Bayeux Tours and Attractions, France

Private Tour: Bayeux, Honfleur and Pays d' Auge Private Tour: Bayeux, Honfleur and Pays d' Auge

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Bayeux is a town in northern France best known for the Bayeux Tapestry.

This is one of the few remaining artifacts recording the defeat of King Harold and the subsequent conquest of England by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, in 1066.

The residents of Bayeux are called Bayeusains and the city boasts some of the most enchanting cityscape in France.

Its gorgeous architecture and tight, cobbled streets are highlighted by many 15th century homes, and magnetic market squares.

All different styles of architecture from antiquity through the Renaissance up to the modern day are represented in this town that was, until the 11th century, the capital of lower Normandy.

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Without a doubt, one of the most impressive sites is the cathedral which sits at the heart of this historic town built between the 11th and 13th century under the order of Odon, bishop of Bayeux and half brother to William the Conqueror.

This monumental architectural wonder using both roman and gothic styles continued to evolve right up until the end of the 18th century.

Nearby beaches were the first areas to be breached on D-Day by Allied Forces. Although it was the first large town liberated by the allies in Normandy in 1944, Bayeux escaped serious damage during the Second World War, much of the delight of lovers of History.

You can't hear of Bayeux without mention of its famous tapestry, an embroidered cloth over 200 feet long and about 18 inches high which tells the story of William the Conqueror between the years of 1064 and 1066, retracing all the events which led William, Duke of Normandy to invade England in October 1066 and depose its King, Harold, thus giving him the title William the Conqueror, King of England.

This 11th century "comic strip" is one of the best and most complete sources for historians to learn about and analyze medieval costumes, boat building and strategies that were employed in Norman and British camps leading up to the battle of Hasting.

Bayeux also wrote its own page in French history in June 1944 at Place du Chateau when this became the first spot visited in newly liberated France by General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, who announced officially the liberation of the first French town after four long years of Nazi occupation.

Normandy Beaches Half-Day Trip from BayeuxNormandy Beaches Half-Day Trip from Bayeux
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Pay tribute to the soldiers who fought at Omaha Beach on this afternoon tour of the Normandy beaches from Bayeux. You'll visit the famous battlefield sites of World War II and gain invaluable insights into the wartime experience of the soldiers who fought and died there.

From Bayeux you'll drive to Pointe du Hoc, where the infamous German gun position threatened the Allied ships all the way to Utah and Omaha.

The site was attacked by the elite 2nd U.S. Rangers, commanded by Lt. Col. James Rudder, who scaled the cliffs to get there. With its huge fortifications blown to pieces, the important site remains as it was when the Rangers left it and looks like a lunar landscape.

You'll then drive along the coast to Omaha Beach, where soldiers of the 29th and 1st Divisions landed, fought and died. This operation was the bloodiest of the five beaches and almost failed, but the bravery of those young men turned this operation into a victory.

Overlooking the eastern end of Omaha Beach, the American cemetery holds the bodies of 9387 soldiers who came from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to liberate Western Europe from the Germans.

You can see the graves of some of the 307 unknown soldiers or visit the resting places of the more famous, such as the family who inspired the film "Saving Private Ryan" or General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Your last stop for the day is the battery at Longues-sur-Mer. It was composed of four guns of 152 mm calibre, capable of firing shells to a maximum range of 15 miles, allowing them to reach not only Omaha Beach, 8 miles to the west, but also the British landing zone of Gold Beach, 5 miles to the east.

The Allies had tried to knock out this battery with aerial bombardment leading up to the landings, but it was not until D-Day itself that the guns were finally silenced by the off-shore Allied Navies. The damage inflicted on the guns themselves can still clearly be seen today.

Private Normandy Battlefields Tour - The Landing Beaches of Normandy Private Normandy Battlefields Tour - The Landing Beaches of Normandy
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Re-live in the principal events and battles that made up the Battle of Normandy with a private tour of the sites that interest you, which could include Utah Beach, Sainte Mere Eglise, Pointe Du Hoc, Longues Sur Mer, the American and German Cemeteries.

