If you're going to the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches in the summer you'll need to book in advance. And on June 6th, the date of the D-Day commemoration, you'll have to book months ahead. It's a popular area with visitors to this glorious coast where long sandy beaches are now peaceful places for holiday makers.
01 of 07
Best Western Le Dauphin in 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.
Best Western Le Dauphin
Le Dauphin is very central, located just around the corner from the castle, and near some lively bars and restaurants. A former priory and chapel, it’s been added to and the rooms are thoroughly modern with good bathrooms. The restaurant serves Normandy specialities. A good spa and pool complete the package.
Address: 29 rue Gemare
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 31 86 22 26
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There's a choice of hotels from the Tourist Office
02 of 07
Bayeux makes a very good center for visiting both east and west. Its most famous attraction is the stunning Bayeux Tapestry, depicting warfare - in 1066. Bayeux is convenient for Juno Beach Centre, Arromanaches, Omaha Beaches and the American Cemetery.
Le Petit Matin
This delightful chambre d’hote (bed and breakfast) in Bayeux is in an old building with its own square tower housing the main rooms. It’s right in the center, just near the Cathedral and has just three delightful rooms, all individually decorated and full of antiques.
9 Rue des Terres
Place General de Gaulle
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 31 10 09 27
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03 of 07
Château d’Audrieu is a little further from the Normandy Beaches than the other recommendations, but this Relais et Chateau hotel offers top accommodation and has a Michelin-starred restaurant. The nearest D-Day sites are Arromanches and Omaha Beach.
This wonderful château of the 18th century, still family-owned, is set in rolling, tree-filled parkland and lovely walled gardens full of fragrant flowers. Approached up a long drive to a classical façade, two wings spread out to either side. Inside it’s as historic as you could wish, its public rooms with wooden floors and polished wooden furniture. The rooms are gracious and large; the bathrooms thoroughly modern and the views magnificent. Dine in the evening in the candlelit restaurant.
14250 Audrieu, Calvados
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 50 30 84 75
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04 of 07
La Ferme de la Rançonnière
Just a few kilometers from the sea and north east of Bayeux, this is a wonderful place for a short or long stay. It's near Caen, Arromanches and Juno and Omaha Beaches.
La Ferme de la Rançonnière
This 18th-century fortified manor house has been converted into an extremely comfortable hotel. Drive through the gateway and you enter a garden-cum-courtyard surrounded by warm stone buildings. Every room is different, but all are large with good antiques and beautiful fabrics and have wonderful views. The restaurant offers top value menus and regional specialties. It’s a favorite with the British and is good for families.
Address: Route de Creully-Arromanches
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 31 22 21 73
See my full review of this delightful hotel
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Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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05 of 07
Just a kilometer or so from the sea in the Cotentin Peninsular in west Normandy, this is a good place for the Utah Beach Museum, Ste-Mère Eglise and the Airborne Museum and the Open Sky Museum.
Manoir de Beaucron
1 rue de l’eglise
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 33 42 40 25
Website (in English)
This old mellow stone-walled manor house has been converted into a charming bed and breakfast. Located in one part of the building, you have to go up a winding staircase to reach rooms which look out over rolling farmland. Individually decorated, the rooms are pretty and uncluttered, with simple furnishings. Rooms are a good size and bathrooms well equipped.
There’s a lounge downstairs and an excellent breakfast with home-made jams, fresh bread and croissants and the local delicacy of sweet rice pudding. There’s no restaurant, so you will have to drive to dinner (see below).
06 of 07
L'Estaminet Restaurant, Sainte-Marie du Mont
If you're staying at Le Manoir de Beaucron, this is an ideal place to eat, just a few minutes drive from your accommodation.
4 place de l’eglise
50480 Sainte-Marie du Mont
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 33 71 57 01
The little village of Ste-Marie du Mont has an imposing church, a small museum and the odd tank parked around the village which can be disconcerting after a good dinner at l’Estaminet. Bright, welcoming, crowded and local, the stone-walled restaurant (which doubles as a hotel with four rooms) offers good cooking at good prices, with menus running from 21 euros to 30 euros.
07 of 07
Creperie le Feu Ardent
In the small village of Ste-Mère Eglise, this is ideal for a lunch after visiting the village, the Airborne Museum or the Open Sky Museum nearby.
Creperie le Feu Ardent
31 rue du General de Gaulle
Tel.: 00 33 (0)2 33 41 36 63
Website (in French)
You can’t miss Le Feu Ardent; it’s directly opposite the church with a life-sized cartoon model of a soldier outside. Inside, it’s cramped, noisy and very jolly with good crepes and cider on offer as well as more substantial dishes.