Travelers flock to the beaches of Normandy, a glorious stretch of French coast where once war-torn sands are now peaceful places for vacationers. If you're going to the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches in the summer, you'll need to book a hotel in advance, as they do fill up ahead of time. And if you plan to visit on June 6th, the date of the D-Day commemoration, you'll have to book months ahead.
Hotel Restaurant Le Dauphin & Le Spa du Prieuré, Caen
Caen makes a good central point for many of the D-Day Landing Beaches and memorials, particularly in the eastern part of the area. It’s easy to reach the Caen Memorial, Merville Gun Battery, Pegasus Bridge at Ranville, Juno Beach Centre, and Arromanches D-Day Museum at Arromanches-sur-Mer.
Hotel Restaurant Le Dauphin & Le Spa du Prieuré is very central, located just around the corner from the castle and near some lively bars and restaurants. A former priory and chapel, the hotel now has rooms that are thoroughly modern with spacious bathrooms. The restaurant serves Normandy specialties. A relaxing spa and pool complete the package.
Le Petit Matin, Bayeux
Bayeux makes a very good center for visiting beaches both on the east and west side of Normandy. Its most famous attraction is the stunning Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts a war in 1066. Bayeux is convenient for Juno Beach Centre, Arromanches, Omaha Beaches, and the American Cemetery.
This delightful chambre d’hote (bed and breakfast) in Bayeux is in an old building with its a square tower that houses the main rooms. It’s right in the center of town, just near the Cathedral. There are just three delightful rooms, all individually decorated and full of antiques.
Château d'Audrieu, Audrieu
Château d’Audrieu is a little farther from the Normandy Beaches than the other recommendations, but this Relais & Château hotel offers top accommodation and has a Michelin-starred restaurant. The nearest D-Day sites are Arromanches and Omaha Beach.
This wonderful family-owned 18th-century château is set in rolling, tree-filled parkland with lovely walled gardens full of fragrant flowers. Approached via a long drive, the classical structure has a central building with two wings to either side. Inside, it’s all about history in terms of decor. Public spaces have wooden floors and polished wooden furniture. The guest rooms are gracious and large, and the bathrooms are thoroughly updated. Dine in the candlelit restaurant in the evening.
La Ferme de la Rançonnière, Crépon
Just a few miles from the sea and a 10-minute drive from Bayeux, La Ferme de la Rançonnière is a wonderful place for a short or long stay. It's near Caen, Arromanches, Juno Beach, and Omaha Beach.
Drive through the gateway and you'll enter a garden-cum-courtyard surrounded by warm stone buildings—there are four manor houses here, the oldest of which date back eight centuries. Inside, every guest room is different, but all are large with quality antiques, beautiful fabrics, wonderful views. There's a restaurant on-site that serves regional specialties. It’s a great spot for families, as there are rooms with multiple beds as well as a playground on the property.
Le Grand Hard, Sainte-Marie-du-Mont
The little village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont is home to the Utah Beach Landing Museum (the beach is nearby, too), an imposing church, and a tank parked on the street, which while it can be disconcerting, it sets a sense of place and nods to history. Stay at Le Grand Hard, a rustic, but very comfortable and charming accommodation with quaint rooms and a restaurant. The hotel can arrange bike rentals for you to explore the village and beaches.