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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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Avatar Syd says:

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

    1. Avatar Linda says:

      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.

      1. Avatar Ashanda Balderas says:

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

        1. Avatar JR says:

          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.

          1. Avatar Ben says:

            My father hit Omaha beach on D-day. I have foweolld and greatly enjoyed your recent series. Well done and thank you for commemorating these men

        2. Avatar Selma says:

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

  2. Avatar john says:

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

    1. Avatar john says:

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

      1. Avatar patty elkus says:

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

  3. Avatar Vivian Carper says:

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

    1. Avatar White Bag says:

      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.

  4. Avatar laura says:

    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?

  5. Avatar Name says:

    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?

    1. Avatar Caro says:

      With only eight days and one day trip planned, I wuoldn’t necessarily recommend going very far out of Ile-de-France. Versailles is accessible by RER, so you don’t need to take the national rail. Fontainebleu isn’t far away, either. Chartres is very do-able as a day trip it’s a nice little medievalish town with a lovely cathedral. As for Normandy, Rouen is only an hour away. Giverny is also 45 minutes by train as well, although the train station is in Vernon, so you’d either have to take a taxi or a bus from there to Giverny a few kilometres away. With the new (well, as of 2007, anyway) TGV Est, Reims, the capital of Champagne and the site of the cathedral where France’s kings were crowned, is a mere 45 minutes away. Unfortunately, some of more interesting sites in Normandy that others are suggesting, such as Bayeux and Mont Saint-Michel, are a bit too far away (or, rather, require transfers and long layovers) if you’re going to taking the train. If you’re driving or plan to spend a night away, I would highly recommend those two. I really adored both. But I also REALLY adore Paris and think that an overnight day-trip on an eight-day trip is too much. But that’s just me.Someone else suggested some place in the Loire valley. Given a choice between Normandy (with the exception of Bayeux and Mont St-Michel) and the Loire, I’d actually take the latter. Tours is an hour away by TGV, but doesn’t boast any castles of its own. Orleans is only an hour away as well (but, again, no castles). Blois, which does have a castle, is between an hour and a half and two hours away. As with the case of Normandy, some of the other castles that I really loved (Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau) require too much time to visit in just one day by train.IF you decide to go to Versailles, DO visit the town and not just the palace

      1. Avatar Marie says:

        Thanks for the information. I will use your information to help me with my next trip to France.

  6. Avatar John says:

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

  7. Avatar Cecilia says:

    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!

    1. Avatar Steve says:

      Cecilia… I, and my wife, will be traveling to Normandy in July 2015. I will be leaving Normandy and taking a train to Barcelona (hopefully). Did you have to go back to Paris to catch a train to Provence? If so, how was the train ride? Thanks for any info… you can email me directly at shlewis at Thanks again, Steve

  8. Avatar Frustrated in Normandy says:

    I want to warn about a few things based upon our experience yesterday. First, May 1st is a holiday in France. The entire place shuts down. We had difficulty even finding a living soul to ask for for any information.

    Second, yes you can rent a car directly outside the station but you are 25 minutes farther away from the beaches than Bayeux and there were no guides, tours or buses. There are cars to rent just outside of Bayeux. We know this because the rental car from Caen got a flat tire and there was no spare in the trunk. You may have to take a taxi to the rental place though and it may be 20 minutes away.

    Third, I would plan on traveling from Paris the night before your day on the beaches. Stay in Bayeux, it is a charming village. We made the mistake of going out and back in one day. We thought we would have five or six hours on the beaches. Due to a one hour delay on the train, sorting out the transportation, getting lost multiple times (yes, we had GPS and several maps) and the flat tire (which was mainly a result of frustration) we ended up spending 15 minutes at the American Cemetery and had to race back to catch the last train to Paris at 7:15. Do yourself a huge favor and give yourself plenty of time to take in this historic place.

    Fourth, the signage through tout this area can be very difficult to follow if you don’t speak French. There are many private little museums around this area so if you are looking for official visiting centers run by the different nations it can be difficult to sort out. We thought we were going to the official Omaha Beach Center and instead were directed to pull into what looked like a salvage yard with a dirt parking lot based on the directions from our GPS.

    Finally, this is what I would have done in hindsight, take the train to Bayeux in the afternoon. If you have time take in the Bayeux tapestry. Enjoy the village that evening. Join a tour in the morning I’ve heard there is great value to hiring a private tour guide. Spend the day. Take the last train back to Paris. You will have a much better experience than we did.

  9. Avatar sunny says:

    I want to travel to Normandy and leave for 11 am flight back to US. Is the first train @7 am too close for my departure to Airport from for 11 am departure from Caen?

    1. Avatar Linda says:

      What RER train do we take from Paris to get to Normandy? Which station do we get off at?

  10. Avatar Bob t says:

    I will be traveling from Bayeux to Paris this September with my wife. We are in our seventies and hauling suitcases up the stairs to board a train is very difficult unless the train platform is level with the train interior walkway. Does anyone know what the station is like in Bayeux for boarding the train to Paris?

  11. Avatar Tim says:

    Several places you need to visit when you get to Normandy. 1) Longues-sur-Mer Battery – a large battery which was part of the Atlantic Wall. 2) Bayeux Museum and the British War Cemetery opposite – very informative 3) Pegasus Bridge is a must 4) All 4 beaches and Arromanches. All are well worth a visit. There are many more but these were a few of our favourites.

    1. Avatar Goldy says:

      You MUST go by Ile de Re while you are in Normandy Christina. Return to my blog about this delightful inlasd and you won’t resit…….and yes, some things, some dreams, only in France, but you can create your own French space wherever you are. Let France and its beauty reside in your soul…

  12. Avatar Jean says:

    Please recommend an economical place to stay in Bayeux and how far in advance should reservations be made. We are not traveling until 2016

  13. Avatar Paula says:

    My granddaughter and I are traveling to France during the summer of 2016. The only time I have been to Paris was during a flight to Switzerland. We did visit Yvoire, France.
    Our plan is to begin in Paris, include Normandy and from there we are open to suggestions. I am open to traveling by train and/or car. My granddaughter LOVES history at the age of 10!
    Any personal experiences would be appreciated.
    (We are using this school year to learn the French language)

  14. Avatar John says:

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Paris in the Spring and would like to make a side trip to Normandy beaches. Any recommendations?

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