We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Sully

Free Newsletter

Interested in Sully?

We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Sully each week.

Trip List by MiepGies

Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)....

Nov 2, 2011  Love WWII (sites and Museums) and Photography
0.0 of 5 bubbles based on 0 votes

How best to spend two days in D-Day Normandy for WWII history buffs. We planned to spend one day visiting Normandy but quickly determined that it was too interesting for one day and so we decided to turn it into a two day visit. Some items that I've listed are suggestions for things that we didn't get to see. On day one: plan your time accordingly and grab sandwiches on the run...or you won't have time for everything.

  • 1. Drive to Chateau de Sully (near Bayeau, France) Evening....

    Set your GPS for the "Chateau de Sully" in Sully, France. We stayed in this hotel as a base for our visits to D-Day Normandy. Arrive the night before your two days visiting WWII and Normandy museums.

  • 2. Le Chateau de Sully
    Le Chateau de Sully, Sully, Calvados, Basse-Normandie

    Stay two nights. The rooms are nice and somewhat reasonablly priced (for Normandy). We upgraded our basic King bed room (170 euro) room to a larger King bed room (220 Euro). The Chateau was occupied by the Germans and then the Americans during WWII. The grounds are nice for photographs. We ate one meal here. (Very expensive (250 Euro total 2 people!!!!) and not much for vegetarians.) That made it impossible to eat here a second night.)You can easily drive to the town square in Bayeau (10 minute drive/3 km away) and find a cheaper restaurant with a wider variety of food. (also the service in the restaurant at the Chateau was snootier (than usual) during our visit in France)
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 3. Day One: Site One: Set your GPS for Arromanches les Bains, Musee du Dubarquement,

    Set your GPS specifically for this museum so that you can find the correct parking lot. Musee du Dubarquement (located in the town of Arromanches les Bains) Be sure you get the correct town as there are many museums with the same name in other towns of Normandy. The address is: 18 Rue Colonel Rene Michel, 14117 Arromanches-les-Bains, France
    +33 2 31 22 34 31. Here is the website: musee-arromanches.fr
    The museum is located on Gold Beach (British Invasion). We did not have time to go into the museum (though a quick visit is probably a good thing to do). Pay to park in the parking lot and look (right across the street) for the little white train that will take you up the hill. (the train is free) Interesting ride up some narrow alleys with nice views (no wait for train as the train runs constantly). You can also drive directly to the 360 cinema parking lot at the top of the hill but I can't comment on how to do that..I believe you must pay (a higher amount) to park near the 360 Cinema.

  • 4. Day One: Site One Arromanches 360 -
    Arromanches 360, Arromanches-les-Bains, Calvados, Basse-Normandie

    We began our day in Arromanches in order to see the coastline (from above) and to view the Cinema in the round montage of images of the surrounding area. This film is shown in the round (you stand in the center of a room and look at images on screens surrounding you). I recommend the film because it helped me imagine what the peaceful beaches of today actually looked like on and after D-Day. Lower you expectations and you will enjoy the film. No narration, just images that give you a sense of the history behind today's peaceful beaches.
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 5. Day One: Site Two: Set your GPS for: Cimetiere Americain de Normandie in Colleville sur Mere, France

    You will see plenty of signs (in French) for the American Cemetery. But I would use GPS just to be sure. The drive from Arromanches to Colleville sur Mere is a very pretty windy road through small villages (enjoy). Use your GPS for a stress free drive.

  • 6. Day One: Site Two: Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial
    Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, Basse-Normandie

    Arrive the American Cemetery and prepare yourself for incredibly beautiful views (if nice weather) and moving sites. Begin in the visitor center and watch the 22 minute movie (on the half hour) about some of the men who paid the ultimate price for freedom. Exit the movie and view the museum displays and the film of Eisenhower discussing some of his decisions. Walk out of the back of the Visitor Center and walk down to Omaha Beach. (About 15 minute walking downhill on paved (beautiful) trails. Walk on the beach (I highly recommend this)...and reflect. Pick up a (memento) shell or small stone and walk back up the hill to the cemetery. Photograph the huge memorial in the reflecting pool. Stroll among the graves. (We spent about 2 hours (total) visiting this site...keep an eye on your watch and make it shorter (if you want to make it to the other sites on my list).
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 7. Day One: Site Three: Set your GPS for Pointe du Hoc in Normandie, France

    There are plenty of signs to find the point but use your GPS just to be sure. Use correct spelling "pointe"

  • 8. Day One: Site Three: Pointe du Hoc
    Pointe du Hoc, Cricqueville-en-Bessin, Calvados, Basse-Normandie

    Arrive Pointe du Hoc. Park in the (free) parking lot and walk toward the site (15 minute walk to the end but you will want to stroll around...) There is a visitor center with limited hours in the off-season. We had the use of restrooms but don't count on it. This visit should takes about 40 minutes (minimum) to walk the entire site. Why should you see it?; because it is fascinating. No tours, no quides,no explanations, just a very interesting landscape with items left over from the war (barbed wire, bunkers, etc.) Great photographs from above cliffs. Utah beach is too the left (as you face ocean) and Omaha to the right. Wow.
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 9. Day One: Site Four: Set your GPS for Sainte Mere Eglise, France.

