This summer I was lucky enough to have a family holiday in France and with a 13 year son who is enjoying history and the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings we decided to tag on a couple of nights in Normandy and explore the D-Day beaches area.
It was amazing.
We stayed on Juno beach towards Caen ferry port but the area is 1.5 to 2 hours south east of Cherbourg and we saw plenty of cruise excursion coaches. It is easily do-able in a day trip.
We started our by heading to Arronmanches, a friendly blogger on You Tube had advised to start with a museum to give you a full understanding of the area and I really recommend his advice. The Arronmanches museum overlooks the beach and you can still see remnants of the Mulberry harbour that the allies constructed to bring troops and supplies into the area.
Above Arronmanches a D-Day Garden has been installed this year to commemorate the 75th Anniversary, I found this area to be the most moving part of the day. It tells the story of Normandy through the eyes of veteran Bill Pendell and invites visitors to imagine how it must feel to be a veteran returning to the area.
Following Arronmanches we headed to Omaha via the Longues-sur- Mer. Here the German artillery battery still remains showing the might of the force our troops were up against. How horrific it must have been to have these monsters of guns firing shells down upon you.
The American Cemetery at Omaha takes your breath away. They have a very informative and visual museum here and as you wander around a voice is quietly reading out the names of all the American troops that died here. The cemetery itself is then mind blowing by it’s shear scale. It is hard to comprehend how many people lost their lives in Normandy and that this area, whilst being home to thousands now represents just a fraction of those that fought for us.
I was blown away by my day in Normandy. I found the museums to be so informative, lots of footage and everything explained in simple terms to be understood by all ages and all nationalities. If you have the chance the visit either from a cruise ship of under your own steam I strongly recommend that you do.