Normandy: Remembering History on the D-Day Landing Beaches

  • Cimetière militaire américain de Normandie

    Cimetière militaire américain de Normandie

    © Calvados Tourisme

  • La Pointe du Hoc

    La Pointe du Hoc

    © G. WAIT - OT Bayeux Intercom

  • Batterie allemande de Longues-sur-Mer

    Batterie allemande de Longues-sur-Mer

    © G.WAIT - OT Bayeux Intercom

  • Port artificiel d'Arromanches

    Port artificiel d'Arromanches

    © Calvados Tourisme

  • Croix de Lorraine à Courseulles-sur-Mer

    Croix de Lorraine à Courseulles-sur-Mer

    © OT Bayeux Intercom

  • Centre Juno Beach à Courseulles-sur-Mer

    Centre Juno Beach à Courseulles-sur-Mer

    © Calvados Tourisme

  • Mémorial de Caen

    Mémorial de Caen

    © Calvados Tourisme

  • Pegasus Bridge

    Pegasus Bridge

    © Calvados Tourisme

Normandy: Remembering History on the D-Day Landing Beaches D514 14114 Ver-sur-Mer fr

On June 6, 1944, the beaches of Normandy were the site of Operation Overlord. Thousands of allied soldiers stormed the shores in order to free France and all of Europe from the stranglehold of the Nazi regime. The Battle of Normandy would continue for three months with considerable human casualties. Today, the D-Day Landing Beaches continue to bear their code names - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword - and have been transformed into museums, monuments, and military cemetaries and sites, each remembering these events that would change the course of history.

 

From Sainte-Mère-Eglise in Arromanches to Carentan, Omaha Beach, Bayeux, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Ouistreham, or Caen, each of the many museums dedicated to the D-Day Landing Beaches are different and complimentary in their own way. Some focus on the June 6 events of D-Day itself, or a specific theme or division of the military, while others involve the entirety of the Battle of Normandy and all the various military operations that made it an Ally victory.

 

Families can learn and understand the history of D-Day together with spaces specially adapted to younger audiences. In particular, the Pointe du Hoc and the German Battery in Longues-sur-Mer are very visual and focus on their own histories. Museums like the Musée du Débarquement at Utah Beach or the Centre Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer highlight educational activities for children. 

 

There are also a number of other activities: sand yachts are available at Utah Beach, as well as explorations of the remains of the Pont Artificiel d'Arromanches by boat. For a unique experience, visitors can tour the Landing Beaches in a real-life Jeep Willys!

Must-See Sites on the D-Day Landing Beaches

On Utah Beach:

  • The Musée Airborne in Sainte-Mère-Eglise
  • The Musée du Débarquement at Utah Beach
  • The Batterie d’Azeville

On Omaha Beach:

  • The Pointe du Hoc
  • The American Cemetary in Colleville-sur-Mer
  • The German Military Cemetary in La Cambe

On Gold Beach:

  • The Musée du Débarquement in Arromanches, in front of the remains of the Pont Artificiel
  • The Cinéma Circulaire Arromanches 360°
  • The German Battery in Longues-sur-Mer
  • The Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux

On Juno Beach:

  • The Centre Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer
  • The Canadian Military Cementary in Reviers

On Sword Beach:

  • The Mémorial Pegasus in Ranville
  • The Grand Bunker in Ouistreham
  • The Batterie de Merville-Franceville

Celebrating Newfound Freedom

Each year, around June 6, the Normandy D-Day Festival commemorates the arrival of Allied liberators with celebration and jubilation. On the schedule of events: fireworks shows, concerts, balls, parachuting, open-air film screenings, exhibits, and more. 

Getting to the D-Day Landing Beaches

  • By car: Direct access from highways A13 and A84, then national highway N13.
  • By train: Caen, Bayeux and Carentan on the Paris Saint-Lazare - Cherbourg line. 
  • By plane: Aéroport Caen-Carpiquet
  • By ferry-car: Gare Maritime in Ouistreham
  • Guided tours from Bayeux or Caen
  • Bus Verts from Bayeux and Caen for the Calvados department. 
  • Véloroute (bike route) Plages du Débarquement – Mont Saint-Michel

Point of interest