The tour day by day
(Optional) You can arrive in Paris at our centrally located hotel one day early.
Arrival at the hotel at 2pm. You will be given your rooms, and after an introductory briefing we will go to the French Military Museum. After the museum we will visit the Eiffel Tower. In the evening there will be a welcome dinner at a typical French restaurant.
Departure from Paris in the morning. On our way through the French countryside we will visit Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s headquarters at La Roche Guyon, a spectacular chateau located near the River Seine. Rommel was away in Germany when the invasion was launched and this certainly contributed to the Allies’ success. We will then proceed east towards the invasion area. First stop Pegasus Bridge, where the first airborne troops landed on D-Day. We will see the memorial and then visit Café Gondree (Pegasus Bridge) for refreshments. Afterwards we will go to Caen to see one of the largest museums in Normandy, the Memorial de la Paix. The museum gives a good introduction to the invasion and the following days of the battle. We will then proceed to our Bayeux hotel where we will spend four nights. We will have dinner at the hotel.
We begin our tour in the morning. The first stop is the German cemetery at La Cambe, the resting place of around 25,000 Germans. One of the most famous is Michael Wittmann, a German tank commander, who destroyed more than 100 enemy tanks. We then go to a private farm, which is the location of a V-1 launch site. We have the owner’s permission to visit the site. It is very well preserved and you will hear the story of the German V-weapons and an explanation of why the launch site was built here. We then visit some of the most famous locations related to the invasion, including Sainte-Mère-Église, the village where the 82th Airborne Division landed. Nearby are the fields where the 101st Airborne Division was dropped. In Sainte-Mère-Église, a house caught fire on the night before D-Day, arousing the interest and attention of the Germans. Suddenly parachutists began dropping all over the town and the Germans realized that the invasion had begun. There were heavy casualties, but the famous Pvt. John Steel, who landed on the church tower, survived and today a café has been named after him. Where the burning house stood is today the Airborne Museum with a Waco glider and a C-47 Paratrooper plane and many other items and pictures related to the airborne landings. We will have lunch in Sainte-Mère-Église before we go to Utah Beach to see the landing beach and the museum. On our way we will pass the village of Ste. Marie du Mont, the drop zone of the 101th Airborne, and visit the monument at Brécourt Manor. We will take a walk on Utah Beach before going to the small museum at Dead Man’s Corner. Captain Winters, 506th Easy Company (Band of Brothers), 101st Airborne, has donated his uniform and some of his equipment to the museum and it can be seen there. At the end of the day we return to Bayeux. It is a small Norman town from the Viking age, and home to the renowned Bayeux Tapestry. The tapestry was commissioned more than 900 years ago by Bishop Odo of Bayeux Cathedral, who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror. The tapestry is still in Bayeux and you will have the opportunity to see this unique piece of cloth, measuring more than 70 yards long and 1 yard wide, and embroidered with scenes from William Duke of Normandy’s invasion of England in 1066. Bayeux was the first town in France to be liberated by the Allies. This saved the town from destruction and almost no fighting took place in the city. In the center of town where we will be staying, you will discover narrow streets, shops, restaurants, cafes and historical houses. Bayeux is the best accommodation choice for visiting all the landing beaches. Stretching more than 50 miles from east to west, the landing beaches require some driving to visit. Staying in centrally located Bayeux reduces the amount of time we need to spend on transport.
Gold Beach, June 6th 1944
We begin the day at Pointe du Hoc, an important fortified German battery. Rangers led by Col. Rudder took the position on the morning of June 6th. The ground has not been leveled and the ruins of the German bunkers still stand in their original location. This is one of the best places to get an idea of the scale of the bombardments on D-Day and the preceding days. From Pointe du Hoc we go to Vierville, one of the villages behind Omaha Beach. We will see the remains of the artificial harbour, Mulberry A, which was destroyed by a storm on June 19th, 1944. The remains in the sea can only be seen at very low tide. We will drive along Omaha Beach and we stop and take a walk on one of the most famous battlefields of WWII. We then visit the Omaha Beach Museum and proceed to the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, just behind Omaha Beach. More than 9000 Americans rest here in a breathtaking setting with green lawns dotted with white crosses overlooking the sea. No one who visits this place is unaffected. We will also visit the Omaha Beach Visitor Center and Museum, and take a short walk to look at the remains of one of the German strongholds, WN 62, here perhaps the first Germans saw the invasion fleet. We then continue along Omaha Beach and reach Gold Beach, where British forces came ashore. We will visit the German artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer, the only place today with the original guns in position. They were damaged on June 6th 1944 and are still to be found on the site. We then visit the museum of the second artificial harbor, Mulberry B, which survived the storm on June 19th and was active as an important harbor until November 1944. There are many remains left in the sea and the breakwater can be seen almost intact at low tide. Back in Bayeux (before dinner) we visit a Calvados producer. Calvados is the famous apple brandy produced only in Normandy. We will hear about its production and taste a couple of calvados.
We visit the castle behind Gold Beach where Montgomery had his headquarters just after the invasion. The building is private but we can see it from the outside. We then go to Juno Beach and the Canadian Memorial. We will see the exhibits and follow the coast to Sword Beach, where we will visit a German observation tower, now a fine museum. Our bus will take us back to Bayeux, to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, from where we proceed to the museum for the Normandy Battles and the Bayeux War Cemetery, where British and Canadian dead are buried. In the evening we will have another good French dinner.
We will leave for Paris in the morning, arriving in the city around noon. Here we will begin at the Escadrille La Fayette Memorial, the last resting place of American pilot from WW1. We will take a boat trip on the Seine River. The boat landing is within walking distance of Notre Dame, which we will visit. It is also close to the police headquarters, where the police fought the Germans just before Paris was liberated. We will also see the Deportation Memorial, directly behind Notre Dame. We then continue to our hotel and there will be some free time before dinner.
We begin with a sightseeing tour of Paris. It will take us to Sacré Coeur, Place de la Concorde, Champs-Elysée and many other well-known sights. We will also see the German Headquarters during the occupation of France. On the morning of June 17th 1940 Adolf Hitler went sightseeing on his only visit to Paris. It lasted five hours. You will hear many stories about France and Paris during the German occupation. You will have the afternoon at your disposal in Paris. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner in a good French restaurant.
Check out of the hotel before 11am. (Optional) Extra night(s) at the hotel in Paris.
Please advise when you purchase the tour package if you wish to extend your stay in Paris (either before or after the tour).