Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial

Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial information

D-Day Beaches , France
Street Colleville-sur-Mer
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Lonely Planet review

The huge Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, 17km northwest of Bayeux, is the largest American cemetery in Europe. Featured in the opening scenes of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, it contains the graves of 9387 American soldiers, including 41 pairs of brothers, and a memorial to 1557 others whose remains were never found. White marble crosses and Stars of David stretch off in seemingly endless rows, surrounded by an immaculately tended expanse of lawn. The cemetery is overlooked by a large colonnaded memorial, centred on a statue dedicated to the spirit of American youth.

Opened in 2007, the visitor center, mostly underground so as not to detract from the site, has an excellent free multimedia presentation on the D-Day landings, told in part through the stories of individuals. Be prepared for airport-type security. Visitor centre tours of the cemetery (one in the afternoon year-round, a second in the morning in summer) focus on personal stories.