Commemorative World War II sites in Normandy

  • Juno beach Centre

    © CALVADOS TOURISME

    Juno beach Centre

    © CALVADOS TOURISME

  • Juno beach Centre

    © CJBG.Wait

    Juno beach Centre

    © CJBG.Wait

  • CAEN MUSEE MEMORIAL

    © CALVADOS TOURISME

    CAEN MUSEE MEMORIAL

    © CALVADOS TOURISME

  • Beny-sur-Mer - Canadian Cemetery

    © CRT Normandie

    Beny-sur-Mer - Canadian Cemetery

    © CRT Normandie

  • Musée Courseulles

    © Thierry Houyel

    Musée Courseulles

    © Thierry Houyel

  • Arromanches commemorations

    © Thierry Houyel

    Arromanches commemorations

    © Thierry Houyel

Commemorative World War II sites in Normandy caen fr

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. June 6, the day that the Allies landed on Normandy’s beaches, is sure to be the high point of the year’s commemorations with official political ceremonies but many activities and events will take place throughout the year.

Despite the many other wars that the world has seen since then, World War II has remained deeply ingrained in our collective memory. And as the number of the war’s survivors among us gradually declines over time, so do first-hand testimonies of this dark period in world history.

While younger generations did not live through these events, their memory is passed on through the stories of grandmothers and grandfathers. And if these figures choose not to speak out about their experiences, their silence too speaks volumes.

Today, what remains of the war is largely passed on through the museums, tombs, books and films that serve as its evidence and contribute to the duty of memory.

For the men and women who gave their lives in the name of freedom, it is our duty to remember them, to not to take for granted their great sacrifice and suffering.

70 years later, we invite you to follow along their footsteps...

Juno Beach Sector and Centre

Just before 8 o’clock in the morning of June 6, 1944, 21, 400 soldiers, of whom 14,000 were Canadian, under the command of General KELLER, landed on Juno Beach.

Re-live the pitiless battles fought by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in the different villages between the beaches and the town of Caen and visit those who remain here buried in the soil of France, in the military cemeteries where these soldiers are honoured.

Do not miss the only museum in the Canadian sector: the Juno Beach Centre retraces the implementation of the Canadian Army during the fighting in Europe.

The Centre presents the war effort made by all Canadians, civilian and military alike, both at home and on the various fronts during the Second World War, as well as the manifold faces of contemporary Canadian society.

The Second World War dedicated permanent display concentrates most notably on the Raid on Dieppe in August 1942 as well as the landings up to the closure of the Falaise Pocket and the advance of the Canadian Army up through Belgium, Holland and into Germany.

NEW FILM : “In their footsteps” telling the story of Canadian soldiers in a room fit for 62 people.

Opening times
From April 1 to September 30: 9.30a.m. to 7p.m
.
March and October: 10a.m. to 6p.m.
February, November and December: 10a.m. to 5p.m.
Closed December 25
Closed for annual maintenance during the month of January

Rates
From 7€ par adult

Address
Voie des Français Libres
14470 Courseulles-sur-Mer, France
+33 2 31 37 32 17

Courseulles-sur-Mer

Located in the heart of Juno Beach, the fishing and leisure port of Courseulles-sur-Mer was liberated by the Canadian forces in the early morning of D-Day.

The town and its inhabitants, still very grateful to the soldiers who came from overseas to free them from the Germans, are nowadays taking care of the numerous monuments honoring the different regiments involved in the liberation of the Courseulles area.

A large and high Cross of Lorraine is also overlooking Juno between Courseulles and Graye-sur-Mer to remember the landing of Charles de Gaulle on the 14th of June 1944.

Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery

Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery is about 1 kilometre east of the village of Reviers, on the Creully-Tailleville-Ouistreham road (D.35). The village of Beny-sur-Mer is some 2 kilometres south-east of the cemetery.

2, 048 soldiers are buried in the cemetery, they are all Canadian except for 4 English and 1 French soldiers who rest there. All of these young Canadians who died for the liberty of Europe still show us today, more than 60 years later, a lesson of courage and commitment to duty.

There is also one special memorial erected to a soldier of the Canadian Infantry Corps who is known to have been buried in this cemetery, but the exact site of this grave could not be located.

Opening times
Open every day

Rates
Free

Address
Canadian Cemetery
Route de Reviers
14470 Reviers, France
The bus service between Caen and Arromanches (via Reviers and Ver-sur-Mer) passes the cemetery.

Bernières-sur-Mer

See at Bernières the sector of Juno Beach where the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and the Regiment de La Chaudière landed on the 6th of June 1944.

This sector is very special for the Quebecois who, for the most part, had come to liberate the home of their ancestors.

You will see along the length of the beach the remains of the defences built by the Germans, and especially “the Hotel”, the famous house seen in so many newsreel clips of the landings, known now as “The Canadian House”.

