Caen
Marked by the Viking invasion of 1020, the city has retained it's heritage in the XIe century under the direction of Guillaume the Bastard, who will become William the Conqueror.  One can also see and learn about the life of William the Conqueror on the tapestry of Bayeux (see below). He built the castle to protect the city, and also the two abbeys. He married Mathilde de Flandres in 1083, who is buried at the Abbaye-aux-Dames, and William was buried at the Abbaye-aux-Hommes. Caen became a target by various English invasions during centuries, particularly during the Hundred Year war.  The English with a particular irony, destroyed all of the city while releasing it, in 1944.

General Montgomery believed that capturing Caen is the key to the battle. He attacked the city on the day after D-Day, June 7, 1944, lasting until July 1st, Caen was intensively bombarded and completely destroyed. Some old streets remain nevertheless in the capital of Low-Normandy (Basse-Normandie). Beautiful churches are still standing and the castle of William the Conqueror which dominates the city center includes the museums of History of Normandy and the Beaux-Arts within it's walls.

www.ville-caen.fr/tourisme


THE CASTLE
Built by William-the-Conqueror about 1060, the ramparts offer a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Entry is free, along with its museums (which host temporary and permanent expositions). Its keep was destroyed during the Revolution, and some parts by the bombardments of 1944. However it is still a very beautiful place to visit, and its museums are good quality. In the middle of the castle court is Saint George church and, behind it, the Chess-board of Normandy. Both house temporary expositions.


MUSEEUM OF NORMANDY
Lodged in the Home of the Governor, and free to the public, it is possible to understand the history of the Norman people from the past through the present with interesting displays of objects, ranging from traditional lace to farm tools. In front of this building, the small garden presents plants which were cultivated in the Middle Ages.

Phone : 02 31 30 47 60
www.musee-de-normandie.caen.fr



MusEUM OF THE Beaux-Arts OF Caen
Located in the modern part of the castle, and also free, it boasts very beautiful painting galleries Italian, French, Dutch and Flemish of XVIe and XVIIe centuries, with of Cosme Tura, Le Pérugin, Véronèse, Tintoret, Le Guerchin, Giordano, Poussin, Champaigne, Rubens, Ruysdael, Rigaud, Tournières, Boucher, Lancret, Tiepolo... Permanent collections galleries house the richest art of provence in France !
Phone : 02 31 30 47 70
http://www.ville-caen.fr/mba




Saint-Pierre CHURCH
Just opposite the castle, it was built in XIe century, but the current church is of XIIIe-XVIe. The frontage is of XIVe. The Gothic bell-tower was rebuilt after the bombardments in its XIVe style also. Outside like the interior present mixtures of Gothic styles and Rennaissance. Do not miss the back by the church, inside and outside.
  



abbaye aux Hommes
(The abbey-church Saint-Etienne)
Built by Willaim-the-Conqueror between 1065 and 1077, it shelters his tomb (he died on September 9, 1087). Its mausoleum was destroyed by the Protestant iconoclasts in 1563. On his tomb, in Latin, one can read following sentence : "Here puts back the invincible William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy and king of England, founder of this house, which died the year 1087". The towers were surmounted Gothic arrows in XIIIe century (height 80 and 82 meters). The Abbaye has a Roman nave, 56 meters long, it constitutes a perfect example of the Norman Romance style. Each span includes 3 levels.

  



abbaye aux Dames
The mausoleum of Mathilde de Flandres, wife of Guillaume (dead in 1083), was also destroyed during the war with the Protestants, but one can still see her tomb there. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the construction of the abbey began in 1062 to be completed in 1130. The frontage and the towers were rebuilt at the XIXe. The crypt also presents many columns.


THE MEmorial OF Caen
Right outside the peripheral of the city to the North, it is the largest museum of Normandy dedicated to the war (and the peace afterwards). Inaugurated in 1989, it is necessary to count one half-day of your stay in the area to visit it. Presenting mainly the Battle of Normandy, it includes many vehicles and models, of scenes of reconstitutions and historical objects, as well as videos. The visit continues with the Cold war and various rooms devoted to peace in general and its craftsmen. Restaurant, coffee, bookshop, memories...
- Phone : 02 31 06 06 45 - Exit 7 of the péripheral.
www.memorial-caen.fr





OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN CAEN : At the south-western exit, one can visit the Roman ruins and the archeological site of Vieux-la-Romaine. 02 31 71 10 20. Enchanted corn labyrinth at Cambes-in-Plain (website), or the Festyland Park in Caen, at the Brittany Exit of Caen, which proposes attractions around the topics of the vikings, knights and pirates... (website). 




Sword Beach
Measuring 8km length between Ouistreham and Saint-Aubin, the 3e British division of infantry unloaded here, as well as the 177 French of the Commando Kieffer.
Internet site about Sword

Pegasus Bridge (IN Bénouville)
Pegasus is the code name given to the operation to capture this bridge on the channel between Caen and Ouistreham by a british commando of the 6th Divison Airborne. A little after midnight on June 6, 3 seaplanes transporting about thirty men, landed in silence less than 100 meters of the bridge. They were directed by Major John Howard. Mrs Gondrée, owner of the cafe, inform the English about the German positions (its cafe will be the first released house of France !). The Allied forces gain their first bridge here, costing 2 deaths and 14 wounded. The episode will be told on film The Longest Day. The Weighbridge currently on the channel is a counterpart, the original being in the park of the museum which is just behind the channel, it celebrates the British heroes of this commando, while presenting a life sized replica of a seaplane, various collector's items and war machines.
www.pegasusbridge.fr




Bénouville
One can visit the neo-classic castle of Bénouville (you can view it from the channel), built in 1769 by Claude Nicolas Ledoux.
www.cg14.fr/chateau_benouville


Ouistreham
East end of the d-day beaches, here you can see Sword Beach. Ouistreham comprises two museums dedicated to the unloading.
THE Grand Bunker : Museum of the Atlantic Wall
Measuring 17 meters high, the Big Bunker was a center of control of the German shootings, and it directed all the other bunkers of the zone. Scenes of German life inside the bunker are reconstituted there as well as many military collections and materials from WW2. From the top floor stage one can see the sea through a German rangefinder used to analyze the position of the boats. Above, there is a very beautiful view of the coast from the platform of the bunker after climbing a ladder. In the court you can observe a true barge for unloading troops restored for the film Saving Private Ryan.
- Avenue du 6 Juin. Phone : 02 31 97 28 69.
www.musee-mur-atlantique.com


  

The Museum of the Unloading "N°4 Commando"
Here you can see the history and various historical objects related to this commando, 177 French who took part in it with the commandant Kieffer, there is a model of the attack by the French of the German positions.
Place Alfred Thomas, Tel.: 02 31 96 63 10 Open from March 15 to October 31. from 10.30 to 6 p.m.

In Ouistreham you can also see the church (XIIth century), the 38 height meters red and white lighthouse. It is also from here the car-ferries for Porsmouth (U.K) leave. You find there all the services of a pretty seaside resort.
www.ville-ouistreham.fr

In Hermanville or Douvres you will be able to see British military cemeteries. 

RESTAURANT - Selection of the Guides
Hotel with restaurant le Beau Rivage 1 rue du Dr.-Charcot à Luc-sur-Mer
Phone : 02 31 96 49 51 www.hotelouistraham.com


http://www.ville-caen.fr/tourismehttp://www.musee-de-normandie.caen.frhttp://www.ville-caen.fr/mbahttp://www.memorial-caen.frhttp://www.labyrinthedecaen.comhttp://www.festyland.frhttp://www.normandiememoire.com/2_histo3/histo3_p7_fr.htmhttp://www.pegasusbridge.frhttp://www.cg14.fr/chateau_benouvillehttp://www.musee-mur-atlantique.comhttp://www.ville-ouistreham.fr/http://www.hotelouistraham.com/shapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4shapeimage_1_link_5shapeimage_1_link_6shapeimage_1_link_7shapeimage_1_link_8shapeimage_1_link_9shapeimage_1_link_10shapeimage_1_link_11
 
 
 
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Juno Beach
Attacked by the 6th Canadian division, this beach was the 2nd stronghold after Omaha. Sadly 50% of the attacking troops of died there.
Website about Juno

COURSEULES-sur-Mer
The Center Juno Beach, housed directly on the beach of the seaside resort is dedicated to Canadian soldiers who came to die on the beaches of Normandy. It is a good size museum and hosts great memorabilia collections. You can also discover here what life in Canada was like at that time.
Phone : 02 31 37 32 17
www.junobeach.org
  


June 14, 1944, General De Gaulle crossed the channel aboard French ship La Combattante. He landed on the French territory on this coast, between Courseulles and Graye-sur-Mer. A cross of Lorraine (his symbol) stands in between the two villages.


