World War Battlefields: 2007
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?
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Battlebus Tours were wonderful!
We highly recommend Battlebus Tours to anybody visiting Normandy. Our guide Dale brought the entire area to life. We took the American Highlights Tour and the Band of Brothers Tour and we just can't say enough about Dale who not only educated us about the events of D-Day but told stories in a way that had us completely captivated.
Farmington Hills, MI USA Tue 01/01/2008
Normandy with Overlordtour
We would like to share our appriciate for Normandy visit together with Overlordtour.Even a short daylight we found a possiblity to visit American Cementry, Pointe du Hoc,Carentan,Beuzeville au Plain, Utah + Omaha Beaches, Brecourt Manor and Angovillie. During our visits we got all detailed and well experienced history from Philippe. We again thank them for their hospitality and detailed warm tour of Normandy.
Istanbul, USA Tue 12/25/2007
If traveling to Normandy I have to recommend the Pegasus Bridge Museum, as I think most people overlook this one. It is mostly about the British portion of the invasion, but it is a great place. They even do a short (half hour) guided tour for free, and you can walk up on the original bridge.
USA Sat 12/15/2007
Overlord Tour in Normandy
I wanted to send a short note of appreciation for the incredible experience we had on Monday, November 12, 2007 with Overlord Tours and our guide, Oliver.
We were in Paris for business that week, and only had one day available to visit the Normandy area. I was able to reserve our tour and arrange a meeting location at the train station in Bayeux via email. Oliver was waiting for our train when it arrived, and we were extremely satisfied with his services. Many of the places and events that I previously read about and had seen in movies and documentaries came to life that day.
Please pass along our personal thanks to Oliver, and be assured that we will be recommending your business to others.
Pittsburgh, PA USA Tue 12/11/2007
On 12 November 2007 I toured the Normandy battlefields with Overlord Tours. The knowledge and passion that our guide brought added greatlty to the experience. Our guide was also a collector of artifacts and that passion came through as guided us through the area. They were able to gain access to places that I do not believe most tours would have. They have developed relationsships with people in the area that added to the great experience we had. I also like the way they could relate information from many of the movies most people have seen to the sights and areas we were taken to. They were able to show us pictures taken during the battle and put us in the same position as the photographer taking the picture. It was fascinating to see so many well known photographs from the spots where they were taken. As a retired US Army veteran I would highly recommend Overlord tours to anyone considering a visit to the Normandy coast for an infomative and personal tour of that epic day. One additional note, it made me proud to see so many American flags flying in the small villages in the area. We are still bound by so many common beliefs and friendships that are not seen in the media today.
Shippenville, PA USA Sun 12/02/2007
Normandy Battlebus Tours
We had a great experience with Battlebus Tours' American Highlights tour. My husband had Dale as a guide, I had Stuart. (we had to go separately because one of us needed to watch our small children on the day that the other toured). The tour was informative and a highlight of the trip to Normandy. My mother's brother was killed on Omaha Beach and I was amazed to see his name on an infantry monument overlooking the beach -- Stuart made a special stop there for me. The other tour-goers on my bus (on a day in mid-October) were three other Americans in their late 20's/30's. The bus was roomy and I never felt rushed when we stopped. The tour involved some walking, but nothing too vigorous or fast-paced. I recommend Battlebus highly.
The Hague, Netherlands Wed 11/14/2007
Normandy and Belgium
We thoroughly enjoyed our Battlebus tour (Juno Beach). Stuart, our guide, was knowledgeable and approachable. The van was comfortable and clean. We would definitely recommend the tour. We also visited Vimy, Passchendale, Ypres, the In Flander's Fields Museum and the Menin Gate in Ypres. Unbelievable.
New Brunswick, Canada Sun 11/11/2007
June Beach Tours
Juno Beach tour with Battlebus - the van was clean and comfortable, the guide friendly and knowledgeable, and the tour was fantastic. I would definitely recommend Battlebus tours.
Ottawa, ON CANADA Sat 11/10/2007
Normandy Tour with Battlebus
Our tour with Battlebus did not disapoint us as it was highly recommended. We had an excellent well planned full day tour with Julian. Visits to St.Mere Eglise,Utah and Omaha Beaches,Angoville au Plain,hedgerows and the American Cemetary were highlights we will not forget.
