Top Tip for Visiting D-Day Memorial Sites in Normandy (Move Inland!)

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This 12 months marks the eightieth Anniversary of the D-Day landings, and Normandy can have a busy summer time, particularly in the course of the two-week interval across the day itself, June sixth.

There’s at all times been a particular buzz round key anniversaries – fiftieth, seventy fifth, and many others. – however this 12 months’s memorial occasions are thought of to be particularly vital as a result of it’s prone to be the final main anniversary that D-Day veterans will attend. An 18-year-old serving on D-Day can be 98 this 12 months.

Even if those that skilled D-Day and the Battle of Normandy (Operation Overlord) firsthand have been leaving us, curiosity within the invasion of Europe reveals no signal of diminishing. Two million guests descend on Normandy every year on journeys associated to D-Day memorial websites, and this 12 months, Normandy Tourism is anticipating three million.

Many, if not most, can be first—or second-generation descendants of those that fought right here. Tour guides report a surge within the variety of younger grownup guests with their households touring Normandy to seek out the place their grandparents and great-grandparents fought.

What D-Day Memorial Sites Should you Visit?

So, whether or not you might be linked to D-Day not directly or only a historical past fanatic, what do you have to see and do?

Well, like most guests, in the event you haven’t been earlier than, you need to see the important thing websites on and across the 5 Normandy seashores and the airborne touchdown grounds. Amazing museums, memorials, bunkers, and gun batteries are thick on the bottom alongside the coast, however I might counsel the minimal ‘big seven’ websites are:

  • Pegasus Bridge Memorial, a museum on the web site of The dramatic taking of the bridge at Bénouville by British Glider forces within the early hours of June sixth.
  • The Juno Centre is a museum that describes the Canadian expertise of JUNO BEACH.
  • D-Day Landing Museum/Musée du Débarquement at Arromanches (GOLD BEACH), the place the stays of the Mulberry B synthetic harbor dominate the seascape.
  • Normandy American Cemetery overlooking OMAHA BEACH.
  • Pointe du Hoc, the dramatically crater-marked clifftop battery that US Rangers assaulted by climbing the cliffs.
  • Utah Beach Museum, which is constructed on the dunes and defenses overlooking the seaside itself.
  • Airborne Museum, Sainte-Mère-Église, which tells the story of the a hundred and first & 82nd Airborne’s assault within the early hours of D-Day.

Tip For Visiting the D-Day Memorial Sites in Normandy

Here comes the ‘tip’ for visiting D-Day memorial websites in the course of the busy season.

Assuming you might be cellular – both self-driving or with a driver/information – and you’ve got time, you need to attempt to get away from the Normandy D-Day seashores and head inland.

Intense because it was, the preventing on the coast was concentrated within the first few days. The remainder of the Overlord marketing campaign took till twenty first Aug (D+76) to resolve, and there are some fascinating, poignant and fewer well-known websites to go to inland and away from the madding crowds.

Travel Dudes recommends shopping for the Travel Guide to Normandy’s Beaches and Battlegrounds, written by our writer Alastair.

10 Suggestions for Visiting D-Day Memorial Sites in Normandy

Note: We added their What3Words (W3W) areas. What3words is a singular geocoding system created to pinpoint any spot on Earth with a precision of roughly 3 meters. By changing geographic coordinates into three particular dictionary phrases, What3words gives a user-friendly technique to establish areas precisely. Click on every hyperlink to get to the map.

While you’re touring round, you’ll have to eat! Check out: A Foodie Itinerary for Normandy, France

Abbaye d’Ardenne Canadian Massacre Memorial

On 7 June 1944, the Canadian North Nova Scotia Highlanders and twenty seventh Armoured Regiment have been intercepted by the twelfth SS Panzer Division (Hitlerjugend) within the village of Authie on the western outskirts of Caen.

Many Canadians have been killed or captured. Some of the captured troopers have been taken to the HQ of twenty fifth Panzer Grenadier Regiment within the close by fortified Abbaye d’Ardenne, the place 11 have been executed in a small backyard. The subsequent day, an additional 7 have been murdered. The web site is now a shifting memorial.

