World War Battlefields: 2004
This June 6th marked the 60th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings in Normandy. This summer was the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. Both wars engulfed Europe for years and traces of the battles can still be found. What evocative European sights have you discovered that bring these two conflicts to life?
D-Day tours / Victory Tours / Roel Klinkhamer -Terrific!
Victory Tours' owner, Roel Klinkhamer, hosted a 2 day private tour of the Normandy beaches for our family (5) in April 04. The experience exceeded our expectations. Roel arrived at our hotel (Bayeux) with a clean, comfortable van and a welcoming smile. He immediately made us feel comfortable as we embarked on two exciting days of touring. Roel was extremely knowledgeable about the Normandy sites and history, told engaging stories and was easy to be around with for 2 days. We explored all the key sites (beaches, bunkers, museums, churches etc...). Roel even set up a surprise stop at the end of the second day. He arranged for our family to attend a poetry reading by well known Normandy poet... something we probably wouldn't have done on our own but thoroughly enjoyed. Roel made our trip special ... he was simply terrific.
Donna & Jim
Birmingham, MI USA Wed 12/29/2004
Several WW II Sites
I am a life-long student of WW II history. I traveled to France and Belgium in the fall of 2003 to visit some of the sites and memorials I had read so much about.Here are several tips that might be of interest to some people:- Visit the American Cemetery at sundown if you can. Lowering of the colors is a moving experience itself but it was far more so to watch people of all nations (mostly European) stop walking and turn to quietly face our flag at attention as it is lowered. Worth it if you can do it.- Watch for the small (about two feet tall) stone markers in Normandy and along several highways through France and into Belgium. These are the "Voie de la Victoire" (Road to Freedom) markers that depict the march of allied troops after D-Day. There is a km00 marker at Utah Beach and the final marker (km1147) at the Batttle of the Bulge museum in Bastogne. There is also a km00 marker in St. Mer Eglise. They are located all through France/Belgium and are placed every kilometer.- If you are interested in seeing the bocage (French hedgerows) as they were in June 1944, a short single-lane road has been preserved with the original bocage on either side. It is located just west of the church in St Loup-Hors, a small hamlet just south of Bayeux.The road goes right by the church cemetery. Fairly easy to find. There are few hedgerows remaining and they are not as massive as the originals.- I highly recommend reading a good book on the history of the battles before visiting. It makes the visit far more meaningful. Stephen Ambrose's book "D-Day..." and John Eisenhower's book, "The Bitter Woods" are both excellent and very, very readable.
Arcadia, CA USA Wed 12/22/2004
Not quite a battlefield, but definitely a WWII site, I wanted to learn more about the London Blitz. Original London Walks just added a 2-hour walk around St. Pauls and the City, pointing out many sites and filling in with interesting stories (offered on Thursday afternoons). I also visited the Winston Churchill's London Blitz Experience on Tooley St. near Tower Bridge. A little kitschy, but also insightful. Many actual artifacts and newspapers of the day, recreations of shelters and tube-life. I wanted to visit the 1940s house at the Imperial War Museum, but it is closed until the spring. What started my interest in the Blitz was another site, the Cabinet War Rooms, where I learned that almost 60,000 British citizens died during the war.
Philadelphia, PA USA Mon 12/06/2004
The American Cementary
My son (thirty years old) and I just completed a one-day tour of Normandy conducted by Michael Phillips of www.d-daytours.com. Michael answered every question we had, and took us to places we did not know existed, like the German cemetery.
One moment was extremely moving for us. We were concerned about anti-American sentiment among the French, especially since our trip was only a few weeks after President Bush was re-elected. After guiding us around the American Cemetery, Michel suggested we spend some time alone. Josh and I went to the small chapel on the grounds and quietly entered. As we silently stood there a young French schoolboy said softly, ?Merci America.? It was a moment we will never forget.Thanks Michael.
New Rochelle, NY USA Mon 11/29/2004
Daytours in Flanders Fields
If you have time when in Bruges take the Flanders Fields tour with Frank. We took this tour in Oct. and had a private tour. If you ara interested in WWI this is great tour the museum in Ieper is worthwhile the tour also takes in Talbot house that has been in opration since WWI, as well as the visits to the battlefields, memorials, and trenches.Lunch was at a very local Flemish restaurant no other travelers just locals.John T.
