for a full day tour. It will of course increase your costs, but the cost of lodging in Normandy is far less than Paris - you can find B&Bs in Bayeux for double-occupancy rooms with breakfast included for under 100 Euros. A full day Overlord tour (which is what I took) cost 90 Euros apiece. If you pre-book sufficiently in advance, you can get discount ("prem") train tickets -- but beware that these are non-refundable and specific to a particular date & time. The train station in Bayeux is within easy walking distance of the town center, so if your luggage is minimal , you don't even need a taxi to get from the station to your hotel. And, in fact, at the conclusion of our Overlord tour, the driver-guide (Oliver), himself drove one of the customers over to the station so he would not miss his train.

Edited: 09 June 2013, 16:30
Fairbanks, Alaska
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7. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

If all you can do is a day trip, it is still worth doing. We did it 2 years ago and have no regrets. Here's the thread I posted afterward:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g2012251-i21359-k4…

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

One further thought: As there are 4 of you, it might be equally cost-efficient and logistically less complicated to simply rent a car and drive to Normandy. It sounds a though you've never driven in France, but it's really not at all daunting, especially with passengers who can help you navigate and/or GPS. The roads are well marked and well maintained. The one caveat is that the cost of renting a car with an automatic transmission is much higher than manual; so if you can drive a stick you really should rent one. When factoring in the cost, bear in mind that gas costs over $8/gallon (I.e., 1.55 Euros/ liter when I filled up last week) -- another reason to rent a more fuel efficient stick, if that option is viable.

Since you are staying in Vincennes, you could pick up a car there without having to deal with central Paris traffic. Also, you could then either hire a private guide, or there are audio guides available that allow you to do a self-guided tour. If you did this, you could avoid the costs of overnight lodging in Normandy, and still have a full day to explore.

Illinois
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9. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

As an automatic-transmission driver, I can vouch that the cost of renting a car with an automatic transmission isn't all that much more expensive than renting one with a manual transmission, unless it happens to be a high-end luxury car.

The trick is that automatic transmissions are sometimes hard to get (your best bet is at the Paris airport or a major train station in Paris), and there can sometimes be a delay if the previous user doesn't return it at the scheduled time. But, even with the inconveniences, I'd still recommend driving to Normandy, because it's much more flexible than having to follow the time schedule of an organized tour. (Of course, if the original poster CAN drive a stick shift, it's even better!)

Just my two cents......

Pennsylvania
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10. Re: Dday tour ---father's only request on weeklong Paris trip.

Thanks so much for your replies. I'm looking into the suggestion of staying overnight in Bayeux, and then doing an all day tour. In checking times of the metro, (which we would take from our apartment in Vincennes to Gare St. Lazare), and coordinating the train schedules....we would have a very early wake up/departure from Vincennes. And in researching several B&B's/hotels, it looks like the cost of an overnight stay would be about the same as the 1 day tour offered by LInkParis, (but less hectic/rushed).

I would have to say that the rental car option is out for us.

Our time in Paris is the end of July/beginning of August, so it may be difficult finding accomodations and an available tour but I'm giving it my best shot. If the overnight stay doesn't work out, then the half day or full day tour will be my next step.

Thanks again.