OVERVIEWFive days in Normandy.
It is a holiday that I recommend to everyone (even better if they are 10 days).
Normandy is one of the most beautiful regions of France, today is divided into two departments: "Upper and Lower Normandy."
The history, the architecture, the cuisine and wines make this region of France a "unique" completeness and beauty.
With this page I would like to describe to you my trip that was organized primarily to explore the historic landing of 6 June 1940 (Operation Overlord).
The base is in the medieval town of Bayeux (only to visit it completely it would take two days). A bayeux are located a beautiful museum of World War II and the war cemetery English.
Bayeux is a perfect place to stop then to move in the other historical places.
With the help of a few albums I will try to describe to you the best that I've seen.
BAYEUX (Untouched by History Destructions)Nestled in the northern countryside of France, just four miles from the English Channel in the area of Normandy, the delightful city of Bayeux offers its visitors a unique perspective on history. There are the requisite things to do in a city of such charm. Stroll along its main street, peeking into shop windows for souvenirs. Stop at a local produce stand and survey the local bounty. Tilt your head to the heavens while trying to get the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in your full view. The church is a national monument of France, consecrated in 1077.
The Cathedral was also the original home of the famed Bayeux Tapestries. Woven in 1066 by Reine Mathilde, wife of William the Conqueror to commemorate events in the Norman Conquest of England, it is one of the world's oldest tapestries still intact. It's such a tourist attraction, that Bayeux created a museum just for this one incredible piece of art :"the Musée de la Tapisserie".
Bayeux is also where, in 1944, then-General Charles de Gaulle made his first major speech in which he made clear that France sided with the Allies. The buildings in Bayeux were virtually untouched during the Battle of Normandy, sparing the city's architectural gems.
The city can also be used as a base to explore the D-Day sights. The closest is the church in Sainte Mere Eglise, which commemorates in stained glass the American paratroopers who landed in that town during World War II. Private John Steele who got caught on the church's steeple (and survived!) is memorialized with a fake paratrooper dangling from the top of the church.
Paris St Lazare-Bayeux
horaire train Paris Bayeux:
-Départ 10:10 - 12:29 Arrivée
-Départ 12:01 - 14:23 Arrivée
-Départ 13:45 - 16:34 Arrivée
-Départ 15:06 - 17:21 Arrivée
-Départ 17:10 - 19:27 Arrivée
In the heart of the old town, take advantage of proximity of museums, shops and some of the best restaurants of this medieval city.
1 Boulevard Sadi Carnot
14 400 Bayeux-France
Tel : +33 (0)2. 22.214.171.124
Fax : +33 (0)126.96.36.199.65
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Bayeux Vélos Location
Bicycle fully equipped for trips and excursions.
From 01 January 2013 until 31 December 2013
Schedules : 8 h-20h30
In front of the Turism Office
Impasse de L'Islet
Phone 02 31 92 89 16
1st Day "THE BEST YOUTH"The American War Cemetery and Omaha Beach.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
The memorial consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing large maps and narratives of the military operations; at the center is the bronze statue, “Spirit of American Youth.” An orientation table overlooking the beach depicts the landings in Normandy. Facing west at the memorial, one sees in the foreground the reflecting pool; beyond is the burial area with a circular chapel and, at the far end, granite statues representing the United States and France.
The cemetery is open to the public daily, except on December 25 and January 1. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 15 to September 15, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, staff members are on duty in the visitor center to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.
How to Get There
Map Coordinates: N 49°20.910 W 0°51.285
Normandy American Cemetery sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, east of St. Laurent-sur-Mer and northwest of Bayeux in Colleville-sur-Mer, 170 miles west of Paris. The cemetery may be reached by car by traveling:
Take the N-13 route from Bayeux and Formigny, continuing on D-517 towards St. Laurent-sur-Mer and D-514 to Colleville-sur-Mer .
Signs mark the entrance to the cemetery
There is rail service between Paris (Gare St. Lazare) and Bayeux, where taxicab and tour bus service is available. Travel by rail takes three hours. Hotels are available at Bayeux and Port-en-Bessin.
"LETTERS" 5 man History (movie)
ON THEIR SHOULDERS (movie)
American War Cemetery (Official Link)American Battle Monuments Commission
If the Normandy landings nearly failed anywhere, it was certainly on Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer. The heavy losses suffered by American troops on D-Day earned it the name of "Bloody Omaha".
Omaha Beach is one of the five Landing beaches. The future of France and Europe was at stake here on 6th June 1944.
When you visit this beach which extends, for 8 Km. over Vierville-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Mer, you will obtain a clearer idea of the progress of the battles. The Bessin coastline is composed of steep chalk cliffs, which rise one hundred feet or so above the sea.