(W3W – funds.mimic.friction)

Canadian Massacre Memorial Garden in Abbaye d'Ardenne, Normandy, France.
Canadian Massacre Memorial Garden in Abbaye d’Ardenne, Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Hill 112 Memorial

Hardly a clearly outlined peak, Hill 112 is extra a rolling plateau that has commanding panoramic views over the encircling countryside. This is what made it so strategically vital and why, over 10 weeks of bitter preventing, it price the lives of 10,000 German and Allied troopers.

It might need taken even longer and been extra expensive had the Germans not abruptly been redeployed from the hill to counter-attack the American breakout within the west.

The memorial is an open area with parking and a number of other monuments.

(W3W – withdrew.bookworm.mewing)

Hill 112 Memorial in the Normandy, France.
Hill 112 Memorial within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

War Reporters Memorial Trail, Bayeux

The 300m path runs by the woods behind the Bayeux Memorial (a 50-metre neoclassical carved stone façade). It’s marked out by stone pillars, every of which information the names of struggle correspondents who’ve been killed or gone lacking throughout a selected 12 months since WW1.

In complete, some 2,000+ journalists are named and, inevitably the listing retains rising, so now a second path splits off and runs parallel to the primary.

There are a number of different issues to see on this location:

  • The Bayeux Memorial
  • Opposite it throughout the highway is the biggest Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemetery in Normandy with the graves of 4,100 Commonwealth servicemen, plus 500 graves of different nations, together with Germans
  • Next to the path is the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, a serious museum
  • At the southeast finish of the path, a single memorial stone to the WW2 photograph journalist Robert Capa.

(W3W – performed.inherit.jukebox) – (W3W – giggled.rock.inspire)

War Reporters Memorial Trail in the Normandy, France.
War Reporters Memorial Trail within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

ninetieth Infantry Div ‘Tough Ombres’ Monument, Perriers

Perriers is a small city on the southwest facet of the Cotentin Peninsula.

There was a tricky battle on the outskirts of the city between the US ninetieth Division and the sixth German Parachute (Fallschirmjäger) Regiment. Go to the middle the place, proper subsequent to the Marie (city corridor), there’s a small ‘liberation’ museum run for essentially the most half by ex-pat British ladies, and outdoors, among the best memorial statues in Normandy. It options 4 males from the ninetieth Division, who all died within the battle for Perriers.

They stand in a tableau; considered one of them wounded, one is a medic attending to him, a 3rd is guarding them and the fourth, a tank commander waves for assist. The factor is, these have been all actual individuals and their faces are correct reproductions.

(W3W – budgie.divisions.unsubtle)

Les Quatre Braves Statue in the Normandy, France.
Les Quatre Braves Statue in Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

C-47 Memorial Garden, Picauville

Several C-47 transport plane carrying US paratroopers have been shot down across the village of Picauville.

There is a collective memorial to them within the centre of the village and particular person plaques on the crash websites. One of the plane and its occupants are remembered in a small and tranquil backyard simply exterior Picauville.

(W3W – intervening.embarks.caressing)

C-47 Memorial Garden in the Normandy, France.
C-47 Memorial Garden within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

D-Day Collins Museum

A brand new museum that opened in April 2023 on the positioning of General ‘Lighting Joe’ Collins’ (commander of US Army VII Corps) headquarters in July 1944.

It is uncommon as a result of the constructing that Collins occupied was left untouched when the Americans left a number of weeks later; an 80-yr-old time capsule. Collins’ workplace, the place he, General Omar Bradley and General Dwight D. Eisenhower deliberate ‘Operation Cobra‘ – the breakout from Normandy – has been recreated because it was on the time with the unique wallpaper, work and furnishings. Other rooms are additionally genuine recreations, and the museum makes use of facially correct mannequins of key characters.

(W3W – gander.picks.depraved)

D-Day Collins Museum in the Normandy, France.
D-Day Collins Museum within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Museum of Liberation, Cherbourg

The port metropolis was captured 27 June (D+21) by Gen. Joe Collins (above).

You might spend a number of time on this metropolis, however head for Fort du Roule, a nineteenth century fortress on the heights (117m) behind the town the place the Museum of Liberation has spectacular views over the port.

If you guide prematurely, you may tour the German tunnels and gun bunkers carved into the cliffs beneath the fort.

