Monday, 6 October 2014

Free World War II Sites to Visit in Calvados

Posted by Rosie

The beaches of Normandy both in Calvados and Manche saw, in June 1944, action that would be pivotal in changing the course of Word War II.  On June 6th 1944 and in the days and weeks that following thousands of allied troops landed on the beaches, now known as the D-Day Beaches and so began their campaign to free Europe from Nazi rule.

Perhaps your father, grandfather or other relative was there.  Perhaps you simply have an interest in this period of history.  Whatever the case there are plenty of sites you can visit, free of charge, to experience and learn about this period.


The beaches themselves


Image from the BBC

 

Utah, Omaha,  Gold, June, Sword.


Where once there was so much bloodshed they are now peaceful places full of families and sunbathers, dog walkers and bird watchers.  Sometimes it is hard to think of them as any other way but numerous Visitor Centres, Museums and Sculptures to help to relive history.  All of the following are free to visit:
Le Memorial des Reporters, Bayeux

Site de la Pointe Hoc and the Visitor Centre, Criqueville-En-Bassin

Image from Calvados Tourism

Batteries du Mont Canisy, Bennerville-sur-Mer

Site Fortifie Hillman, Colleville-Montgomery

Pegasus Bridge, Benouville (although entry to the museum is charged)

Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Centre, Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer

American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Colleville-sue-Mer


Image from Calvados Tourism

Dotted throughout Calvados are many war cemeteries, British and Commonwealth War Graves and memorials to the fallen, the injured and the brave men who went on to help liberate the rest of France.  The closest cemetery to Eco-Gites of Lenault is the British War Cemetery at St-Charles-De-Percy with 789 graves.

There are also 8 signposted driving routes you can follow which look at different parts of the battle for Normandy and free leaflets are available detailing these at local tourist information centres.

An old friend stayed at Eco-Gites of Lenault in the summer and retraced the route his father took 70 years earlier.  Other guests have had close connections with this area during World War II.  Have you a particular interest or connection with the D-Day Landings or  have you a favourite site you have visited free of charge?

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2 comments :

  1. My parents live on a small holding in Normandy where they breed Aubrac cows and grow veg (in fact I'm going to recommend your blog to my Mum) so I've visited a lot of the WWII sites. So many poignant places, you can't help but be deeply moved. I went to Arromanches last summer and was impressed with the 360 cinema, it isn't free but only a few euros.

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  2. I think it's important to visit these historical sites to at least remember the thousands of lives lost. It's quite lovely that on a terrible place where there was so much bloodshed, now families get to enjoy the peaceful beaches and landscape. I bet that was very emotional for your old friend to retrace his father's steps. It's great that all these sites are free to visit. Thanks for sharing on #MondayEscapes

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