On the beach of Omaha are still the remains of the German fortifications. There are also monuments to commemorate the battle.
2nd DAY "POINTE DU HOC"
Pointe du Hoc is perhaps the most famous promontory of France. Tip Goose, in the local language, is located on the coast of Normandy and was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in history during the Battle of Normandy: the one on the beach called Omaha Beach.
At dawn on June 6, 1944, the elite troops of the U.S. Army, the Rangers, assaulted the cliff about 30 meters high and extended for about six and a half kilometers, trying the impossible: to climb the rock and destroy lines German in the barricaded bunker on top.
Without the sacrifice of many of the soldiers Stars and Stripes, the weapons of the enemy Teutonic bets on the beach, they would have decimated the men landed with amphibious vehicles from ships of large tonnage off the coast of Normandy.
With great difficulty some of the Rangers reached the summit of Point du Hoc: although few bewildered and broke up the German resistance, already weakened by air and naval bombardments, and began to seep into the interior where the survivors were joined two days later by the troops landed in Omaha Beach. The invasion had been successful.
3rd Day LONGUES SUR MER
LONGUES-SUR-MER Calvados - 8 km north of Bayeux
Longues-sur-Mer is the only coastal defence battery on theLanding Beaches to be classed as a « Historical Monument. »
Situated west of Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy, Longues-sur-Mer overlooked the ocean from the top of a 65 meters height cliff, a perfect position where the Germans had installed a four 150 mm guns battery.
On 6 June 1944, at 5:30 am several allied battle ships opened fire on the battery. When the Allied Armada was on sight, the German heavy guns striked back.
The HMS Ajax concentrated his fire on the German battery at one kilometre range. The battery stopped bombing a short time, but fire started again and the position shelled the Landing ships until 5 pm.
The crew of the battery (184 men, half of them over 40 years old) surrendered to the 231st Infantry Brigade the 7 June 1944.
4Th Day ARROMANCHES
At Arromanches, the time stopped 60 years ago.
Along the main street of the village, in which all year waving flags :French, American, Canadian and Dutch, successive plenty of shops selling souvenirs of all kinds on D-Day.
Do not miss the museum dedicated to the D-day.
The Museum is explained how it was built the famous artificial harbor. Some very detailed models show us the details.
The Allies built a huge floating harbor which has been considered as a major technical feat of the war.
Secretly manufactured in 1943 in the shipyards of London, this port, called "Mulberry", was intended to supply the troops landing, ensuring the advance towards France.
It was long over 12 km of beachfront, able to resist the strong tides. In the midst of the sea, not far from the shore, you can still see a number of boxes that made up this artificial harbor, but most of the building is submerged.
In a small cinema at 360 ° (so called because the projection is done in a circular room where you can move around and see the film from different angles) presented here is a movie very touching and engaging, with a duration of 20 minutes that summarizes, with documents period alternating with contemporary images, the main events of the Second world War in this area.
5Th Day OUISTREHAM
The Grand Bunker is a unique place for a unique museum dedicated to the Atlantic Wall. By itself, it is a real concentrate of the Atlantic Wall. In this special place, by its character of special construction, awaits the visit a complete abstract of the Atlantic Wall, this gigantic project of 4000 km, undertaken by the Organization Todt on the orders of Adolf Hitler.
In this one place, both Observation Post, Post Management Shooting, command post, you seem to share a moment of the daily life of soldiers living in the confined space of concrete. You can detail all the equipment involved in a Command Post. You will also enter the intimate interconnection between the existing Observation Post and Position Management Shooting. Throughout the visit, he will seem more obvious as you progress through a nerve center multi-function Command housed in this very special Sonderkonstruktion 17 meters high.
The Grand Bunker at Ouistreham
Located at a stones throw from the beach and the Ferry terminal, the Atlantic Wall Museum is inside the old German headquarter which was in charge of the batteries covering the entrance of the river Orne and the canal. The 52ft high concrete tower has been fully restaured to make it look how it was on the 6th of june 1944.
A pocket of German resistance
On six june, intrigued by this unforeseen obstacle, the Franco British Commandos attemped to approach the tower, but were repulsed by machine-gun fire and stick- grenades being thrown from the top. They were content to skirt the bunker, which remained a permanent threat during the following days.
The capture of the Grand Bunker
On 9 june, lieutenant Bob Orrell of Royal Engineers, 91Field Company R.E., 3rd Beach Group, 3rd Canadien Div., 2nd British Army, was given orders to invest the large Bunker. Accompagnied by three men, he placed two explosive charges one after the other to blow up armour-placed door. Altoghether it took them four hours to break it open! The garnison of two officers and fifty men then surrenderedand the liberation of Ouistreham was complete. The set of defensive works at Ouistreham shows the scate of construction work involved in the building of the Atlantic Wall.