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NORMANDY - GETTING AROUND

Getting There

Many travelers fly into Paris, then drive or take the train to Normandy. However, Normandy does have two regional airports, Aéroport de Caen-Carpiquet (CFR), which welcomes regular flights from Air France and regional airliners, and Aéroport de Deauville-Normandie (DOL). Rental cars are readily available at any of the airports. Other options from Paris include traveling by train, bus or with an organized tour, of which there are any number of companies offering day trips.

SNCF trains depart from Paris' Gare Saint-Lazare and Paris-Montparnasse several times a day to a variety of towns in Normandy, including Rouen, Giverny, Caen and Le Havre, among others.

By Train: From Paris Gare Saint-Lazare train station: Rouen, Le Havre, Dieppe, Fécamp, Evreux, Bernay, Lisieux, Deauville, Caen, Bayeux and Cherbourg.

From Paris Gare Montparnasse train station: Alençon, Bagnoles de l’Orne, Argentan, Granville and the Mont-Saint-Michel.

By Public Transportation

Normandy has an extensive public transport network, enabling you to have a full day out exploring the area without using the car.

By Bicycle

With over 310 miles of cycling routes, there’s no better way to explore the stunning scenery and rich heritage of Normandy than on a bike. The varied cycling routes offer a range of great cycling experiences to suit all ages and abilities, from traffic-free family rides to challenging hilly trails.

Below, you'll find a few bicycle rental options throughout Normandy:

Cy'clic in Rouen: Cy’clic, Rouen’s version of Paris’ Vélib’, lets you rent a city bike from a pool of 250 bikes at 24 locations around town. Credit-card registration for one days costs around €1, plus a deposit of €150. Use is free for the first 30 minutes; the 2nd/3rd/4th and subsequent half-hours cost around €1/2/4 each.

Les Trouvillaises: Based near Trouville’s Casino (next to the footbridge/passenger ferry to Deauville), Les Trouvillaises rents out a variety of two- and four-wheel pedal-powered conveyances, including colorful bicycles, tandems, carts and electric bikes, for both adults and children.

Café L’Arrivée in Giverny: Rent bikes (cash only) at the Café L’Arrivée de Giverny, opposite the train station in Vernon, from where Giverny is a signposted 3.5 miles along a direct (and flat) cycle/walking track.

Vélos in Bayeux: year-round bike rentals are available from a few bike shops in town, as well as the tourist office.

Givernon Rental Shop in Giverny: This rental agency by the Vernon train station offers electric bikes and scooters.

By Car

The best way to get around Normandy is by car. Normandy has many well-maintained roads with signs that often are written in English as well as French.

We recommend you plan your route in advance. Normandy can be divided into two parts: upper Normandy and lower Normandy. Upper Normandy is home to the city of Rouen, the industrial port of Le Havre and the seaside resort of Deauville. Lower Normandy is where you’ll find the D-Day beaches, the 14th century town of Caen and Mont St. Michel, a gothic abbey set on a peninsula that becomes an island when the tide rolls in.

From Paris, Autoroute 13 leads to Rouen, which is about a 90 minute drive, before forking to Caen (an additional 90 minutes) or Le Havre (about 45 minutes). You can get to Giverny in about an hour. Route Nationale 13 continues from Caen to Bayeux in another two hours. At Caen, Autoroute 84 forks off southwest toward Mont-Saint-Michel and Rennes. The Pont de Normandie, connecting Le Havre and Honfleur, unites Upper and Lower Normandy.

Your U.S. driver’s license is sufficient for driving in France.

On Foot

A (mostly) coastal footpath (the 'GR223') goes all the way from Honfleur on the east to Avranches and then to Mont Saint Michel, on the Brittany border on the west. You can choose to go the whole way…..if you have a month! Otherwise select day trips or 2-3 days trips in the most interesting parts: History fans will choose the D-Day beaches, while lovers of spectacular nature (cliffs and coves) will walk around la Cap de la Hague, west of Cherbourg, or choose to walk to Mont Saint Michel.

By Bus

Several bus lines travel from Paris to various cities in Normandy, including Rouen, Le Havre, Caen, Dieppe and Deauville. Schedules and prices vary. French national railway company SNCF offers a fleet of buses for budget travelers called OuiBus.