The Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches
June 6th 1944 is a date that was to change history, the day The Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and began their final assault on Nazi held Europe. The Battle of Normandy was code named Operation Overlord and the assault was officially known as Operation Neptune although now it is invariably referred to as D-Day (or Jour J in French). The beaches also had their code names and from west to east were known as Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. American troops landed at Utah and Omaha, Canadian troops at Juno and British soldiers at Gold and Sword.
Today the beaches are frequented by sunbathers, (dog) walkers, horse riders and water sports enthusiasts. Wildlife abounds along the shoreline and it is hard to imagine that thousands of men lost their lives there on D-Day. The beaches are now major Normandy tourist attractions and together with the whole region there is plenty for the history enthusiast to see and do.
D-Day Landing Beaches Tourist Attractions
Musée du Débarquement on Utah Beach outlines the planning and execution of D-Day.
Location - Plage de La Madeleine - 50480 Sainte Marie du Mont
Open all year EXCEPT 1st - 15th December. Please check website for opening times
Tariff - €8 adults / €5 under 15s / FREE to under 7s and WWII veterans
Musée Airborne at Sainte-Mère-Eglise is a museum dedicated to the American paratroopers including the story of John Steele whose parachute caught on the church spire leaving him stranded there as fighting took place al around him.
Location - 14 rue Eisenhower, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Eglise
Open - February to November and during the Christmas holidays except Dec 34th/25th/31st and January 1st.
Tariff - €9.90 adults / €6 children 6-16 / FREE - Children under 6, WWII Veterans, Soldiers in uniform
Pointe du Hoc is where American Rangers landed and suffered the highest casualties of D-Day. The site has been left mostly untouched from 1944 and the ground remains littered with bombardment craters. The Pointe Du Hoc Ranger Museum outlines the details of the assault.
Location 14450 Cricqueville-en-Bessin
Open - all year
Tariff - FREE
The Normandy American Cemetery and Visitor Centre where 9,387 soldiers are laid to rest
Location - Omaha Beach, 14710 Colleville-sur-Mer
Open - all year
Tariff - FREE
Overlord Museum covers the time from D-Day until the liberation of Paris.
Location - Lotissement Omaha CenterRond-point du cimetière américain, 14710 Colleville-sur-Mer
Open - all year except 24th, 25th and 31st Dec
Tariff - €8.40 adults / €6.10 children 10-17 / FREE children under 10, veterans (Please check website for further tariff reductions)
Omaha Memorial Museum includes collections of uniforms, weapons, personal objects and vehicles as well as archive photos, maps and a film commented by American veterans to all help bring to life the landings on Omaha Beach and the Pointe du Hoc.
Location - Avenue de la Libération, 14710 Saint Laurent sur Mer
Open - Early February to Mid November
Tariff - €7 adult / €5 children 7-15 / FREE under 7s
The Juno Beach Centre and Park serves to celebrate the part the Canadian took on D-Day as well as the Canadian involvement throughout World War II. It also hosts many temporary exhibitions
Location - Voie des Français Libres, 14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer,
Open - February to December (Closed 25th)
Tariff - €4-11 depending on how much you visit / FREE to accompanied children under 8 and WWII veterans and their widows
Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique - Le Gand Bunker is situated in a bunker this museum gives a feel for life as a German soldier defending the Normandy coast.
Opening - all year except early January to early February
Tariff - €7.50 adult / €5.50 children 6-12
Musée du No.4 Commando A museum dedicated through contemporary film footage and a large-scale model, the role played by that French commandos in the D-Day Landings.
Location - Place Alfred Thomas, 14150 Ouistreham
Open - 31 March to 14th October
Tariff - €5 adults / €3 children over 10 / FREE children under 10
Merville Battery and museum is located at the most easterly spot where Allied airborne forces landed on the first night of invasion
Location - Place du 9ème Bataillon, 14810 Merville Franceville
Open - 15th March - 15th December with out of season visits possible on request
Tariff - €8 adult / 5 children 6-14 / FREE to children under 6
Please do check with any site before visiting to confirm opening times and up to date tariffs.
Do you have any relatives who took part in the Landings or any stories to tell of this time in history. Please do let us know in a comment if you do.
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