  


In Courseulles, a beautiful seaside resort, you can also visit an Aquarium - Museum of the Shells - 02 31 37 92 58 - Website -

Just behind Courseulles, at Beny-sur-Mer, the Canadian soldiers who died in combat were buried here in a memorial cemetery (picture).

Nearby in the back-country, you can visit several beautiful villages and castles.
- Crépon : Church of 12th century and war memorial monument. The farm of La Rançonnière is a very beautiful hotel and restaurant www.ranconniere.com
- Creuilly : Castle of the 11th and 12th centuries. 02 31 80 18 65. Website
- Fountaine-Henry : Wonderful Rennaissance castle with landscaped garden, it also hosts an annual Renaissance festival. Website - Tel. 06 89 84 85 57.
- Brécy : the castle has an authentic garden of the 17th century, which may be visited. 02 31 80 11 48

Below : Crépon, Creuilly, Fountain-Henry.
  
 




Gold Beach
A total of 25,000 British unloaded there, 413 died. It was not nearly as bloody when compared with the other beaches. The goal of Gold, like Juno, was to take Bayeux very quickly.
Historical webpage about Gold

Arromanches-les-Bains
The beach of this village was used as a port, under the name of Mulberry B (and then "Port-Winston", of the first name of Churchill, the creator of this project). This artificial harbour was manufactured in Great Britain and then towed here. It was easier for the Allies to proceed here rather than to be detained in attempts to take ports held strongly by the Germans. Over 115 concrete boxes plus 17 ships were voluntarily run there on 8km, in order to protect the new port from the sea and enemy submarines. The port was operational in 12 days and made it possible to unload 400,000 vehicles. The small village is a pretty seaside resort today.

From the cliff marked with a statue of the Virgin Mary, there is a good view of all that remains of this artificial harbour. There are no other places where you can see original traces of the unloading on the beaches.
From the top of the cliff, on the right side you can walk to...




Circular Cinema 360 degrés
If it is a video projection of real footage that can be viewed in the round. The film is well done it alternates scenes of landscapes of yesterday and today. Most especially there are scenes of incredible combat and distress. The stark reality of war is so strong, you feel engrossed in the action.  Although the film is not bloody it is not recommended for very young children. 
- www.arromanches360.com
- 02 31 22 30 30


Museum of the Landing (Débarquement)
Located on Avenue du 6 Juin, on the beach, you can see a museum which will teach you about all on the unloading on Gold Beach and the construction of Port Winston, with models, a film, collections of weapons...
www.normandy1944.com
Phone : 02 31 22 34 31



Longues-SUR-MER
A little further, close to the charming port of Longues, the German battery still holds its original guns.
Information with the office of tourism :
02 31 21 46 87. Website

Tourist activities in Annelles : www.goldbeachevasion.com


Bayeux
World known for its fabulous medieval tapestry, the small city is very pleasant visit.  It is a good place to lunch, stroll its old streets, visit its cathedral or track the battle of Normandy, the capture of Bayeux was a key element of the Allies victory.



THE TAPESTRY OF QUEEN Mathilde
Usually known under the name of "tapestry of Bayeux", it is a must see for a first time visit in Normandy. It is believed to have been commissioned by the half-brother of William the Conqueror, the bishop Odon, in order to celebrate the victories of William, the conquest of England in 1066 and its key events, primarily the Battle of Hastings. This 70 meters in length embroidery, it is technically speaking not a woven tapestry, but it tells an incredible story about life in 11th century : with costumes of its 676 characters, their castles, their religions and military traditions... it also represents 202 horses and mules, 505 other animals...
(Copyrights photographs : Details of Tapisserie of Bayeux - XIè century - With special permit of the City of Bayeux)
The end of the tapestry is missing, but historians agree that the story would have likely concluded with the crowning of William.
There is a film that explains the design of the tapestry, and shows its drawings along with scenes of knighthood, places and castles of the battles celebrated on the embroidery.  Visitors view the tapestry after the film in numerical order like pages in a story book with a portable audio-guide (available in various languages). The version for children is perfect and makes the drawings of the tapestry come alive with history. Until the end of the 18th century it was preserved at the Treasury of the Cathedral of Bayeux, today it is housed in the Guillaume-le-Conquérant Center which is dedicated in his honor.

It is open everyday with few interruptions at  Christmas and in the beginning of January (see the dates on website). The entire visit lasts approximately one hour.
Center Guillaume-le-Conquérant - Rue de Nesmond - 02 31 51 25 50 www.tapisserie-bayeux.fr

- You can see a part of the tapestry here in the photograph on this page.
- Images on this page.

The entry ticket for Tapestry will give you also a free admission (and reciprocally) to...

- MUSEE BARON GERARD
Whose collections present the inheritance of the city: beautiful laces of Bayeux, porcelain, paintings of David, Boudin and Caillebotte...
Ledoyen hotel - 02 31 92 14 21

- Medieval Festivals, they are organized at the beginning of July in Bayeux during a whole weekend.

- CathEdral Notre-Dame de Bayeux
Right beside the museum of the Tapestry, it is a masterpiece of Romantic and Gothic architecture of typical Norman style. The west towers, and the crypt, are of 11th century. The frescos of the crypt are of the 15th century. One can see the room of the treasure also there, and a labyrinth paved in the chapter room. The Gothic era added much decor to the cathedral, and in particular the splendid central tower.




- Museum Memorial of the battle of Normandy
The Battle of Normandy comes alive in this interesting museum. With antiques from the war including materials, weapons and uniforms there is also a film. The ticket price also admits you for free to the De Gaulle Memorial.
- Boulevard Fabian Ware (at one minute of the center)
- 02 31 51 46 90 - Website


- BRITISH CEMETERY
Just beside the Museum, on the other side of the boulevard, you will be amazed by the thousands of crypts in which the bodies of the English heroes of the battle rest.

- MEmorial OF gEnEral de Gaulle
The "General" (as the French call him) established the first French Authority here in Bayeux on the following day of the embarkment of June 1944. This became the basis of the constitution of 5th French Republic in 1958. The ticket also gives you a free admission to the Museum of the Battle of Normandy.
- 10, street Bourbesneur - 02 31 92 45 55 - Website -

ATTRACTIONS AROUND BAYEUX : You can also visit the Museum of the Mine in Molay-Littry (site internet), the corn labyrinth of Bayeux (road of Cherbourg) site internet. In the heart of Bayeux you can also visit the farm producer Lecornu (place De Gaulle) who sells ciders, apple-brandies Calvados... (www.lecornu.fr).
RESTAURANTS
Selection of the Guides
Château de Sully
Rte. de Port-en-Bessin in Bayeux
T : 02 31 22 29 48
www.chateau-de-sully.com

Le Lion d'Or
71 rue Saint-Jean in Bayeux
T : 02 31 92 06 90
www.liondor-bayeux.fr


Omaha Beach
At a length of 8km, "Bloody Omaha" was attacked on June 6 by the American troops of 5th US. Corps, but was strongly defended by the German batteries. The "Force O" which fought here and at the Pointe du Hoc, counted a total of 34,000 men. Because of the bad weather, the bombs dropped on the German canons were not very effective. Moreover, many amphibious tanks were released too early by soldiers frightened by the density of German shots and sunk with their crew under the sea. Only two tanks arrived on the beach! At 6:25 a.m., the first wave of soldiers reached the coast and attacked in complete disorder. Germans drew from everywhere EXCEPT from Omaha, in order to keep the position of their guns secret while waiting to massacre the Americans arriving on the beach. Almost 1,000 Americans died here (25% by drowning) and were 2,000 wounded or disappeared. At 10 a.m., the Americans had already carried out 3 various openings through German lines.
- Webpage about Omaha history.

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER
American Cemetery
Two days after D-Day, the site was already used as a cemetery for fatalities of Omaha Beach. The ground has since then been given by France to the USA, and now numbers 9,387 soldiers who are buried there, including 4 women and 307 unknown. There are an additional 14,000 bodies, repatriates in the USA buried here at the request of their families. Close to the memorial, you can also see the names of the 1,557 soldiers missing during the Battle of Normandy. Theodore Roosevelt Junior is buried there. If you have only one cemetery to visit, this is the most impressive one to see as the sheer number of white crosses is astonishing.
(photo Credit: government of the United States)
Website  - See a vidéo, and another one.

