Many of Normandy’s beaches are famous for the D-Day landings and Utah, Gold, Omaha, Sword and Juno beaches are known for their WWII involvement as much as for their golden sands.
The Cherbourg Peninsula offers miles of sandy beaches, even in the height of Summer, the beaches are not crowded and remain clean – so whether you’re planning a bucket and spade beach holiday, taking romantic walks or visiting the many WWII sites, a visit to this area is a must.
The beach at Utah stretches for approx 30km south from the resort town of St Vaast.
There are very good facilities close to the beach with ample parking, picnic areas, cafe and toilets.
St Germain-sur-Ay is situated close to the harbour towns of Carteret and Portbail. St Germain offers a fine white sandy beach with warm waters making it perfect for families. Very good facilities include parking, toilets and nearby is a small childrens playground, shop and a couple of bars / restaurants.
Further down the coast from St Germain, you can find the beach at Pirou. Good facilities include parking and toilets close to the beach. Pirou has a small selection of shops, bars / cafes etc. all within a few minutes walk from the beach.Days Out :
There are many places withing easy reach that you can enjoy, Here are but a few :
Mont St Michael - Mont St Michael
Cite de la Mer - Cherbourg
Jersey / Guernsey - Granville / Barneville Carteret
Bayeux Tapestry - Bayeux
Paris Sightseeing / Shopping - ParisTowns & Cities :
Famous for the Bayeux Tapestry, the story of Duke William’s invasion of England in 1066, the defeat and death of the Anglosaxon Harold. It was one of the first towns to be liberated by the Allies in 1944 and is one of several towns with museums devoted to the D-Day landings of 1944. The Bayeux tourist site can be found here.
Caen is the powerful purposive side of Normandy, bustling businesslike, forever arranging trade fairs and exhibitions. It also remains one of the traditional glories of France with its castles and its two magnificent abbeys, Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames built for William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda. Caen is also a practical town with elegant shops and many excellent places to eat. The Caen tourist site can be found here.
One of the most striking things about Cherbourg must be the magnificent sea wall that the protects the largest port complex to be found between Le Harve and Brest. The city is great for shopping and puts on many cultural events throughout the year. Its Maritime heritage takes pride of place with the Cite de la Mer submarine and visitor centre. The Cherbourg tourist site can be found here.
The Cathedral and many Churches dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Nicholas,the wonderful public gardens,the ancient hospital and the areas of post-war reconstruction are just some of the sites that make Coutances a town of art and history and well worth a visit.
Granville is a vibrant coastal town on the shores of Mont Saint-Michael Bay. The beautiful traditional architecture of the old quarter stands high on the cliffs overlooking the old tidal fishing harbour. The new town has plenty to offer tourists with a vast choice of shops, museums and a casino. The Granville tourist site can be found here.
The Saint-Lo National Stud farm was established in 1810 to ensure that France had sufficient horses for its cavalry. No longer a burning priority for the army, the “Haras” now breeds pedigree animals principally for sporting and leisure activities. Almost completely destroyed in the bombings at the end of World War II, the stud farm of today is an exact replica of its 19th century predecessor.D Day & WWII :
Normandy is like one vast open-air museum with a wealth of historic sites and museums where visitors can explore and find out more about D-Day.
The Battle for Sainteny
The road leading south from Carentan to Periers rises gently to the high ground at the village of Sainteny midway between the two towns.
Taking the high ground is an axiom of war so this road was the focal point of bitter fighting that continued for two weeks. Only a little blood-soaked ground changed hands during that time but casualties on both sides of the line were mind-numbing.
Two American divisions staged numerous daily attacks on both sides of the Carentan road. In 11 brutal days the 4th Infantry Division was able to advance from the crossroads at La Verinesnil to a distance of less than 10 kilometers. The ground was defended by the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division and what remained of the 6th Parachute Regiment . The 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich made numerous forays from a reserve position.
This wide, impassable marsh on the right flank and a flooded area to the left created a narrow isthmus along the Sainteny front. Some historians refer to it as the Battle of the Isthmus, others as being part of the Battle off the Hedgerows or the Battle of St-Lo. In some books it is called the Battle of the Sainteny Hill.
Those brave men involved didn’t call it much of anything ………
Museums & MemorialsName Location
Memorial de Caen Caen
Musee Airborne St-Mere-Eglise
Musee du Debarquement Arromanches
Normandy American Cemetary Omaha Beach, Colleville Sur Mer
Memorial Pegasus Ouistreham
Musee Memorial Omaha Beach
Dead Man’s Corner Museum St-Come-du-Mont
Musee Du Debarquement Utah Beach
Arromanches Cinema 360 Arromanches
Musee de la Liberation St-Marie-du-Mont
Batterie D’Azeville Azeville
Memorial de la Liberte Quineville
Normandie Pass - www.normandiememoire.com
.Parks & Gardens :
France is home to 44 regional parks whose purpose is to maintain and support rural communities and traditions whilst creating prosperity through sustainable development.
Regional nature Parks
Parc Cotentin Bessin - St-Come-du-mont - Les Ponts D’ouve
Parks and Gardens
The rich and fertile soil and the favourable climate make Manche a plant-lover’s paradise with many unique gardens open to the public.
Jardin Montbello – Cherbourg Jardin Public - Cherbourg
Parc Emmanuel Liais – Cherbourg Parc du Chateau des Ravalet - Cherbourg
Jardin des plantes – Coutances Jardin d L’ile Tatihou - Saint-VaastHeritage :
We have included below a number of places of architectural or religious heritage for you to visit during your stay. Please contact us if you require further information.
Chateau Crosville - Crosville Cerisy-la-Salle - Cerisy-la-Salle
Chateau Pirou – Pirou Chateau St-Sauveur - St Sauveur
Chateau Balleroy – Balleroy Chateau Fontaine Henry - Fontaine Henry
Eglise Notre-Dame – Carentan Abbaye Du Voeu - Cherbourg
Basilique de la Trinite – Cherbourg Eglise Saint-Martin - Cherbourg
Cathedrale Notre-Dame – Coutances Eglise Saint-Nicolas - Coutances
Eglise Saint-Pierre – Coutances Abbaye Saint-Trinite - Lessay
Eglise Notre-Dame - St. Lo Eglise Sainte-Croix - St. Lo