Lay the foundations in Caen
There’s nothing like a visit to the Caen Memorial to refresh your knowledge of D-Day and the Second World War. Here you can explore a new space from 6 June: an immersive cinema presenting the history of Europe in the 20th century. We will also be able to admire Norman Rockwell’s famous Four Freedoms, exhibited for the first time outside the United States as part of the exhibition ‘Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms’, from 4 June to 27 October 2019.
Take in the sea air on Omaha
Facing the sea with feet in the sand, we soak up the special atmosphere of this beach. It’s hard to imagine that this calm and peaceful place was transformed into a battlefield on the morning of 6 June 1944. We observe the rising tide whose waves are gradually breaking on Les Braves, the three monumental sculptures by artist Anilore Banon symbolising the courage of the fighters. Behind us, the American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer provokes sombre contemplation as we wander among rows of perfectly-aligned white crosses on the bright green lawn.
Dine in good company
Having worked up an appetite in the sea air, we head to La Chenevière, a five-star hotel in Port-en-Bessin between Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches, for a dinner with American veterans who took part in D-Day. It’s a unique opportunity to meet these men who made history, and chat to them over a meal at gourmet restaurant Le Botaniste. And to recover from this emotional day, we should have no trouble sleeping in the calm of one of the chateau’s 29 rooms. Special dinners are organised here every other Thursday, from 18 April to 28 November 2019.
Visit the Wall in Longues-sur-Mer
After a short passage through the fishing port of Port-en-Bessin, we head towards Longues-sur-Mer for a few kilometres, where there is a former German battery listed as a historical monument. During a guided tour (available in French and English), we learn more about this major work of the Atlantic Wall which played a strategic role in D-Day, and whose command post and four bunkers with original artillery can still be seen today.
Pedal along the coast
On your bike! From the Longues-sur-Mer battery, we take the new stretch of the Littoral du Bessin cycle route, which opened last spring, to rejoin Arromanches. On the way, we enjoy the scenery and the view of the remains of the Winston Churchill artificial port built by the Allies in the summer of 1944.
Cycle route: Arromanches-les-Bains / Port-en-Bessin-Huppain
Back to the Battle of Normandy
Before going down to the beach, we take a break on the heights of Arromanches, at panoramic cinema Arromanches 360. For 20 minutes, the film ‘The 100 Days of Normandy’, projected in high definition on nine screens, plunges us into the heart of the eponymous battle thanks to many rarely-seen images.
Eat your fill of delicacies
It’s impossible to end the trip without a visit to Asnelles, a few kilometers from Arromanches. In this small seaside resort, which saw the British troops disembark on the morning of 6 June 1944, you’re drawn to the Sablés d’Asnelles shop, a craft biscuit factory whose recipe has remained unchanged since 1904. Here you can try the Carasnelles, a shortbread made with Isigny caramel.