- The Village : photographs taken after the bombardments are posted on panels. The church dates from the 12th -13th centuries, the American troops had to destroy it  because 7 Germans were in the bell-tower informing their artillerists about the positions of the allied ships. The church was rebuilt exactly as it was before the war. Website of the town

You can see 3 museums at Omaha, the Memorial being the largest :
- Big Red One, in Colleville, is dedicated to the first wave of assault on Omaha - Website - 02 31 21 58 81
- Museum Memorial Omaha Beach, Avenue de la Libération at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
- 02 31 21 97 44 - Website -
- Museum D-Day Omaha, at Vierville, road of Grandcamp - 02 31 21 71 80 - Website -

Photographs below : Memorial, D-Day Omaha, and Big Red One:


OMAHA BEACH GOLF CLUB
Phone : 02 31 22 12 12
La Ferme Saint-Sauveur - 14520 Port-en-Bessin-Huppain
www.omahabeachgolfclub.com

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La Cambe
A total of 21,222 German soldiers rest in this cemetery, not far from the highway at the level of the Pointe du Hoc. There is a Garden of Peace, where 1200 maples were planted here to honor the dead. 





Pointe du Hoc
There is no museum at Pointe du Hoc... the land was left much like it was after the battle.  There are bomb craters, exploded bunkers, metal scraps and barbed wire everywhere.  You may wonder whether in 1000 years, the gusts of wind will succeed in flattening the thousands of craters created in 1944 by the Allied bombs. On June 6, 1944, the 2nd battalion of American Rangers (225 men), under lieutenant-colonel James E Rudder, unloaded on this tiny beach and climbed it's vertical cliff (25 to 30 METERS in height).  The Pointe was defended by 125 German infantrymen and 80 artillerists. In 5mn, the first Americans reach the top. In 15mn the first bunkers. Only 80 of them died here (Rudder was wounded twice), to discover once at the top that the canons inside the bunkers were made of wood! Germans had already removed their artillery and had set up these lures. A walk around the destroyed bunkers and paths furrowing in craters really gives you a sense of the famous battle that happened here.
- History Webpage about the Pointe du Hoc
  

Isigny-sur-Mer AND Hautteville-bocage
- Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to the factory of Normandie Caramels !
ZA Isypole - 02 31 51 66 50 - www.caramels-isigny.com
- Candies and chocolates with milk jam (inter alia) at the farm of Pierrepont, route du Château at Hautteville-Bocage - Manufactured in front of your eyes! - 02 33 41 07 11 - www.lait-douceur.com

RESTAURANTS - Selection of the Guides
La Marée
5 quai Henri-Chéron at Grandcamp Maisy
Phone : 02 31 21 41 00
www.restolamaree.com

La Flambée
2-4 rue Emile-Demagny at Isigny
Phone : 02 31 51 70 96



Utah Beach
German Marshal Rommel had reinforced this coast with many gun posts and machine guns in the cliffs, but the beach was less defended than others, and the unloading of Utah Beach went better than most landings. Following an error of navigation, the the 7th US Corps assault waves, and their amphibious tanks, arrived more than one mile too far to the south, a lucky error, since the Germans were less prepared here. By the end of D-Day 23,250 American troops landed safely of the 4th US Division, casualties did not exceed 200, and the troops controlled the beach quickly.
- History webpage about Utah.

SAINTE-MARIE-DU-MONT
- D-Day museum : built on the beach, it presents the strategy and history of the unloading at Utah, by showing visitors beautiful collections including amphibious machines and a film. On the beach, you can see "terminal 00" of the Way of the Freedom which follows the Allies troops as far as Belgium, marked out by terminals like this one.
www.utah-beach.com - 02 33 71 53 35

- Museum of the Occupation : on the place de l'Église, this old hospital sheltered the German garrison for 4 years. From June 6 to November 1, 1944, it was HQ for Americans of Utah Beach here.
- 02 33 71 57 14 - Site internet

- Musée of the Libération : (place of the Church too). A new museum opened in 2006. On 200 m2, you will be able to see a personal collection which gathers armaments, vehicles and mannequins, both American and German. - 02 33 71 25 62

- Natural Wildlife Reservation of Beau-Guillot : it will charm the amateurs of birds with its 2km of paths.
- 02 33 71 56 99 - Internet Page

- Church of 11th and 14th centuries.

Saint-Côme du Mont possède également un “paratrooper museum” Site internet - 02 33 42 00 42.

Sainte-Mère-Église
On June 6, 1944, 14,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division attacked this town. The American soldier John Steele landed on the bell-tower of the church and was caught hanging from his parachute.  The parachute has become one of the symbols of the war and ensures the village to be a tourist site for years to come! A mannequin with its effigy still hangs today on the church. Steele, wounded by a shell while parachuting, could not control his chute and landed on the church close to 4:00 AM. He tried to release himself with his knife but couldn't. The gunfire was strong around the church, so Steele had to play dead to survive the attack. After two hours of fighting, a German soldier came to take him down. He was taken captive, but escaped three days afterward. In September he parachuted again above Holland, and took part in various combats. He died at the age of 57 after having making known his wish to be buried in Normandy, which was never realized. You can see the history of this incredible parachuting deployment in the fim The Longest Day. The church whose construction dates from 11th to 15th centuries, is very pretty. 
www.sainte-mere-eglise.info

AIRBORNE MUSEUM
Films, documents, weapons, interactive terminals, a sailplane Waco, a tank... all about the parachuting of the 82th and the 101th Airborne Divisions around Sainte-Mère! A very interesting museum.
14, street Eisenhower - 02 33 41 41 35 - www.airborne-museum.org

A mere 3 km to the west of Sainte-Mère, on D15, is the memorial for the parachutists, with a table documenting all of the local engagements, and a statue of Iron Mike.
 

A 3 km à l’ouest de Sainte-Mère, sur la D15, se trouve le lieu de mémoire des parachutistes, à l’endroit même ou la plupart furent largués, avec une table d’orientation récapitulant les combats et une statue d’Iron Mike.

FARM MUSEUM OF COTENTIN
Also in Sainte-Mère, Chemin de Beauvais, this farm revives country life as it was one century ago in the area.
02 33 95 40 20 - Internet page


Saint-Marcouf
BATTERY OF CRISBECQ
This network of 21 blockhaus is interesting in more than one way. It is first of all the most recent site devoted to D-Day, peasants sold the site a few years ago to Philippe Tanne, a young man who understood it's historical value. It is the only place completely devoted to the life of the Germans on the Atlantic Wall, and allows an authentic visit much different from most museums. Almost one mile between the bunkers you can imagine the titanic combat between German and Americans raging an entire week as seen in the movie Private Ryan. Better still, the site is especially devoted to serious reenactments of the historical battles. At least one weekend per month (especially in season), groups of "Germans" or "Americans" come to engage in battles almost as impressive as the originals in 1944 (all the photographs of reenactments on this page you are reading were taken at Crisbecq). The dates are not always fixed, and it is necessary to consult the sites of associations to know when they occur, BUT they are always happening for 10 days each year at the beginning of June on the birthday of D-Day where large spectacles are organized.
It was after Crisbecq that the Germans destroyed the USS Corry. During this baited fight, the Americans never managed to take the battery by force. On June 12 they arrived only to find empty bunkers as the Germans left during the night leaving only the wounded!
- Road of the Manors - Tel.: 06 86 10 80 59 - Internet site : www.batterie-marcouf.com 

Associations of reanactment : ANCM, nurses/doctors, véhicules, but also (and especially) the incredible "Germans" who are on all the photographs of this page. 
  

AZEVILLE : another battery also makes a museum. 02 33 40 63 05.

QUINÉVILLE
Memorial of Refound Freedom
A chronological passage takes you through a French street under the Occupation, historically reconstructed. Realistic scenes of natural size, with mannequins, makes it possible to experience life in Normandy in this period of the 20th century.
18, avenue de la Plage (of the Beach) - 02 33 95 95 95 - Website -
- Church of XIe century. 



