Like many others, I am enamoured with the idea of spending time in Normandy at the time of the D-Day commemorations next June. My partner and I have, I dare say, fallen in love with the idea. The logistics, given the vastness of Normandy and the myriad areas worthy of investigation, have proven to be - at least at the outset - rather more complicated. So please excuse the imprecision of my enquiry.
My initial, broadbrush itinerary was to arrive in Normandy at the beginning of June and spend a couple of days touring the D-Day sights, St. Mere Eglise etc. and then to stay on to see the commemorations on Friday 6th June with a view to then moving base (probably away from Bayeux) to Honfleur for one night and then on to Rouen for one night before ending up with three nights in Paris. It is ambitious but we are both young, mobile and want to fill an itinerary with some of the incredible sights on offer.
My thinking had initially been to catch the ferry to Cherbourg or Le Havre and hire a car for the duration of time that we were in Normandy before leaving the car prior to our trip into Paris. Having seen the expense involved in hiring a car, I am now minded to drive across the Channel and keep my car with me for the time we are out there, leaving it outside of Paris for the three nights we would spend there.
With the above in mind, my questions or topics for discussion would be:
1) Is it advisable to catch a ferry and hire a car as opposed to driving? I used to work as a chauffeur in France and thus I am not intimidated by the idea.
2) Is it simply too much to ask to see the D-Day sights and then, in six nights, see Honfleur, Rouen and Paris?
3) Would the consensus be to have the D-Day commemorations at the start of the holiday on the basis that crowds will begin to reduce thereafter?
4) As opposed to staying in Bayeux/Honfleur/Rouen, I had been looking at Gites de France to see what less expensive, slightly more peaceful locations we could have outside of the main towns. Would taxis be freely available or, preferably, would it be possible to park and ride into the town centres?
5) Any general comments on the ideas proposed would be very welcome. I am having a very difficult time even getting started with the itinerary planning!