Dick and Dottie Simpson
Southport, NC USA Mon 10/29/2007
Normandy Tours- Battlebus
We just came back from Normandy and wanted to recoomend that you use Battlebus if you are interested in a tour. We had Julian and he made history come alive! Everything was very organized and Julian was well versed in the details of the invasion and took us to some out of the way places. He has a "little bit of actor" in him which made his stories even more real.
Jim and Rosemary Schuermann
Cincinnati, Ohio USA Sun 10/28/2007
D-Day Tours - Bad Experience, Fat Tire Bike Tours- Good
We booked a 1/2 day tour with Victory Tours in May 2007 for our late Sept. 2007 trip. We made a deposit (% of tour fee, based on 1/2 day tour) and received several emails confirming the 1/2 day tour. We purchased train tickets to Bayeux based on the information Roel provided us. Less than 2 weeks before our scheduled tour, I received an email from Roel (we were already on vacation) letting us know he made a mistake and scheduled us for a full day tour and wouldn't we like the full day tour. He'd even give us 5 euro each off the full day tour. With train tickets and other travel already booked at this late notice, we let him know our disappointment and asked for a refund of our deposit. More than one month later, I have not received the refund or responses to my emails. I highly discourage using D-Day Tours.
However, Lisa and the wonderful staff at Fat Tire Bike Tours in Paris came to our rescue and were incredibly helpful and accommodating in booking their D-Day Beach tour on very short notice. I highly recommend Fat Tire!
Mobile, AL USA Tue 10/16/2007
Band of Brothers Normandy tour
The Battlebus tour should not be missed by fans of this series. They are courteous and well organised, the price is reasonable, the guides are terrific, the customers are knowledgeable and the resulting synergy makes for a memorable day.
corte madersa, ca USA Tue 10/16/2007
Winston Churchill Museum
Don't miss the Winston Churchill museum and War Cabinet Rooms in London if you're interested in details about WWII. Our stay in London was enlivened by this fascinating and information-laden museum. We could easily have spent more than three hours there -- I would imagine that those particularly interested in Churchill would stay even longer.
Peoria, AZ USA Sat 10/06/2007
Overlord Tours Normandy: I would highly recommend this group. Alain and Oliver were our combined guides and we found them to be highly informed and passionate about this subject. They both collect WWII memorabilia, and Alain's father was a member of the French resistance. Their expertise was appreciated and made for an unforgettable tour.
Oklahoma City, Ok USA Tue 09/25/2007
Victory Tours & Chateau de Lignerolles
My husband and I spent the most memorable day of our two week trip to France on a full day tour with Victory Tours! When Roel learned that my father-in-law had been part of the invasion on D-day plus two he went out of the way to make the tour extra meaningful for us. His knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject was positively contagious. We were also lucky enough to spend two nights at his lovely Chateau de Lignerolles where his wife, Pia, made us feel like the royalty that originally inhabited the estate. We can't recommend it highly enough!
Michele Grimaldi Stein
Clarendon Hills, IL USA Fri 09/14/2007
Normandy D-Day tour
My wife, grown son & I took the full-day tour with Roel of Victorytours.com and it was well worth the price paid. Roel's knowledge and insight into the places we visited really made the history of that fateful day in 1944 come alive. Included in the full-day tour is a stop at an isolated church that served as an aid station for the 82nd Airborne on the eve of D-Day, a sight that is not in any of the literature about the area that I've read. Thanks to Roel for a memorable experience, and thanks to him & Pia for a lovely stay in their chateau.
