During the period of the anniversary, why not go back in time and revisit the main sites of 6th June, 1944 and the key places in the Battle of Normandy ? Apart from the official ceremonies, many sites and museums are easily accessible and await you !
In 2013, new sites opened. New shows were created and new educational tools help you to discover the Landing and the Battle of Normandy with a new look.
Discover the new Overlord Museum in Colleville-sur-mer, the Utah Beach Museum in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, the new projected movie in Arromanches 360 ° or follow the circuit tracing the fighting of August 1944 in Montormel-Coudehard.
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UTAH BEACH / AMERICAN SECTOR (insérer un petit drapeau US)
Photo débarquement Utah Beach en noir et blanc (CDT Manche)
Utah Beach stretches from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont as far as Quinéville, along about 5 km. This was the first of the two zones selected for the American landings. This beach was wanted by General Bernard Montgomery who wished to establish a beachhead on the Cotentin in order to rapidly capture Cherbourg and its deep water port.
NEW ! The Utah Beach D-Day Museum
Photo du musée
Built on the very beach where the first American troops landed on June 6, 1944, the Utah Beach Museum recounts the story of D-Day in 10 sequences, from the preparation of the landing, to the final outcome and success. This comprehensive chronological journey immerses visitors in the history of the landing through a rich collection of objects, vehicles, materials, and oral histories.
Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the first town liberated
Photo de l’église avec parachutiste accroché au clocher
Set in the marshes of the Cotentin, Sainte-Mère-Eglise was the first French commune to be liberated by the Allies. Many memorial sites have been erected throughout the canton. The stain-glass windows and the church steeple at Sainte-Mère-Eglise pay tribute to the men of the 82nd Airborne Division. A model soldier hangs suspended from a parachute as a reconstruction of a true event from D Day. Badly wounded parachutist John Steele was in that difficult posture for two hours before being released. The ‘KM 0’ landmark is situated near the Sainte-Mère-Eglise- town hall and was inaugurated in 1947.
Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mère-Eglise
Photo avion du musée
The Airborne Museum was established in 1964 in the heart of the village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise.This memorial museum will lead you into the story of the battle involving American Paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, which took place during the night of 5th to the 6th June 1944.
OMAHA BEACH / AMERICAN SECTOR(insérer un petit drapeau US)
Extenting over Vierville-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer and Colleville-sur-Mer, the heavy losses suffered by American troops on D-Day earned it the name of “Bloody Omaha”.
The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer
Inaugurated in 1956, it was laid out in an area of 70 hectares (170 acres) which was ceded to the United States by the French government. Containing 9,387 gravestones perfectly aligned on a majestic expanse of green lawn, the American cemetery is the biggest, the most well-known and the most moving of the Normandy Landing cemeteries. Every year more than a million visitors come to pay homage.
Don’t miss the Lowering of the Colours, every day, at the end of the afternoon.
Omaha Memorial Museum at St-Laurent-sur-mer
On the actual site of Omaha Beach, the museum, which has an area of 13,000 sq ft, displays a fine collection of uniforms, weapons, personal objects and vehicles. Numerous scenes, vivid archive photos, maps and a film commented by American veterans, explain the landings on Omaha and the Pointe du Hoc.
NEW ! Overlord Museum in Colleville-sur-Mer
Photo du musée
Located at a short distance of the famous Omaha beach and of the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer, Overlord Museum opened its doors the 5th June 2013. The museum chronicles the period of the Allied landing until the liberation of Paris.
The Pointe du Hoc in Cricqueville-en-Bessin
Photo de la Pointe du Hoc vue du ciel
Captured on the morning of the 6th of June 1944 by Colonel Rudder’s Rangers, the site was also one of key features of the German defensive fortifications. The site reminds us of what an artillery battery was like, with its firing command post, casemates and shelters. Information panels. Free site access, free of charge.
The German artillery battery of Longues-sur-mer
Photo de la batterie
A major constituent of the Atlantic Wall, the Longues sur Mer coastal defence battery comprises a firing command post and four casemates, each housing a 150mm gun. Located in the heart of the allied assault zone, on the heights of a cliff overlooking the English Channel, the battery was to play a strategic role during the allied landings on the 6th of June 1944
The German Cemetery of La Cambe
La Cambe is a military war grave cemetery, located close to Bayeux, France. Presently containing in excess of 21,000 German military personnel of World War II, it is maintained and managed by the German War Graves Commission.
