The D-day Landing Beaches
D-Day and the Battle of Normandy were predominantly fought in the départements of Calvados, Manche and Orne, and it is here that you will find the many memorials, cemeteries and museums that commemorate what happened. The D-Day Landing Beaches extend over 70km from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to Ouistreham, via Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches-les-Bains.
Normandy bears the marks of the passing of this battle in the form of the many cemeteries across the region where the memory of those who fell is kept alive: British, Americans, Canadians, Poles, Australians, New Zealanders, French, Belgians. The Norwegians, Dutch, and other Allies who fought alongside them are also honoured in the many ceremonies held each summer. The suffering of the local population in Normandy should not be forgotten either as the fighting and bombing produced civilian death and destruction on a huge scale. Then there are the German cemeteries….
Visiting the D-Day Landing Beaches, the many cemeteries, battlefield sites, and museums relating to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Freedom is not free; it has a price, and it had to be fought for and defended. We, our children and grandchildren, still enjoy the first fruits of peace, reconciliation and freedom, and here in Normandy we are best placed to make your stay meaningful.
Nearly 3,000 Allied servicemen, mostly soldiers, lost their lives on D-Day. Every year, millions come to see where and how the conflict took place. The D-Day Landing Beaches have since become a symbol of the price of peace across the world. Our D-Day map at the reception will help you work out which remembrance sites – museums, beaches, cemeteries and memorials – to visit during your stay.
On foot, or by minibus, bike or coach, there is a network of qualified English-speaking guides (guides-conférenciers) who specialise in showing visitors around Normandy’s many remembrance sites. Visit guidedenormandie.fr for more information.
Over the interminable summer of 1944, beginning on 6 June, men from around the world were drawn into a bloody conflict that was fought out in Normandy. For the Allies the issue was the obliteration of Nazi tyranny, and for the Western Alliance a return to freedom.
From camping les Peupliers, close to the landing beaches, you can also discover the high places of the Battle of Normandy. They are very numerous from the small villages to the big cities of Bayeux or Caen through the museums. Who does not remember the scene of the longest day when a paratrooper remains hung on the bell tower of the church of Holy Mother Church. A model is now hanging from the steeple, in memory of Private John Steele who hung there for two hours.
The Pointe du Hoc, an impregnable cliff that dominates the Omaha beach valley, was the scene of bloody battles to take this high point of the German defense. You might want to see the famous Pegasus Bridge. It was the Ranville Bridge which took this name following the landing in honor of the 6th British Airborne Division of which Pegasus was the emblem. The bridge was replaced and reproduced identically. One can however see the original, witness of the battle, at the Pegasus Memorial in Ranville where there is also a replica of the famous planner horsa.