The famous Normandy Invasion, took place on 6th June 1944 on the shores north of Bayeux, and it still represents the biggest military operation in history. The beaches of Omaha, Juno, Gold, Utah and Sword, saw the landing of more than 135.000 soldiers of the allied forces. Today the beaches and hills are strewn with dilapidated bunkers worn out by the time, tanks, cannons, ruins of boats rusted by the tides: a giant open air war museum which remind us all of the folly of war.
The landing was followed by the Battle of Normandy which set Europe free from the nazi occupation. The place of the battle is like an open air museum. Once visitors reach the coast they can walk along a loop trail which pass by all the main war sites. More info on : www.normandiememoire.com
The military American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, with over 9386 tombs, is one of the most suggestive places of the area. Every day at 16.30, the American flag is hoisted and the military anthem resounds over the huge meadows covered with an endless row of white crosses and stars of David, in memory of the slaughter which took place here.
From the tourist office in Sainte-MÃ¨re-Eglise you can hire an audio guide with GPS system for the price of 8 Euro per day. The audio guide is called "Le musÃ©e a ciel ouvert de Sainte-MÃ¨re-Eglise/ Utah Beach", and reproduces on the monitor the dramatic sequences of the landing, accompanied with pictures, videos and interviews, while you drive on a 50 km loop which pass by the ten major battle sites. www.sainte-mere-eglise.info
For the price of 1 Euro it is possible to purchase the Normandy Pass, available on internet and from the participating shops. www.normandiepass.com, The Normandie Pass. This card is specifically studied for the discovery of the places of the Invasion, and gives access to up to 50% discount in more than 40 museums and historic sites, as well as in shops selling local products and tastings.
A detailed map of the D-day beaches, is also available from newsagents and shops in Bayeux and the surrounding villages. It is called "D-Day 6.6.44 Jour J".