Beyond the D-Day beaches, you will be able to see Valognes, Barfleur or Cherbourg which have various tourist interests.
Valognes
"The Norman Versailles" before the development of Cherbourg, it was the principal city of Cotentin, and nobles made there built beautiful private mansions dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can see for example the hotel of Beaumont there, or the hotel of Grandval-Caligny (with its french gardens) which survived this period, Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly lived in Grandval and often used it as a location in his novels of the Romantic genre.
- The Hospital sits in a beautiful old abbey. You can reach it by the rue des Religieuses. At the n°28, the Hotel of the Louvre has accomodated travellers before 1744 (you can see the writing table of Barbey here)! The Granval-Caligny Hotel is at n°52.
- See also the rue de la Poterie.
- The choir of the church survived the bombardments of 1944. The roof was rebuilt without esthetics but it protects the historical architecture inside.
- Museum of Brandy and the Old Trades. Street Pelouze. Phone : 02 33 40 26 25
- Regional Museum of Cider. Rue du Petit Versailles. Phone : 02 33 40 22 73 -

www.mairie-valognes.fr

Barfleur
Certainly one of the most beautiful small ports of France, built on rock, it was the favorite port of the dukes of Normandy (and kings of England). William the Conqueror and Richard the Lion-Heart imprinted their historically influential spirits here. The houses are typical Norman with schist roofs and original granite chimneys, the place is worth a visit, even an overnight stay. You must see the Cour Sainte-Catherine, a medieval house, or, at the Pointe of Barfleur, the immense lighthouse of Gatteville.
www.ville-barfleur.fr
ISLAND OF TATIHOU
This paradise for birds, to the south of Barfleur, is accessible by amphibious boat (500 people per day) or by walking at low-tide. You can also see a Vauban (Louis 14th military architect) tower there. Site internet

RESTAURANT - The Selection of the Guides
Le Chasse-Marée
8 pl du Gén-de-Gaulle at Saint Vaast La Hougue
T : 02 33 23 14 08

Cherbourg
The city was severely damaged in 1944 by the bombardments, but it has retained a certain maritime charm. The only deep water port of the area, it was an important target for Allies after their unloading in the South. The Germans did all they could to preserve it. The emperor Napoleon Ist was at the start of the construction of this naval port. It has the largest artificial searoads of the world, begun in 1783. All 3 dams make up for more than 4 miles.

LA CITY OF THE SEA
(Cité de la Mer)
This best maritime attraction of this coast, creates a total underwater immersion, with underwater life and various means of exploring it. Collections of sea plants and living aquariums where all sizes of fish play about, from rays to sharks. The crown jewel of the city is a real french nuclear submarine Le Redoutable (the Frightening) (unfortunately children less than 6 y.o may not visit inside the submarine). An extraordinary visit in what resembles a true city under the sea, and whose gigantic vertical tubes of missiles once launched can destroy whole cities. You can also learn how to control a submarine on simulators. The exhibits are very educational, both children and adults will enjoy. You reach the Cité de la Mer by the Ancienne Gare Maritime (Old Port Station) which is an art-deco monument built in 1928.
www.citedelamer.com - 02 33 20 26 26

  

Hôtel Atlantique
Opposite the old harbour station, it was built by the same architect as the latter, in the art-deco style.


BasiliCA OF THE Sainte-Trinité
Begun in 11th century at the request of William the Conqueror. It was expanded at the end of 13th century, the nave was rebuilt and the bell-tower just like the chorus raised after the Hundred Years War. A new bell-tower was added in 1848. There is a rich collection of furnitures inside, including a large Cavaillé-coll organ. Opposite, the statue of the emperor goes back to 1858.
 




abbaye Notre-Dame-du-Voeu (Our Lady of the wish)
Founded in 1145, it would have been it at the request of Mathilde, the grand-daughter of William the Conqueror. Unceasingly plundered and devastated by the Franco-English wars, it was rebuilt in 1458 but damaged again during the Wars of Religion. In turn residence, hospital, bagne, it finishes burnt by the Germans ! We wonders how it is always upright after all these stories, but it is well there and always very pretty.



But Cherbourg is a city also turned towards the performing arts, with its beautiful Italian theatre going back to 1882, for example (photo of left). It is the birthplace of the actor Jean Marais.  The city was popularized by two films : La Marie du Port, by Marcel Carné and with Jean Gabin ; and, of course, the musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Jacques Demy with Catherine Deneuve, of which the haunting melodies were composed by Michel Legrand. On the partitions of this colorful romance movie, the authors wrote what scenes the spectators were meant to cry!



Château des Ravalet
Located at Tourlaville, is a very beautiful Renaissance castle built between 1562 and 1575 by Jean II de Ravalet. It boasts very beautiful decorations from the 17th century, and a splendid park. It was bought by the father of the writer Alexis de Tocqueville (famed writer of The Democracy in America).
Site internet



Autour de Cherbourg : 
- Zoo at the Animalist Park Saint-Martin, in Montaigu-la-Brisette - 02 33 40 40 98 - Website 
- Castle and park of Nacqueville (18th-19th centuries), in the west of Cherbourg. "one of the prettiest places of the world", according to Alexis de Tocqueville. www.nacqueville.com - 02 33 03 21 12.


RESTAURANTS
La Sélection des Guides
L'Ambroisy
39 rue Grande-Rue
Phone : 02 33 10 19 29

Le Faitout
25 rue Tour-Carrée
Phone : 02 33 04 25 04

Le Vauban
22 quai de Qualigny
Phone : 02 33 43 10 11



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RESTAURANTS AT CAEN
Selection of the Guides
 
Le Bouchon du Vaugueux
12 rue Graindorge
Phone : 02 31 44 26 26
 
Café Mancel
Château
Phone : 02 31 86 63 64
 
Le Costa
32 bis quai Vendeuvre
Phone : 02 31 86 28 28
 
Le Dauphin
29 rue Gemare
Phone : 02 31 86 22 26
L'Embroche
17 rue Porte-au-Berger
Phone : 02 31 93 71 31
 
Maître Corbeau
8 rue Buquet
Phone : 02 31 93 93 00
 
Le P'tit B
15 rue du Vaugueux
Phone : 02 31 93 50 76
 
Le Pressoir
3 av Henry-Chéron
Phone : 02 31 73 32 71
 
Le Quatre Epices
25 rue Porte-au-Berger
Phone : 02 31 93 40 41
 
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Rent a House
 
 
 
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THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY
Also called D-Day or Operation Overlord, the Battle of Normandy remains one of most interesting military episodes ever in history. On June 6, 1944, 3 divisions (two American and one English, the latter including a Canadian battalion) parachuted to the ends of the zone, while 6 other divisions embarked on the beaches of Normandy.  The German defenders were determined to fight to the death from their many bunkers high along the French coast. Fighting on the Russian face was induced at the same time in error by Adolf Hitler who believes that the attack will be further North. The Germans will be overtaken, but not before a bloody battle that will last two and a half months (until August 21). The objective of the Allies was to create artificial harbours for them to take all Normandy, then Brittany, and, finally, to Paris. The Allied troops were directed by Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery with a fleet of 5,000 boats, 12,000 planes (which will release, in addition to the parachutists, 5,000 tons of bombs) transporting 156,000 men (for the first wave of assault). From West to East, the beaches are code-named : the Americans will unload in Utah Beach and Omahah Beach. Gold Beach will receive the English, Juno Beach the Canadians, and Sword Beach also English troops. The attack was more complicated than envisaged, with 4,000 dead and 6,000 wounded, the loss was nevertheless lower than what was expected. Beside civil, the losses are heavy: 20,0000 Normans were killed, Caen, Cherbourg, Saint Lô and Le Havre were destroyed, not counting many other smaller villages. Throughout the remainder of the battle, the number of dead increases to tens of thousands and will be as bloody for the Allies as for the Germans.



Travel Advice for Visitors
The principal cities are Caen and Cherbourg, they are reached by train towards Paris or Brittany. Bayeux, like the two preceding ones, have all the services of a true city and is a very pretty town.

- 1 day : is a little short. You can visit the Memorial of Caen for one half-day, then will be limited to the very close coast : Pegasus Bridge, and the Big Bunker of Ouistreham. If you manage to do all that a little more quickly, you can also visit the castle of Caen and its free museums.
- 2 days : Caen (Memorial, Castle), Pégasus Bridge, Arromanches (360°Museum, the beach), American Cemetery of the Saint Laurent, Tapestries of Bayeux, Pointe du Hoc.
- 3 days or more : Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the Battery of Saint-Marcouf (especially if there is a reanactment battle happening).
For more touring : the small port of Barfleur and the City of the Sea (Cité de la Mer) of Cherbourg is fantastic for any knowledge of the underwater world, and which will charm children young and old.

- Americans will be the most interested by Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, the Cemetery of Colleville and Sainte-Mère-Eglise
- English nationals should concentrate on the areas between Caen and Gold Beach (Arromanches)
- If you are Canadian, you should go first to Courseulles-sur-Mer and the Museum of Juno Beach which celebrates the memory of the Canadian arrivals there.
- French will be able to remember General de Gaulle on this same beach of Courseulles where a large cross of Lorraine marks the place where the General arrived on the territory of the newly freed France. The museum of Ouistreham also dedicates itself to the memory of the 177 French of the Kieffer commando.

- The Normandy Pass, which costs 1 Euro, will offer reductions to you on the majority of the museums devoted to D-Day. Very useful if you hope to visit several of them. It is on sale in these museums.

