Planning Stage: Normandy 70th Anniversary

by farrah on March 17, 2014 · 12 comments

Several months ago my father expressed interest in making his first overseas trip. Of course, we’re excited and glad that he’s coming, and he only made one request: we take him to Normandy this spring. That might seem somewhat random and a little odd for a person’s only overseas trip, but really, it makes quite a bit of sense. This June marks Normandy’s 70th anniversary of D-Day. My father was not in Normandy (how old do you think I am?!) but being a veteran of military service, this is something meaningful that we want to do with him. Thus, the planning for our trip in May has begun.

Normandy Land of Liberty Photo credit: Normandie, land of liberty 2014 079© Stéphane Dévé

When

The main commemoration activities are to happen June 5th to August 21st 2014. We plan to arrive the second week of May in order to visit and pay respect a little under the hoopla radar. Going with the kids means that everything takes on a different spectrum- and we would rather go beforehand to hopefully beat the chaos. I recently saw that even President Obama plans to visit during that time, so yeah. Probably a good thing to go while it’s still relatively quiet.

Where

Normandy is located in northwestern France. The interactive map of events can be found here which will tell you what’s going on and when.

How to get there

We’re driving. We estimate about a six-hour drive from our home. We need to have the car to get from our rental to the beaches and hold all of our ‘stuff’. You know with the boys that means extra everything!

Where to stay

We just locked down our accommodations last night. For our third go with House Trip (seriously, I love these guys) we found a house 30 minutes from Normandy beach which will comfortably house all six of us. From what I have been reading- two ideal cities to look at staying in if you’re going are Caen and Bayeux. Be warned though- places are booking up quickly (if they aren’t already) and you will need to act fast in order to secure something if you plan to go. You can check this link on the ‘where to stay‘ section of Normandy Tourism.

What to do

So many options! I am currently looking at a tour for my father and I to take one day, even though we are technically going before the main events. I can’t say enough how much info you can find on the websites dedicated to the commemoration. You’ll find bicycle trails, horseback riding, and all of the many places to visit including museums and sites. The trouble you might find is what can’t you fit in during your visit.

Connect

NormandyPhoto credit: ruines 2© CRBN- National Archives USA

I’ll have more posts to come on our trip- I am really looking forward to visiting and seeing such an important part of history. I feel like we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit on such a notable anniversary.

Have you ever visited Normandy? What tips can you offer us?

I have no affiliation with Normandy Tourism or the official 70th Normandy organization. Photos from 70th website.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellen March 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I remember going there as a kid and the endless fields with white crosses made quite a impression! The coast will be great for the kids!
Groet, Ellen

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2 farrah March 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Great Ellen! I do think it will make quite an impression on all of us. So glad that we get to do this.

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3 Leighann March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

This sounds like such an amazing trip. My grandfather would have loved it.

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4 farrah March 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

As would mine- it will be something B might always remember, not sure if the twins will.

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5 Tanya March 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Normandy has been one of our favorite trips. There is so much history there, and I learned so much about WWII. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud to be an American! It is a great trip with children because so many of the sites are just walking outside, where they can run around a little. Here’s the link to the first of my posts on Normandy. The rest are listed at the bottom of this first post.

http://txtanya.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/bayeuxfrance.html

We went last May. My main tip is that it can be very windy in this region, so even if the temps seem warm, bring a windbreaker/hat.

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6 farrah March 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Perfect Tanya! Thank you- that’s exactly what I need 🙂 And great tip- I hadn’t even thought about the wind and it makes perfect sense. I appreciate you sharing your link. Will add it to a Pinterest board 🙂

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7 Ace March 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I think this is going to be a great trip. I can understand you’re dad’s wanting to go – it will be special to share it with him.

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8 Theresa March 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Gah think my comment just got erased! 🙁

Bottom line is we love Normandy and tend to wind up there yearly. We usually stay in Dieppe and take day trips from there but you absolutely can not miss Etretat! You guys will love it!

Oh yes, the wind can be pretty wicked no matter the time of year.

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9 Heather March 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm

http://www.ddayhistorian.com

I did the Band of Brothers tour with Paul (see link), recommended in Rick Steve’s. A-MAZ-ING. I watched the series before the trip, which helped connect the dots. He is an honest-to-god historian, truly an expert on D Day. He really raised the bar for us to do historical tours in the future, because he was so incredible.

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