Horsham, PA USA Tue 11/09/2004
American Military Cemetary, Cambridge England
Don't miss the beautiful cemetary and memorial to the US soldiers and airmen who died during WW2. Check out the memorial wall with the names of those who were missing in action. Famous names include Joseph Kennedy (JFK's older brother) and one Alton G Miller, better known as Glen Miller.This cemetary is just outside of town and the easiest way to get there is on the tour bus. They make a stop there.
If you've never been to a military cemetary, you're in for a powerful emotional experience. The immaculate green grass dotted with the plain white markers, the wind in the bordering trees will stir the coldest heart. Take some tissues.
Edmonton, Canada Thu 10/21/2004
When visiting the Normandy battlefields make sure you visit the bridge at LaFiere, just west of St. Mere Eglise. Get a copy of "Night Drop" by S. l. A. Marshall, Army historian for Normandy, prior to trip. Go to each side of causeway. Take a Medal of Honor citation for Chas.DeGlopper as you tour the west side of causeway. Try to meet the owner of the manor house at LaFiere. Iron Mike monument.101st and 82nd Airborne landing here.
Richmond, Va USA Wed 10/20/2004
WW 1battle sites & cemeteries
As Veteran's Day approaches, it would be appropriate to give the WWI vets a salute.
This pastsummer I visited Oise-Aisne & Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Monument near Belleau Wood in the Chateau-Thierry area about 60 miles east of Paris. Would like to see more U.S.visitors to these well groomed memorials to our WW1 Vets.It was a worthwhile trip to "no mans land," I went there to see the graves of the men who our American Legion Post is named after in my hometown, Faith, S.Dak. I also visited the grave of Joyce Kilmer, who penned the poem, "Trees". Let's not forget our WW1 vet.
Hawalli, Kuwait Wed 10/20/2004
We've just returned from a D-Day tour of the Normandy beaches offered by Roel Klinkhamer of Victory Tours (www.victorytours.com. Roel's knowledge of the D-Day events and his 9 hour presentation left us with a vivid impresssion of the horror and glory that took place.Adding to our delight was the stay at his delightful B&B located about 15 K south of Bayeax (www.chateaudelignerolles.com). We highly recommend at least contacting Roel if you're looking for a Normandy tour.
Bob & Inta Lidz
Charlotte, NC USA Thu 10/14/2004
World War Battlefields
The WWII Memorial Museum in Caen is a "must see". Go before you visit the beaches. Having visited the WWII memorial in Washington DC earlier this year, I believe that the US should duplicate the Caen Memorial near the WWII memorial. The Caen memorial brings the background and times surrounding the War to life better than any Smithsonian display I have ever seen. The US deserves a comparable tribute to those who served and died in WWII.
Bellevue, WA USA Thu 10/07/2004
D-Day Air Tour
I was the beneficiary of a D-Day tour conducted by Michael Phillips on 27 & 28 Sept. 2004. I found him to be uncommonly knowledgeable about D-Day events, he never stinted on any of the arrangments, and the accomodations at Le Lion d'Or in Bayeux were just outstanding.I could not have hoped for more.Atta boy, Michael!
Shrewsbury, NJ USA Tue 10/05/2004
Free Admission for Veterans at Museum at Caen
Hello. On 8/18 someone posted that the Museum at Caen offered free admission to veterans. First, is this just for veterans of WWII? My dad is a Korean-era veteran and is going to Normandy in Sept. What did they require as proof that one was a veteran? Thanks.
Littleton, CO USA Tue 08/24/2004
This July my family and I visited Normandy. We only alloted 2 days, which wasn't enough. However, tip for those travelling with kids. Pont Du Hoc was great for us all. The kids loved running in and out of the holes made by bombs and the bunkers. We spent 2 hours there. The Museum in Caen that Rick recommends was fine, but very time consumming and if you don't have much time...you might want to skip it. His tip on veterans getting in free and the free child care available there was great. They don't advertise either of these benefits very well at the museum, but when we asked for it, the free admission for my husband, father-in-law was given...and my kids loved the childcare room. The kids also liked the beaches, another great place for them to dig in the sand, etc....