GOLD BEACH / BRITISH SECTOR (insérer un petit drapeau GB)
Gold Beach was the codename of the sector assigned to XXX British Corps. East of Arromanches, the cliffs give way to a low-lying, marshy coastline, and it was there, in front of Asnelles and Ver-sur-Mer, that General Graham’s 50th Northumbrian Division was to spearhead the assault. They landed at 7.25 am, an hour later than the Americans, due to local differences in tide times.
Arromanches Circular Cinema 360
Photo du musée
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.
NEW ! “Normandy’s 100 days” : Come and discover the new Arromanches 360 film. Produced by the authors of the hugely successful French television series Apocalypse, 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.This film is a tribute to soldiers from all countries and to the 20,000 civilians who were killed during this battle for the liberation of Europe, battle which gave rise to so much hope.
The permanent exhibition on the Normandy Landings was officially opened on June 5th 1954 in Arromanches. It was the first museum to be built in commemoration of June 6th 1944 and the Normandy Campaign.The D-day Museum overlooks the very spot where one of the Mulberry Harbours was constructed and where its remains can still be seen today, just a few hundred metres from the shore. A presentation of the various phases involved in the Allied landings. Explanation on how the Winston artificial harbour was built and operated from its design to its final use.
JUNO BEACH / CANADIAN SECTOR (insérer un petit drapeau Canada)
Sandwiched between the British beaches of Gold and Sword, the Juno Beach sector corresponded to the portion of coastline allocated to the Canadians. It was occupied by large coastal villages which had become pretty seaside resorts at the end of the XIXth century. Although there were no heavy batteries here, a number of smaller defensive structures housing antitank guns or machine guns were located at regular intervals along the shore, often on the sea walls, so as to be able to rake the beaches with fire.
Centre Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-mer
Situated on the beach where the Canadians, alongside other Allied forces landed in June 1944, the Juno Beach Centre portrays the role played by Canada in the second World War, particularly in Normandy. As well as a centre for history, education and heritage, the Juno Centre also offers the public a chance to discover the different faces of contemporary Canadian society and undestand the culture and values of the country through a collection of films, archive recordings and interactive stations.
SWORD BEACH / BRITISH SECTOR (insérer un petit drapeau GB)
The landing zone defined by the Allies originally ended at the level of Courseulles in the east, but Eisenhower and Montgomery managed to extend it as far as the Orne. Accordingly, a new landing beach appeared east of Juno Beach, codenamed Sword. Theoretically, this stretched from Langrune to Ouistreham, but because of the risks involved in a direct attack against the powerful Ouistreham defences and the impossibility of landing in front of Lion and Luc-sur-Mer due to coastal reefs, the attack eventually took place over quite a narrow front.
Le Grand Bunker Atlantic Wall Museum in Ouistreham
The Atlantic Wall Museum is inside the old German headquarter which was in charge of the batteries covering the entrance of the of the river Orne and the canal. The 52ft concrete tower has been fully restored to make it look like how it was on the 6th june 1944. The evocation displays will help you to relive History, the history of the people who had been waiting for the invasion of the three years! You will also be able to see many interesting and unpublished photos and documents about the Atlantic Wall, the biggest building site of the 20th century which employed over 2 million people.
The bridges of Ranville and Bénouville were recaptured in the early hours of the night of the 5th to the 6th of June 1944 by the British 5th Parachute Brigade, whose emblem was Pegasus.The bridge over the canal was renamed Pegasus Bridge in memory of this great military feat.
Pegasus Memorial Museum
Located between Caen and the beaches, the Pegasus Memorial retraces the arrival on Norman soil of the very first liberators on the night of the 5th to the 6th of June 1944. Period documents and objects.
Memorial of the Battle of Normandy Museum
Bayeux was the first French town to be liberated from the German occupation, on the 7th of June 1944.This museum retraces the military and human story of the Battle of Normandy, which was to last from the 7th of June to the 29th of August 1944. Its recently installed scenography offers an insight into purely historical facts, alternating with themed features, 25 minutes of film archives and a 2,000m2 display including original equipment and uniforms.
The Mémorial de Caen
Located in the immediate vicinity of the D-Day Landing beaches, the Mémorial de Caen visitor centre is among the essential sites focusing on the Battle of Normandy and 20th century history.Over your visit, you will discover the historic events that marked the Second World War, from the onslaught of Nazism to the Normandy landings, via the Holocaust. Several films ensure a comprehensive and diversified visit. A museum area is specially devoted to the Cold War and to press illustrations.
Recently added areas:
– The D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy
– General Richter’s command post, underground bunker at the foot of the Mémorial (since June 2013)