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Caen World War II

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Small-Group Canadian Normandy D-Day Juno Beach from Paris

1. Small-Group Canadian Normandy D-Day Juno Beach from Paris

On June 6th, 1944 the largest seaborne invasion ever attempted in history took place. The Allied troops waged an extremely difficult attack on the German forces who were entrenched in bunkers along the coast of Normandy. More than 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed or parachuted into France on that day. Though the soldiers knew that they were fighting against the odds they carried on with courage and helped to win the battle for Normandy. During this insightful tour, you will take a guided journey through many of the historical landmarks that are pivotal to this moment in history. Take a walk on Juno Beach, just like the Canadian troops did in 1944, you can walk on the same sand they did on that very day. Whilst at Juno Beach, your guide will take you to see Juno Beach Center, the most comprehensive museum about the Canadian landings in Normandy. Visit the Canadian Cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer. There, stroll through the beautiful cemetery whilst paying your respects to the fallen Canadian soldiers. Also see "Hell's Corner," the furthest advance inland taken by Canadian troops on D-Day, 5-miles from the city of Caen. You'll also be able to see Abbey d'Ardenne, a HQ point for the nazis. Whether you’re a great admirer of military history or someone who is just curious about how the events really played out on D-Day, this tour will help you better appreciate the remarkable acts of courage that took place on Juno Beach. For they are well worth learning about and being remembered by all free folk today.

From Paris: 2-Day Normandy & Brittany Tour

2. From Paris: 2-Day Normandy & Brittany Tour

Discover the historic D-Day Beaches on a 2-day trip around the stunning French regions of Normandy and Brittany. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Paris - Caen (Meals: D) Take the Normandy motorway and make your first stop at Rouen for a walking tour in the old town before continuing to Honfleur. On the way between Rouen and Honfleur, enjoy a view of the newly built Pont de Normandie, a cable-stayed bridge. Take free time for lunch once in Honfleur, then continue to the beaches of Normandy and pass by the landing area at Omaha Beach. Visit the American cemetery of Saint-Laurent, stop off in Arromanches, and then continue on for dinner and an overnight stay at Novotel Caen (or similar). Day 2: Caen - Paris (Meals: B) Leave Caen in the direction of Saint-Malo located in the Brittany region. Take a guided tour of the town, including a walk along the ramparts and the cathedral. After free time for lunch, depart for Mont-Saint-Michel, the frontier between the Brittany and Normandy regions. Continue your afternoon with a guided visit of the abbey and free time for strolling and shopping, before returning to Paris.

From Paris: Normandy Landing Beaches D-Day Tour by Minibus

3. From Paris: Normandy Landing Beaches D-Day Tour by Minibus

Explore some of the most important sights in Normandy – the remains of historic Allied landings that changed the course of the Second World War. The full-day tour from Paris will take you to the German battery of Longues sur Mer, part of the German's Atlantic Wall of defense. You will also stop at the American Cemetery in Colleville, for an emotional visit, where 9,386 soldiers now rest. In 2007 a new Visitor Center was created to commemorate the operations of the D-Day Landings, and you will have time to learn more about these dramatic events. Continue to Omaha Beach, where more bloody events took place, and spend some time contemplating those moments before you break for lunch. In the early afternoon, you will see the ruins of the Arromanches’ artificial harbor, built by the Allies in less than 15 days. Finally, continue along the coast past Gold Beach to Juno Beach, where you will get a guided tour of the remains of the Atlantic Wall, before your return to Paris.

From Paris: Private Normandy D-Day Beaches Tour

4. From Paris: Private Normandy D-Day Beaches Tour

Depart from your hotel in Paris and then, after 2.5 hours driving, arrive at Colleville Cemetery. Nearly, 9387 American soldiers died during the landing and you will see the perfectly aligned gravestones across this expansive green lawn. The Cemetery visitor center is also very helpful if you wish to know more about the details of Operation Overlord. Omaha Beach was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion. the beach is just under the cemetery and was the theater of one of the most intense periods of fighting. The beach was nicknamed the Bloody Beach. You will stop by Arromanche, the seaside city which was a priority target of Allied troops. You will be able to have lunch at one of the restaurants that your driver will recommend to you. To end the visit, you will be driven to Pointe du Hoc. Symbolizing the courage of the young American soldiers involved in its storming, the famous Pointe du Hoc was one of the strongest German fortifications and was taken by force on the morning of 6th June by Colonel Rudder’s Rangers. The site, full of emotional memories, has been completely redeveloped; its impressive appearance bears witness to the intensity of the battle which took place here. You will then return to Paris.

