How To Do A Normandy Family Tour

Family photo on Normandy Beach, Travel to Battle of Normandy

Normandy Tour To The Beach

When we’re standing on the sparkling sandy beach at Normandy it’s hard to fathom all the things I’ve read in history books happening under my feet. It’s a windy, but sunny day in July walking on a section of beach with our tour guide as he sets the story of what the D-Day soldiers were up against on their amphibious surge back in WWII.

The Normandy tours was a full day excursion My husband set up for the seven of us. While I wanted to train out for the day and wander, he wanted a personal guide to take us through it all.

He won, and we boarded the 8:00am train out of Paris to meet our guide for the full Normandy experience.

A Private Tour of Normandy Sites

Okay, I’ll admit it…He was right to plan our tour this way. It does happen from time to time, him right, and me not as right. With seven of us it was also nice to have a van to go all together to each site.

Our full day tour of Normandy started at the German cemetery, La Cambe. There is a cemetery for each of the British, German, and American soldiers. Our guide was quite a history buff and knew how to feel a story, not just spout out facts, and not bore you tears. Think about most of your history classes in school and flip it 180-degrees opposite. Our guide was that teacher who popped history off the page for you. He told stories, but also kept three kids {ages 15 and 12} listening.

{Probably not the entire time, they are teens on Summer break after all ;)}

The biggest impression made was the entrance into La Cambe. An understated stone arch doorway leading to a tall cross hill. Before we entered he told two of us to saunter through side-by-side, only we couldn’t do it. Only one person at a time passes through the entrance. “Those buried here entered alone, and they’re buried alone.”

That arched door also centered your gaze on the stone path that led to the dark, basalt lava cross atop a small hill where unknown soldiers are buried. It’s a simple but peaceful resting place for those who willingly and unwilling served their country.

After stopping at all three cemeteries {Not the most uplifting way to start a tour day, but it had your attention}. He was a tour guide with a plan too — I like that.

Now that you’ve visited all three, what are your impressions?”

If we had toured on our own only the U.S. cemetery would be on the list. A message popped out to me, a glorifying look-at-me announcement. And that message may be totally different for you. Stepping into all three cemeteries is a must.

Bonus number-one for our private Normandy tours guide.

He gave us a well-rounded experience and did more than make pit-stops at each tourist attraction. He had you feel what it might be like {as best you can over 75 years later} instead of wander, look, and find your next chocolate croissant patisserie.

I love a good story, or 10. For each stop there was another story, another way to try and bring us into the horrifying, loud, cold, and wet months.

The Tour Experience

We walked the cliffs, the beaches, the craters, and hidden trail for one full day of Normandy history. True, history isn’t always on the top of the list for a family vacation, but having a personal tour gave us time to go slower, stop and let the kids play on the beach a bit, but also immerse them in living history instead of a boring ol’ textbook that most students skim to regurgitate for a test.

Standing Where They Hit

The boys turned into shrinky-dinks when they walked down into the bomb holes!

These holes littered the cliff-top, all around the bunkers.

Puts the size into perspective. The boys mainly loved running up & down the edges. But another plus to having our guide. They run up and down while we stood at the edge listening and standing on history.

Battle of Normandy Crater, boys running the crator

The Hidden Road Walk

Behind a farmers fields our guide walked us on the path a biker spy {a spy who rode the countryside on a bicycle} that scouted routes for the invasion. Hidden bunkers, or I think foxholes, built up behind tree’s or dirt hill, were on this path that lead to these open waters over the cliffs.

beaches of normandy, tour normandy France

Can you believe sights this gorgeous was also the location of so many lost lives?

Not as light and uplifting as my other travel stops, but just as memorable. Our Normandy tour was part of our three country visit {London, Paris, and Barcelona}

If you’re planning a trip to Normandy then a private tour guide is the way to see + hear it all. Even more surprising than agreeing to use an entire vacation day to listen to war stories, was that we booked the day through a travel agency.

I know, people do still use a travel agent to book their wanderings. This private tour of ours was scheduled through Poe Travel.

Related posts for your other trips aside of a Normandy tour::

Do you like adding in historical excursions on your trips?

Never miss a Chapter 50 travel moment::

CLICK HERE for a Chapter 50 ~ A Glimpse of Good virtual coffee and wine date each month.

Chapter 50 sign up photo form

Andrea ~ The Chapter 50 Blogger
A Glimpse of Good at 50

World Traveler • Over 50 Styler • Lifestyle Blogger • Books&Wine
Instagram Pinterest Twitter Facebook

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

15 Followers

Writing for the next chapter in travel, 50-n-fabulous style, vacation rental re-do +forever searching for good coffee, great wine, & the next captivating book.