Lafayette, CO USA Wed 09/12/2007
We took a most informative tour of the D-Day landings last month with Roel of Victory Tours. His half day tour was perfect for us as our 11 year old daughter was with us. Roel is informal and witty but yet also very respectful and knowledgable. I am not really into WW II history, but Roel's stories and recounts gave me a much better understanding of the landings that took place. I was so overwhelmed with emotion as I stood on Omaha beach and in the American Cemtetary while listening to Roel's detailed description of the events. I didn't think visiting the landing beaches would have such an impact on me. We didn't visit any museums as we utilized the 4 1/2 hours to tour the major American highlites. Thank you Roel for such a memorable tour.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 09/11/2007
Daytours - Flanders Field Battlefield
We booked a tour of WWI battlefields w/ Daytours (www.visitbruges.org) during our trip to Belgium in August 2007 and highly recommend it for anyone remotely interested in WWI history. Rick's 2007 book lists the tour guide as Frank but our guide was named Nathan. Extremely knowledgeable about the history of the war. Very excellent guide and he tailors the tour to the nationalities of the people in the van. Small group size really made the tour more enjoyable. I can't recommend this tour enough.
Woodinville, WA USA Fri 09/07/2007
We really enjoyed our stay at Chateau de Lignerolles run by Roel and Pia. Their chanteau was very beautiful, delicious breakfast and they are both interesting and great people. We also went with Roel on the Victory Tour of the Normandy Battlefields. Besides the highlights, he took us to places "off the beaten path" which we really enjoyed. It was a great day,
Beth, Rebecca & Rick Thurber
San Francisco, CA USA Mon 09/03/2007
Battlebus American Highlights Tour
Sptent a week in Bayeux in July and, without doubt, the highlight of our holiday was our Battlebus American Highlights Tour with Sean. His knowledge, enthusiasm and love of what he does was just wonderful. He brought the Normandy Landings from just being something one reads about or sees on film to something that was personal, heartwarming and heartrending. He did not just have a script and stuck to it, he was able to answer all sorts of queries and questions. We passed the German cemetery on our way to St. Mere Eglise and he gave us directions on how to drive their ourselves. We were so grateful as we would not have known it was there or how to get there were it not for him and, like the American and British cemeteries, it was so poignant. Sean provided one of the most memorable days we have on this or any other holiday. Would thoroughly recommend Battlebus, and Sean, to anyone with a desire to get the real history of the D-Day landings.
Annete & Michael
Ireland Thu 08/16/2007
We recently visited Malmedy, Belgium. My father's family lived there prior to emigrating to the wheat lands of Kansas. This is Battle of the Bulge country, and there is a memorial in the town to the hundreds of local civilians that lost their lives. The civilians are listed by name and age at the time of their death. There are listings from 90 year-olds to 2 month-olds. The memorial is very moving. The town is quite charming and worth a visit. Charlie Robinson, Lodi, California
Charles A. Robinson
Lodi, CA USA Sun 07/29/2007
My wife's grandfather fought with Black Jack Pershing in the area around Verdon in WWI. We visited the town and the surrounding area, including the tomb of the unknowns (thousands of soldiers were unknown in the days prior to dog tags). Many of the battlements are there, and there are still trenches (not restorations) on the mountain. And there is a memorial to "A la Memoire des Soldats Francais Leurs Freres Amerique".
Charles A. Robinson
Lodi, Ca USA Sun 07/29/2007
Battlebus Tours for Canadians
We had a tour of Juno Beach by Battlebus Tours in June. It was a wonderful day and really brought to life for my husband, whose father was there on D-Day, what the Canadians were faced with and how they carried out their plans. I would highly recommend Battlebus to Canadians who want the same experience.
Prince Rupert, BC Canada Sat 07/28/2007
Battlefield Sites Exclusivity
I find it very strange that you were told that only Overlord tours have exclusive visiting rights to Brecourt Manor. I was on a tour with another company ten days ago who visit this site and, judging by the interaction of the guide and the owner of the site, also have such permission.
Thousand Oaks, CA USA Thu 07/26/2007
Tour of invasion sites in Normandy
Now that we are home after our wonderful three week journey through France, I wanted to take a moment to thank and compliment Olivier for providing us with a truly memorable experience. While the weather was certainly worthy of cancelling any invasion, Olivier's knowledge, professionalism and sense of humor kept the day positive and stimulating. His skill at using anecdotes, maps, locations and photographs helped us to understand the significance and complexity of this special moment in history. I will certainly recommend Overlord to anyone I know who is looking for a quality, professional tour organization in the Normandy area.