- Organized tours : some are organized by www.normandywebguide.com

- Do not forget to buy, Biscuits Sablés, cheeses, the apple-brandy Calvados, flambe quails, crepes, cider, oysters, butter and caramels of Isigny, Saint-Jacques shells of Grandcamp-Maisy, chew with mint of Bayeux, the demoiselles of Cherbourg, and, of course, the tripes à.la.mode of Caen !

- Website of the Regional Committee of Tourism of Normandy : www.normandy-tourism.orghttp://www.normandywebguide.com/http://www.normandy-tourism.org/shapeimage_61_link_0shapeimage_61_link_1
To look or buy with Amazon.com :
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Copyrights texts and images : http://voyage-webguides.com. All reproductions prohibited except for the images of files and the photographs indicated like not being our property: to see in this case the conditions of the owners. In this connection, we thank, the City of Bayeux, Luc Tacher of Vent d'Europe, and Philippe Tanne (battery of Crisbecq) for their beautiful photographs. The archives images come from the American, English and Canadian governments. They are free rights to their conditions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY
Also called D-Day or Operation Overlord, the Battle of Normandy remains one of most interesting military episodes ever in history. On June 6, 1944, 3 divisions (two American and one English, the latter including a Canadian battalion) parachuted to the ends of the zone, while 6 other divisions embarked on the beaches of Normandy.  The German defenders were determined to fight to the death from their many bunkers high along the French coast. Fighting on the Russian face was induced at the same time in error by Adolf Hitler who believes that the attack will be further North. The Germans will be overtaken, but not before a bloody battle that will last two and a half months (until August 21). The objective of the Allies was to create artificial harbours for them to take all Normandy, then Brittany, and, finally, to Paris. The Allied troops were directed by Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery with a fleet of 5,000 boats, 12,000 planes (which will release, in addition to the parachutists, 5,000 tons of bombs) transporting 156,000 men (for the first wave of assault). From West to East, the beaches are code-named : the Americans will unload in Utah Beach and Omahah Beach. Gold Beach will receive the English, Juno Beach the Canadians, and Sword Beach also English troops. The attack was more complicated than envisaged, with 4,000 dead and 6,000 wounded, the loss was nevertheless lower than what was expected. Beside civil, the losses are heavy: 20,0000 Normans were killed, Caen, Cherbourg, Saint Lô and Le Havre were destroyed, not counting many other smaller villages. Throughout the remainder of the battle, the number of dead increases to tens of thousands and will be as bloody for the Allies as for the Germans.
 
 
 
Travel Advice for Visitors
The principal cities are Caen and Cherbourg, they are reached by train towards Paris or Brittany. Bayeux, like the two preceding ones, have all the services of a true city and is a very pretty town.
 
- 1 day : is a little short. You can visit the Memorial of Caen for one half-day, then will be limited to the very close coast : Pegasus Bridge, and the Big Bunker of Ouistreham. If you manage to do all that a little more quickly, you can also visit the castle of Caen and its free museums.
- 2 days : Caen (Memorial, Castle), Pégasus Bridge, Arromanches (360°Museum, the beach), American Cemetery of the Saint Laurent, Tapestries of Bayeux, Pointe du Hoc.
- 3 days or more : Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the Battery of Saint-Marcouf (especially if there is a reanactment battle happening).
For more touring : the small port of Barfleur and the City of the Sea (Cité de la Mer) of Cherbourg is fantastic for any knowledge of the underwater world, and which will charm children young and old.
 
- Americans will be the most interested by Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, the Cemetery of Colleville and Sainte-Mère-Eglise
- English nationals should concentrate on the areas between Caen and Gold Beach (Arromanches)
- If you are Canadian, you should go first to Courseulles-sur-Mer and the Museum of Juno Beach which celebrates the memory of the Canadian arrivals there.
- French will be able to remember General de Gaulle on this same beach of Courseulles where a large cross of Lorraine marks the place where the General arrived on the territory of the newly freed France. The museum of Ouistreham also dedicates itself to the memory of the 177 French of the Kieffer commando.
 
- The Normandy Pass, which costs 1 Euro, will offer reductions to you on the majority of the museums devoted to D-Day. Very useful if you hope to visit several of them. It is on sale in these museums.
 
- Organized tours : some are organized by www.normandywebguide.com
 
- Do not forget to buy, Biscuits Sablés, cheeses, the apple-brandy Calvados, flambe quails, crepes, cider, oysters, butter and caramels of Isigny, Saint-Jacques shells of Grandcamp-Maisy, chew with mint of Bayeux, the demoiselles of Cherbourg, and, of course, the tripes à.la.mode of Caen !
 
- Website of the Regional Committee of Tourism of Normandy : www.normandy-tourism.org
 
Caen
Marked by the Viking invasion of 1020, the city has retained it's heritage in the XIe century under the direction of Guillaume the Bastard, who will become William the Conqueror.  One can also see and learn about the life of William the Conqueror on the tapestry of Bayeux (see below). He built the castle to protect the city, and also the two abbeys. He married Mathilde de Flandres in 1083, who is buried at the Abbaye-aux-Dames, and William was buried at the Abbaye-aux-Hommes. Caen became a target by various English invasions during centuries, particularly during the Hundred Year war.  The English with a particular irony, destroyed all of the city while releasing it, in 1944.
 
General Montgomery believed that capturing Caen is the key to the battle. He attacked the city on the day after D-Day, June 7, 1944, lasting until July 1st, Caen was intensively bombarded and completely destroyed. Some old streets remain nevertheless in the capital of Low-Normandy (Basse-Normandie). Beautiful churches are still standing and the castle of William the Conqueror which dominates the city center includes the museums of History of Normandy and the Beaux-Arts within it's walls.
 
 
 
THE CASTLE
Built by William-the-Conqueror about 1060, the ramparts offer a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Entry is free, along with its museums (which host temporary and permanent expositions). Its keep was destroyed during the Revolution, and some parts by the bombardments of 1944. However it is still a very beautiful place to visit, and its museums are good quality. In the middle of the castle court is Saint George church and, behind it, the Chess-board of Normandy. Both house temporary expositions.
 
 
MUSEEUM OF NORMANDY
Lodged in the Home of the Governor, and free to the public, it is possible to understand the history of the Norman people from the past through the present with interesting displays of objects, ranging from traditional lace to farm tools. In front of this building, the small garden presents plants which were cultivated in the Middle Ages.
 
Phone : 02 31 30 47 60
 
 
 
MusEUM OF THE Beaux-Arts OF Caen
Located in the modern part of the castle, and also free, it boasts very beautiful painting galleries Italian, French, Dutch and Flemish of XVIe and XVIIe centuries, with of Cosme Tura, Le Pérugin, Véronèse, Tintoret, Le Guerchin, Giordano, Poussin, Champaigne, Rubens, Ruysdael, Rigaud, Tournières, Boucher, Lancret, Tiepolo... Permanent collections galleries house the richest art of provence in France !
Phone : 02 31 30 47 70
 
 
 
 
Saint-Pierre CHURCH
Just opposite the castle, it was built in XIe century, but the current church is of XIIIe-XVIe. The frontage is of XIVe. The Gothic bell-tower was rebuilt after the bombardments in its XIVe style also. Outside like the interior present mixtures of Gothic styles and Rennaissance. Do not miss the back by the church, inside and outside.
  
 
 
 
abbaye aux Hommes
(The abbey-church Saint-Etienne)
Built by Willaim-the-Conqueror between 1065 and 1077, it shelters his tomb (he died on September 9, 1087). Its mausoleum was destroyed by the Protestant iconoclasts in 1563. On his tomb, in Latin, one can read following sentence : "Here puts back the invincible William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy and king of England, founder of this house, which died the year 1087". The towers were surmounted Gothic arrows in XIIIe century (height 80 and 82 meters). The Abbaye has a Roman nave, 56 meters long, it constitutes a perfect example of the Norman Romance style. Each span includes 3 levels.
 
  
 
 
 
abbaye aux Dames
The mausoleum of Mathilde de Flandres, wife of Guillaume (dead in 1083), was also destroyed during the war with the Protestants, but one can still see her tomb there. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the construction of the abbey began in 1062 to be completed in 1130. The frontage and the towers were rebuilt at the XIXe. The crypt also presents many columns.
 
 
THE MEmorial OF Caen
Right outside the peripheral of the city to the North, it is the largest museum of Normandy dedicated to the war (and the peace afterwards). Inaugurated in 1989, it is necessary to count one half-day of your stay in the area to visit it. Presenting mainly the Battle of Normandy, it includes many vehicles and models, of scenes of reconstitutions and historical objects, as well as videos. The visit continues with the Cold war and various rooms devoted to peace in general and its craftsmen. Restaurant, coffee, bookshop, memories...
- Phone : 02 31 06 06 45 - Exit 7 of the péripheral.
 