USA Wed 08/18/2004
from a previous note: "We recently visited the World War 2 Normandy Museum in Caen (the one Rick Steves says is "brilliant") and were extremely disappointed."
My comment is that the museum was fine, however, we had allotted just one day to visit the Normandy beaches AND the Caen museum. The beaches were so unique and memorable and evocative--in comparison with the museum which is like other museums--that I wish I had devoted the entire day to the beaches and perhaps (as I imagine them) to the little museums that consist mainly of unorganized material picked up off the beaches in the days following D-Day.
Newark, DE USA Thu 08/12/2004
Battlefield sites near Bayeux
I recently returned from a brief trip to Normandy to visit the grave of my cousin who died in the battle for St. L?. I don't think it's possible to describe the emotions that run through you when you look upon those ten thousand crosses and Stars of David arranged in military precision, each representing a young life given for the cause of freedom.
Anyway, we stayed at the Hotel Victoria in Tracy-sur-Mer, about halfway between Bayeux and Arromanches. The hotel is a converted 19th-century manor house that was completely renovated in 2002. At 88? a night it was a bit more expensive than my normal tastes but we were treated to a quiet, comfortable and spotless room overlooking beautiful front and rear gardens. The only noise came from some resident doves and a few sheep on a nearby farm. The hotel is run by a very attentive staff who are friendly and efficient in meeting your needs. Most of the staff spoke little or no English, however, so if you do not speak French you'll find yourself doing a lot of pointing and looking in phrase books. If you do speak the language, the owner has a gorgeously clear Parisian delivery ? un tel plaisir!
The hotel's location let us spend some time in Bayeux where we ate lunch in an outdoor garden restaurant before seeing the famous tapestry. Be sure to watch the explanatory film first so you can make sense of the many scenes depicted on the tapestry. Later we visited the Normandy Battlefield museum, which contained many interesting artifacts but was more than a bit uncoordinated. For example, a display case contained medals from both Allied and German soldiers but had no explanations of where they came from or what they honored. Others displays had text in a mixture of English, French and German, and while I read all three languages (more or less) it was a somewhat disconcerting jumble.
We then travelled along the coast to visit several of the important battle and landing sites. Pointe du Hoc is not to be missed. The hundreds of shell craters have been left as a remembrance of the firepower the Allies brought to bear against the German defensive positions. You can actually climb down into some of the Nazi bunkers and try to imagine what it must have been like when the bombs started to fall. A modernistic memorial sculpture is located few kilometers to the east of Pointe du Hoc. It's not necessarily evocative of the times but is still impressive.
Finally we drove to Arromanches. The town is on the western edge of Gold Beach and was the site of an enormous artificial harbor where the Allies unloaded men and supplies. One section of the beach still has several of the huge metal pontoons that supported one of the harbor's bridges. You can actually walk up to them and get an idea of the scope of the engineering that was needed. Other parts of the harbor's emplacements can be seen further out from shore. Don't miss the "Arromanches 360" circular theater that shows films of the landings and battles, contrasted with scenes of current-day serenity. It's a very powerful presentation, almost overwhelming in its intensity in places.
Given the circumstances this was not a pleasure trip for me but rather a journey of closure for a lost family member. I've read about and studied the time period, but I came to realize that all I knew were facts and figures. Now I think I have at least some small sense of just what cost was paid to secure our freedom. Regardless of your political affiliation, it is a visit that would recommend to any American.
King of Prussia, PA USA Fri 08/06/2004
Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge
Dad told me that if I wanted to know where he'd been the winter I was born, I should make the drive from Metz to Bastogne while I was in Europe. So I did. While we were on the Mosel the boys (10 and 12) and I made a day trip to Bastogne, and wished we'd had more time to spend at the excellent Historical Museum commemorating the Battle of the Bulge. Would easily have been worth a whole day in the area. Gave me a whole new picture of that part of Dad's life (he was with a tank destroyer battalion in Patton's Third Army). My wife's dad was with the German army, though he was on the eastern front, not here, in 1944. Band of Brothers watchers will find this a familiar area, as well.
Poulsbo, WA USA Thu 08/05/2004
Visiting Normandie sites, by bike
Visiting the Normandie beaches, near Bayeux
For independent travelers, who wish to see the American cemetery at Omaha beach and the other military and cultural sites in the area, I suggest bicycles.