Alton B. Woodman
White Plains, NYS USA Mon 06/18/2007
Dead Mans Corner Musuem
Visitors who are planning a visit to the aforementioned museum may be interested in the following http://p198.ezboard.com/Making-money-over-a-veterans-back/ftriggertimeforumfrm1.showMessage?topicID=8707.topic
Fort Worth, TEXAS USA Mon 06/11/2007
Pointe du Hoc
I'll try not to repeat information others have mentioned, but I found Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy cliffs particularly impressive. Why? Because the French have left the site reasonabley unaltered and without monuments. The landscaped of shell craters, rusting barbed wire and ruined concrete bunkers speaks loudest by itself.
Washington, DC USA Mon 06/04/2007
Battle of the Bulge
I'd like to thank Martin King for a wonderful couple days in the Ardennes. Seeing the terrain certainly helped me understand the logistics of the "Bulge" campaign. He's a magnificent guide, highly professional and extremely informative. My family and I had a great time thanks to him.
Jessup, MD USA Sun 05/27/2007
MY TOUR OF THE NORMANDY BEACHES
Having served as a bombardier in the 8th Air Force from October 1944 to April 1945 I flew over the beaches of Normandy many times. I was certainly aware of the happenings on those beaches but really could not relate to what it must have been like to be there until this past spring when I had a most informative tour of the area with a young Frenchman, Alain Chesnel.
Alain is not your ordinary guide. He not only knows the territory, but he knows the history of what happened there down to the nth degree. He took my wife and me to places other guides have no access to, simply because he has the admiration and trust of the current owners of some of these places where significant events took place. If you have seen the TV series Band of Brothers, or the movie Saving Private Ryan, walking with Alain literally has you involved in the actions that took place at the time. It has reinforced my feeling of gratitude to those who fought the battles that ended so many young lives; many of whom were younger than my 19 years that I was at the time. If you go to Normandy to tour the area for the purpose of relating to the heroics and sacrifices made there during WW II, believe me, you can't go wrong if you go with Alain's company, OverlordTours. (Overlord Tour 3/14/2007)
Earl L. Walls, Lt. Col. USAF (Retired)
Palomar Mountain, CA USA Mon 05/14/2007
Battle of the Bulge tour
Our Battle of the Bulge tour with Mr. Martin King was the most amazing WWII experience of my life. Not only did he spend countless unpaid hours researching my uncle's past, he took both myself and my wife to the almost exact spot where he was KIA. I can't recommend him strongly enough to other like minded military enthusiasts. All of the preparation work he does is completely voluntary. I'm reliably informed that he only accepts two commissions a month though so book well in advance if you want the absolute best battlefield guide on the Bulge. Visit his website and see for yourself. We can't thank him enough. http://users.skynet.be/fa531049/home/index.html
Walla Walla, Wa USA Fri 05/11/2007
Gold Beach Evasion day trip for D-Day sights
I wanted to see the D-Day sights last month but since it was still in sorta the the slow season, none of Rick's recommended minibus tour companies were able to take me. They either needed more people or they didn't offer the tour I wanted that day. I ended up finding a company online called Gold Coast Evasion, and I highly recommend them. It turned out that there weren't any other people booked on the tour that day. Just me. Unlike the other places, instead of telling me that they wouldn't operate without more customers, they used me as a training opportunity to prepare for the coming tourist season. I had 4 guides all to myself! They were so nice. At the American Cemetery, they introduced me to a sharply dressed man who worked there and I got a great story from him about the meeting he had earlier in the day helping the son of a serviceman buried in the cemetery get info about his dad. I couldn't have asked for nicer guides or a better experience touring the D-Day sights. Definitely consider these guys in addition to Rick's recommendations.
Chicago, IL USA Mon 04/23/2007
D-day self tour
Traveling the coastal sites via rental car is fairly easy. If you are starting at Deauville, Caen or Bayeaux, wake up a little early and drive west to Ste. Mere Eglise via highway N13 then work your way back east to your origin along the coast road - Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and American Cemetary, Arromanches (Mulberry harbors and Museum) and cross the Orne River near the Pegasus Bridge site. This way, you will work opposite the tour buses and avoid much of the crowds. Most memorable was watching my 3 teenagers listen spellbound to an aging 101st Airborne Ranger in a cafe in Ste. Mere Eglise; staring out at the channel from a silent bunker at Pointe du Hoc and touching the still-charred surfaces; and standing in a sea of crosses while taps is played in the American Cemetary. My patriotism was renewed.
