Make the most of your camping holiday in Calvados to visit the Normandy landing beaches, one of the greatest battles of the Second World War. Here's an overview of the museums, memorials, bunkers and military cemeteries to visit on the D-Day beaches.
At dawn on 6 June 1944, under the code name "Operation Overlord", some 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers landed on the Normandy beaches...
Utah Beach is the most westerly of the five landing beaches. It stretches from Sainte-Marie-du-Mont to Quinéville. It was chosen by the Allies to establish a bridgehead and seize the port of Cherbourg more quickly.
Things to see and do at Utah Beach:
the Landing Museum, where an authentic American B-26 Marauder bomber rests,
the Pointe du Hoc, a strategic point in the German fortifications between Utah and Omaha Beach.
Located at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach is the most famous of the five Allied landing beaches. The heavy losses suffered by the Americans earned it the nickname "Bloody Omaha". Nearly 3,000 soldiers were killed or reported missing.
Things to see and do at Omaha Beach:
Omaha Beach Memorial Museum,
Colleville-sur-Mer American War Cemetery.
Between Asnelles and Ver-sur-Mer, Gold Beach was one of the three landing zones for Anglo-Canadian troops on 6 June 1944. The aim was to take Bayeux, block the main Bayeux-Caen route and link up with the Americans at Port-en-Bessin.
Things to see and do at Gold Beach
the Landing Museum at Arromanches-les-Bains,
the America & Gold Beach Museums,
the artificial harbour at Arromanches,
the Arromanches 360° circular cinema,
the Longues-sur-Mer coastal defence battery.
Located in the commune of Courseulles-sur-Mer, in the heart of the D-Day landing beaches, Juno Beach tells the story of the battle fought by the soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division commanded by Major-General Rodney Keller.
What to see and visit at Juno Beach :Juno Beach Centre (Canadian museum),
Juno Park and bunker R666.
Between Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and Ouistreham, Sword Beach is the only D-Day beach where French commandos landed under the command of Commandant Kieffer. Alongside the British, 177 fusiliers marins soldiers set foot on Normandy soil in the first wave of the assault.
Things to see and do at Sword Beach:
the Atlantic Wall Museum in Ouistreham,
the N°4 Franco-British Commando Museum in Ouistreham,
the Hillman fortified site at Colleville-Montgomery (group of German blockhouses),
the Pegasus Memorial in Ranville, dedicated to the soldiers of the 6th British Airborne Division.