I did this with a small group on June 6, 2004, and had a pleasant and beautiful ride to the official celebration at Omaha beach. It's a moderate ride of about 90 minutes. After the speeches, we were pleased to meet Tom Hanks ! Go to TANDEM Bicycles, in Bayeux.
San Francisco, USA Thu 08/05/2004
WW 1 museums
We recently visited two excellent World War 1 museums, and highly recommend both. The Vimy Ridge Battlefield and Canadian Memorial north of Arras, France, is excellent; the tour of the trenches and tunnel system the soldiers used is especially good (although not advised if you are claustrophobic).
Also, the Flanders Fields Museum near Ieper, Belgium (Ypres in French) is superb and extremely powerful. Through videos and displays, it told very graphically what it was like to be on the Western Front...the cold (it was -20 degrees Fahrenheit the winter of 1917), the mud (the earth had been so churned with bombs that when it rained, the dirt turned to quicksand-like mud; if you stepped off the wooden walkways they had constructed, you would literally sink up to your neck in muck); the death (since many battlefields had been cow pastures, wounds were easily infected with fecal bacteria and resulted in gangrene). There was also a 360-degree room that simulated "no man's land" with smoke, bomb sounds, sounds of the men crying, moaning, and screaming after mustard gas bombs had exploded. It was all very powerful. At the end was a video showing faces from the wars around the world every year after this "war to end all wars", and the pain and human suffering that these wars caused. The stark futility of war would make a pacifist out of anyone.
Joan L. Anderson, MD
Bellevue, WA USA Tue 07/27/2004
WW2 Normandy Museum in Caen
We recently visited the World War 2 Normandy Museum in Caen (the one Rick Steves says is "brilliant") and were extremely disappointed. In our opinion, it was not worth the 18 Euro admission fee. It was very un-user friendly (all exhibits had tiny print to read; it was difficult to find the English captions amongst the French, German, etc.; it was extremely crowded, making it difficult to read the microscript; there was no good pattern of flow leading you through the exhibits; and there were long, slow lines to gain admission.
Joan L. Anderson, MD
Bellevue, WA USA Tue 07/27/2004
tour of normandy battlefields
Just got in from a tour of Normandy. You must tour with Roel Klinkhamer and you must stay in the chateau wth he and his lovey wife Pia. This will be one of the highlights of your visit to Europe I guarantee it. They will be included in Rick's 2005 book I have heard. So book now before the rush is on. www.victorytours.com and www.chateaudelignerolles.com
blue river, or USA Sat 07/03/2004
Utah Beach and 4th ID route
Utah Beach doesn't get as much attention as Omaha but American GIs stormed the beach here just as well. Their mission once landed was to get to Cherbourg (a deep port required for supply ships) and in the process, 5000 men were killed in 21 days working their way north. In fact, the 101st and 82nd Airborne were dropped behind Utah to provide them coverage (Ste Mere Eglise and elsewhere) for the exits off the beach.
There are batteries (gun placements) in Azeville and Crisbeq that caused alot of havec for the 4th Infantry Division during those days.
Ste Marie du Mont was a good small town for our tour as we have an interest in the 4th ID. Small museums pepper the area and we used a guide named Philippe Cornil. He lives in Ste Marie du Mont and provided us with many wonderful memories. He and his B&B are online at www.lamaisondeshotes.com
chicago, USA Wed 06/30/2004
D-Day Tour Recommendation
Another vote for Victory Tours (www.victorytours.com)! We took the full-day tour with Roel Klinkhamer on June 20, and could not have been more pleased. It became a highlight of our trip.
We found Roel to be the ideal guide for us. He picked us up promptly and took us on a memorable tour of the area, including Arromanches, the German Battery at Longues sur Mer, Port en Bessin, Omaha Beach, the US War Cemetery at Colleville, Pointe du Hoc, Utah Beach and Ste. Mere Eglise. Roel also took us on an unscheduled stop at the church at Angoville-au-Plain, which was one of the most moving and memorable parts of the day. Roel was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. It's a lot to see in a day, but Roel managed to keep us on a good schedule without us feeling rushed.
While we did not stay at Roel's chateau (Chateau de Lignerolles) on this trip, we would definitely consider it if we are lucky enough to return.