 
 
 
 
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN CAEN : At the south-western exit, one can visit the Roman ruins and the archeological site of Vieux-la-Romaine. 02 31 71 10 20. Enchanted corn labyrinth at Cambes-in-Plain (website), or the Festyland Park in Caen, at the Brittany Exit of Caen, which proposes attractions around the topics of the vikings, knights and pirates... (website). 
 
 
 
 
Sword Beach
Measuring 8km length between Ouistreham and Saint-Aubin, the 3e British division of infantry unloaded here, as well as the 177 French of the Commando Kieffer.
Internet site about Sword
 
Pegasus Bridge (IN Bénouville)
Pegasus is the code name given to the operation to capture this bridge on the channel between Caen and Ouistreham by a british commando of the 6th Divison Airborne. A little after midnight on June 6, 3 seaplanes transporting about thirty men, landed in silence less than 100 meters of the bridge. They were directed by Major John Howard. Mrs Gondrée, owner of the cafe, inform the English about the German positions (its cafe will be the first released house of France !). The Allied forces gain their first bridge here, costing 2 deaths and 14 wounded. The episode will be told on film The Longest Day. The Weighbridge currently on the channel is a counterpart, the original being in the park of the museum which is just behind the channel, it celebrates the British heroes of this commando, while presenting a life sized replica of a seaplane, various collector's items and war machines.
 
 
 
 
Bénouville
One can visit the neo-classic castle of Bénouville (you can view it from the channel), built in 1769 by Claude Nicolas Ledoux.
 
 
Ouistreham
East end of the d-day beaches, here you can see Sword Beach. Ouistreham comprises two museums dedicated to the unloading.
THE Grand Bunker : Museum of the Atlantic Wall
Measuring 17 meters high, the Big Bunker was a center of control of the German shootings, and it directed all the other bunkers of the zone. Scenes of German life inside the bunker are reconstituted there as well as many military collections and materials from WW2. From the top floor stage one can see the sea through a German rangefinder used to analyze the position of the boats. Above, there is a very beautiful view of the coast from the platform of the bunker after climbing a ladder. In the court you can observe a true barge for unloading troops restored for the film Saving Private Ryan.
- Avenue du 6 Juin. Phone : 02 31 97 28 69.
 
 
  
 
The Museum of the Unloading "N°4 Commando"
Here you can see the history and various historical objects related to this commando, 177 French who took part in it with the commandant Kieffer, there is a model of the attack by the French of the German positions.
Place Alfred Thomas, Tel.: 02 31 96 63 10 Open from March 15 to October 31. from 10.30 to 6 p.m.
 
In Ouistreham you can also see the church (XIIth century), the 38 height meters red and white lighthouse. It is also from here the car-ferries for Porsmouth (U.K) leave. You find there all the services of a pretty seaside resort.
 
In Hermanville or Douvres you will be able to see British military cemeteries. 
 
RESTAURANT - Selection of the Guides
Hotel with restaurant le Beau Rivage 1 rue du Dr.-Charcot à Luc-sur-Mer
Phone : 02 31 96 49 51 www.hotelouistraham.com
 
 
Juno Beach
Attacked by the 6th Canadian division, this beach was the 2nd stronghold after Omaha. Sadly 50% of the attacking troops of died there.
Website about Juno
 
COURSEULES-sur-Mer
The Center Juno Beach, housed directly on the beach of the seaside resort is dedicated to Canadian soldiers who came to die on the beaches of Normandy. It is a good size museum and hosts great memorabilia collections. You can also discover here what life in Canada was like at that time.
Phone : 02 31 37 32 17
  
 
 
June 14, 1944, General De Gaulle crossed the channel aboard French ship La Combattante. He landed on the French territory on this coast, between Courseulles and Graye-sur-Mer. A cross of Lorraine (his symbol) stands in between the two villages.
 
 
  
 
 
In Courseulles, a beautiful seaside resort, you can also visit an Aquarium - Museum of the Shells - 02 31 37 92 58 - Website -
 
Just behind Courseulles, at Beny-sur-Mer, the Canadian soldiers who died in combat were buried here in a memorial cemetery (picture).
 
Nearby in the back-country, you can visit several beautiful villages and castles.
- Crépon : Church of 12th century and war memorial monument. The farm of La Rançonnière is a very beautiful hotel and restaurant www.ranconniere.com
- Creuilly : Castle of the 11th and 12th centuries. 02 31 80 18 65. Website
- Fountaine-Henry : Wonderful Rennaissance castle with landscaped garden, it also hosts an annual Renaissance festival. Website - Tel. 06 89 84 85 57.
- Brécy : the castle has an authentic garden of the 17th century, which may be visited. 02 31 80 11 48
 
Below : Crépon, Creuilly, Fountain-Henry.
  
 
 
 
 
 
Gold Beach
A total of 25,000 British unloaded there, 413 died. It was not nearly as bloody when compared with the other beaches. The goal of Gold, like Juno, was to take Bayeux very quickly.
Historical webpage about Gold
 
Arromanches-les-Bains
The beach of this village was used as a port, under the name of Mulberry B (and then "Port-Winston", of the first name of Churchill, the creator of this project). This artificial harbour was manufactured in Great Britain and then towed here. It was easier for the Allies to proceed here rather than to be detained in attempts to take ports held strongly by the Germans. Over 115 concrete boxes plus 17 ships were voluntarily run there on 8km, in order to protect the new port from the sea and enemy submarines. The port was operational in 12 days and made it possible to unload 400,000 vehicles. The small village is a pretty seaside resort today.
 
From the cliff marked with a statue of the Virgin Mary, there is a good view of all that remains of this artificial harbour. There are no other places where you can see original traces of the unloading on the beaches.
From the top of the cliff, on the right side you can walk to...
 
 
 
 
Circular Cinema 360 degrés
If it is a video projection of real footage that can be viewed in the round. The film is well done it alternates scenes of landscapes of yesterday and today. Most especially there are scenes of incredible combat and distress. The stark reality of war is so strong, you feel engrossed in the action.  Although the film is not bloody it is not recommended for very young children.
- 02 31 22 30 30
 
 
Museum of the Landing (Débarquement)
Located on Avenue du 6 Juin, on the beach, you can see a museum which will teach you about all on the unloading on Gold Beach and the construction of Port Winston, with models, a film, collections of weapons...
Phone : 02 31 22 34 31
 
 
 
Longues-SUR-MER
A little further, close to the charming port of Longues, the German battery still holds its original guns.
Information with the office of tourism :
02 31 21 46 87. Website
 
Tourist activities in Annelles : www.goldbeachevasion.com
 
 
Bayeux
World known for its fabulous medieval tapestry, the small city is very pleasant visit.  It is a good place to lunch, stroll its old streets, visit its cathedral or track the battle of Normandy, the capture of Bayeux was a key element of the Allies victory.
 
 
 
THE TAPESTRY OF QUEEN Mathilde
Usually known under the name of "tapestry of Bayeux", it is a must see for a first time visit in Normandy. It is believed to have been commissioned by the half-brother of William the Conqueror, the bishop Odon, in order to celebrate the victories of William, the conquest of England in 1066 and its key events, primarily the Battle of Hastings. This 70 meters in length embroidery, it is technically speaking not a woven tapestry, but it tells an incredible story about life in 11th century : with costumes of its 676 characters, their castles, their religions and military traditions... it also represents 202 horses and mules, 505 other animals...
(Copyrights photographs : Details of Tapisserie of Bayeux - XIè century - With special permit of the City of Bayeux)
The end of the tapestry is missing, but historians agree that the story would have likely concluded with the crowning of William.
There is a film that explains the design of the tapestry, and shows its drawings along with scenes of knighthood, places and castles of the battles celebrated on the embroidery.  Visitors view the tapestry after the film in numerical order like pages in a story book with a portable audio-guide (available in various languages). The version for children is perfect and makes the drawings of the tapestry come alive with history. Until the end of the 18th century it was preserved at the Treasury of the Cathedral of Bayeux, today it is housed in the Guillaume-le-Conquérant Center which is dedicated in his honor.
 
It is open everyday with few interruptions at  Christmas and in the beginning of January (see the dates on website). The entire visit lasts approximately one hour.
Center Guillaume-le-Conquérant - Rue de Nesmond - 02 31 51 25 50 www.tapisserie-bayeux.fr
 
- You can see a part of the tapestry here in the photograph on this page.
- Images on this page.
 
The entry ticket for Tapestry will give you also a free admission (and reciprocally) to...
 
