I drove round the Normandy D-Day Landing beaches on a 5-day research trip with my partner. Our hotels near the D-Day landing beaches are based on this trip and I have added a couple more recommended by friends.
There’s so much accommodation, hotels and charming bed and breakfast manor houses in Normandy I’ve only covered a fraction. You’ll have your own picks and I’d love to hear about your recommendations. So please do send them and I’ll try to get to them on my next trip.
This selection of hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation near the Normandy D-Day landing beaches runs from the Cotentin Peninsula and Utah Beach in the west along to Caen in the east.
Near Utah Beach on the Cotentin Peninsula
A piece of World War II history
The grey stone 18th-century Château de Quinéville on the east side of the Cotentin Peninsula has seen its fair share of World War II history; Rommel, Goering and Goebbels stayed here on an inspection of the Atlantic Wall. Damaged by bombing during the D-Day landings, it was restored in the 1970s and is now Dutch-owned and run.
Set in parkland, with a garden where the owners grow bio vegetables for the restaurant, an outdoor pool and a terrace for drinks and dining, there are 32 comfortably furnished rooms in the château and an adjacent building. Fireplaces keep the main public rooms warm in cool weather, there’s a library and bar. It’s a 14-minute walk to the beach.
Château de Quinéville18 rue de l’Église50310 Quinéville
Mobile: 06 52 45 09 55WebsitePrices 80€ to 100€ per night; breakfast is 12€ per person.LocationQuinéville is around a 15 minute drive from Sainte-Mere-Eglise. The hotel is about a 15-minute walk to the beach.
The east side of the River Douve estuary
Stay in a fortified manor house
The imposing stone Manoir de la Rivière looks as if it could resist any medieval attack a jealous neighbor might have attempted in its past.
We were ushered into a stone-flagged entrance and up to our second-floor room. There are pretty textiles (a passion of Isabelle Leharivel who owns the manor house with her husband Gérard) on the generous beds and at the windows that open onto a rural scene, fireplaces (decorative only) and large beds in the generously sized rooms. Good bathrooms complete the picture.
Downstairs we sat in front of the roaring open fire in the vaulted dining room for a drink before a home-cooked dinner from Isabelle, a 3-course meal vegetables and herbs from the kitchen garden and fish straight off the fishing boats at Grandcamp Maisy.
Breakfast the next morning included unlimited amounts of coffee, freshly baked croissants and brioches, fruit, yoghurt and cooked eggs and ham on the table.
The Leharivels have been here around 37 years and know the area backwards. They sent us to the nearby La Cambe German cemetery which we would never have found on our own, and advised us on local cheese producers.
Le Manoir de la Rivière
Tel: +33 (0)2 31 22 64 45
Prices 75€ to 90€ for 2 and 95€ to 115€ for 3 people. Breakfast is included. Dinner is 35€ per person including a bottle of wine or cider.
The Manoir is near the Douve estuary and around an 8-minute drive to the Maisy Battery, a 14-minute drive to Pointe du Hoc and around 30 minutes to the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
Churchill, Eisenhower or Saint-Exupery?
Located at La Cambe between two temporary airfields used by the US Air Force, the Spirit of 1944 really does evoke the past in 3 pretty rooms.
Sir Winston Churchill has a sloping roof, an en-suite shower room, an extra sofa bed and Churchill memorabilia.
Dwight D. Eisenhower is larger with stone walls, a half-timbered ceiling, black and white photos on the walls and US army items.
A large wooden wall with an old map makes Commandant Antoine de Saint Exupery seem like a briefing room. There’s a Victorian roll-top bath and shower in the en-suite bathroom.
All the rooms are fresh and bright, themed to World War II with photos, posters and old maps. It’s very well done, with L’Occitane toiletries, and…nice touch this…The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan on DVD. More wartime books and DVDs are available from their library.
Spirit of 1944
Le Lieu Besnard
Tel: + 33 (0)2 31 51 07 52
Prices There’s a minimum 2-night stay and prices including breakfast are from 100€ (plus 30€ for 3rd person in the larger Sir Winston Churchill room).
La Cambe is just north of the main N13, around 8 kms (5 miles) from Pointe du Hoc.
US war correspondents slept here
Located inland about 17 kms south of Pointe du Hoc and Grandcamp Maisy, the stone Château de Vouilly has real connections to World War II.
Take breakfast in the dining room which was used by General Bradley for one of his press conferences, and sleep in one of the rooms that might have been occupied by Robert Capa, Ernest Hemingway, Walter Cronkite or any of 50 World War II correspondents. They stayed here between June 10 and August 10 in 1944, sending their stories of the D-Day landings via a radio transmitter set up in the park.
