Single Day Tours
With the D-Day beaches extending over a distance of almost 55 miles of Normandy coastline, and with the subsequent Battle of Normandy fought over 4,000 square miles, it is simply impossible to gain a broad overview of D-Day and the subsequent campaign in a single day. However, we do appreciate that many people may well find themselves within or close to Normandy, will hold the desire to see at least some of the D-Day sites, but not have the time available to see all five beaches. With this in mind we offer a choice of single day tours providing a set itinerary of each of the three main sectors of operations (the emphasis being either the American Sector [Airborne, Utah and Omaha Beaches], the British [Airborne, Sword and Gold Beaches] or the Canadian Sector [Juno Beach]).
The One Day ‘US Sector’ Tour
This, our most popular tour, includes visits to world-famous locations known to millions largely as a consequence of the portrayal within iconic productions such as ‘The Longest Day’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Band of Brothers’. The tour begins at Sainte Mere Eglise, a crucial objective of the 82nd Airborne Division whose role it was to be the first line of defence against the German’s inevitable attempts to counter-attack against the Utah Beach landings. A visit to Ste Mere Eglise also provides the option of visiting the world class ‘Airborne Museum’. From our focus on the Airborne forces we then continue on to Utah Beach, the westernmost of the five D-Day beaches, the most successful of all, and the one beach were fortune undoubtedly shone on the allies that morning. We then move on to the largest of all the military cemeteries in Normandy as we visit the 20,000 plus burials located at the German Cemetery at La Cambe, an awesome location in its own right, but especially worth seeing in order to compare the contrast with the American Cemetery which we shall visit later in the day. We then venture on to Omaha Beach - Dog Green sector to be more precise. The landings here, the costliest of all sectors of all five beaches, was made legendary by the Steven Spielberg movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Whilst undoubtedly a masterpiece in cinematography, like so many Hollywood films, the movie does take a few liberties with the history, such inaccuracies will be set straight by your guide providing a greater appreciation of what was faced. The day concludes at the Colleville sur Mer American Cemetery overlooking Omaha beach where almost ten thousand American servicemen and women are buried, with a further 1557 listed on the wall of the missing. Here, after a brief introduction from your guide you shall be given time alone to walk through the burials and reflect on the incredible locations you have witnessed during a day we are certain your whole group shall remember for the rest of their lives.
Whilst we recommend that you stay in Normandy for at least the evening before and after your intended tour, this one-day tour of the American Sector can also be completed within a day from Paris. Running only on a working weekday, by taking an early departure (approximately 7am) from Paris St Lazare railway station to Carentan, your guide will meet you at the platform at which your train arrives at approximately 9:30am before concluding the tour back at Carentan for you to catch the return train to Paris just after 6pm, arriving back in the city at approximately 8:45pm.
The One Day ‘British Sector’ Tour
Covering two beaches and one airborne operation, any attempt to cover the whole British involvement on D-Day in a single day will inevitably lead to a basic overview of events. None the less, starting at Pegasus Bridge, the very first and possibly most audacious operation of D-Day, before venturing on to Sword Beach (contrary to popular belief, this being the most strongly defended of all five of the landing beaches), then following the advance from Sword through the secondary defences behind that coastline, before continuing to the Gold Beach Sector (visiting the location at which an action took place which led to the award of the one and only Victoria Cross to be awarded on D-Day) and then eventually concluding at the largest British Second World War military cemetery at Bayeux, this is a fast paced and action packed day which covers many actions which deserve far greater examination than what many popular historians have ever attempted to provide.
The One Day ‘Canadian Sector’ Tour
Undoubtedly the most neglected, but in many ways the most fascinating contribution to the D-Day assault, was made at Juno Beach by the men of General Keller’s Canadian 3rd Infantry Division. This tour will focus on the landings of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment at St Aubin sur Mer, the Queen’s Own Rifles at Bernieres sur Mer, the Regina Rifles and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles at Coursuelles sur Mer. Per-capita, no other nation provided the allies with a greater proportion of strength during the D-Day assault and no other nation would suffer, in proportion to population, a higher loss of life. Canada’s D-Day assault adds a different dimension to the popular narrative of D-Day as so dominated by the American and British perspective, this tour sets the records straight, and in addition to making at least three stops on Juno Beach, we also visit the Canadian Cemetery at Beny sur Mer and the Juno Beach Centre museum (optional visit at your own expense).
All single day tours are offered for groups of up to a maximum of 7 people, commence and conclude only in close proximity (within 5 miles) to either Bayeux or Carentan and cost €650.