|Getting To The Normandy Beaches|
There are two routes from the KMC area, one through Paris and one circling north of the city. Either way, tolls will cost about 60-70 Euro one way. Michelin map #231 (Normandie) is almost a necessity, and is available in any gas station in the Normandy area. The map will save time and nerves, as the villages on the directional signs don’t appear on ADAC or other large scale maps.
• North, avoiding Paris: ADAC recommends this route, with 200 kms of mixed two- and four- lane road between Reims and Rouen. This route is usually slower due to local traffic, but is scenic and avoids the traffic tie-ups in Paris. Plan on around 7-8 hours from Ramstein to Omaha Beach.
• South, through Paris: This all-autobahn route is about 1- 1 ˝ hours quicker if traffic moves through Paris. Quoting an American who lives in Normandy: “If you are arriving on a Friday, try to leave Paris by around 1:00 PM. After that time, very intense and annoying traffic jams build up exiting the city. You will arrive from Germany on the A4, enter the Periferique (beltway) at the Port de Bercy, and take either the Interior (shorter) or Exterior to the Porte d’Auteuil (also marked Rouen and A13) – exit there. Plan to be well clear of this exit as early as possible on Friday afternoon.” It’s easier than it sounds. Leaving Ramstein either early in the morning or in mid-afternoon is recommended.
Train connections are also possible from the KMC, taking about seven hours through Paris to Bayeux. A transfer between stations via Metro is necessary in Paris, and takes about one hour - allow more if you are not familiar with the Metro.
My sister's family successfully did Normandy without a car by taking a train from Paris to Bayeux, walking to a hotel, and then taking a two-day guided tour. Check into a cheap group/family ticket for the train - they think saving the cost of a rental car made the guided tour economical.