Overlord Operation, Neptune Operation, Cobra Operation, Epsom Operation…are some of the events that took place in Normandy that your private guide will inform you about. Most of all, you will be in the Dday sites where millions of Allied Troops landed on June 6th 1944 during several weeks.
The Dday beaches coded Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah is a 120 km (80 miles) extended zone in the west side of the Normandy country. In that coast line there is a sixth zone known as Pointe du Hoc where US Ranger Batalions achieved something that will always remain unique.
It is impossible to cover the whole coast line in one day (that’s why we recommend at least 2 days), however in one day your private guide will take you to 3 or 4 sites such as Pegasus Bridge, one the first site captured during the battle of Normandy by the 6th British Airborne Division in gliders, definitely one of the sharpest action, then the Canadian sector is nearby especially Juno Beach and its museum opened in 2003, from Juno we will reach Gold beach in the British sector where you will see what remains from Mulberry B, the port that was made in front of the little town of Arromanches Les Bains. During this visit you will indeed realize that logistics was one of the most impressive and conclusive aspects of the war.
Then a little bit more west, there is still a heavy German battery of artillery known as Longues Battery where you will have an example of how big was the threat on the Allies.
Once we pass the charming fishing port town called Port en Bessin we are in the American sector and will head to Omaha Beach where the landscape gives a very good idea about what the GI’S of the 1st and 29th US Infantry division had to go through, threatened by the German defense positions mainly on the bluff.
The US Military Cemetery since 1956 overlooks the east side of Omaha Beach.
Before reaching Utah, a must see stop has to be made in Pointe du Hoc to see what the courage and the sacrifice of the 225 rangers achieved on the the top of 30 meters high cliffs (100 feet).
The furthest beach in the west side of the coastline is Utah in the south of the Cherbourg peninsula where around 15000 paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st US Airborne Division jumped into the night to start the combat and to capture the village of Sainte Mère Eglise at 4,30 am on june 6th.
There are many interesting and moving museums in the Dday sites such as the Memorial in Caen, the Pegasus Memorial, the US Airborne Museum… It is feasible to visit one (entrance fee not included) during a day tour as there are war sites too inland.
What ever the time you have to visit these places is, you will be in the footsteps of these young soldiers who liberated a whole continent in a unique amphibious military operation. It is our common heritage.
(overnight in Bayeux or Saint-Malo)
St-Malo, named the Corsair City, the base and hometown of the most famous ship owners and “legal pirates” is an amazing fortified city on the emerald coast in the northern part of Brittany. You will take a walk on the city walls to understand that it is a former island. Your private guide will take you through the maze of the narrow streets that have their own funny stories such as the “Dancing Cat Street”, “Pelicot Street” one of the tiniest where some houses date from the 16th century and by a miracle were not destroyed during World War 2, and many more. You will also appreciate the conception of the“belt” of the fort islands such as la Conchée, le Fort National, Harbour, le Grand Bé, le Petit Bé… that were mainly designed by the engineer Garengeau disciple of one of the greatest french engineers Marshall Vauban who especially designed la Conchée Fort, At low tide you can walk to some of these islands.
St Malo inhabitants have always been sea oriented, like most of the people in Brittany, because its wealth until nowadays depended on that connection with the ocean.
St-Malo was named after Maclow a monk who came from Wales in the 6th century. Your private guide will take you to the original settlement of the monk : Alet area, a beautiful site with an impressive 180° overview of the bay and the Rance river mouth. A very stategic location too with the most recent examples of contruction, the 18th century military fort built under the king Louis the 15th and as a part of the the atlantic wall a German heavy battery artillery dating from World War 2.
You will definitely enjoy strolling in the old town and getting the overview outside the walls.
Then you will head to Dinan one of the most impressive medieval cities in Brittany. It has one of the most preserved central down town with several kinds of timber frame buildings from the 15th to the 17th century. Dinan is located on a 75 meters (220 feet) cliff. From the British Garden near the Saint-Sauveur Basilica you will enjoy the most impressive view of the river Rance and have a very good idea about the trade and the wealth that entered the city from the river port.
Dinan is still surrounded by impressive city walls dating from the 13th century, when it was the Dukes of Brittany territory and you can still notice, in the design of the city, the conception of the society itself that was called feudal society with the three social classes known as the Clergy, the Nobility and the “Third World” (everyone that was not part of the Clergy and the Nobility).
On the way back you will stop in Dinard to stroll in this former fishermen village turned into an effervescent and entairtaining resort in the 19th century.
Then you will be ready for another enchanting visit.
The Malouinière of le Montmarin is located on the left bank of the Rance river in a beautiful, peaceful and hidden spot. A Malouinière was a very large secondary home built outside the city walls of St Malo by the most prosperous ship owners and where they could have more space and privacy. The Montmarin Malouinière dates from 1760 but is not opened to the visitors unlike the beautiful park and gardens (around 15 accres) by the river. The gardens listed as Historical Monuments are also labeled “Jardins Remarquables”
The Montmarin atmosphere is magic and enchanting,
During the visit you will see a very interesting model of the grounds and the shipyard in the 18th century.
By the way, do you guess why they needed such hidden spot ?
(overnight in Saint-Malo)
To reach this unique place in the world, also known as the Marvel of the Western World, the sea has to draw aside to let anyone go through. The Mont Saint Michel is at the same time a village, an island and an abbey erected on the top of the rock at almost 100 meters high (300 feet).
Since the dream of the bishop Aubert in 708 to the current abbey generations of workers, pilgrims, monks, sellers, soldiers, kings… were irreparably attracted by this site whose construction was constant from the 10th century to the 17th century. The Mont Saint Michel is located in a bay which is, like the village and the abbey, in the World Heritage List of the UNESCO and where the tides are the largest in Europe, they can be 15 meters high (45 feet).
During your visit you will understand how people could start a building site 1000 years ago on the top of a rocky island, surrounded by water with impressive tides. Your private guide will explain you why the worship of Saint Michael was started here and how a part of the story was made up and by who.It is a unique journey in a very special place. You will of course have time to enjoy a stroll in the village.
On the way back to Paris if time you will stop in Honfleur.
Without any doubt one of the most charming little town of France. It reveals itself to the visitors who take the time to stroll through the maze of narrow streets, the Old Bassin which is today the marina, the narrow buildings with their slate facades.
Honfleur is where the sea meets the Seine river that is why it has been a strategic and economic location for almost 1000 years.
Your private guide will take you as well to Sainte Catherine church, painted by Claude Monet several times, to understand why it was built that way,
You will have an amazing overview of the river estuary and the sea from the hill of the Coast of Grace, right above downtown Honfleur.
You will be inspired by this charming little town like the generations of painters, writers, musicians who went there.
(entrance fee included EXCEPT DDay museums. Meals and accommodation not included)