The D-day Landing Beaches
Camping Les Peupliers in Merville-Franceville is the ideal place to discover the beaches of the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944. The landing of the Allies on that day was a turning point in the Second World War. The beaches of Normandy were the scene of one of the greatest battles ever seen. Here the free world fought hard against German troops entrenched behind murderous defences. Tens of thousands of visitors, often from England and the United States, visit the D-Day beaches every year. 20,000 people were killed in the three months that the Allied troops conquered Normandy. It is still important today to pay tribute to the sacrifice of a whole generation of young people to free Europe from the Nazi yoke.
The D-Day landing beaches stretch from Ouistreham to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, via Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches-les-Bains. The D-Day beaches are located in the departments of Calvados and La Manche. At Camping Les Peupliers you are close to Ouistreham and only 9 minutes from the famous Pegasus Bridge. The most famous D-Day beaches are Omaha beach in Colleville sur mer, Utah Beach near Sainte Mère l’Eglise, Juno Beach in Courseulles sur mer, Gold Beach in Ver sur mer and Sword beach in Lion sur mer.
Omaha Beach was certainly the scene of the bloodiest battle. Together with Utah Beach, it was the landing sector for the American troops of General Gerow’s 5th Corps. The resistance of the Germans was very fierce. The scenes of the Longest Day can only be remembered here. The wide beach is easily accessible through the dunes. Nearby you can visit the memorial. Dozens of moving photographs of D-Day are on display here. You will also see uniforms and weapons from both sides. A little higher up, we recommend a visit to the American cemetery. 9,300 white crosses are perfectly aligned and impose in silence, respect and great emotion.
Many remnants of Field Marshal Rommel’s famous Atlantic Wall can be found on and around Juno and Sword beaches.
From the campsite Les Peupliers, close to the D-Day landing beaches, you can also discover the major sites of the Battle of Normandy. There are many of them, from small villages to the big cities of Bayeux or Caen, and many museums. Who doesn’t remember the scene of the longest day when a parachutist hangs on the bell tower of the church of Sainte Mère l’Eglise. A mannequin hangs in the bell tower in memory of soldier John Steele, who hung there for two hours.
Pointe du Hoc, an impregnable cliff overlooking the Omaha Beach valley, was the scene of bloody battles to take this high point of the German defence. You may wish to see the famous Pegasus Bridge. This was the bridge at Ranville which took its name following the landings in honour of the British 6th Airborne Division of which Pegasus was the emblem. The bridge has been replaced and reproduced identically. However, the original bridge can be seen at the Pegasus Memorial in Ranville, where there is also a replica of the famous Horsa Planer.