If you plan on using buses and trains to get around Normandy, bear in mind that (like most of France) public transport services are very poor, with most bus routes in Normandy running within individual city limits (not between towns) and train services only serving major towns. Most of the countryside, interesting villages, gardens and chateaux are inaccessible without personal transport.
Bus tickets are widely available from tobacconists and newsagents, usually located near the bus stops.
In most cases tickets for a single journey can be bought as you board the bus itself. Books of tickets (known as a “carnet”) as well as various daily, weekly and monthly passes can sometimes be bought on the bus, but some companies only sell these through shops or their own offices.
Bus services are organised by the individual County Council of each department in Lower (Calvados, Manche and Orne) and Upper Normandy (Seine Maritime and Eure), and there are also different bus operators for some major towns.
Departmental transport is provided by the Bus Verts du Calvados. Their site is in French only and gives information on Calvados bus routes, tickets, sales points etc.
Bus Verts offices:
- Caen: Place de la Gare, and at place Courtonne
- Bayeux: Place de la Gare
- Deauville: Place de la Gare
- Honfleur: Rue des Vases
- Lisieux: Place François Mitterrand
Tickets can be bought on the bus or at many Tabacs (tobacconists, they have a long red sign hanging outside known as a “carrot”) or Presse (newspaper) shops close to the bus stops.
The Bus Vert company operates rather complicated tarifs based on a zone system. It can be simpler and cheaper to buy a pass. Many ticket/pass choices are available, but the most useful for visitors is probably the “Carte Liberté” which gives unlimited use on all buses (except the Le Havre-Caen Express) for 1, 3 or 7 days.
A “Carte Liberté” bus pass costs :
1 day: 12,90 €
3 days: 25,16 €
7 days: 36,12 €
(as at Nov. 2009)
Le Havre Express is a special bus service between Caen and Le Havre, via Honfleur, taking 90 minutes. Caen – Honfleur costs 10.50 € single, Caen – Le Havre 14.50€. The price also includes use of the Twisto buses within Caen.
Caen Buses and Trams – Twisto
Twisto is a combined bus & tram service serving Caen. Their site is in French only and gives information on routes, tickets, sales points etc.
Single ticket costs 1.20€, a 1 day pass 3.55€, a family day pass (2-5 people) 5.25€.
Single tickets can be bought on the bus (exact money, please!) but not on board trams – for tram travel you must buy in advance from the machines in the stations.
You can buy passes from the Twisto boutiques in Caen, from machines in the tram stations, or from 80+ shops in Caen.
- Boutique Twisto : Château, 15 rue de Geôle, 14000 Caen
- Boutique Twisto : Théâtre, Boulevard Maréchal Leclerc, Caen.
These are open Monday to Friday 07:15-18:30 and Saturday 10:00-16:45
Manéo supplies the bus services throughout the Manche department. Tickets for single journeys are 2.20€ and can be bought from the driver on the bus. Books of 12 discount tickets (22€) and monthly passes (40€) are also sold on board.
Zéphir Bus serves most of the Cherbourg area. Their site is in French only and gives information on routes, tickets, sales points etc. Also operates a limited night service.
Tickets for a single journey (1.10€), books of tickets or a one day unlimited pass for 2.80€ can be bought from 30+ tabacs (and a few other shops) near bus stops.
Public transport is managed by Conseil Général as “Le réseau Cap Orne“.
Tickets are bought as you get on the bus, at a flat price of 2€ regardless of journey length.
A guide to the Cap Orne bus service can be downloaded from the site in pdf format.
Eure and Seine Maritime
Véolia provides the bus services in these two departments. Their site is in French only and gives information on routes, tickets, sales points etc.
TCAR & Metrobus: Bus and metro serving the Rouen area. Tickets can be bought on the bus or at these points:
- Agence Métrobus at the train station,
- the Espace Métrobus at 9 rue Jeanne d’Arc,
- Métrobus shop at Rouen town hall, Hotel de Ville at 69 rue de la République.
A book of 10 tickets is available at a reduced rate, as well as monthly passes.