Hello! We will be in Paris from a Friday through a Tuesday this winter. We have been to Paris before so feel OK about leaving Paris for a day to travel to Normandy. I understand the train is our best bet. What are anyone's thoughts/suggestons for renting a car in Caen or Bayeux and driving ourselves around? We usually do not do tours. We have read that it would be preferable to stay one night somewhere close but am inclined to get back the same day perhaps by 2300. Also, would so appreciate tips, suggestions regarding the train system. What train? Have never taken any train in Europe! Many thanks for any input!!
Easy to do by train - about 2 hours each way to Bayeux, via Caen - at Bayeux hook up with mini-bus tours that take you on a half- or full-day excursion to the most prominent D-Day sites. Contact the Bayeux Syndicagt d'Iniative or tourist office for a listing of several such companies.
In one day you can go to Rouen by train and visit this very nice town. You will be back in Paris the evening.
If you decide to stay a night in Normandy , you can go by train to Caen, rent a car there, go to the D-day beaches and Bayeux, you can also go to Honfleur on the mouth of the river Seine. Just take care you should bring back the car before 18:00.
From Rouen, you could drive to 2 nice small harbors: Etretat, famous for the needle and the gate into the cliffs. and Fécamp and its XIXe palace of the Benedictine liquor.
In spring I would recommand a one day trip, renting the car from Vernon, and going to "Les Andelys" and "Chateau Gaillard", old castle of Richard the Lion Heart + the visit of the garden and house of Monet in Giverny.
And what about the wonder of Normandy: The Mont Saint Michel. But for this one it's a long trip by train as you should go to Pontorson, and there you are almost in Brittany.
Another thing: all trains to Normandy start from Saint-Lazare station in Paris.
I would recommend renting a car in either Caen or bayeux from there the normandy beaches are all very close by. There is also some very cheap accommodation in bayeux if you did need it I stayed in premierre I think it was called yellow building close to the tapestry €30 a night