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D-Day Guide

Troops landing on the Normandy beaches in 1944 - credit: Imperial War Museum

Find out about the best events and places to visit to uncover the history of D-Day and choose from our great selection of holiday and break offers in Normandy.

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A trip to remember - where to visit in Normandy to discover the history of D-Day: An infographic

D-Day guide

Where to visit in Normandy to discover the history of D-Day

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings, a key point in ending World War Two. D-Day on June 6 1944 saw Allied troops mount the largest seaborne invasion ever - and ultimately brought about the freedom we enjoy today.

Top Tip
Many of the historic sites and museums are open year round, so it's best to avoid the crowds in early June to make the most of your visit.

Museums

Learn more about D-Day at these fascinating museums. Using film, genuine artefacts and recreations, they bring history to life. Here are just a selection, there's plenty more to see.

  1. Le Mémorial de Caen
    www.memorial-caen.com

    This peace museum tells the story of momentous 20th century events that shaped European history today, including the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy.

  2. American Airborne Museum
    www.airborne-museum.org

    Go inside a real C-47 plane, used in D-Day, at the largest museum in Europe dedicated to American Paratroopers involved with Operation Overlord.

  3. Normandy Tank Museum
    www.normandy-tank-museum.fr

    Located in the heart of the airborne operation zones, it really brings D-Day to life, with memorable tank rides and displays.

  4. Overlord Museum Omaha Beach
    www.overlordmuseum.com

    A fascinating new museum at Colleville-sur-Mer with an extraordinary collection of over ten thousand objects and documents found on Norman soil.

  5. Musée du Débarquement
    www.utah-beach.com

    Built on the beach where the American troops landed, the story of D-Day is told through unique exhibits, like a B26 bomber, one of only six left in the world.

  6. Arromanches 360 cinema
    www.arromanches360.com

    Immerse yourself in D-Day with a high definition 360° screen showing archive footage of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy.

Historic sites

An opportunity to get hands-on with history by seeing the real guns, bunkers and batteries that were used during D-Day.

  1. Pegasus Memorial
    www.memorial-pegasus.org

    Containing hundreds of poignant and historic artefacts and with the original Pegasus Bridge and model gliders outside, this is a fascinating insight into the history of the liberation of the region.

  2. Longues-sur-Mer Gun Battery

    The only battery on the Atlantic Wall to retain its original guns, fired on D-Day itself in a duel with Allied battleships, before being silenced.

  3. Batteries du Mont Canisy
    www.mont-canisy.org

    Overlooking the sea Mont Canisy is an important site where 2 batteries built by the French Navy were taken and extended by the Germans.

  4. Batterie d'Azeville
    www.normandiememoire.com

    With 4 Schneider cannons, it saw action during the Utah Beach landings and is one of the first Atlantic Wall buildings. The recently repainted exteriors show how the original WW2 camouflage looked.

  5. Batterie de Maisy
    www.maisybattery.com

    See how the Germans lived in 1944 and explore 2.5 miles of original WW2 trenches and shelters.

Cemeteries

Pay your respects at the War Cemeteries and remember all those who gave their lives during the war.

  1. Bayeux War Cemetery

    The largest Commonwealth war cemetery in France, with over 4,000 British and Commonwealth war graves.

  2. Ranville War Cemetery

    Contains the graves of 2,235 Commonwealth servicemen killed during D-Day and the fighting that followed.

  3. Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial

    Stunning 170-acre cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach with 9,387 American graves.

  4. Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery

    A moving memorial to Canadian soldiers who died during D-Day and the fighting that followed.

  5. La Cambe German War Cemetery

    Here lie the graves of 21,140 German soldiers.

D-Day Beaches

The sites of one of the most decisive days in WW2. Stroll on the beach and imagine what it was like to land here under enemy fire.

  1. Utah Beach, American Landing Beach

    Forming the right-hand flank of the Allied invasion, you can relive its history at the Utah Beach museum, housed in a bunker.

  2. Omaha Beach, American Landing Beach

    The most famous, and certainly the bloodiest, landing beach of all, with cliffs still riddled with German bunkers, scarred with shell holes and overlooked by Colleville cemetery.

  3. Gold Beach, British Landing Beach

    Known for its artificial port, Mulberry Harbour, the brainchild of Churchill where remains still exist today, this is where the British 50th Infantry Division landed.

  4. Juno Beach, Canadian Landing Beach

    Here, the Canadian 3rd Division came ashore, where 30% of the landing ships were destroyed or damaged by mines on the beach. The Juno Beach Centre pays homage to those who lost their lives.

  5. Sword Beach, British Landing Beach

    One of the two British landing beaches on the 6th June 1944, and close to our port in Ouistreham (Port of Caen).

70th Anniversary Events in 2014

For the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, there are hundreds of events, including fireworks along the coast, to commemorate this historic moment. The major events are by invitation only, with restrictions on transport and accommodation around 6 June. So try a visit at another time of year to make the most of your trip. There are events throughout the summer, and for more information visit www.the70th-normandy.com.

The 70th Anniversary of D-day.
Brittany Ferries

Sources:

  • maps.google.co.uk/maps
  • www.memorial-caen.com
  • www.airborne-museum.org
  • www.normandy-tank-museum.fr
  • www.overlordmuseum.com
  • www.utah-beach.com
  • www.arromanches360.com
  • www.memorial-pegasus.org
  • www.maisybattery.com
  • www.mont-canisy.org
  • www.normandy-dday.com
  • Brittany Ferries - Voyage Magazine
  • www.the70th-normandy.com
  • www.cwgc.org
  • www.abmc.gov
  • www.volksbund.de
  • www.patrimoine.manche.fr
  • www.le70e.fr