Welcome to Normandy
From the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944, Normandy has long played an outsized role in European history. This rich and often brutal past is brought vividly to life by the spectacular island monastery of Mont St-Michel; the Bayeux Tapestry, world-famous for its cartoon scenes of 11th-century life; and the cemeteries and memorials along the D-Day beaches, places of solemn pilgrimage... Read More
Top experiences in Normandy
Normandy Beaches Half-Day Trip from Bayeux
After pickup from Bayeux, your guide will take you to the three important World War II sites in Normandy. Your first stop is Pointe du Hoc, the German battery that was attacked by US Rangers on D-Day. Hear how the Rangers, commanded by Lt Col James Rudder, scaled the cliffs to get to the German gun position — a scene that was famously depicted in the war film Saving Private Ryan. With its huge fortifications blown to pieces, the site remains as it did when the US Rangers left it: like an eerie lunar landscape.Then drive along the coast to Omaha Beach, where soldiers of the Vierville 29th and Colleville 1st Divisions landed. By far the most difficult place to land on D-Day, Omaha Beach was the bloodiest of the five beaches and the operation almost failed, but the bravery of those young men turned this operation into a victory. You’ll make two stops along the 4-mile (6-km) beach, one on each end, to give you an appreciation of the sheer scale of the events that took place here. Overlooking the eastern end of Omaha Beach is the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which you’ll visit next. This cemetery — the largest American cemetery in Europe — holds the bodies of 9,387 soldiers who fought to liberate Western Europe from the Germans. Pay tribute to the 307 unknown soldiers or visit the resting place of more famous figures such as General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. End with a tour of the Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center, where you’ll learn more about the scenes that took place on Omaha Beach in 1944. Through personal stories, narrative texts, photos, films, interactive displays and artifacts, you’ll grasp the bravery and sacrifice of the American soldiers who fought at the D-Day landings, culminating in the victory of the Allied forces. After this insightful and moving experience, your guide will drive you back to Bayeux to conclude your tour.
Normandy Battlefields Tour - American Sites
Begin your tour with a visit to the Sainte-Mère Church and Airborne Museum, the site of a massive airborne operation involving 15,000 U.S. paratroopers during World War II. Hear from your knowledgeable guide how the brave soldiers descended from the skies on the night before D-Day and learn the incredible story of Private John Steele, one of the paratroopers.Continue onward to Utah Beach, where soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division leapt from their landing crafts and headed inland under the orders of General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. The first day of battle saw relatively few casualties, but the same cannot be said for those that followed.Visit the German Cemetery, the largest in Normandy dedicated to German casualties of war and the place where over 21,000 fallen soldiers are laid to rest. Spend time at Pointe du Hoc, one of the very largest German coastal batteries. The guns located here rained shells down on Allied soldiers across Omaha and Utah beaches, and the job of silencing them fell to a certain Lt. Col. Rudder and the U.S. Rangers of the 2nd Battalion.Spend time on Omaha Beach, widely considered the most famous of the D-Day landing beaches. Gain an insight into the challenge faced by the Allied forces landing here under heavy German fire, and take time to consider their extraordinary courage.The last stop on your tour is the American Cemetery and Visitor Center, the final resting place of 9,387 U.S. soldiers. The cemetery overlooks Omaha Beach and honors soldiers of all ranks in equal measure. Spend time walking among the marked graves and consider this fitting tribute to those who never made it home after World War II.After nine hours discovering the Normandy battlefields, travel back to Bayeaux where your tour will come to an end.
Giverny and Monet Half-Day Trip
Your morning or afternoon half-day tour departs from Pyramides in central Paris. Traveling by comfortable coach, ride 1.5 hours through the Normandy countryside to the village of Giverny, where renowned French Impressionist painter Claude Monet and his family settled in 1883. It was here that the artist indulged his love of nature, gardening and botany, and he worked for several years to cultivate this piece of land. The scenery in Monet's gardens is (literally) straight out of a painting: bright orchards, a serene pond draped with weeping willows and bamboo trees, and water lilies in bloom all summer long. During a guided walk around the exquisite gardens, you’ll see first-hand the water lilies (nymphéas) and Japanese bridge that was featured in many of Monet's masterpieces.You'll then visit Monet’s house at your own pace. Given by Monet’s son Michel to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1966, the house has been restored to reflect the original interior. Monet's gardens were inspired by traditional Japanese gardens that he knew from the prints he avidly collected, and inside his house, you'll see a sample of his precious collection of Japanese prints adorning the walls. Outside is his large studio, where he painted the famous Water Lilies series.Before you leave, be sure to check out the excellent souvenir shop featuring a range of reproductions of Monet's paintings, crockery, table sets and even a range of flower seeds. Then, reconvene with your guide and relax on the drive back to Paris.