- MUSEE BARON GERARD
Whose collections present the inheritance of the city: beautiful laces of Bayeux, porcelain, paintings of David, Boudin and Caillebotte...
Ledoyen hotel - 02 31 92 14 21
 
- Medieval Festivals, they are organized at the beginning of July in Bayeux during a whole weekend.
 
- CathEdral Notre-Dame de Bayeux
Right beside the museum of the Tapestry, it is a masterpiece of Romantic and Gothic architecture of typical Norman style. The west towers, and the crypt, are of 11th century. The frescos of the crypt are of the 15th century. One can see the room of the treasure also there, and a labyrinth paved in the chapter room. The Gothic era added much decor to the cathedral, and in particular the splendid central tower.
 
 
 
 
- Museum Memorial of the battle of Normandy
The Battle of Normandy comes alive in this interesting museum. With antiques from the war including materials, weapons and uniforms there is also a film. The ticket price also admits you for free to the De Gaulle Memorial.
- Boulevard Fabian Ware (at one minute of the center)
- 02 31 51 46 90 - Website
 
 
- BRITISH CEMETERY
Just beside the Museum, on the other side of the boulevard, you will be amazed by the thousands of crypts in which the bodies of the English heroes of the battle rest.
 
- MEmorial OF gEnEral de Gaulle
The "General" (as the French call him) established the first French Authority here in Bayeux on the following day of the embarkment of June 1944. This became the basis of the constitution of 5th French Republic in 1958. The ticket also gives you a free admission to the Museum of the Battle of Normandy.
- 10, street Bourbesneur - 02 31 92 45 55 - Website -
 
ATTRACTIONS AROUND BAYEUX : You can also visit the Museum of the Mine in Molay-Littry (site internet), the corn labyrinth of Bayeux (road of Cherbourg) site internet. In the heart of Bayeux you can also visit the farm producer Lecornu (place De Gaulle) who sells ciders, apple-brandies Calvados... (www.lecornu.fr).
RESTAURANTS
Selection of the Guides
Château de Sully
Rte. de Port-en-Bessin in Bayeux
T : 02 31 22 29 48
 
Le Lion d'Or
71 rue Saint-Jean in Bayeux
T : 02 31 92 06 90
 
 
Omaha Beach
At a length of 8km, "Bloody Omaha" was attacked on June 6 by the American troops of 5th US. Corps, but was strongly defended by the German batteries. The "Force O" which fought here and at the Pointe du Hoc, counted a total of 34,000 men. Because of the bad weather, the bombs dropped on the German canons were not very effective. Moreover, many amphibious tanks were released too early by soldiers frightened by the density of German shots and sunk with their crew under the sea. Only two tanks arrived on the beach! At 6:25 a.m., the first wave of soldiers reached the coast and attacked in complete disorder. Germans drew from everywhere EXCEPT from Omaha, in order to keep the position of their guns secret while waiting to massacre the Americans arriving on the beach. Almost 1,000 Americans died here (25% by drowning) and were 2,000 wounded or disappeared. At 10 a.m., the Americans had already carried out 3 various openings through German lines.
- Webpage about Omaha history.
 
COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER
American Cemetery
Two days after D-Day, the site was already used as a cemetery for fatalities of Omaha Beach. The ground has since then been given by France to the USA, and now numbers 9,387 soldiers who are buried there, including 4 women and 307 unknown. There are an additional 14,000 bodies, repatriates in the USA buried here at the request of their families. Close to the memorial, you can also see the names of the 1,557 soldiers missing during the Battle of Normandy. Theodore Roosevelt Junior is buried there. If you have only one cemetery to visit, this is the most impressive one to see as the sheer number of white crosses is astonishing.
(photo Credit: government of the United States)
Website  - See a vidéo, and another one.
 
- The Village : photographs taken after the bombardments are posted on panels. The church dates from the 12th -13th centuries, the American troops had to destroy it  because 7 Germans were in the bell-tower informing their artillerists about the positions of the allied ships. The church was rebuilt exactly as it was before the war. Website of the town
 
You can see 3 museums at Omaha, the Memorial being the largest :
- Big Red One, in Colleville, is dedicated to the first wave of assault on Omaha - Website - 02 31 21 58 81
- Museum Memorial Omaha Beach, Avenue de la Libération at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
- 02 31 21 97 44 - Website -
- Museum D-Day Omaha, at Vierville, road of Grandcamp - 02 31 21 71 80 - Website -
 
Photographs below : Memorial, D-Day Omaha, and Big Red One:
 
 
OMAHA BEACH GOLF CLUB
Phone : 02 31 22 12 12
La Ferme Saint-Sauveur - 14520 Port-en-Bessin-Huppain
 
 
 
La Cambe
A total of 21,222 German soldiers rest in this cemetery, not far from the highway at the level of the Pointe du Hoc. There is a Garden of Peace, where 1200 maples were planted here to honor the dead. 
 
 
 
 
 
Pointe du Hoc
There is no museum at Pointe du Hoc... the land was left much like it was after the battle.  There are bomb craters, exploded bunkers, metal scraps and barbed wire everywhere.  You may wonder whether in 1000 years, the gusts of wind will succeed in flattening the thousands of craters created in 1944 by the Allied bombs. On June 6, 1944, the 2nd battalion of American Rangers (225 men), under lieutenant-colonel James E Rudder, unloaded on this tiny beach and climbed it's vertical cliff (25 to 30 METERS in height).  The Pointe was defended by 125 German infantrymen and 80 artillerists. In 5mn, the first Americans reach the top. In 15mn the first bunkers. Only 80 of them died here (Rudder was wounded twice), to discover once at the top that the canons inside the bunkers were made of wood! Germans had already removed their artillery and had set up these lures. A walk around the destroyed bunkers and paths furrowing in craters really gives you a sense of the famous battle that happened here.
- History Webpage about the Pointe du Hoc
  
 
Isigny-sur-Mer AND Hautteville-bocage
- Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to the factory of Normandie Caramels !
ZA Isypole - 02 31 51 66 50 - www.caramels-isigny.com
- Candies and chocolates with milk jam (inter alia) at the farm of Pierrepont, route du Château at Hautteville-Bocage - Manufactured in front of your eyes! - 02 33 41 07 11 - www.lait-douceur.com
 
RESTAURANTS - Selection of the Guides
La Marée
5 quai Henri-Chéron at Grandcamp Maisy
Phone : 02 31 21 41 00
 
La Flambée
2-4 rue Emile-Demagny at Isigny
Phone : 02 31 51 70 96
 
 
 
Utah Beach
German Marshal Rommel had reinforced this coast with many gun posts and machine guns in the cliffs, but the beach was less defended than others, and the unloading of Utah Beach went better than most landings. Following an error of navigation, the the 7th US Corps assault waves, and their amphibious tanks, arrived more than one mile too far to the south, a lucky error, since the Germans were less prepared here. By the end of D-Day 23,250 American troops landed safely of the 4th US Division, casualties did not exceed 200, and the troops controlled the beach quickly.
- History webpage about Utah.
 
SAINTE-MARIE-DU-MONT
- D-Day museum : built on the beach, it presents the strategy and history of the unloading at Utah, by showing visitors beautiful collections including amphibious machines and a film. On the beach, you can see "terminal 00" of the Way of the Freedom which follows the Allies troops as far as Belgium, marked out by terminals like this one.
www.utah-beach.com - 02 33 71 53 35
 
- Museum of the Occupation : on the place de l'Église, this old hospital sheltered the German garrison for 4 years. From June 6 to November 1, 1944, it was HQ for Americans of Utah Beach here.
- 02 33 71 57 14 - Site internet
 
- Musée of the Libération : (place of the Church too). A new museum opened in 2006. On 200 m2, you will be able to see a personal collection which gathers armaments, vehicles and mannequins, both American and German. - 02 33 71 25 62
 
- Natural Wildlife Reservation of Beau-Guillot : it will charm the amateurs of birds with its 2km of paths.
- 02 33 71 56 99 - Internet Page
 
- Church of 11th and 14th centuries.
 
Saint-Côme du Mont possède également un “paratrooper museum” Site internet - 02 33 42 00 42.
 
Sainte-Mère-Église
On June 6, 1944, 14,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division attacked this town. The American soldier John Steele landed on the bell-tower of the church and was caught hanging from his parachute.  The parachute has become one of the symbols of the war and ensures the village to be a tourist site for years to come! A mannequin with its effigy still hangs today on the church. Steele, wounded by a shell while parachuting, could not control his chute and landed on the church close to 4:00 AM. He tried to release himself with his knife but couldn't. The gunfire was strong around the church, so Steele had to play dead to survive the attack. After two hours of fighting, a German soldier came to take him down. He was taken captive, but escaped three days afterward. In September he parachuted again above Holland, and took part in various combats. He died at the age of 57 after having making known his wish to be buried in Normandy, which was never realized. You can see the history of this incredible parachuting deployment in the fim The Longest Day. The church whose construction dates from 11th to 15th centuries, is very pretty.
 