The village is a few miles away from the Juno Beach Centre

Ardenne Abbey

A masterpiece of architectural design dating from the 12th century, this Norman Abbey was, in the early years of the German occupation, a focal point for the local French Resistance.

But situated between the strategic points of Caen and Carpiquet airfield, the Abbey was fortified and used by the 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer Division as their headquarters during the early part of the Battle of Normandy.

Its unfortunate reputation nowadays, however, is as the site of execution of Canadian prisoners of war by the child soldiers of the Hitler Youth Division.

Opening times
From Tuesday to Friday : 2p.m. to 6p.m.

Rates
Free (except for exhibitions)

Adress
14280 Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, France
+33 2 31 29 37 37

Caen Memorial

This large-scale museum is dedicated to peace and to the history of the 20th century, including

  • the Second World War,
  • the Reconstruction,
  • the Cold War,
  • the political stakes and the construction of peace.

A fascinating visit for adults and children alike with a well-constructed array of original video footage, photo archives, artifact displays and explanatory texts designed for readers of all backgrounds.

New Gallery dedicated to operation Overlord

Excursions to the D-Day beaches “for Canadians” as packaged by the Memorial

New German bunker visit onsite – opening date TBC

Opening times
From 16/02/2013 to 11/11/2013: 9a.m. to 7p.m., every day
From 12/11/2013 to 04/01/2014: 9.30a.m. to 6p.m., closed on Mondays except the 23/12/2013 and the 30/12/2013
Closed on 25/12/2013 and 01/01/2014
From 05/01/2014 to 27/01/2014 included: annual closure
From 28/01/2014 to 14/02/2014: 9.30a.m. to 6p.m., closed on Mondays
From 15/02/2014 to 11/11/2014: 9a.m. to 7p.m., every day
From 12/11/2014 to 31/12/2014: 9.30a.m. to 6p.m., closed on Mondays except the 22/12/2014 and the 29/12/2014
Closed on 25/12/2014 and 01/01/2015

 Rates
From 19€

 Address
Esplanade Général Eisenhower
14000 Caen, France
+33 (0)2 31 06 06 44

Pegasus Bridge and Memorial

The Memorial Pegasus is dedicated to the men of 6th Airborne Division and their role during the Battle of Normandy from June to September 1944. The museum was designed and constructed within a few months by the D-Day Commemoration Committee presided by Admiral Brac de la Perrière.

The original Bénouville Bridge, renamed Pegasus Bridge after the liberation, is on display in the park of the museum along with a Bailey bridge and a full size copy of a wartime Horsa glider.

The collection is constantly increasing in size, the historical relevancy to 6th Airborne Division is carefully controlled by the British Airborne Assault Normandy Trust.

Opening times
Open everyday from February to November.
A visit, with guide, lasts about 1h15.

1st February to 31st Marh from 10a.m. to 5p.m.

1st April to 30th September from 9.30
a.m to 6.30p.m
1st October to 15th December from 10
a.m to 5p.m 

Rates
From 6.50€ par adult
 

Address
Avenue du Major Howard
14860 Ranville
+33 (0)2.31.78.19.44

D-Day Museum Arromanches

It was the first museum to be built in commemoration of June 6th 1944 and the Normandy Campaign.

A reminder of the technical challenge represented by the construction of the Mulberry B artificial harbour, with models, videos and a diorama that movingly bring life to the displays, just a few hundred metres from the shore.

Opening times
Consult the opening times to plan your next visit on their website

Rates
From 7.50€ par adult

Address
Place du 6 Juin
14117 Arromanches, France
+33 (0)2 31 22 34 31

Arromanches 360 Museum

Located on the Arromanches clifftops, the Arromanches 360 Circular Theater dominates the remnants of one of the two artificial Mulberry harbours set up by the Allies.

Come and discover the new Arromanches 360 film: Normandy's 100 days. This film will be projected in High Definition on 9 screens and tell the story of the terrible Battle of Normandy thanks to archive images gathered from around the world.

Opening times

From September 30th to November 11th :10a.m. to 5.40p.m.
From November 12th to December 31st : 10.10a.m. to 5.10p.m (Closed on Mondays, except Monday December 23rd and 30th)
From January 28th to February 14th 2014: 10a.m. - 5.30p.m. (closed on Mondays)
From February 15th to April 30th 2014: 10a.m. - 6p.m.
From May 1st to September 30th 2014: 9.30a.m. - 7p.m.
From October 1st to November 11st 2014: 10a.m. - 6p.m.
From November 12nd to December 31st 2014: 10a.m. - 5.30p.m. (closed on Mondays except December 22nd and 29th)
Closed from 5th to 27th January 2014 included, December 25th 2013, January 1st and December 25th 2014, 1st January 2015

Rates
From 5€ par adult

Address
Chemin du Calvaire
14117 Arromanches les Bains
+33(0)2 31 06 06 44

Things to see

Point of interest