We stayed in Bayeux at the Churchill Hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed both the town and the hotel. We were treated very warmly by Rima H?bert and her staff. In fact, all of the people of Bayeux with whom we had contact (in restaurants, shops, museums) were kind, warm and helpful.
San Jose, CA USA Fri 06/25/2004
While in Normandy, a must are the german gun batteries at Longues-sur-Mer. It consists of 4 guns and their bunkers on their original site. Very impressive.
Euless, tx USA Wed 06/23/2004
Bayeux Hotel (Normandy)
I have been to Normandy twice and can recommend a great hotel. The Hotel d'Argouges is a wonderful old gated chateau off one of the main streets in Bayeux, rue St-Patrice. Perfect location, breakfast included, and the grounds/rooms are very french and quaint. There are 3 floors, and I don't remember seeing an elevator so beware you might have to climb stairs. Car parking available and free. One of my most favorite french hotels for the money.
Euless, tx USA Wed 06/23/2004
June 6th, 2004
I was able to visit the Normandy region on this past June 6th and 7th during all of the festivities. Unfortunately, unless you're George Bush or a WWII veteran, many of these ceremonies were inaccessable to the public, which is understandable, but still dissapointing. All hotels were booked except for Hotel de Havre, in Caen, which made a convienant home base for those traveling to the Memorial and using their guided tour, which is what we did. We went to the Caen Memorial on June 7th when it was absolutely teeming with D-Day veterans and was very moving to watch them experience those days over again. The down side came on the tour of the Beaches that we went on later that afternoon. Due to the overwhelming traffic from the previous days events, we were bogged down and were not able to make it to the German Military Cemetary or Pointe du Hoc. Also, our time at the American Cemetary was a bit rushed. However, these inconvienances were well worth the chance to meet some of the men who changed history with their unparalled courage and selflessness.
Buffalo, NY USA Mon 06/21/2004
Accomodations in Normandy, France
Before I head back to London to leave for home I want to visit the Normandy area of France to see the D-Day beaches as well as other things too. Are there any cheap accomodations like hostels in any of the coastal towns like Honfleur? Trying to stay on a budget, so hopefully I can find some cheaper accomodations. Any help is appreciated. Thanks
Cincinnati, OH USA Sun 06/20/2004
WWII Beaches Normandy Area
We are planning a trip to the WWII Beaches at Normandy( Bayeaux ) What tour company do any of your travelers recommend? How about accomodations? Hotels or B & B's
Toledo, OH USA Fri 06/18/2004
WW II Sites (Bastogne & Immerhof)
We recently returned from a trip which hit a couple of WW II sites I have not seen mentioned on this site. We rented a car at the Brussels airport, and it was an easy drive to Bastogne. A truly impressive memorial is just outside the town, a joint U.S.-Belgium project. It offers a memorial to the soldiers who fought there, a view of much of the battlefield (I hadn't realized that most of the fighting took place outside of town), and an extremely well done small museum (WW II veterans admitted free.)
Another two hours of scenic driving brought us to the Maginot line fort of Immerhof. By writing an e-mail to Immerhof (www.immerhof.fr.st) we arranged a private tour with an entusiastic, knowledgeable guide who is also a WW II reinacter. He gave us an hour and a half tour through the extensive underground tunnels and rooms. It also has a small museum, buried deep within the fortress. Even though our guide only spoke French, he did a marvelous job of making himself understood to us English speakers. From Immerhof, it was another short drive to Trier where we spent the night. It was an easy, fun, and informative day.
Bettendorf, IA USA Thu 06/17/2004
My husband and I have been to the D-Day landing sites in 1998 and 2002 and as we watched television coverage today thought we would like to visit again. We stayed both times at the Hotel Churchill in Bayeux and found the town to be a good base. The Churchill is not fancy and we chose twin beds because the doubles were just too small (hubby is over 6ft.) Took the train from Paris to Caen and picked up rental cars at companies across from the train station.
We recommend taking your time at the American Cemetery at Colleville then make your way to the beach below. We paid our respects at the grave of a friend's father. In 2002 we could not enter the Ranger's memorial at Pointe du Hoc as the ground was too unstable. I hope it can be visited again. The burned out bunker gave me chills thinking of the fate of the Germans defending it and the sacrifice of the Rangers.
