Normandy and the D-Day Beaches?

Mar 3rd, 2004, 07:52 AM
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Normandy and the D-Day Beaches?

Can anyone give me some information about touring the D-Day beaches? We are taking our sons 7 and 18 there in May for 2 days before going on to Paris. We plan to rent a car and stay in Bayeux. We would love to know what not to miss in and around this area of northern France.

carob is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 08:34 AM
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There have been quite a few recent posts on this topic; try doing a search, above. You could also look at the web site, where there are two guys posting (one French/American, one American) who were involved in the D-Day landings.

Bayeux is a good base for exploring the area; I would suggest that you get the green Michelin guide to Normandy and do some reading to pinpoint what you want to see.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Here's the thread for the site on Normandy:
Underhill is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 08:51 AM
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At Bayeaux, be sure to see the cathedral and the tapestry exhibit. Omaha sure to walk down the cliff onto the sandy beach and then look back up and wonder how they ever made it. At Point du Hoc, go down in the big gun bunkers, especially the one which has been ceded by the France to the State of Texas. There is a State of Texas commemorative memorial inside one of the bunkers. The other invasion beaches such as Utah Beach and Arromanches are also interesting but less dramatic. Another day trip would be over to St Malo which was totally destroyed and then rebuilt as a walled city.
mogilus is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 08:53 AM
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I forgot to mention that the Michelin guide has a complete itinerary for touring the D-Day beaches.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 09:24 AM
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Try to visit the Mont St. Michel.
Idnas71 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Even though you only have two days, you should plan to spend at least half a day at the Mémorial in Caen--preferably before you visit the beaches. It will provide an invaluable perspective. Its website is at

In Bayeux, try to see the Battle of Normandy museum, and, of course, the Bayeux tapestry.

With only two days, I wouldn't try to do all this and also see Mont St. Michel or St. Malo Save them for another visit.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 10:05 AM
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The Musée du Débarquement in Arromanches (D Day Landing Museum) is a must. Also in Arromanches you can see the movie "Le prix de la liberté" (The price of freedom). It's shown in a circular viewing room, so that you're really in the middle of the action. Horrible and touching at the same time.
MyriamC is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:27 AM
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If your time is tight (and it looks like it will be), I enjoyed the movie at the Musée du Débarquement in Arromanches more than Arromanches 360. And you don't have to pay an extra fee.

Keith is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:31 AM
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We did that trip with a 7 year old daughter two summers ago. YOu'll love it. We stayed at the Hotel Churchill in downtown Bayeux, nice and they had their own parking. I recommend getting a good guide and the Michelin map and doing the battlefields, beaches and cemetary yourselves. We found the tours set up at the Tourist Office were expensive and almost useless.

The beaches and tapestry are a full day and Mt. St. Michell is great but will be close to a day with travel, visit, etc.. If you find the time on the way back to Paris you may want to stop in Giverny to see Monet's gardens. They are right off the highway (10 minutes) and willl be great in May although I don't know if your sons are into that sort of thing.

The DDay beaches will leave an impression on all of you.

Via con dios,

BDM is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:52 AM
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If time is limited, I'd put Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc and the Arromanches Musee du Debarquement at the very top of the list. The Caen memorial is not a "must see," in my opinion (it's also quite expensive, if that's a consideration), but we found the Bayeux Tapestry a fascinating and enlightening look at French/English history.
flsd is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 12:03 PM
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You may want to stop at the village of St. Marie Eglise, where the paratropers landed and one landed in the steple of the church. At Utau Beach there is a restaurant and they have a web site that you may find some information: Besure to see the American Cemetery and if you can the German Cemetery, both had quite an effect on me. I found the German Cemetery especially interesting because they had letters from solders, family and friends on display. Here is a quote from one: "If people only knew how hard it is to be wounded, to die - they would all be meek and gentle, would not split into parties, would not incite mobs to attack one another, and would not kill. But when they are in good health they know nothing of this. When they are wounded, no-one believes them. When they ae dead, they can no longer speak."

I would also recommend Mt. St. Michell if you can make time.
Randy is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 12:29 PM
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For an excellent meal try Le Petit Bistro near the cathedral.
Gretchen is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 02:07 PM
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You're driving me crazy! It's VAYA con Dios! (not via!)
sara_ndipity is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 02:50 PM
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I second the suggestion to visit the Caen Memorial Museum as a first stop. It's outstanding, IMO, and provides an excellent overall perspective. You'll also find very good maps at the musuem of the D-Day sites, making it easy to decide your itinerary from there.
The museum is well worth half a day, but you could see most if it in 2 hours.
Also, I would recommend visiting the American Cemetary (I'm assuming you're from the US). It's quite impactful.
Diane is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 03:24 PM
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I do agree with Myriam...Arromanches is a must stop...
It was just about the best part of our trip to D Day beaches.

We loved the town itself,too.
jody is offline  
Mar 4th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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Being at the American Cemetery at the moment the chimes go off sent chills up and down me. It was incredibly moving! What's interesting is the difference in the cemeteries. I visited the Canadian cemetery with a veteran's group we met by chance at the hotel. It was unbelievable walking around with these veterans hearing stories of their lost friends as we walked by the gravestones. The Canadian cemetery was more like a park. The American cemetery is very "uniform" but it relays a powerful message. Not really a trip note but thought you should take the time to notice how the different countries remembered their fallen heroes. Susan
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