Briefing Room

The Tours

What about handicaped or very young people in the group ?

It is not a problem, but it involves some organisation. Babies or very young kids must have an adapted seat for the car otherwise it is not permitted to drive with them. Don’t forget to inform me of the age of the kids before the tour. But don’t worry, I get along with kids (and teenagers) very well.


What can we see in a day ?

Although France is not a huge country, the distances between towns and/or sites can be important. It is impossible to cover in one single day the whole area of the 5 landing beaches (50 mile from west to east). For this reason the tours had been prepared in details offering the guests the opportunity to discover many various aspects of the battle of Normandy. All tours can be combined together offering you the possibility to mix a half day or a full day tour with other ones for no extrafees. Nevertheless there is some driving extratime that will impose us to shorten or skip, as you will choose, the visit of one or two sites. Several days of touring are possible and even recommended for people having a big interest in all the battlefields of the Normandy campaign…


What does « private tour » means ?

It means it is a personnalised, adapted and flexible service that will make you discover what YOU want to see ! A stop in a museum is planned for a tour or a site proposed on the list does not interest you a lot ? Let’s skip it for something else ! You don’t know much about History? Let me take care of the planning and bring you to the sites you can not miss in Normandy. You’re a history buff, you have a precise idea of what you want to see: I’m your man !


What about lunch ?

A little lunch break at midday is recommended for the full day tours. 9 hours of touring, with some good walking distances, lot of informations, the weather… it’s really enough to make you hungry. But it can be a quick stop somewhere to get a sandwich (cold or warm) or a stop in a casual restaurant or even something more … « french » and fancy. You just have to mention it before we leave and I’ll take care of the rest.


Be prepared

Reading and watching

The list of interesting books dealing with the subject of the D-Day and the Battle of Normandy is simply… too long to quote. However here are some books that I found absolutely fascinating and I invite you, if you have the time, to read before your trip to France :

– « The longest day » by Cornelius Ryan

– « Invasion – They’re coming » by Paul Carrel (« the Longest day » ‘s German point of view)

– « Omaha Beach : D-Day, june 6th, 1944″ by Joseph Balkoski

– « D-Day : the battle for Normandy » by Antony Beevor

– « The big show » by Pierre Clostermann (Free French pilot in the R.A.F)

Or films such as :

– « The longest Day » by Darryl Zanuck (my favorite… because I was 7 years old when I watched it)

– « Saving Private Ryan » by Steven Spielberg

– « Band of Brothers », HBO series


About a relative or a unit

As mentionned on the homepage, I am delighted to do some research about units or relatives who would have been in Normandy during the battle. But in order to taylor the tour it would be better if I could have as many information as possible, and as soon as possible, prior to the excursion. It doesn’t mean I can find everything or even things about what we’re looking for but all informations can be useful and interesting to have in any cases.


What about the weather?

General Eisenhower had to delay the Landing 24 hours later because of the awfull weather showering the combat zones and the English Channel area. Normandy does not have a reputation of being a particularly warm and sunny region so a rain jacket, and appropriate shoes might be useful. Although I do provide umbrellas, they are not usable in case of strong wind. Nevertheless, there are always good surprises and this means that a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen can be sometimes much needed. A little check of the weather forecast before your arrival will help you to make your own opinion.

http://www.meteofrance.com/accueil


What else should I bring ?

A camera can be a good idea but having extra batteries is even a better one. I’ve seen so many people being saddened by having the camera but not the batteries… or vice versa. If you’ve booked for a hiking tour, walking sticks and a good pair of shoes will be perfect. Anyway, sites such as the US cemetery or the Pointe du Hoc involves some good walking distances, so you’d better wear something comfortable to walk with. In a different register, if you have a relative that you know he’d been in Normandy in 1944, grab as many informations as you can and bring them, we can go to places where he/she might have been.


How to get to Normandy

By plane

It is also possible to get to Normandy by plane, but to be honest, this is not the easiest (or cheapest) way to get there as long as there are no international airports in the area. Nevertheless, the airports of Caen Carpiquet and Deauville Normandie are the closest to the Landing beaches and propose some flights from/to the UK or other European countries as well as opportunity to private planes to land or take off from there.


What are the « driving services » ?

They are simply a transportation by car of people from one place to another with no guiding included. It is basically the same service as a taxi with the difference of requesting a reservation at least 15 minutes before the ride, otherwise it would be illegal. It permits you to be brought to places you want to visit on your own with your own schedules and no « bad » surprises with the drive fees. It is anyhow more flexible and adapted to tourists visiting the region because the driver is a tour guide knowing very well the area, the location of the touristic sites, perfectly fluent in english and pleased to give you suggestions and help when needed.


