D-Day will forever be one of the most significant dates in the history books. Still the largest ever seaborne invasion, the events of 6 June 1944 may be long passed, but the remnants of that day live on all along France’s Normandy coastline. Of the many poignant reminders of both the losses inflicted on both sides, and the disastrous consequences of allowing one person too much power, the rows of austere white crosses and the monuments throughout the region tell an important story of their own.
Day tours from Paris are feasible although the distance takes roughly three hours to cover in either direction, so the days will be long. Many of the tours schedule a number of stops at various museums, memorials and facilities to give a valuable overview of the region. It’s possible to come away with a vivid understanding of both the events of that day, and their significance for the world as well.
FROM: €162/per person
Guided by a knowledgeable tour leader, this full-day tour from Paris to the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy brings the history to life. See the beaches where allied troops came ashore, but not before gaining context from the Caen Memorial Museum, which depicts the events of the Battle of Normandy as they played out. After lunch, which is included in the price, the tour moves on to Pointe du Hoc, the cliffs from which Omaha and Utah beaches can be seen. Two cemeteries are also visited during the trip, the American Cemetery and the one near Juno Beach, which marks the resting place of primarily Canadian troops.
From €170/ per person
While many of the D-Day and Normandy tours from Paris follow quite a similar course, this particular trip adds in a little local flavour too. While taking in the must-see World War II sites in the area, such as Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and the various memorials scattered around these sites, there is also a trip to one of Normandy’s cider houses. There you will be able to try the two locally-made drinks of Calvados apple brandy, and Pommeau which combines brandy and apple juice. This is all included in the price, although lunch is not included.
From €205/ per person
History lies at the heart of this tour. Key sites visited along the way include Pointe du Hoc; a German fortification, then on to the American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer. There will be a chance to see what’s left of Mulberry Harbour, which was hastily constructed to allow for the speedier disembarkation of troops. Near this spot is the only remaining intact German artillery battery, which gives an idea of what invading forces would have faced on that day. Admission fees and transport are included in the price of this tour. Lunch and drinks are not. The tour lasts around 12 hours.