The Essential Normandy – 8 Have to-See Venues

To totally have an understanding of Normandy, one particular has to check out more than WWII web pages and museums. To practical experience this region and recognize its history and culture, one need to go to these eight venues:

1. Honfleur- This picturesque tiny port village has been a magnet for artists for years, including the French impressionists. The cobblestone streets of the town and the old basin full of sailboats are specially gorgeous. One can go to the lots of shops and galleries, and there are fantastic restaurants nearly everywhere. There are quite a few museums and exclusive old wooden churches to see as properly.

A drive of about a half-hour to Deauville and Trouville is also worth the work. Stroll the famous boardwalk in Deauville, which has hosted the annual American Film Festival for years, and observe the intriguing architecture of the huge beach homes, exceptional in Europe. On the way to or from Deauville, cease at a cider/calvados tasting place. Many are marked along the road. Grapes are not grown in Normandy to make wine, as the regional beverages are produced largely from apples or from time to time pears. The cider is fizzy and has only about 1-third the alcohol of wine. It goes properly with a local preferred, moules-frites (mussels and fries). Calvados is brandy created from apples. Speaking of food, Normandy is popular for its dairy items, and you’ll no doubt sample the butter (this is a single of the handful of locations in France where a single is encouraged to butter bread) and cheeses, particularly the 3 Normands (“les trois Normands”) camembert, pont l’eveque, and livarot.

two. Caen- This city was rubble soon after the bombings of WWII. The Caen Memorial is easily the most effective of the WWII museums. There are lots of WWII museums throughout Normandy, and some are practically tacky, with only a handful of old pictures and a few old uniforms and medals. This one is initial class and tells the story of the events top up to WWII and the Battle of Normandy. The film is also initial rate and shows the American and German sides preparing for the invasion and then after the battles started. There is also a show honoring Nobel Peace Prize winners. 1 can easily spend half a day at this museum. Downtown Caen is also extremely pleasant, specially the pedestrian street with its many shops and cafes. A single can also go to the chateau, constructed by William the Conqueror, and quite a few impressive abbeys and churches.

three. Bayeux- This city was not badly damaged in WWII as the Germans retreated to defend Caen. The cathedral is imposing and is amongst the major gothic cathedrals in France. The principal attraction in the town, however, is the popular Bayeux Tapestry. This remarkable function, commissioned shortly soon after the conquests of England in 1066, tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings. It was initially meant to hang in the cathedral. It is only 19 inches high, but it is length is 203 ft. It is remarkably nicely preserved. Be confident to see the film, and rent an audio player to use while viewing the tapestry to get the most out of your visit.

four. Omaha Beach/American Cemetery- For Americans, this is hallowed ground. People from other nations, Canada and Britain, for instance, may possibly choose to stop by the sectors of their soldiers, such as Sword, Gold and Juno beaches which are various miles to the east. There are various British, Canadian, German, and other cemeteries throughout Normandy as nicely. I was initially not excited to pay a visit to the American cemetery, pondering it would be a deflating experience. However, when one sees the fabulous white marble headstones and the meticulously kept grounds (the grounds are owned and maintained by the U.S. government) it is clear that there is massive respect for our fallen countrymen. To fully grasp what these guys did and the ultimate sacrifice they made in France makes one proud. The biggest of the two American cemeteries at Colleville-sur-Mer appears straight over Omaha Beach. (The other is at St. James, farther to the west, and is also worth a visit, while not lots of men and women go there. It really is about half the size of Colleville and exclusive in its personal way). Leaving the parking lot at Colleville, one can see a smaller monument to the American 1st Infantry Division, the Large Red 1, which was responsible for that sector on D-Day. This is also worth a rapid stop by.

The most effective way to definitely realize what happened at Omaha is to take a tour with an professional. We have employed the solutions of Col. Oliver Warman, British Army Retired. Col. Warman will take you to areas must tours never go to, and he has intimate stories about what took location there on D-Day, when several thousand American soldiers lost their lives (the official figure is in the hundreds). historical tours ‘ll take you from the hills overlooking the beaches down to the beaches themselves and clarify how productive the German defenses have been, specifically the 12 machine gun nests that spanned Omaha.

5. Arromanches- It was here that a big artificial floating port was erected. The Germans knew the Allies would need to have a significant port, and all of those in France had been heavily defended. The sections of the port were constructed in England and have been floated across the English channel just after D-Day. The museum has an fantastic model of the port and a great film. There is also a 360 degree theater on the hill overlooking the town. This film is a single of my favorites, and it show scenes of the region, each in the course of the Battle of Normandy and then contrasted with how they appear right now.

6. Pointe du Hoc- At this strategic location American Rangers scaled the cliff walls on D-Day. There are bomb craters everywhere, destroyed German bunkers, and 1 gets a feeling of how complicated the fighting need to have been. There have been lots of casualties, and the Americans had been pretty much driven back more than the cliffs, but for some nonetheless unknown reason the Germans pulled the big guns back from the point to the rear. These were found unguarded by an American patrol, and they were quickly destroyed. If you take a tour with Col. Warman, as described above, he can take you here as properly, and his point of view and stories about this location are much more than worth the value.

7. Utah Beach- I was surprised to discover that the fighting right here was significantly significantly less intense than at Omaha, and the number of casualties here on D-Day was low, only about 15 KIA before noon. It is, having said that, a large portion of the American D-Day story and thus worth some time. The museum is reasonably superior as well, and the grounds, once again owned and maintained by the U.S. government, are nicely kept.

eight. Mont St. Michel- This spectacular setting on the border amongst Normandy and Brittany is a single of the most common tourist places in Europe. The island village is dominated by the cathedral at the top. At specific occasions of the year the tides are higher adequate to surround the island by the sea. If feasible, devote a night on the island itself, and you’ll have a chance to wander around without the typical crowds. The shops are mostly tourist traps, but Mont St. Michel is worth a day. There are hikes and horse-back excursions one particular can take as well.