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Coasting by on its solemn history

Coasting by on its solemn history

If the land could speak, the area around Caen would rumble with the sounds of conflict and freedom. No one will forget the soldiers who fought on the nearby beaches on June 6, 1944 and the solemn days after.

Today, the Battle of Normandy remains in the hearts of residents, and is on display at the award-winning Caen Memorial Museum. It 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.

Getting to the area is quick and easy by train. SNCF France operates near-hourly service along the Paris-Caen-Bayeux-Cherbourg corridor, taking just under two hours from Paris St Lazare station to Caen. It is also connected to the south of England by the Caen Ouistreham-Portsmouth ferry route.

About France

History of a different era is displayed at nearby Bayeux, a short 15 -minute train ride beyond Caen. The Bayeux Tapestry is an incredible work of medieval craftsmanship and shows the events leading up to the Norman invasion of England on October 14, 1066. Crafted by Reine Mathilde, wife of William the Conqueror, it is one of the oldest, complete tapestries in the entire world.

The only battle that now rages on the beautiful beaches of Normandy is perhaps deciding which seaside city to visit. Deauville is regarded as the “Queen of the Norman Beaches” and is one of the most prestigious beach resorts in all of France. With a race track, international film fest, gorgeous harbor, Grand Casino and luxe hotels, it is the spot for the upper class.

Less than an hour away by train from Caen, and decidedly more down-to-earth, With your France Rail Pass, travel to Trouville, famous for its fish market. It burned down in a fire a few years ago and is currently being rebuilt as an exact replica in the neo-Norman style. The market is still here in a temporary building, and you can still get terrific moules frites at restaurants in town.

Rouen, just 90 minutes away by train from Caen, is the historic capital city of Normandy and where Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. It’s gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral was the subject of many Claude Monet paintings, many of which stand in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

You’d be remiss if not to visit a very special island while in Caen. Mont St-Michel lies at the mouth of the Couesnon River in Normandy. The medieval, Benedictine Abbey and steeple church occupies much of this half-mile in diameter rock that seemingly juts out of the water of the English Channel. Connected to the mainland via a thin, natural land bridge, Victor Hugo described the tides here as à la vitesse d’un cheval au galop, "As swiftly as a galloping horse."

In other words, come quick. History is waiting.

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Trip from paris to giverny, rouen, & the d-day beaches We are visiting Paris in Sept for 15 days, and looking to take a couple side trips. One would be to Giverny, then on to Rouen and spending the night and perhaps travelling on the following day to the D-Day beaches.What is the best way to (...)

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Help with best france-italy rail costs Hi. At the end of June 2015, my boyfriend and I are traveling to Paris (from London but I know that is not covered by railpass). Within France we will be going to Caen/Bayeux (1 day), Tours, Niort (1 day), back to Paris (1 day), then later to (...)

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Customer reviews

  • Value for money
    The Right Bang for Your Buck |
    "For 50 euro, I got exactly what I expected. Mildly comfortable seats and a decent facility. If I needed to use the train again, I would have no problem booking with Rail Europe. "

  • Value for money
    Travelled to Bayeux from Paris |
    "Once you get bearings for how each Paris train station goes to different parts of the country it is easy to use rail Europe to go anywhere. Our trip was simple and we had pdf files sent to us to print before our trip. "

  • Value for money
    Trip to Normandy Beaches |
    "Very nice train ride and quick. Made my connection in Caen to Bayeux with plenty of time. Great ride for the money. "

  • Value for money
    nice train trip to normandy ! |
    "Wonderful experience to take the intercity train from Paris St Lazare to Normandy and back ! Much to prefer compared to connecting flights, as we got to see the tranquil countryside and was very comfortably seated as we had reserved seats on the internet ! Very good value for money. 5 girls on holiday "

  • Value for money
    Train was nice, finding it... |
    "I will say up front that neither my wife nor I speak any French, but when we got to the train station we found our trip listed, but no platform. There was "Attention..." shown after the trip listing, which made us a bit nervous, especially since we had no idea what the remainder of the message said. We found a very nice person who translated for us (a couple of the carriages were not going to the final destination) and assured us we were waiting in the correct location. Once aboard, all was good - quick trip and quite comfortable and a very nice couple sitting behind us made sure we got off at the right stop. "

  • Bayeux |
    "please make it easier to have the option to print at home - i wanted to print at home and RailEurope rep thru email said you can't change - customer should be able to make an option available any time. otherwise it all worked "

  • Value for money
    trip from Paris St Lazare-Caen |
    "The trip was average upto Caen, and from Caen - Renne was excellent. And the ticket was so high. It shoud be max. 30 euro at any time "

  • Value for money
    Paris to Avignon |
    "Taking the train is super easy. I had my eticket already printed out. All the station signs and monitors were easily read and understood. I took the Metro to my station and climbed aboard the train. The coaches and seats were clearly labeled, the seats comfortable, lots of storage for bags and the views were spectacular. The train ride was smooth and fast. Truly enjoyable. "

  • Value for money
    Caen to Paris |
    "For price when booked early 2nd class works ok. Given trip was aprx 2hr 20min value good for price. Website easy to use. It would be helpful to be able to have E-ticket rather than expense of couier of paper ticket. "

  • Value for money
    BAD LUCK |
    "Engine had a power problem and we ended up arriving later than next TGV. Cannot complain of handling of incident however. "

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