It’s a journey in the past, full of emotion, to visit the WWII landing beaches of Normandy , where so many young men from abroad lost their lives to put an end to this terrible war and free France and Europe form the nazi occupation. There are so many visible signs and interesting museums to help us remember what happened there on June 6th 1944 and the following days and weeks and pay our tribute to the memory of all these soldiers.
It’s a 3 hours drive from Paris to Ouistreham, where we will begin our visit of the 5 beaches where the English, Canadian and American soldiers landed and then fought their way inland , suffering many casualties.; we will stop at the beaches of Sword Juno and Gold where the Anglo- canadians forces landed and where General de Gaulle first set foot on the french ground, on June 12th, after a 4 years exile in London.
We will take a lunch break in Arromanches, after visiting the museum and looking at what is left of the huge artificial harbor the Americans had built to bring all the equipment needed for the battle of Normandy. We will the continue our trip along the coast to Colleville to visit the largest american cemetery abroad, where there is a very interesting memorial and a view on Omaha beach below, where the casualties were so heavy that it was called the big bloody beach. The museum there is particularly interesting and we will visit it. The last point of interest is the “Pointe du Hoc”, high cliffs the american Rangers had to climb under the fire of the Germans hidden in their bunkers on top of the cliffs. You can still see them and the impact of the shells fired by the US navy.
On our way back to Paris, we will take the inland road through Bayeux and Caen to get a look at the “bocage”, the grove typical of the landscape in Normandy where cattle is raised to produce milk, butter and cheese . Apple trees are everywhere and we will take an opportunity to visit a farm and taste cider , or calvados ( the local brandy).