The focus of this Cherbourg shore trip
is the events which took place in June
1944 at the D-Day Landing Beaches. When you make a reservation for this Cherbourg tour
you can advise us if you pager the tour to focus on the American or Canadian Landings.
The sites visited will depend on your focus of American or Canadian Landings. Located near the town of Bayeux is the entire 75 mile stretch of beaches where the allies landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The beaches were given code names by the allies in preparation for the attack. From west to east are Utah and Omaha (where the Americans landed), Juno (where the Canadians landed), Gold and Sword (where the British landed). American Interest Visits
: After meeting your driver at the Cherbourg pier you depart for the D-Day Landing Sites, starting at Omaha Beach. Omaha was one of two beaches where the Americans landed, but this one was the deadliest scene of the landings.
You will stop at Pointe du Hoc which sits about 200 feet above the sea on high cliffs. The Germans posted long range guns on this naturally protected site to knock out approaching ships. The Allies knew they must overtake and secure the area so that the other landings could be successful. Well before dawn on June 6th 1944 about 200 U.S. rangers scaled the cliffs as German forces fired down upon them. After great losses suffered reaching the top and securing the area, it was discovered that the large guns once here had been moved to the north near Calais. Today it is a great place to start a tour of D-Day sights since it has been left in its condition from that day. You can walk amid bomb craters pocking the white cliffs, go through semi-ruined German bunkers and twisted barbwire fences. Most of us cannot fully imagine the events of that day, but this sight can give you a glimpse into the massive destruction of the war.
Next you visit the town of Arromanches, which was chosen by Winston Churchill as the location of a harbor to be built for the invasion. To build it, 300 foot long cement blocks were floated across the English Channel and sunk in place. Named Port Winston, this harbor and breakwater was over 7 miles long, and allowed the arrival of over 50,000 vehicles and 500,000 troops in just 6 days time. Today you can see the remains of the harbor from the beach, or get a better view from the bluffs above. While you are here, you enjoy a guided visit of the Landing Museum, which uses models and films to explain the landing operations.
After free time to enjoy lunch in a restaurant (meal not included) you drive to Colleville sur Mer and stop at the American Cemetery which is located just above Omaha Beach. This large park like cemetery was donated to the Americans by the French, and contains over 9000 white marble crosses and Star of David grave markers with the name and home state of each soldier who died on the beaches below while fighting the Germans. A centerpiece of the cemetery is a memorial to those who lost there lives, and to the 1577 missing or unidentified soldiers. Look for this quote from a posted sign near the entrance:
Canadian Interest Visits
"Visitor, Look how many of them there were. Look how young they were.
They died for your freedom. Hold back your tears and keep silent."
- After meeting your driver at the Cherbourg pier you depart for the D-Day Landing Sites, starting at Juno Beach. This is the area where Canadians were met with landmines and obstacles, killing about half of the men who landed there.
Nearby you visit the Canadian War Museum, which is the only museum in the D-Day beaches area which highlights the Canadians. Also nearby you can see the remains of German bunkers on the beach.
After a lunch break you continue on to the Canadian cemetery of Beny sur Mer. While you are here you will learn about the massacre of Canadian soldiers which took place at the nearby
Abbey d'Ardenne. The majority of the Canadian soldiers who are buried here died on D-Day. There is time to pay your respects to these Canadian heroes.
At the end of the day you return to the pier in Cherbourg.Mobility
: Folding wheelchair OK, some sites may be inaccessible (advance notice required)
If you cannot find what you are looking for, our Cherbourg shore excursions
can also be customized to fit your needs. If you have a larger group, we can offer you a private Cherbourg tour
using a mid-size bus or full size coach. Please contact us
with any questions or to receive a customized quote.