Normandy With Kids Part I: Bayeux

by farrah on May 12, 2014 · 15 comments

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.

Bayeux, Normandy FranceSome shots of the Bayeux centrum

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.

Manerby, France rentalOur cottage- absolutely adorable, but a little remote. Our neighbors- the cows.

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.

Bayeux, Normandy FrancePort-en-Bessin area

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.

Bayeux, Normandy FranceMore centrum of Bayeux

Where/how to eat

Bayeux, Normandy FranceL to R: My roadside mussels, top right scallops and lower right menu item of above.

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.

Bayeux, Normandy FranceBayeux tourism office

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.

We experienced:

Cathedral, Bayeux FranceBayeux Cathedral

  • 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:

Going to Normandy soon? Feel free to email me any questions or comment here. I’m happy to help.

All photos taken by me.

There are no partnerships or affiliate links in this post. 

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa Goodmurphy May 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Normandy – there’s just always more to see than there is time for no matter where you are visiting! You will have to make a return trip to see the Bayeux Tapestry – it is exquisite and my 8 year-old loved the audio tour!

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2 farrah May 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I know it! Honestly, that is my biggest regret- but we just couldn’t manage it. I have heard really great things about the audio tour for kids too.

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3 Ann May 13, 2014 at 5:26 am

Sounds amazing. I have no idea what to expect of the area, so didn’t even realize that there would be so many kids options – but it totally makes sense.

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4 farrah May 13, 2014 at 12:11 pm

There really are so many things to do on top of what Normandy means to most Americans. My biggest surprise was how the French there feel about Americans. Very refreshing.

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5 Corinne May 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

Ooohhh, looking forward to your Mont St. Michel post. We staying n a French cottage for a week in Aug. I can’t wait. Love your pics.

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6 farrah May 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Oh wonderful!!!!! I’m looking forward to writing it- it was truly an amazing thing to see 🙂

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7 Keren May 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Reading this makes me want to go back and this time with the kids.

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8 Jessica May 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Thank you Farrah for posting! We leave for Normandy tomorrow!

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9 Lisa Mc January 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Just accidently stumbled across your lovely webpage today which is full of useful information and tips. We are travelling to Normandy for a week at the end of June this year staying in a campsite at Saint Aubin sur Mer with our 4 yr old daughter and 2.5 year old Son.

How was the weather when you were there ? I’ve read it can be cold and wet ? It’s hard enough packing for 2 kids besides having to have warm clothes & sunny clothes ! I spotted your kids with wellies – good idea, will have to pack these into the boot of the car.

Thanks again for your great posts and if you have any other tips that would be great.

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10 farrah January 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

Hi Lisa!

I would definitely plan for damp and on the chilly side. And if where you’re going is anything like the coast of Normandy— WINDY! We were there the end of April- beginning of May, and I brought my winter coat! Just plan for the worst- and maybe you’ll be surprised 🙂

Really though- bring the wellies no matter what. If you head to Mont St. Michel (which I truly hope you do!) you’ll be glad you have them so the kids can run around in the marsh. I write about that trip here

http://thethreeunder.com/2014/05/normandy-kids-part-ii-mont-saint-michel/

It is very ‘touristy’ but it’s still remarkable to see, and in my opinion leave the stroller but take a carrier maybe for your little one. Let me know if I can be of any more help!

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11 Lisa Mc January 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

Thanks for that. We will be in Disneyland Paris for 4 nights before arriving in Normandy on June 21, so hopefully it will be ok ? Will bring layers of clothes .

I was at the Mont St. Michel when I was 16 (a long time ago) for a day trip while on holidays in France, it was July and warm, but can’t wait to return with our own kids now. Think we might bring one buggy and hope they walk the steps for us 🙂

We hope to visit Honfleur, Cabourg which are supposed to be nice seaside towns, Caen and
Thanks again for your great posts.
Just hoping we can keep kids amused if weather is poor.

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12 farrah January 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Happy to help! Oh, and if it does rain there are a bunch of aquariums up that way- that’s what my husband did with the boys when we went to the beach.

And in Caen- a quirky restaurant rec! My husband took us to this place for Mother’s Day brunch- it was awesome and what an unusual restaurant! The boys loved the atmosphere: http://www.caen-tourisme.fr/en/restaurants/dollys

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13 Annie February 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

A great list! I have an upcoming holiday in Normandy and can’t wait to try out a couple of these, although I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach the mussels! I have a child who is very interested in history so I hope to visit the titanic exhibit, the cathedrale and hope to get the museum.

Found another great list here for whoever’s interested:

https://www.qualityvillas.com/blog/9-ideas-for-a-fun-filled-family-holiday-in-normandy

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