First and foremost, we had a really great time in Normandy. There are many things to consider when planning a trip there though- so I wanted to make sure to get this down for any of you planning to head that way for the 70th commemoration activities. To be clear- Normandy is the name of the region in northern France- not a specific city, so while you’re planning your trip keep that in mind. The region is very large and in my opinion, getting from place to place with a car (when you have kids) is the way to go.
Where to stay
We stayed in a HouseTrip French countryside cottage. It was in the tiny village of Manerbe, which while quaint, was about an hour from Bayeux. I do not recommend staying so far away– UNLESS you want a countryside experience with isolation and privacy. We were not really aware of the logistics in staying so far away from the main areas, so that made things challenging. We were easily an hour from Bayeux where we spent most of our time.
I recommend staying right in the Bessin area. Namely, the city of Bayeux or even Port-en-Bessin. There is much to do and see in Bayeux- including the numerous museums, shops, cafes and historical landmarks. It’s a very quaint town which I imagine will be bursting with tourists over the next few months. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from Bayeux to the main D-Day sites.
Port-en-Bessin is a delightful harbor area with nautical shops, restaurants and places to stay- this area is approximately 10-15 minutes from Bayeux.
Where/how to eat
First, for you- GET THE MUSSELS! They’ll be served in a steaming hot (big) bowl in a broth of lemon, butter and herbs. As for the little ones, you’ll find many options. I always check to see if a menu posted by the door has a child’s menu, since that tells me right away if we’ll be welcome with the kids or not. We ate at pizzerias, sandwich stands, and random restaurants just by walking around. What I really liked was that even though English is pretty difficult to come by- the French of Normandy are more patient and pleasant than on our previous experiences in France. The French of Normandy do like Americans- hence their willingness to try to help you navigate through a menu. Scallops and seafood though- is always a safe bet! I just ordered their ‘special’ and hoped it was good. It was 🙂
What to do with kids
Friday was our first full day to sightsee. While my father and I had a full day of tours planned, my husband needed something to do with the boys. Our first stop in the morning was to head to the tourism office and pick up some brochures for ideas.
The tourism office in Bayeux is right in the middle of town and you can find public parking just down the street. There is an attendant in the office who can give you information, but the line was pretty long and we found what we needed by going through the brochures instead. Here we found these places but keep in mind they could be as far as an hour from Bayeux. Check the websites for more info.
- Aquarium: La Cite De La Mer (Cherbourg) about 1 hour from Bayeux (my husband took the boys here and said it was pretty good)
- Titanic exhibit: Return To Cherbourg (about 1 hour from Bayeux- same location as the aquarium)
- Bayeux Cathedrale (kids guide-book), free admission (we all went here, very pretty, easy to walk through)
But these are places we didn’t have time to see:
- Zoo Champrepus or Zoo de Jurques
- Bayeux Tour via Le Petit Train (adults €5.50, kids 3-12 years €2.50) 35 minute ‘train’ ride through Bayeux
- Bayeux Museum (contains the Bayeux Tapestry from 1066) there is a children’s audio tour for this tapestry. (biggest regret—> missing this 🙁 )
- Farms with local cider (there are around 5 in the Bayeux area)
- L’ilot Z’enfants pretty impressive indoor play place- probably good for a rainy day and a place to burn off steam!
- Paleospace (Dinosaur museum/exhibit)
There are SO MANY OPTIONS, and they’re all either in Bayeux- or within an hour of the city. Hence, I don’t advise staying so far out like we did. But hey, live and learn and at least now you know!
I have two more posts coming about our Normandy trip- which I’ll try to post this week since D-Day is fast approaching! Next I’ll discuss Mont Saint Michel and my last post will be the American Cemetary & D-Day beach/historical landmark info.
More helpful resources recommended by trusted travel blogger friends:
- Gone With The Family: A D-Day Tour of Normandy with Kids
- Mom it Forward: American Cemetery and D-Day Beaches
- Trips By Lance: Five Experiences: American D-Day Beaches
- Mums Do Travel: Normandy D-Day For Families
Going to Normandy soon? Feel free to email me any questions or comment here. I’m happy to help.
All photos taken by me.
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