Caen: Private Guided City Sightseeing Walking Tour

5. Caen: Private Guided City Sightseeing Walking Tour

Learn about the fascinating history of Caen, laying in the heart of Normandy, just 20km away from the landing beaches! Caen became a strategic center during the Middle Ages thanks to William the Conqueror. Walk down the charming medieval streets with the half-timbered houses and contemplate the impressive facade of the Caen Castle, one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Europe! Enjoy the special atmosphere of old times when passing the street "Rue Froide," full of unique small shops, bookstores, and artisans! Caen will surprise you by the huge amount of churches, abbeys and cathedrals, many of them built by William the Conqueror! Nicknamed "the city of tousends faces," Caen is really full of contrasts. Hardly destroyed by the bombardments, the city was successfully rebuilt. Today, you can experience the dynamic city full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered with your guide. Do not hesitate to personalize the tour; your private local guide will be happy to adjust the visit to your specific needs.

Normandy: D-Day Beaches Private Tour from Caen or Bayeux

6. Normandy: D-Day Beaches Private Tour from Caen or Bayeux

Spend the day getting to know the Normandy WWII sites on a private guided tour from Caen or Bayeux. Visit Ste Mère Eglise, the hedgerow country, Utah Beach, the Airborne Museum, and the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. Enjoy included snacks and a stop for lunch. Your tour starts in the morning, with pickup directly from your accommodation in Caen or Bayeux. Prepare for the day with a fresh coffee and croissants before heading to the first Normandy WWII site on the itinerary. During the ride, benefit from the on-board audio system to hear your guide in the van. There will be digital resources provided during your ride so you can get some content about the places visited throughout the day. First, arrive at Ste Mère Eglise, the iconic village of the US Airborne, to understand how 14000 paratroopers played a crucial role in preparing for the success of D-Day. Visit the Airborne Museum (entry ticket included), where your guide will the exhibit to you. Then, head for the hedgerow country where you'll see the natural fences where so many German soldiers hid during the Battle of Normandy. On Utah Beach, your guide will explain why this beach could be so quickly and successfully taken. You'll then get to recharge with a gourmet lunch on Omaha Beach facing the monument to the Allies, The Braves (lunch costs not included). Learn the details of the battle that took place here 77 years ago. After lunch, you'll head for the Pointe du Hoc where you'll see many of the German WWII bunkers taken by the U.S. 2nd Rangers Battalion. Finally, at the Normandy American Cemetery, you'll have time to visit the site and the memorial before attending the Casing of the Colors ceremony. If time allows, see the Longues-sur-Mer battery, the last WWII German battery, whose 150-mm guns were shooting on D-Day. By the end of the tour, you’ll have made your way round-trip back to your accommodation.  

Normandy D-Day beaches private Canadian tour from Bayeux

7. Normandy D-Day beaches private Canadian tour from Bayeux

We need to ensure that their story is passed on from present to future generations !!! During that tour, we will cover different topics about D-Day (the ground, naval, airborne forces, the artificial ports, the decoy plan called Fortitude, the French life under the german occupation, the French resistance, the Atlantic wall, …). Then we will explore different battlefields in the Canadian sector (Juno sector) where 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed or parachuted into France on D-Day. Your day will start at the Ardenne Abbey built in the 12th century and occupied by the monks until the French revolution. In the 20th century, the place was under the control of a farmer Jacques Vico and became under the german occupation a training camp for the the French resistance. On June 7th 1944, the buildings were occupied by the Hitlerjugend Division or called the Baby division (12 SS division). Today a Memorial commemorates a tragic event that happened there with the execution of 27 canadian soldiers. On the way to go to Juno beach, you will see two Memorials dedicated to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and to the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment. One stop will be held to Hell's corner where the Canadians resisted repetitive attacks by the Germans and bombardments for three weeks until the victory at the Carpiquet airfield on July 4. We will stop in Anguerny (Elm line), where the 3 Canadian Regiments (La Chaudière, the Queen's Own Rifles and the Fort Garry Horse) set up their camp for the night. An inukshuk, a stack of human-shaped stones from the Inuit tradition, symbolizes brotherhood, mutual respect and friendship between people. To conclude the morning, you will pay tribute to the 2.049 brave Canadians who are burried in that a cemetery before you gather at the Canada House where a memorial has been erected in honour of the Queen's Own Rifles Regiment and the Fort Garry Horse Armoured Division who paid a heavy price in the assault. Not far away, you will see the Hotel Graves, the headquarters for the Canadian and British War correspondants. After the lunch break, you will head to Juno Beach Centre where the Regina and all Canadian Scottish regiments landed. Juno Beach Center presents the story of a new nation, the civilian war effort of the entire population, the early involvment of the country to help England to fight the Nazis. In the park, you will explore some remains of the atlantic wall (strongpoints, tobrouk, command post ...), a Churchill AVRE tank (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers), armed with a 290mm gun and aCosy's Pillbox, easily recognisable by its tilt, which was the site of fierce fighting on 6th June 1944. Juno sector is the place who received the Prime Minister Churchill, the first steps of Charles de Gaulle since his exile in England and King of England. That is why today is erected a huge silver Lorraine French resistance cross to mark to return of Charles de Gaulle in France.

