The Beaches of Normandy – Paying Your Respects During Your Travel To Europe

by Marc Valentine

There’s a ton of stuff to keep you busy on your trip to France in Paris alone… but if you happen to run out of things to do in Paris, or you need a break from the city, there are some great day trips outside of paris that are guaranteed to breath some fresh air into your trip to France…

Of those trips my personal favourite is Chateau De Versailles – another well worth considering is Normandy.


The Battle for Normandy June 1944

Famous for staging the great Allied Invasion of Normandy, soldiers from all over the planet converged on Normandy’s shores in June of 1944 to battle & ultimately defeat a common enemy… Hitlers Nazi Germany.

You don’t have to be a massive history buff to enjoy a trip out to Normandy. Among Normandy’s long list of attractions are the incredible Mont Saint Michel, the garden that Claude Monet famously painted in Giverny, and to round this list off perfectly… Normandy’s Cider route.

The one massive blunder we made when we visited Normandy… we hugely underestimated it’s size & didn’t allow anywhere near enough time to see the area properly.

A 2.5 hour train ride south from Paris, you disembark at Bayeux station… then take the bus No 70 for a further 30 -45 minutes (or thereabouts) out to the coast & the location of Normandy’s infamous beaches.

The allies landed 160,000 soldiers, spread out over 80kms of beach, in order to take 5 key beaches during the D Day landings… each of the D Day landing beaches can be visited today…

  • Omaha
  • Utah
  • Gold
  • Juno
  • & Sword
American Normandy Cemetery

The Landing Beaches of Normandy

The beach you intend to visit will probably depend on where you hail from, & if you had any family that took part in the D Day landings…

You can get a free guided tour around the Normandy American Cemetery which rests on a hilltop above Omaha beach.

The particularly vicious battle for Omaha was famously depicted in Steven Spielberg’s hit film “Saving Private Ryan”.


Omaha beach normandy

Omaha beach today

The two most visited grave sites at the American Normandy Cemetery belong to the infamous Roosevelt family… here lies not 1, but 2 sons of ex-American President, Theodore Roosevelt.

The Roosevelt graves attract so much foot traffic they’re required to be roped off during certain times of the year to allow the well trodden grass to regrow.

When your’e done learning about the battle for Europe, you can take in the rest of the areas sights including the super-impressive Mont Saint Michel.

Roosevelt graves normandy

President Roosevelt’s sons rest in Normandy

Don’t make the same mistake as us & try to do Normandy in a day. I would recommend allowing 3 – 5 days (at least) to visit Normandy… as the area is so large & rich in historical significance you’ll likely want to stay & get the most out of your trip.

Get To Normandy

By rail from Gare St Lazare station in Paris to Bayeux – then board bus No. 70 out the front of the Bayeux railway station.

More info on visiting the American Normandy Cemetery

June 1944 normandy image source – wikipedia,_June_1944.jpg

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