There’s so much to see in Normandy that breaking down the 50 mile stretch of the D Day Beaches into 2 distinct zones allows visitors an in depth focus of those sites allotted to troops of their specific nationality.
A full day tour of the Anglo/Canadian sector starts at the far eastern end near Pegasus Bridge. Find out how this iconic landmark was secured in just 10 short minutes near midnight by the British airborne units, and then what took place once the Germans guarding it woke up. A trip to the Merville Battery and to the Hillman Strongpoint rounds out the start of the day by exploring some of the enemy positions targeted during Operation Overlord.
From there we’ll make a stop along Sword Beach to see piper Bill Millen’s statue and hear the tale of his bag-piping bravery.
Continuing along Sword beach, stops will include several historic points easily traceable in archive still photography and film footage, while making our way toward Courseulles sur Mer when we’ll enjoy lunch at a locally frequented brasserie.
After finishing off lunch with a cup of energizing expresso, we’ll visit the Juno Beach Interpretive Center, where dependant on availability we’ll add on a guided tour of the outdoor blockhouses and beach. A quick stop at Graye sur Mer affords a look at the tanks at the foot of the Lorraine cross where Charles de Gaulle set foot on freshly liberated French soil on June 14th, 1944.
Moving through the Juno Beach sector brings us to Gold Beach where we’ll hear of the heroic antics of Stanley Hollis of the Green Howards.
A side trip of just a few hundred yards through a residential neighborhood in Ver sur Mer shows just how the locals are forced to recycle the indestructible German architecture making up the infamous Atlantic Wall.
Clifftop at Arromanches visitors will admire the remains of the British Royal Engineers brilliantly conceived Mulberry Port. A 360 cinema in the round short projection of the “100 Days of Normandy” ties up loose ends with informative archive film footage. This film underscores the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.
From there we’ll proceed inland to Creully, driving by Monty’s headquarters, to climb the medieval tower housing the BBC’s secret bicycle powered radio transmitter, before digging into the logistics of a 3 million strong invasion by locating the site of a British airfield and water supply station.
The day will draw to a close with a pilgrimage to either the Canadian cemetery at Beny sur Mer or the British cemetery at Bazenville depending on your patriotic preferences.
Label West guides are pleased to adapt this program to your specific wishes. Did Uncle Bob land at Gold beach? Supply us with his regimental name beforehand by email and we’ll do our best to re-trace his steps with you, making your trip to the D-Day beaches a unique experience desgined specifically for you.