In Arromanches view what's left of the Mulberry Harbor and the 360 degree film (beware the toilets in the floor ladies, use the handicapped restroom!), the British Cemetery at Bayeux and the museum just across the road. On our second trip we visited the German Cemetery at La Cambe. We both came away with mixed feelings. Perhaps because we all know why there are tens of thousands of young men buried across Normandy they didn't feel the need own the responsibility for them
Get a good map if you are driving; the Memorial Peace Museum in Caen offers several and there are some good travel books devoted to the area. You will likely find small memorials on your own as you travel the area.
USA Sun 06/06/2004
We had limited time in Normandy so we opted for a guided tour to save time and stress on finding our way to all the sites. We used the Caen Memorial Museum's tour service which was 5 hours and covered all the major sites by van (limited to 8 people). I don't think we would have found the German cemetary on our own. The tour made the the area much more enjoyable both for not having to stress about finding our way around and becuase of the details and stories provided by the guide. The museum's tour was very reasonably priced and included museum admission. We saw several other similar tour companies around the area.
San Francisco, CA USA Thu 06/03/2004
I haven't seen anyone mention the D-Day museum in Bayeaux. I've been to the ones in Arromanches, St. Mere Egleise, and at the Pegasus Bridge, but by far the best is the one located in Bayeaux. It's not far from the Cathedral where the tapestry is displayed. As a matter of fact, you can walk to it from the public parking lot. Wonderful collection of vehicles, uniforms and other memorabilia.
While we're talking museums, don't miss the "Wings of Liberation" museum in Best, Netherlands or the Royal Museum of the Army located in Diekirch. The former is privately owned by a successful Dutch businessman who was a translator for the USA during the war (he interrogated Skorzeny). The one in Diekirch is excellant, although it doesn't look like much from the outside. Also stop at Arnhem and see the "Bridge Too Far" and the museum at Oosterbeeck where the British HQ was.
Columbus, Ohio USA Wed 06/02/2004
Caen Memorial Museum
While we enjoyed this museum on a recent visit I was not particulary impressed by either the admission pricing policy or what I felt to be a distinct anti-American bias in the "cold war" section of the museum. Regarding the admission pricing, despite my protest and clearly stating that I was a veteran the ticket seller insisted that the discount was only 2 euros and so charged me 16 instead of the regular price of 18. After finishing our visit I took my receipt to another staff person and she got me a full refund. So, officially, veterans do get in for free but we did not see any proof required. Considering that the regular single admission for this place is about twice that of other major museums in France the policy would seem to encourage everyone to claim veteran status.
OR USA Tue 06/01/2004
Just returned from doing the D-Day experience. Very moving. I would not miss the German Military Cemetery just south of Pointe du Hoc. Some perspective. And I would conclude my visit by seeing Caen Memorial Museum. It puts in all in perspective. I would even allow two days for this Museum. It is brilliant.
eugene, OR USA Wed 05/26/2004
I traveled to the landing beaches a couple of years ago and toured on my own. There are several stops that are must sees. St. Mere Eglise probably has the best small museum of any we visited along with the Norman church in the town square made famous in the movie, The Longest Day. There is still a parachute hanging from one of the spires on this church. Probably the most moving experience in my life was at the cemetary on Omaha Beach. If this isn't the most beautiful resting place on this earth, I would not know what is. This place really moves you and really sets the whole war in perspective. This is the most hallowed ground you'll ever visit.
Perry, Ia USA Tue 05/25/2004
World War Battlefields
The war museum in Caen is an amazing place to start. I was in tears all day. After that visit the beaches, Juno, Amarranches (spelling?) where the concrete harbours were towed from Britain, and a cemetery such as the Canadian one at Beny Sur Mer. As well a visit to Verdun and the Ossuary is unbelievable as is Vimy Ridge and the Canadian War Memorial for World War 1. YOu may wish to read the book Stone Carvers for a history of the nemorial.
calgary, cad Sat 05/22/2004
D-DAY 60TH ANNIVERSARY
I have booked ferry and hotel in Portsmouth. Will be traveling in the morning of the 6th for a day trip to the American Cemetary in Collville sur Mer. It is really the only thing I want to see in France. My grandfather fought in the Pacific war but I thought it appropriate to honor those that died in the ETO as well. Semper Fi.
