The beaches themselves are an open air museum displaying numerous reminders of the Landings and the battle of Normandy: gun batteries, bunkers, cemeteries…
There are signposted routes and a number of museums along the way which will help you understand the history of the Normandy Landings. While staying in Normandy, why not immerse yourself in local history with a guided tour of the beaches.
A number of museums provide the key to understanding the history of the Normandy Landings:
The Arromanches 360 circular cinema puts you at the heart of the action by projecting a film on 9 screens positioned all around you. Outside the cinema, the view over Arromanches is superb and you can also see one of the two artificial Mulberry harbours. Discover the history of the famous Pegasus Bridge at the Musée Mémorial Pégasus (Pegasus Memorial museum in Ranville.
When you visit the beaches, you must stop off at the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer on the rocky outcrop at la Pointe du Hoc, and also the gun battery at Longues-sur-Mer. Close to 100,000 soldiers died in Normandy. The majority of them have been buried there in one of 27 Norman cemeteries. Others have been repatriated to their country of origin. The American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooks Omaha Beach, and contains the graves of 9,387 soldiers. The Visitor Center pays a moving tribute to the soldiers who died fighting for peace. The German cemetery in Cambe is overwhelming in terms of how bleak it is, and also due to the number of soldiers buried there (more than 21,000).
There is nothing like a guided tour for understanding the history of the Landings and the Battle of Normandy. A number of organisations offer minibus tours of the beaches. The Mémorial de Caen war museum also organises a ”day of discovery” comprising a visit to the museum and a guided tour of the beaches.