Visiting Normandy: Some personal, unofficial thoughts
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Going on your own?
What I am recommending is that people search with key words like Normandy, Omaha Beach, debarquement (the French word for the landings), Manche, Lower Normandy, Basse-Normandie. (D-Day pulls up different entries and may overwhelm you.)
Some sites which may be helpful (also check the links on our website—www.normandyallies.org):
- www.normandiememoire.com official site for many commemorative events
- www.warplaces.net/index.htm (lists many, many links)
- www.norex.tripod.com/grandcamp/ (Grandcamp-Maisy)
- www.accor.com Mercure, Ibis, Novotel hotels
- www.memorial.fr Memorial de la Paix, Caen (they sometimes organize day trips)
If you are crossing from England, check www.brittanyferries.co.uk
In Bayeux, we lodge at:
Hotel Churchill (We enjoy—and highly recommend—this hotel because it is in the heart of town and the Heberts are wonderfully welcoming)
14-16 rue St. Jean
Tel : +33 (0) 2 31 21 31 80 Fax : 0 2 31 21 41 66
In Grandcamp-Maisy, we have stayed at La Grancopaise.
84 rue Aristide Briand
14450 Grandcamp-Maisy Normandy
Telephone from USA: 011.33.2.31.32.65.00
We have also stayed at:
Bayeux Novotel—Part of the Accor chain (see above) located on the edge of town
We recommend a Bed & Breakfast near Grandcamp-Maisy, the owner is Mme Hilary Cornet and she is English-speaking:
Hameau LeFèvre, 14450
Telephone: +33 2 31 10 03 97 (from France, check with the international operator if you are outside France)
You can find this on Facebook under “Le Vermont”
A Bed & Breakfast that we have found to be quite nice—located near the American cemetery at Colleville s/Mer:
Daniel et Marie-Thérèse Picquenard
Ferme du Clos Tassin
14710 Colleville s/Mer
Telephone: 011.33. 2 31 22 41 51
FAX: 011.33 2 31 22 29 46
Readers and friends have recommended:
Chantal & Yves Poisson
Fiere Manoir (2 rooms only)
50480 Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France
Telephone: 02 33 41 31 77 (from France, check with the international operator if you are outside France)
Dave & Sue Roberts
Manoir de Herouville
Phone +33 231 21 89 22
We have used the Mercure, Ibis and Novotel hotels in several cities: www.accor.com
For events at the American cemetery at Omaha Beach:
Cimetiere American et Memorial de Normandie
14710 Colleville sur Mer
FAX: from USA – 011-33-2-31-51-62-09
For places to visit, my own list would always include:
Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, The American Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, Grandcamp-Maisy and Isigny as Norman coastal towns, Ste. Mere Eglise… I am sure I would think of more. Also, the German cemetery at LaCambe and the British cemetery in Bayeux.
The Canadian Centre at Juno Beach opened in 2003 and is excellent. www.junobeach.org
Bayeux (the Tapestries of William the Conquerer), Caen (the Memorial to the Peace, Pegasus Bridge), Arromanches (the Circular Theater, the Mulberry Museum), these would be the British and Canadian beaches, Gold, Juno and Sword.
If you go a little south of the beaches, visit Saint-Lo, the American Cemetery at St. James, Mont St. Michel, Avranches, Villedieu des Poelles…
Do check out the links we have on our website to French sites.
Our friends in Normandie strongly recommend the Michelin map and guide book, the ones specifically for Normandie.
Also—we are happy to send you our current announcement as that may give some ideas. We will need your postal mailing address in order to send this to you.