Giverny and Monet's Garden Small Group Day Trip from Paris
Your afternoon tour to Giverny will take you through the Normandy countryside to the charming country village of Giverny, where Monet lived with his family from 1883 until his death in 1926. It was here in Giverny that Monet indulged his love of nature, in his painting, his gardening and his photography. You'll be able to stroll through Monet's exquisite gardens and admire the water-lily pond and famous Japanese bridge which featured in his masterpieces. Independently explore the house and gardens to get a real feel for how Monet lived and what provided the inspiration to his works. The final stop on your artists' tour before returning to Paris is a visit to the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny. The museum houses a number of works by American painters who traveled to Giverny to meet Claude Monet and draw inspiration from his Impressionist techniques.
D-Day Tour Including Guided Museum Visit and Lunch
Your tour begins at Caen railway station, making it especially easy to join if you're coming into the city by train from Paris (own expense). Follow your guide to the Mémorial de Caen, a museum covering major historical events from the end of World War I to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Your guide - trained by the museum's historians - will explain the intense preparations for D-Day by both sides, and the tremendous significance of the day in the outcome of World War II. Feel free to ask your guide any questions you may have about D-Day as you indulge in a 2-course lunch served with mineral water and a glass of wine at La Terrasse, a restaurant at the museum. In the afternoon, board a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and embark on a 5-hour guided tour of some of the most important D-Day sites you learned about during your Mémorial de Caen museum tour. The sites you see are dependent on whether you wish to visit the key American D-Day sites, or if you'd prefer to focus on Canadian sites instead.If you've opted for the American tour, visit the artificial harbour at Arromanches, the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach and the Pointe du Hoc. Alternatively, select the Canadian tour to see Bernières-sur-Mer, the Juno Beach Centre, the Canadian Cemetery in Bény-sur-Mer and the Abbaye d’Ardenne Throughout your small-group tour, your guide will share stories that will humanize the stark statistics of World War II and D-Day. By the end of this powerful tour of historic sites, you'll understand just how much was at stake on D-Day and have a new appreciation for the men who fought and died in the war. Your tour ends at Caen railway station in the evening so you can easily catch a train back to Paris (own expense) if you wish.On Sundays from January 28 to March 31 and from October 1 to December 31 the guided visit of the Memorial de Caen museum will only last 30 minutes. This is because the first train from Paris arrives at 11am and the guided tour of the D-Day landing sites departs at 1pm.
Omaha Beach Half-Day Trip from Bayeux
You’ll be picked up from central Bayeux or your hotel and driven by comfortable 8-passenger minivan to three of Normandy's most important World War II sites. Throughout your 3-hour morning tour, your guide will tell stories about the events surrounding D-Day, the infamous day in 1944 when the Allies invaded German-occupied Normandy.First, visit the prominent cliff of Pointe du Hoc, one of the largest German coastal batteries. With their long-range guns and canons, they threatened the whole American sector all the way to the coast to Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. On D-Day, American forces landed on the small rocky beach, bravely scaled the sheer cliffs, and successfully located and destroyed the guns. It was quite a feat — many thought it would be impossible — and the total casualties were devastating. With its huge fortifications blown to pieces, the well-preserved site remains as it was when the US Rangers left it — like an eerie lunar landscape.Next, drive along the coast to Omaha Beach, the most famous of the five D-Day beaches, depicted in the movie Saving Private Ryan. American soldiers had to jump out of their Landing Craft, wade their way out of the cold water, cross the beach and get up onto the bluff, all while being shot at. Due to the site's topography, this operation was D-Day's bloodiest and almost failed, but the bravery, courage and sacrifice of those young men turned it into a victory.Overlooking the bluff is the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which you’ll visit next. The final resting place of 9,387 American service men whose graves are marked by beautiful white marble headstones, this site is a poignant tribute to those who fought so valiantly in one of the deadliest battles in history. You’ll see some of the better-known graves including the three Medal-of-Honor recipients and General Theodore Roosevelt Jr, as well as Ollie Reed father and son and the two Niland brothers, who served as inspiration for Saving Private Ryan.After your tour of the cemetery, hop back in the minivan and relax on the contemplative ride back to Bayeux.