USA Wed 05/19/2004
All of the Wars
I think that we should honor the people that died in all of the wars because if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have the freedom that we have today!!!!
Constance Lanice Saxon
Columbus, OH USA Thu 05/06/2004
We are the Bed and Breakfast: La Cour Sainte Catherine in Honfleur
Saturday 5 june in Honfleur
Honfleur, France Wed 04/28/2004
D-day Beaches Victory Tours
This April I toured the D-Day beaches with Victory Tours. www.victorytours.com Roel Klinkhamer the guide and owner was great. He has turned his passion into his business. He is very knowable about all aspects of the d-day landing. He is fluent in English and Dutch. He offers a small full day or half-day tour. The van has room for only 8 passengers. There is plenty of time to ask question and Roel was very informative. I took a half-day tour in April. I took the to Bayeux the day before from Paris and stayed at the Hotel Bayeux
Cypress, Tx USA Sun 04/25/2004
Just returned from Normandy (april 2004) and found it very moving, especially because my wife's uncle died in the hedgerows there on June 15. Did find a lot of "Deviations", which I think if French for "American is lost"... that confused the driving. Overall a very moving experience. Don't miss the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, Pont du Hoc, and St. Mer Eglise. Spend a night in Honfleur on the way from Paris and then base in Bayeux.
Matthews, NC USA Wed 04/14/2004
Monte Grappa & Monte Cengio
There are several WW I sites in the Veneto Region of Italy. One is Monte Cengio, which is between Thiene & Asiago. It has a trail that takes you past and thru tunnels and caves used by the Alpine units of the Italian Army against the Austrians in WW I. There are some great views on the trail also of the area. To get more info, find the Asiago Tourist Site on the web and send a message asking for info on Monte Cengio. Another site is Monte Grappa, in the mountains above Bassano del Grappa. It has a nice memorial and many trails in the area. We even found pieces of schrapnel and a couple of bullets from the Battles between the Italians & Austrians in WW I. There are many trails starting about halfway to Monte Grappa from Bassano del Grappa and continuing up to summit memorial. Some of the trails are the actual trenches used by the Italians during the battles and include some bunkers and caves. To get more info, find the Bassano del Grappa Tourist Site on the web and send a message asking for info on Monte Grappa and it's trails. These locations are convenient for people visiting in the Venice, Vicenza,Verona & Padova areas. A car is a definite requirement as these places are not located on Bus or train lines
Italy Tue 03/30/2004
D Day Beaches
This past January, I toured the D Day Beaches with Micheal Phillips. He runs Perception Travel and does all the sectors. He was wonderful, very knowledgeable and fun to be with. He picks you up and drops you back to your destination point. I would most highly recommend him. He is on the web at Perception Travel. Janeen Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, oh USA Mon 03/29/2004
Well worth a visit are the battlefields of the First World War, for example Thiepval (right spelling I think), Tyne Cot Cemetary, Devil's Wood, Langemarck Cemetary (a very moving Imperial German Cemetary), Vimy Ridge, Ypres, and many other places.
UK Fri 03/26/2004
Visiting D-day beaches and sites
As a party of 4, we visited the D-day beaches of Omaha and Utah. With side trips to Pnte du hoc and Ste. Mare Englise, we saw what I have always wanted to visit. The wonderful cemetary above Omaha Beach is not to be missed. Let the tears fall; you bless those within this beautiful final resting place. We stayed in Bayeux at Hotel Lion D'Or.Wonderful food and setting. D-day tours by normandywebguide was very good. The Normandy people were very repectful of the history that took place here in June 1944. just see the roadside markers were American soldiers fell complete with flowers and their names. Wonderful and shouldn't be missed.
Novato, CA USA Sun 03/21/2004
World War I sites in France
I drove from Amsterdam to Paris back in early 2001 and was able to visit a lot of World War I battle sites. Vimy Ridge is particularly interesting and since it was the site of a major battle by Canadian forces, every sign and plaque is in English as well as French. There are cemetaries from the war all over northern France. A car is critical to being able to visit these sites. I've been to Normandy's D-Day sites (with a car) as well and it is possible to do those on public transit, but a car is the only feasable way to visit the WWI sites in northern France.