By train

Regular trains are going to or from Paris Saint Lazare train station all day long (on week ends and bank holidays). The journey from Paris to Caen takes usually between 1h50 and 2h20 ; 15mn more to get to Bayeux.

 http://www.voyages-sncf.co.uk/


By car

From Paris take the highway A13 direction Rouen – Caen – Le Havre. The drive is 180 miles long (250km) and this highway ends on the Caen ringroad (2,5 hours drive from Paris). To get to Bayeux or around, on the Caen ring road take the freeway N13 direction Cherbourg, and take the exit « Bayeux historical center » (3 hours drive from Paris).


Your stay in Normandy

The French « Cuisine »

No, it is not a myth, food is good over here. Normandy is known to be a reference thanks to its  fresh cream and cheeses (such as Camenbert or Pont L’Evêque), apple cider and brandy called « le Calvados ». And of course the mussels (with cream, needless to say), oysters and seafood have an excellent reputation in the whole country. If you want some good recomendation or advices, you just need to ask.


Where to go in Normandy ?

There are many lovely places such as hamlets in the countryside, villages, seaside resorts or bigger towns absolutely charming in Normandy. This being said, to visit the D-Day sites, the most convenient places for a stay in Normandy are either Caen and Bayeux. These, are the two main cities of the region which means they are easy to access by car or train. The latter is almost half distance between the US and the British landing sectors and just 15mn drive to the coast. Furthermore, Bayeux was the only city not bombed or damaged during the war, and has kept its authenticity. Caen, which is much bigger, was on the other hand destroyed at 76% in 1944. Fully rebuilt in 1963, the medieval city of William the Conqueror is nowadays a beautiful place to live and provides a lot of accomodations.


Are there enough hotels/accomodations ?

Yes, for instance many hotels can be found in the center and around the cities of Caen and Bayeux or in smaller towns, from 2 stars to 4. If you prefer something more specific there are also some beautiful chateaux, some of them dating from the 17th century. If you have your own car and at least a couple of days to stay in the region, a B’n’B could be also a good accomodation. They can be found in cities, villages, hamlets or in the countryside, literrally everywhere. Many of them are located in charming places and provides excellent services. Keep in mind that reserving too late can be problematic at some moments of the season: end of may to the end of september.


Tour "category"

Would you be ready for a « Brigadier General » tour ?

You’re a real history buff, D Day and WWII are one of your main interest and you read and watched a lot about it. You’ve been in Normandy already or never before, but whatever you’re here to see (again) a maximum. You’re looking forward to seeing places you heard or didn’t hear about, and get all the infos on it.


Do you prefer a « Non commissioned officer » tour ?

You’ve read quite a little bit about D Day, saw a few films and documentaries. You’ve been thinking of it for a bit of time and now the time has come. Also you can not spend the week in Normandy or have limited time in the region, so you absolutely want to see the sites you’ve been wondering about and have a better comprehension of what really happened there.


Do you want a « Private First Class » tour ?

It is a perfect excursion for people who don’t know much about the war and the D-Day landings but are willing to learn about it and came up here for that. Also you don’t want to be knocked out by thousands of information and prefer to have a general overview of the events. Let me bring you to the highlights of the D-Day sites and offer you a general summarize of this longest day. Such a tour can be convenient to groups with young kids or babies.


Payment

Are the prices mentionned for just one person?

No, the fees mentionned are for the whole tour, not per person. Which means that the more you are, (up to 6 people) the more advantageous it is for you. Be aware that the museums entrance fees, which are usually between 5-7 euros/person, and lunch stops are not included in the prices of the tour.


Can I cancel the tour after I paid a deposit ?

Yes it is possible and the deposit will be refund only if the cancellation is made 60 days before the tour (minus 10% for application fees). Between 30 to 60 days, only half of the deposit is refundable, and less than 30 days, the deposit will be entirely charged. If for any extreme personnal reasons, I shall have to cancel the tour, the deposit will be 100% refund, and if possible a plan B will be found for you.


How do I pay ?

All tours are to be paid in euros by cash at the end of the tour. A 100 euros (100 EUR) deposit is charged through Paypal prior to the tour as a garantee and confirms the reservation (even if you don’t have a Paypal account, the secured payment is simply done with a credit card). The outstanding balance will be settled by the end of the excursion. An invoice can also be provided if asked before the tour.