(W3W – gamer.lame.faces)

View from Fort Roule, Cherbourg in the Normandy, France.
View from Fort Roule, Cherbourg. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Orglandes German Military Cemetery

On the northern fringe of the village of Orglandes, this spacious cemetery (5 hectares) feels lighter and extra open than the opposite German cemeteries in Normandy, however it’s simply as densely packed. Each 50cm-tall stone cross marks the ultimate resting locations of as much as six deceased troopers.

In complete, 10,155 troopers are buried right here.

(W3W – alleged.runes.meandering)

Orglandes German War Cemetery in the Normandy, France.
Orglandes German War Cemetery within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Moissy Ford

I believe that is considered one of Normandy’s most poignant websites.

This was virtually the final river crossing left open to the German seventh Army trapped within the ‘Falaise pocket’ by the encircling Allies. In Aug 1944 it was a scene of utter devastation as determined Germans troopers fought one another to get throughout this small ford, whereas being shelled by artillery and strafed by floor assault plane. The timber have been all stripped naked from the blasts and the lane to and away from the ford was suffering from deserted autos, tools, useless horses and useless males.

It was an actual horror scene. Now it’s a tranquil, shaded spot… with a picnic desk!

(W3W – tender.thingy.madmen)

Moissy Ford in the Normandy, France.
Moissy Ford within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Montormel Memorial & Museum

The scene of fierce preventing between the Germans and the first Polish Armoured division who had raced to Hill 262 (Montormel) on 17 Aug 1944 to shut the ‘Falaise Gap’ and thus lure the German seventh Army.

Over the following three days the Germans threw all the things that they had on the Poles in an effort to reopen it, however the Poles simply managed to carry on. They began with 2,000 males, 60 officers, and 87 tanks. When they have been relieved on 21 August, they have been all the way down to 30 tanks, lower than 100 males, and simply 4 officers.

The Montormel Museum is constructed into the facet of the hill subsequent to the memorial terrace and grassed over in order that it has minimal visible influence.

(W3W – legislators.grannies.unsought)

Montormel Memorial in the Normandy, France.
Montormel Memorial within the Normandy, France. Photo: ©Alastair McKenzie

Tourisme Normandie is anticipating their regular 2 million guests to leap to three million this 12 months. The peak can be between 1st – fifteenth June, when, even in the event you did safe lodging (nearly all was booked up at the least a 12 months in the past) you can find components of the coast closed off to the general public and lots of websites closed for invitation-only anniversary occasions.

However, the coast particularly can be additional busy all through the summer time. So it’s another excuse to take Gen. Montgomery’s (total commander on the bottom) recommendation – transfer inland as quickly as attainable!

Travel Guide to Normandy’s Beaches and Battlegrounds

If this entire subject pursuits you additional, then Travel Dudes recommends the “Travel Guide to Normandy’s Beaches and Battlegrounds” by Bradt, which was written by our writer Alastair.

Buy the information on Amazon right here!

It serves as an insightful and detailed companion for anybody wishing to delve into the historic significance and the pure fantastic thing about Normandy’s storied shoreline. This guidebook meticulously organizes its content material to cater to each historical past fans and leisure vacationers, detailing the most important websites of the D-Day landings and the consequential Battle of Normandy. Each chapter methodically covers a distinct space, that includes evocative descriptions of the seashores the place Allied forces made their legendary advance, together with complete explorations of related museums, memorials, cemeteries, and remaining wartime fortifications.

The guide stands out for its in-depth historic context which enriches the journey expertise, reworking a easy go to into an academic journey by time. Its options embrace sensible journey ideas, native anecdotes, and suggestions for additional studying, making it a singular device not just for battlefield vacationers but in addition for these searching for a deeper understanding of the momentous occasions that unfolded alongside the French coast. “A Travel Guide to Normandy’s Beaches and Battlegrounds” appeals to a readership starting from army historical past aficionados to households and people drawn to the intertwined narratives of sacrifice, liberation, and pure splendor that the area gives.

  • Mechtraveller

    I’m Alastair McKenzie. I’ve been a journey journalist/editor since 1989, initially in native, then nationwide radio earlier than shifting on-line simply earlier than the millennium. I’ve been an lively member of the journey blogger & social media neighborhood because it began and a daily speaker at social media journey conferences. I’m a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.



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