How to travel to the D-Day Beaches in Normandy from Paris

Commemorate D-Day Where it All Began

© ATOUT FRANCE/LENDER/PHOTOGRAPHER Bayeux British military cemetery, the burial place of almost 4000 soldiers who took part in the Normandy Landings in 1944.

What is D-day?

On June 6, 1944, nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of French coastline to fight Nazi Germany. The cost was high, with more than 9,000 soldiers wounded or killed. By day’s end, the Allies gained a foothold in Normandy, and more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler and eventually win the war. This short description clearly cannot do justice to the sacrifice of these brave young men.

To see where this act of courage took place nearly 70 years ago is for many, a dream fulfilled. Getting here is easy, thanks to France’s highly developed railway network, and is a very doable day trip from Paris.

Visit Normandy for D-day celebrations

The beaches of Normandy will commemorate this 68th anniversary with a full slate of events from June 1-June 8, including:

  • Reconstruction of US military camps in Sainte Mère Eglise and Sainte Marie du Mont Utah Beach
  • Reconstruction of the advance of 101 Airborne – participants in uniform set off at 9h00 in military vehicles
  • Parachute jump over marais de La Fière
  • Photo exhibition “Our Dear Deceased US Veterans” in Amfreville, Salle des fêtes
  • “The Longest Night”: On the 50th anniversary of the film “The Longest Day.” Meetings with local extras of the shooting of the movie in Ste Mère Eglise and in other places.

Traveling by Train from Paris to the D-Day Beaches

You can either travel into Caen or Bayeux. Both cities are also within easy reach of each other, and each offers its own historical bounty. From Paris (St. Lazare train station) to Caen is 1hour, 47minutes, and Bayeux is 2 hours, 4 minutes on board the Intercities trains.

© ATOUT FRANCE/CDT Calvados/CDT Calvados Pegasus bridge

Travel to Caen with a France Rail Pass:

The train from Paris to Caen doesn’t require you to have a reservation. If you are traveling with a pass, you can simply hop on at no extra charge. However, reservations are possible, and you might want to consider purchasing one if you are traveling in high season for added peace of mind. If you are traveling with tickets, a reservation will automatically be included for your convenience. A reservation can be booked for your trip from Paris to Caen prior to your trip for a cost of $11.

Travel to Caen with a Single Ticket:

A single ticket from Paris to Caen costs $47 for Economy and $70 for a Comfort fare. There is approximately one train per hour running from 7 am in the morning until 8 pm at night.

To the Allied Beaches Memorial Museum in Caen:

If your plans include a visit to the Allied beaches, Memorial Museum or you plan to rent a car and explore on your own then you’ll want to select Caen as your destination.

The award-winning Caen Memorial Museum is regarded as the best World War II museum in France and only 15 minutes away from the D-Day beaches. Thanks to this proximity, the museum runs guided tours. Also on display are exhibits of other failures and triumphs of peace, such as the Berlin Wall and was the first museum outside of the United States to display artifacts from 9/11.

Travel to Bayeux from Paris with a France Rail Pass:

The trip from Paris to Bayeux is an open ticket, but reservations are recommended due to the popularity of this destination. A reservation costs $11 one-way and there is a train approximately every two hours starting from 7 am to 7 pm.

Travel to Bayeux from Paris with a Single Rail Ticket:

A single ticket costs $52 in Economy and $77 in Comfort class. There are trains approximately every hour and the trains times start from 7 am to 6 pm traveling out to Bayeux.

© ATOUT FRANCE/CDT Calvados/CDT Calvados Notre-Dame cathedral in Bayeux mixes features of romanesque and gothic architecture. It was largely constructed in the 13th century.

 The Beauty of Bayeux

It was here, in 1944, that General Charles de Gaulle made his first major speech in which he made clear that France sided with the Allies. The buildings in Bayeux were virtually untouched during the Battle of Normandy, sparing the city’s architectural gems, notably the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The church is a national monument of France, consecrated in 1077.

The Cathedral was also the original home of the famed Bayeux Tapestries. Woven in 1066 by Reine Mathilde, wife of William the Conqueror to commemorate events in the Norman Conquest of England, it is one of the world’s oldest tapestries still intact. It’s such a tourist attraction, that Bayeux created a museum just for this one incredible piece of art – the Musée de la Tapisserie.

Whether in Paris on June 6 or visiting at another time, the beaches of Normandy are a day trip not to be missed. Its history has shaped our future, and for that, we are ever grateful.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 8:27 pm and is filed under Things To Do. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

  • Syd

    What is the best way to get to the Paris St. Lazare train station from the 5th arrondisement?

    • Linda

      Metro is the cheapest if you don’t have too much luggage. You will have to carry your luggage down stairs. Other wise it is very easy.

      • Ashanda Balderas

        May i ask how you got to Caen or Bayeux with Metro?

        • JR

          I believe she was saying the Metro is the best way to Paris St. Lazare, which was the original question by “Syd”. Then…the trains run to Caen and to Bayeux from St. Lazare.

        • Selma

          At this time (March) train options from Paris to Caen is very limited. Not many train times to choose from.

  • john

    Go to Bayeux if you want to see the american beaches…it will be eaiser

    • john

      It reads above to go to Caen if you want to visit the American beaches not Bayeux

      • patty elkus

        Bayeux is closer, I went two years ago. Perfect spot.

  • Vivian Carper

    If coming from Paris via rail to Bayeux how do you get to the beaches and d-day museums?

    • White Bag

      There are several tours that originate in Bayeux that can take you to the beaches, museums and cemeteries. I used Battlebus on my trip 4 years ago and they were superb.

  • laura

    I am traveling from Paris and will be getting a rental car for my stay in Normandy. It looks like there are no rental car stations at Bayeux. Is that correct? If so, best place to take train Caen?

  • Name

    if you want to stay for a couple of days and rent a car, where would be the best place to stay? Is it best to pick one place and do day trips, or to book as you go? I’d like to see the Canadian sites, Juno beach…also travelling alone, it’s ok?

  • John

    Is it possible to visit the Normandy battlefields by train from Paris and return in the same day?

  • Cecilia

    Hello all ~ would anyone be able to tell me where I can find a route map for the TGV? I am looking to travel from a station at one of the beaches in Normandy to Aix en Provence if possible (not sure if I have to go back to Paris or if there is something more direct for me and my family). This will take place in August. Thank you!

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