Lexington, KY USA Thu 04/05/2007
Getting from Caen to Bayeux
Thank you for all of your comments about D-Day tours, as my wife and I will be taking a day trip from Paris to the D-Day area in early August. We plan on taking a train from Paris in the morning and ending up in Bayeux, but it stops in Caen first and then there isn't another train to Bayeux for two more hours. Here's my question: since it doesn't appear to be too far from Caen to Bayeux, how much would a taxi cost to take us there? Or do you have any other suggestions on how to get from one town to the other? Thanks very much.
Detroit, MI USA Fri 03/02/2007
Bastogne/Battle of the Bulge
would echo what Dave said abt Bastogne, and Caen museums; Pegasus Bridge, Pointe du Hoc, St Mere E'glise also very impressive--do go to german cemetaries as well as Allied because thay are each unique (smaller and more personal than the large US ones)---if there's any way you can be at one of the US cemetaries on Memorial Day, GO. We were at Margraten (Netherlands)sev yrs ago---very moving to have so many Dutch of all ages come up to us and thank us (we were then late 50's). Gen Patton is buried at the US Cem in Luxumbourg. Check website for Am Battle Monuments Commission for dates/times of official ceremonies.
Hayden, ID USA Tue 02/20/2007
I have visited the city of Verdun and the surrounding battle field memorials and sites four times. Each time I am stunned at the still visible results of the carnage. I lived in Germany for two years & visited many batttle sites. Verdun tops them all.
Hudsonville, MI USA Sat 01/27/2007
The highlight of my trip to France
Gentlemen, I visited Dead Man's Corner in early January of 2007 and I must tell you, it was the highlight of my trip to France. Their tributes and displays were excellent. I felt as if I were standing on hallowed ground as I toured the house and the exhibits. They have managed to maintain the integrity of this famous dwelling and do a great justice to the men who fought at Dead Man's Corner. Thank you so much for their passion to preserve history and the house where history was made.
Shelby, North USA Mon 01/22/2007
Battle of the Bulge
You need to go to Bastogne. It was in the thick of the battle and has a good museum. The program is not pc, especially since there are more Germans than Americans in the room. The people who set up the program had no problem deciding who were the liberators. This was meaningful to me because my Dad followed the tanks in on Dec. 26. You should also go to Caen. There is an excellent museum with movies. Lots of crusty old guys wiping their eyes as they walked out. If you can take along a French speaker you will be rewarded. There are a lot of older French people who remember the disembarcation (invasion), and would be happy to show you their local memorial. I did not connect because my wife (the French speaker) was checking out the ribbon and yarn store with my daughters. Please don't assume that the French are cynical about history with the US. Pont du Hoch is also a good site. It has a lighter feel. No one leveled off the craters from the bombs and rockets. There is a Frenchman with a string trimmer who has a permanent job! Dave
Mesa, AZ USA Tue 01/16/2007
Battle of the Bulge
My Father was in the Battle of the Bulge. I will be visiting Belgium in July. Does anyone have any advice on what there is to see in terms of battle fields and monuments?
Crawford, TX USA Tue 01/16/2007
Normandy and World War 1 sites
My wife and I have been to France three times now for a month each visit. Each time we have gone back to Normandy. We absolutely love Bayeux and use that as our home base. There is a cute bed and breakfast(with out the breakfast) almost directly across the street from the cathedral. We always rent a car, the tours never give you the time you want at each site. Its very easy, we start at Point Du hoc and follow the coast all the way over to arromanches. We see Omaha, the US cemetary, some German Bunker and gun ruins next to arromanches and then finally arromanches(recommend at least two days). We also have gone to see ww1 sites. We used Amiens as a base and again rented a car. They have a very helpful tourist info center there with a map of routes to follow and history. Not only is driving through the countryside beautiful, but you will come across several memorials all along the way. Vimy Ridge is fantastic, it still has trenches in place and shell holes all over. It is a wonderful learning experience.
Tampa, FL USA Sat 01/06/2007