Vancouver, WA USA Sun 03/21/2004
D-Day Beaches and Normandy
Visited the D-Day Beaches, American Cemetary, Point Du Hoc Pegasus Bridge and the Peace Memorial at Caen last week.
This summer is the 60th anniversary fo D-Day, so lot of events are planned, but with the tight roads in the D-Day beach area traffic might be nightmare-this summer might be a good time to invest in a reputable guided bus tour. The Pegasus bridge museum is supposed to receive the only surving Horsa glider this summer in time for the D-Day events. Point Du Hoc seems to be in the midst of a "renovation" for the June events- it looks like the plan might be to cordon off some of the bunkers, which are probably not too safe after 60 years. Peace Memorial was good, but a little pricey.
On that note, if you have a student ID of any kind, it can save you a fair amount of money at many of the museums in France. I am in grad schol at night and wished several times I had brought along my ID. With the strong Euro, Erope is expensive and a few Euros here and there add up to dinner or lunch.
One tip on car rental in France- diesel or gasole is about 2/3 the price of gasoline, so if you are offered a diesel rental, take it.
USA Fri 03/19/2004
Oradour-Sur-Glane - France's Martyr Town
Oradour-Sur-Glane was one of the most moving experiences of our travels. Its quiet saddness stands as a powerful reminder of the evil our fathers and mothers fought and died for during WWII. Oradour-Sur-Glane is not to be missed - it's a bit out of the way nearbye Limonge but well worth the journey. A little bit of all of us died there - French, Catholic, Jewish. Stop by and pay your respects, say a prayer, or just pause from your busy travels to remember.
Wynnewood, PA USA Tue 03/16/2004
Get a good guide book for a great tour of the battlefields. I recommend any of the Battleground Europe series. They have guides for Omaho, Utah and the paratroops, Pegasus Bridge, Sword Gold and Juno beaches. These guide books will point out interesting things and what happened at those spots.
Charlotte, NC USA Thu 03/11/2004
Tips for Visiting the D-Day Beaches
In Deauville, look for the memorial on the boardwalk where members of the French Underground were executed. In St. Mere Eglise, touch the bullet holes inside the church where the paratrooper hung. At Point du Hoc, feel the scorched ceilings of the Nazi bunkers leftover from the attacks and take a bunker view out over the Channel. Hint: start at the Utah Beach end of the coast in the morning and work your way back toward Honfleur. You'll beat all the bus tour traffic from Paris!
Lexington, KY USA Sun 03/07/2004
I was lucky enough to be in Normandy on June 6, 2003. It was a very moving visit both for me and for my wife (who is not normally interested in history). We enjoyed the British and Canadian parades and the American cemetery just off Omaha Beach. Point de Hoc and Omaha Beach are especially moving when you consider the natural and man-made obstacles which our boys had to overcome. I agree that every American who visits France should go to the D-Day Beaches and pay tribute to our veterans. I would also add that Rick recommends the D-Day museum in Caen, but I thought that I wasted several precious hours there which would have been better spent elsewhere. The museum actually, other than a good film on the invasion, has little on the actual invasion and is more of a politically correct museum of peace. In short, dont go there looking for much actual history of the 1944 invasion but do go to the Normandy beaches.
Jacksonville, FL USA Sat 03/06/2004
The Eastern Front
Some of the most interesting and "undiscovered" WWII battlefields are in Eastern Europe, especially in the Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Russia. For example, there were more casualties in the city of Warsaw than the total number of US casualties. There also were many huge tank/infantry battles in the former Soviet Union. Some of the cities, towns, and villages have erected memorials or have small museums commemorating these battles. While the Eastern European sites are not as well funded as those in France, England, and Germany, and often are not translated, they are still interesting to visit. You will gain a greater understanding of the true magnitude, tragedies, and history of WWII.
USA Thu 03/04/2004
Omaha Beach Cemetery, Normandie,France
Any American visiting Europe this year should try to pay homage to the American youths who selflessly fought to liberate the continent - and the world- from the Nazis. A place of great reverence is the Battle Cemetery, at Omaha beach, near Bayeux,Normandie. It's a place of enormous meaning and staggering beauty ( featured in " Saving Private Ryan"). One can never forget it !
Daly City, CA USA Tue 03/02/2004