Four rooms are comfortably furnished with old-fashioned cupboards, chairs and fittings; 3 have views over the gardens and parklands.
Château de Vouilly
Le Lieu Besnard
Tel: + 33 (0)2 31 22 08 59
Prices 95€ for 1 person; 110€ for two; 140€ for 3 and 170€ for 4 (ask for the 5-person rate). All include breakfast.
Vouilly is on the D5, south of the main N13. It’s about 18 kms (11 miles) from the D-Day Landing Beaches, south of Pointe du Hoc.
In and around Bayeux
Modest Queen Mathilda hits the spot
There are posher hotels in and around Bayeux (the best known is the 5-star Château Audrieu south east of the city) but we were delighted with the 2-star Hôtel de la Reine Mathilde.
Bayeux can be a bit of a nightmare to drive in and park so the public car park we could see from our window was a godsend. We had a ground floor room in the annexe, looking directly onto the canal. It had a large bed, and a small alcove with an armchair, was decorated in pastel colours and had a very good sized bathroom.
We had a simple dinner and breakfast in the casual bistro which also doubles as a local bar.
Rooms are from 95€ to 180€ but prices vary according to the season/demand.
Hôtel de la Reine Mathilde
23 Rue Larcher
Tel: +33 (0)2 31 92 08 13
Prices 95€ to 180€ but prices vary according to the season/demand.
North of Bayeux
One of the best hotels in Normandy
I first fell in love with the Ferme de la Rançonnière when I was researching about William the Conqueror in Normandy twelve years ago. He was all over this part of Normandy though not here; this gorgeous stone fortified farm only dates back to the 14th to 15th century.
Drive through the arched stone – and castellated – entrance into a large courtyard enclosed by buildings. Some are bedrooms, others make up the restaurant and bars and an old cider press.
Our room was on the top floor looking onto the inner courtyard with its tables and chairs and cars instead of horses and carriages.
It was a suite with a room which had a sofa bed and separate toilet and a large bathroom with a bath and shower, a room which was blessedly heated at all times (it was April and cold outside).
The bedroom was huge with an antique cupboard that could have come from Narnia; the dark wood furniture offset with red covers and curtains. All very medieval we decided, though luckily the WiFi was not from the same era.
Dinner in the stone-walled, beamed ceiling room with a huge fireplace at one end was a meal that was fit for a king, or in Normandy’s case, a duke. No wild boar and bones flung onto the floors, but local produce cooked to perfection: scallops, guinea fowl, seasonal vegetables, local Normandy cheeses and imaginative desserts.
We retired to the bar for a nightcap, joining a party of very jolly French and Dutch who were regular visitors.
Breakfast in yet another stone-walled room offered everything we wanted. Then we paid the bill and were astonished that the owner remembered me from all those years ago.
Okay, I have written about the Ferme before, but even so, this ticked the final box for me. Perfect hoteliers, perfect hotel. I’ll be back very soon.
Ferme de la Rançonnière
Route de Creully-Arromanches
Tel: +33 (0)2 31 22 21 73
Prices 83€ to 158€. Breakfast is 12.80€. There are some very good offers, such as half board (dinner, bed and breakfast from 183€ to 238€ for 2 people).
Crépon is a small village with large manor houses around 12 to 15 minutes by car from Arromanches-sur-Mer, Gold Beach and Juno Beach Centre.
Central and comfortable in Caen
Centrally located, the Hotel des Quatrans is not much to look at from the outside, but it’s welcoming with helpful staff, has comfortable, newly decorated rooms in modern style and is good value.
There’s a small breakfast room looking out onto the street, and public parking right outside and just across the street.
We ate in the evening at the delightful Le Clou de Girofle at number 12 Rue du Vaugueux on a very good value 20€ menu for 3 courses. The wine list is above-average in quality and not expensive. The street which is wall-to-wall small restaurants and bars is just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Hôtel des Quatrans
17 rue Gémare
Tel: +33 (0)2 31 86 25 57
Prices 75€ to 125€. Breakfast is 12€.
In the Quatrans area of Caen just a few minutes from the central historic district.
More about Normandy
We went to Normandy on Brittany Ferries
Book with Brittany Ferries. Regular sailings go from Portsmouth to Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg as well as from Poole to Cherbourg. The best of all the ferry companies, their overnight sailings are more like a mini cruise.
We took the 8.15am morning ferry from Portsmouth which arrives in the French port of Ouistrehem (Caen) at 3pm and returned on the 4.15pm ferry from Caen which arrives in Portsmouth at 8.15pm.