    Use correct spelling (see above) aim for the center of town. (follow signs for "centre") In the town center, there is a town square with plenty of parking and it is very easy to find.

  • 10. Day One: Site Four: Sainte-Mere-Eglise Church (about 25 km from Pointe du Hoc mostly highway)
    Sainte-Mere-Eglise Church, Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Manche, Basse-Normandie

    Drive to town center (square) view the church with the mannequin with a parachute as homage to famous event from Paratrooper invasion. (American John Steele had to hang in this position for 2 hours (pretending he was dead) so that the Germans wouldn't shoot him. (YIKES!) This event is dramatized in movie "The Longest Day". Go inside the church for stained glass windows memorializing WWII.
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 11. Day One: Site Five: Sainte Mere Eglise Paratrooper - Airborne Museum

    Look for the Airborn Museum right near the church. The 82nd and 101st Airborne Museum is just steps away from the Sainte Mere Eglise Church. We didn't make it in to the museum as it was just closing but we've heard that is is a good musuem (and small) so you can do it quickly.

  • 12. Drive back to Bayeux and have dinner....go back to Chateau de Sully

    Drive 1 hour (approx) back to Bayeau. Aim for the town square (center) of Bayeau, there are several restaurants around the square. Parking is easy and free. (The prices of the restaurants, cafes vary....so walk around...read the menu's and choose your best fit.) (be aware....many french restaurants do not open for dinner until 7PM.) The town square of Bayeau is only a 10 minute drive from the Chateau de Sully.

  • 13. Set your GPS for: Musee de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux, France

    Only 15 minutes (3 km) from the Chateau de Sully. (make sure your luggage is in the trunk...there are warnings to this effect in the parking lot). Grab a quick breakfast at McDonalds in Bayeax.

  • 14. Museum of the Battle of Normandy (Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie)
    Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Bayeux, Calvados, Basse-Normandie

    This is a good museum about the D-Day landings and the events after D-Day. Begin with the movie about the invasion (in english at 10:30AM (also later showings). After the movie, go through the museum. Plenty of explanations in English and be sure to see both rooms of exhibits.
    Only 15 minutes (3 km) from the Chateau de Sully. (make sure your bags are in the trunk so no robbery) This is a good museum about the D-Day landings and the events after D-Day. Begin with the movie about the invasion (in english at 10:30AM (and later). Go through the museum. Plenty of explanations in English and be sure to walk around so you don't miss some of the other rooms in the museum. Plenty of free parking and easy to find because of the huge tank in the front of the museum. Be sure to arrive this museum when it opens (at 10AM...no later than 10:25AM so you can catch the English movie at 10:30AM). The museum closes at 12:30 and they will start making announcements to leave the museum at 12:15.
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"

  • 15. Day Two: Site Two: Memorial de Caen Esplanade General Eisenhower, Caen, France

    This memorial/museum is easy to find, easy to park. Begin by going to the cafe upstairs for a quick sandwich and a drink (reasonable prices, decent food). There is a temporary exhibit here (we visited in Nov 2011) on the D-Day invasion. Quite well done. Check to make sure the exhibit is still available. If not, this museum doesn't have much information about D-Day but is still worth visiting if you want to get a feeling for the world before WWII began and after WWII was over. Lots of information about the "cruelty of war" so prepare yourself for disturbing war images. A beautiful, modern, well done museum devoted to encouraging peace (love not war). Plenty of (free) parking and only 15 minutes from Bayeux. There are audio guides available in English but not necessary as there are plenty of English explanations (everywhere). Don't miss the fantastic D-Day movie! (Blew my mind as it is so well done and clever--I almost went back to see it again, it was that compelling.) You could spend 4 hours in this museum easily. (We only did the "D-Day" exhibit and "Before WWII" wing and we were there for 3.5 hours.
    For additional information: see my trip list called "Two Days in D-Day Normandy with a Car and a GPS (for Americans)"