2022 D-Day Beaches
the landing beaches of normandy
plus verriÈres and falaise
plus verriÈres and falaise
2022 D-Day Beaches Mini-Tour
the landing beaches of Normandy, plus Verrières and Falaise
At a glance
August 7-14, 2022 • Normandy • 8 days
Normandy Region • Paris
visit all five landing beaches: UTAH - OMAHA - GOLD - JUNO - SWORD • Falaise Gap • Verrières Ridge • scroll down to see complete details
Saturday August 6
For many of our Canadian travelers it is departure day, for the overnight transatlantic flight. Some travelers may choose to leave for Europe sooner to extend the start of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on pre-tour accommodations.
Guests who have other travels already in progress, or guests from other points of origin including the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere, will want to arrive in Paris the day before the Day 1 start.
Day 1 - Sword Beach, Pegasus
Sunday August 7
Our Tuesday brings us to the eastern most area of the D-Day landings, and Sword Beach. We get another expansive view of a landing zone at the water's edge, with a monument dedicated to the British forces who came ashore here.
The next stop is Pegasus Bridge near Caen, where you will learn the story of the pre-dawn paratrooper landings by the British 6th Airborne and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion who secured this eastern flank with incredible precision. You then have free time to make a must-visit to the first house liberated on D-Day, the Café Gondrée, a special place filled with history and charm, while taking in the sights and sounds.
Our afternoon includes a visit to Ranville Cemetery, where some of the very first casualties of D-Day are laid to rest. This includes the Rousseau brothers, Emile Corteil and his Para Dog, and Wing Commander Lloyd Chadburn. Overnight Normandy - hotel tba. [L]
Day 2 - Utah Beach
Monday August 8
This morning we set out to visit the first landing beach - the western-most zone code named Utah on the eastern shore of the Cotentin Peninsula. Utah is a wide, flat expanse and offers great views from the dunes, whereupon numerous monuments have been placed to mark the American landings.
A short drive in from the coast takes us to Saint-Mère-Église, central to the region where the American 101st Airborne parachuted into France to secure the western flank of the allied landings. You'll enjoy some free time here, to take in the sights and sounds of the anniversary year.
We visit a few additional points of interest inland connected to 'Easy Company' of the 101st, and take some further free time in the town of Saint-Marie-du-Mont. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 3 - Omaha Beach
Tuesday August 9
Next up is the other American landing sector, code named Omaha Beach. The D-Day assault on this beach was, according to the veterans themselves, aptly depicted by the opening twenty minutes of the Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan. The Americans suffered heavy losses here, due in part to the difficult terrain which favoured the defenders. We'll take a walk along the bluffs high above the beach, and also walk at the water's edge, to see both perspectives. We will also take some time for reflection at the Colleville-sur-Mer American War Cemetery which serenely overlooks the Normandy shore below.
We then move further west to Pointe-du-Hoc where the United States Army Rangers famously scaled 100' cliffs to secure the position. We close out the day with a short drive inland to La Cambe German Cemetery and an opportunity to respectfully consider the losses of the opposing army. More than 21,000 German soldiers lie here, some having not even reached their eighteenth birthday. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 4 - Gold Beach
Wednesday August 10
Day Four takes us to points of interest within the British landing zone of Gold Beach. This area was selected as one of two sites to construct the man-made Mulberry Harbour where ships could off-load the massive supplies needed for the invasion force. The view from the cliffs above reveals remnants of the harbour just off-shore. We then walk down into Arromanches, a lovely coastal tourist village, for some free time to wander.
We also make a visit to Longues-sur-Mer, a German coastal artillery position of four large naval guns which posed a serious threat to Allied ships off-shore and the landing beaches themselves. Our final stop in the afternoon is the British Normandy Memorial, newly dedicated in June 2021. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 5 - Juno Beach (Part 1)
Thursday August 11
This is our first of two days along the 8 kilometers of shoreline that comprises Juno Beach. We begin by exploring Bernières-sur-Mer where we find 'Canada House,' easily the most iconic building of the entire Normandy coast. Just down the boardwalk stands one of many concrete defenses, barely unchanged since 1944.
After a short break, we take a battlefield walk along the shoreline to the eastern most point of the Juno sector and the village of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Here we find yet another concrete defense, with the 50-mm German gun still sitting ominously in its place. Along the way we see more iconic beachfront structures.
The afternoon schedule is kept clear, to allow for attendance at an expected commemoration event hosted by Veterans Affairs Canada at Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. Here are buried 2,044 Canadians who fell in the early hours of D-Day and the subsequent battles. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 11 - Juno Beach (Part 3)
Saturday June 8
With the official commemorations concluded, and the crowds gradually dispersing, we double-back to the Juno Beach Centre for a high quality visit.
Our morning includes a tour inside the JBC, and a feature guided tour of the German command bunkers buried in the dunes out front. Once again, we'll take some time in reflection with a walk along the shoreline, to hear stories of heroism and bravery amidst the chaos of war.
We'll visit the spot where French General Charles de Gaulle set foot in his triumphant return onto French soil, marked by the Cross of Lorraine. And, we'll see more examples of the military hardware that helped the allies win the war. Overnight Lisieux - Mercure Hotel. [B,L]
Day 6 - Juno Beach (Part 2)
Friday August 12
On this Friday morning we explore areas inland from the Juno beachhead, following the path taken by the Canadians. We'll visit the monuments in the village square of Buron, then take a battlefield walk to the next village of Authie to see more tributes. We also make a stop at Carpiquet Airport to hear of the fierce battle for control of this strategic ground.
We close out the afternoon with an important Canadian pilgrimage to Abbey Ardenne, where a number of Canadians were illegally executed in the early days of June 1944. Overnight Caen - Novotel Côte de Nacre. [B,L]
Day 7 - The Battle of Normandy
Saturday August 13
For the final day on the battlefields we venture into the countryside south of Caen, where the Battle of Normandy played out in the weeks and months following D-Day.
We'll visit various historical points related to Verrières Ridge, including the monument at Point 67 which dominates the landscape. We stop in St-Lambert-sur-Dives where David Currie earned a Victoria Cross in the battle for the Falaise Gap.
Our visit also features another battlefield walk, this time through the village to a small bridge where the German Army attempted a desperate escape. Our day concludes with a stop at the German Tiger Tank in Vimoutiers.
In the evening we gather for our Farewell Dinner, to raise a glass to all who have served and to enjoy the company of new friends. Overnight Paris - hotel tba. [B,L]
Day 8 - Return, or extend your stay
Sunday August 14
This morning is departure day for those Canadians returning home on the optional group flight - buffet or box breakfast is included, depending on departure time from the hotel. Some travelers may choose to remain in Paris longer to extend the end of the trip - let us know if we can quote you on post-tour accommodations.
Others guests will depart for home or continue their travels on other routes. [B]