Normandy D-Day beaches private tour UK sector from Bayeux

8. Normandy D-Day beaches private tour UK sector from Bayeux

We need to ensure that their story is passed on from present to future generations !!! During that tour, we will cover different topics about D-Day (the ground, naval, airborne forces, the artificial ports, the decoy plan called Fortitude, the French life under the german occupation, the French resistance, the Atlantic wall, …). Then we will explore different battlefields in Sword and Gold sectors where many other nationalities participated to the liberation of the Nazism alongside the British (Canadians, French, Australians, New-Zelanders, Belgians ...) Our first stop will be Sword sector to learn more about Operation Deadstick led by the 6th Airborne Division who captured Pegasus bridge on Caen canal and Horsa bridge on Orne river in the early hours of D-Day. You will discover a Memorial in honour of the men of the 3 gliders that realized a fantastic landing in a tiny space between the two rivers. You will discover on the other bank of the river Café Gondré still a restaurant today and maybe you will have the opportunity to meet the owner who was 5 years old when she saw the first British paratroopers to come into her house and used it as a medical station. Her place is considered to be the first house to be liberated in France. That lady is also one of the last witness that saw the production of the movie the Longest Day that was filmed there and we can't forget that bapiper crossing the bridge under the enemy fire. Then, you will pay tribute to the 2.563 men who died fighting for freedom in the Ranville War Cemetery devoted mainly to the 6th British airborne division. You will honor among those young soldiers, Den Brotheridge, considered to be the first Allied soldier to be killed, Robert Bobby who died at 16 years old or Emile Corteil burried with his paratrooper dog. The late morning will conclude with a visit to Sword Beach where the 3rd British division landed. Among it, 177 French soldiers under the orders of the British commandos had the honor to step the first on the french soil 4 years after the German invasion. After a lunch break, we will continue on to Gold Beach where the 50th Infantry Division landed. Your guide will explain you the key facts of the success of the Battle of Normandy thanks to the construction of the artificial port of Arromanches codenamed Mulberry B with a stunning view on the remains of the Phoenix caissons, the unloading dock and pontoons. Then further west of the village, you will explore another location filmed for the needs of the movie The Longest Day with the famous scene of this German officer (Werner Pluskat) who saw from his command post thousands of Allied ships arriving from England. The Longues-sur-Mer artillery coastal battery covering Gold and Omaha beaches includes a firing command post and four casemates, 3 of them still housing a 150 mm artillery piece. This element of the Altantic wall is the only place with the guns still in place in Normandy.

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What people are saying about Caen

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 300 reviews

Igor had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Normandy battles. He conveyed his knowledge in an engaging and very creative way. We learned so much from him. He helped us get an extremely realistic view of not only the battles, but a feel for what the of the local French inhabitants of the surrounding countryside lived through being occupied for years before the D Day invasion. He also helped us understand how the local terrain affected the battles by taking us on small roads to experience the thick hedgerows and the elevation changes of the ground especially along the coast. We all came away feeling we learned so much more than if we had just visited a museum. I would highly recommend Igor for your tour guide.

Absolutely the highlight of our trip (2 adults, 14 & 12 year old boys). We came to honour our family’s D Day sacrifice and were so grateful to have Jonathon be our tour guide. He was knowledgable, patient, supportive and an endless resource. A day we will cherish forever. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience, it was perfection.

This was an amazing experience. Truly an emotional and touching tribute to our Canadian soldiers. Our tour guide Nadir was THE BEST!!! His knowledge of the area and the history was superior and he went out of his way to cater to our needs and made the day truly memorable. Highly recommend.

Excellent tour, guide was on time and very knowledgeable. I recommend this tour

Our guide was knowledgeable about the topic. He is friendly also.