How to Tour Normandy in One Day

by: Chris Brown

chris@royaltreatmenttravel.com

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.

How to Tour Normandy

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.How to Tour Normandy

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.How to Tour Normandy

Major Winter’s Memorial

We were surprised to find this memorial during  our drive from Brecourt Manor to Utah Beach.  The Memorial to Major Winters is located on the side of the road a few miles from Utah Beach.How to Tour Normandy

Utah Beach

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.

How to Tour NormandyHow to Tour Normandy

Sainte-Mere-Eglise

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.

How to Tour NormandyHow to Tour Normandy

Saint-Marie-du-Mont

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.

Maisy Battery

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/

How to Tour NormandyHow to Tour Normandy

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.

ABMC Website

How to Tour NormandyHow to Tour Normandy

Omaha Beach

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.

How to Tour NormandyHow to Tour Normandy

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

How to Tour Normandy