AIRBORNE MUSEUM
Films, documents, weapons, interactive terminals, a sailplane Waco, a tank... all about the parachuting of the 82th and the 101th Airborne Divisions around Sainte-Mère! A very interesting museum.
14, street Eisenhower - 02 33 41 41 35 - www.airborne-museum.org
 
A mere 3 km to the west of Sainte-Mère, on D15, is the memorial for the parachutists, with a table documenting all of the local engagements, and a statue of Iron Mike.
 
 
A 3 km à l’ouest de Sainte-Mère, sur la D15, se trouve le lieu de mémoire des parachutistes, à l’endroit même ou la plupart furent largués, avec une table d’orientation récapitulant les combats et une statue d’Iron Mike.
 
FARM MUSEUM OF COTENTIN
Also in Sainte-Mère, Chemin de Beauvais, this farm revives country life as it was one century ago in the area.
02 33 95 40 20 - Internet page
 
 
Saint-Marcouf
BATTERY OF CRISBECQ
This network of 21 blockhaus is interesting in more than one way. It is first of all the most recent site devoted to D-Day, peasants sold the site a few years ago to Philippe Tanne, a young man who understood it's historical value. It is the only place completely devoted to the life of the Germans on the Atlantic Wall, and allows an authentic visit much different from most museums. Almost one mile between the bunkers you can imagine the titanic combat between German and Americans raging an entire week as seen in the movie Private Ryan. Better still, the site is especially devoted to serious reenactments of the historical battles. At least one weekend per month (especially in season), groups of "Germans" or "Americans" come to engage in battles almost as impressive as the originals in 1944 (all the photographs of reenactments on this page you are reading were taken at Crisbecq). The dates are not always fixed, and it is necessary to consult the sites of associations to know when they occur, BUT they are always happening for 10 days each year at the beginning of June on the birthday of D-Day where large spectacles are organized.
It was after Crisbecq that the Germans destroyed the USS Corry. During this baited fight, the Americans never managed to take the battery by force. On June 12 they arrived only to find empty bunkers as the Germans left during the night leaving only the wounded!
- Road of the Manors - Tel.: 06 86 10 80 59 - Internet site : www.batterie-marcouf.com 
 
Associations of reanactment : ANCM, nurses/doctors, véhicules, but also (and especially) the incredible "Germans" who are on all the photographs of this page.
  
 
AZEVILLE : another battery also makes a museum. 02 33 40 63 05.
 
QUINÉVILLE
Memorial of Refound Freedom
A chronological passage takes you through a French street under the Occupation, historically reconstructed. Realistic scenes of natural size, with mannequins, makes it possible to experience life in Normandy in this period of the 20th century.
18, avenue de la Plage (of the Beach) - 02 33 95 95 95 - Website -
- Church of XIe century.
 
 
 
Beyond the D-Day beaches, you will be able to see Valognes, Barfleur or Cherbourg which have various tourist interests.
Valognes
"The Norman Versailles" before the development of Cherbourg, it was the principal city of Cotentin, and nobles made there built beautiful private mansions dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can see for example the hotel of Beaumont there, or the hotel of Grandval-Caligny (with its french gardens) which survived this period, Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly lived in Grandval and often used it as a location in his novels of the Romantic genre.
- The Hospital sits in a beautiful old abbey. You can reach it by the rue des Religieuses. At the n°28, the Hotel of the Louvre has accomodated travellers before 1744 (you can see the writing table of Barbey here)! The Granval-Caligny Hotel is at n°52.
- See also the rue de la Poterie.
- The choir of the church survived the bombardments of 1944. The roof was rebuilt without esthetics but it protects the historical architecture inside.
- Museum of Brandy and the Old Trades. Street Pelouze. Phone : 02 33 40 26 25
- Regional Museum of Cider. Rue du Petit Versailles. Phone : 02 33 40 22 73 -
 
 
Barfleur
Certainly one of the most beautiful small ports of France, built on rock, it was the favorite port of the dukes of Normandy (and kings of England). William the Conqueror and Richard the Lion-Heart imprinted their historically influential spirits here. The houses are typical Norman with schist roofs and original granite chimneys, the place is worth a visit, even an overnight stay. You must see the Cour Sainte-Catherine, a medieval house, or, at the Pointe of Barfleur, the immense lighthouse of Gatteville.
ISLAND OF TATIHOU
This paradise for birds, to the south of Barfleur, is accessible by amphibious boat (500 people per day) or by walking at low-tide. You can also see a Vauban (Louis 14th military architect) tower there. Site internet
 
RESTAURANT - The Selection of the Guides
Le Chasse-Marée
8 pl du Gén-de-Gaulle at Saint Vaast La Hougue
T : 02 33 23 14 08
 
Cherbourg
The city was severely damaged in 1944 by the bombardments, but it has retained a certain maritime charm. The only deep water port of the area, it was an important target for Allies after their unloading in the South. The Germans did all they could to preserve it. The emperor Napoleon Ist was at the start of the construction of this naval port. It has the largest artificial searoads of the world, begun in 1783. All 3 dams make up for more than 4 miles.
 
LA CITY OF THE SEA
(Cité de la Mer)
This best maritime attraction of this coast, creates a total underwater immersion, with underwater life and various means of exploring it. Collections of sea plants and living aquariums where all sizes of fish play about, from rays to sharks. The crown jewel of the city is a real french nuclear submarine Le Redoutable (the Frightening) (unfortunately children less than 6 y.o may not visit inside the submarine). An extraordinary visit in what resembles a true city under the sea, and whose gigantic vertical tubes of missiles once launched can destroy whole cities. You can also learn how to control a submarine on simulators. The exhibits are very educational, both children and adults will enjoy. You reach the Cité de la Mer by the Ancienne Gare Maritime (Old Port Station) which is an art-deco monument built in 1928.
www.citedelamer.com - 02 33 20 26 26
 
  
 
Hôtel Atlantique
Opposite the old harbour station, it was built by the same architect as the latter, in the art-deco style.
 
 
BasiliCA OF THE Sainte-Trinité
Begun in 11th century at the request of William the Conqueror. It was expanded at the end of 13th century, the nave was rebuilt and the bell-tower just like the chorus raised after the Hundred Years War. A new bell-tower was added in 1848. There is a rich collection of furnitures inside, including a large Cavaillé-coll organ. Opposite, the statue of the emperor goes back to 1858.
 
 
 
 
 
abbaye Notre-Dame-du-Voeu (Our Lady of the wish)
Founded in 1145, it would have been it at the request of Mathilde, the grand-daughter of William the Conqueror. Unceasingly plundered and devastated by the Franco-English wars, it was rebuilt in 1458 but damaged again during the Wars of Religion. In turn residence, hospital, bagne, it finishes burnt by the Germans ! We wonders how it is always upright after all these stories, but it is well there and always very pretty.
 
 
 
But Cherbourg is a city also turned towards the performing arts, with its beautiful Italian theatre going back to 1882, for example (photo of left). It is the birthplace of the actor Jean Marais.  The city was popularized by two films : La Marie du Port, by Marcel Carné and with Jean Gabin ; and, of course, the musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Jacques Demy with Catherine Deneuve, of which the haunting melodies were composed by Michel Legrand. On the partitions of this colorful romance movie, the authors wrote what scenes the spectators were meant to cry!
 
 
 
Château des Ravalet
Located at Tourlaville, is a very beautiful Renaissance castle built between 1562 and 1575 by Jean II de Ravalet. It boasts very beautiful decorations from the 17th century, and a splendid park. It was bought by the father of the writer Alexis de Tocqueville (famed writer of The Democracy in America).
Site internet
 
 
 
Autour de Cherbourg :
- Zoo at the Animalist Park Saint-Martin, in Montaigu-la-Brisette - 02 33 40 40 98 - Website 
- Castle and park of Nacqueville (18th-19th centuries), in the west of Cherbourg. "one of the prettiest places of the world", according to Alexis de Tocqueville. www.nacqueville.com - 02 33 03 21 12.
 
 
RESTAURANTS
La Sélection des Guides
L'Ambroisy
39 rue Grande-Rue
Phone : 02 33 10 19 29
 
Le Faitout
25 rue Tour-Carrée
Phone : 02 33 04 25 04
 
Le Vauban
22 quai de Qualigny
Phone : 02 33 43 10 11
 
 
 
 
 
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