How to Tour Normandy in One Day
by: Chris Brown
My guide of how to tour Normandy in one day. Touring Normandy in one day is not ideal and I had one full day in June to cram in all the American history sites I could. After some careful planning, looking at maps and putting fuel in the car, we were able to see these 11 historical sites.
German Battery at Longues-sur-Mer
We started touring Normandy by visiting the German Battery at Longues-sur-Mer. We had spent the night in Port-en-Bessin and decided to get up early and check it out. The battery is between the landing beaches of Omaha and Gold. The Battery saw action beginning the night before D-Day and continued to the morning.
La Cambe German War Cemetery
Our visit to La Cambe German War Cemetery was an interesting start to our morning as it is so different to an American Cemetery. We found the contrasts dramatic at the end of the day when we arrived at the American Cemetery.
Brecourt Manor Memorial
You can find a memorial at Brecourt Manor Memorial, in La Grand Chemin, which commemorates the assault on 4 German 105mm Howitzers the morning of 6 June 1944 by Easy Co, 2/506th, 101st Airborne. While I am glad we stopped at the memorial, we could not see much as it is located on private property.
Major Winter’s Memorial
I found Utah Beach breathtaking. We climbed over the dunes at low tide and the distance to the water was a few hundred yards. While at Utah Beach, you can find memorials, vehicles, bunkers and a museum to visit. We spent a fair amount of time walking the beaches and looking at the memorials, but we skipped the museum due to our time constraint.
Next, we drove to Sainte-Mere-Eglise to see the church, the Airborne Museum and have lunch. I could have spent an entire day here and in the surrounding area, but again the time was short. The kids enjoyed the Airborne Museum.
We stopped in Saint-Marie-du-Mont after leaving Sainte-Mere-Eglise. I found a few Military surplus stores. We shopped in a few of the stores and purchased a few souvenirs.
Our next destination was The Maisy Battery. This group of 3 batteries was a D-Day objective, as it covered Pointe du Hoc which is only 1.5 miles away. The battery was forgotten about until 2006, when it was rediscovered. It opened to the public in 2007. http://www.maisybattery.com/
Pointe du Hoc
The American Battle Monuments Commission runs Pointe du Hoc, like the American Cemetaries. All Americans sound stop and Point du Hoc and see how well preserved it is.
Due to our limited time before the Cemetery closed, we made a short stop at Omaha Beach. As a result, we left Omaha pretty much untouched.
Normandy American Cemetery
Most noteworthy is the Normandy American Cemetery, which was the first American Cemetery in Europe during World War II. The US Army established a temporary cemetery on June 8, 1944 on this location. The Cemetery contains the graves of 9,385 of our military dead. We arrived a few minutes before retreat and watched the flag come down in the shadow of so many Soldiers who gave their lives in the name of Freedom. https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/normandy-american-cemetery
My family and I love to travel. We have been fortunate enough to live in 10 different states and Europe in our journey together over the last 27 years. From the rivers of Alaska, to the castles of Germany and the surf of Hawaii, we have gotten to experience a great deal with every move. On top of that, we are Disney and Universal fanatics! I can use my experience to help your family with any travel arrangements, from the perfect resort, daily itineraries and ticketing options.