Your guide on your Private Normandy Battlefields Tour is passionate about the history and the region of Normandy.

You can see the landing beaches, the inland battlefields, some of the cemeteries of the principal armies, the museums and listen to the stories and history behind each.

As this is a private tour, your itinerary is flexible allowing you to see what you want and determine the amount of time you'd like to spend at each site.

Omaha Beach Half-Day Trip from BayeuxOmaha Beach Half-Day Trip from Bayeux
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If time is tight and you'd like to tour the Normandy beaches, this quick morning tour from Bayeux will show you all the poignant highlights of these important World War II battle sites.

From Bayeux you'll drive to Pointe du Hoc, where the infamous German gun position threatened the Allied ships all the way to Utah and Omaha.

The site was attacked by the elite 2nd U.S. Rangers, commanded by Lt. Col. James Rudder, who scaled the cliffs to get there. With its huge fortifications blown to pieces, the site remains as it was when the Rangers left it and looks like a lunar landscape.

Next, you'll drive along the coast to Omaha Beach, where soldiers of the 29th and 1st Divisions landed, fought and died.

This operation was the bloodiest of the five beaches and almost failed, but the bravery of those young men turned this operation into a victory. Overlooking the bluff is the American Military Cemetery, where 9,387 service men rest in peace.

Normandy Battlefields Tour - Canadian World War II SitesNormandy Battlefields Tour - Canadian World War II Sites
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Begin your Normandy Battlefields Tour with a visit to the Juno Beach Center, the only museum in the Canadian sector. The Center retraces the implementation of the Canadian Army during fighting in Europe.

Next stop is the Canadian Cemetery near the villages of Beny-sur-Mer and Reviers, next to where the 3rd Canadian Division landed. Over 2000 Canadian, British and French soldiers are buried here, they paid with their life in the fight for Liberty.

Last stop on this tour is Ardenne Abbey, a masterpiece of architectural design dating from the 12th century.

In the early years of the German occupation, the abbey was a focal point for the local French Resistance. Its unfortunate reputation nowadays, however, is as the site of execution of Canadian prisoners of war by the child soldiers of the Hitler Youth Division.

Normandy Battlefields Day Trip: Omaha, Sword and the British Airborne Sector Normandy Battlefields Day Trip: Omaha, Sword and the British Airborne Sector
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Retrace the main assaults undertaken by the British forces during the first days of the Battle of Normandy on a poignant battlefields tour you'll never forget. If you have a relative who fought in the war, or are at all interested in 20th-century history, you'll find this Normandy beaches tour a fascinating day trip from Bayeux.

Your tour begins with a drive to Pointe du Hoc, where the German gun position threatened the Allied ships all the way to Utah and Omaha. The site remains as it was when the Rangers left it and looks like a lunar landscape.

Next, you'll drive along the coast to Omaha Beach where soldiers of the 29th and 1st Divisions landed, fought and died. Overlooking the bluff is the American Military Cemetery, where 9,387 service men rest in peace.

You will see Pegasus Bridge and its sister bridge site for one of the most complete and successful operation carried out on D-Day. It was vital for these bridges to be captured intact in order to deny the Germans a crossing point over the Orne river and canal, which together run parallel to the sea from Caen. The paratroopers held their position despite numerous enemy counter-attacks until they were joined by British troops advancing south from Sword Beach just after midday on D-Day.

The Commonwealth Military Cemeteries are sadly present in numerous villages and towns in Normandy. They can be different in the size but the emotion stays the same, each grave has flowers, sometimes photographs and letters are laid down by relatives.

Your last stop for the day will be at Merville Battery Museum, where you will learn about the men of the 6th British Airborne. This small group of determined British soldiers managed to succeed in their D-Day mission to capture and destroy the guns strategically situated to fire on the landings taking place three miles further west on Sword Beach.

Normandy Battlefields Tour - Sword Beach and the British Airborne Sector Normandy Battlefields Tour - Sword Beach and the British Airborne Sector
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On this Normandy Battlefields Tour, you will visit the famous site of Pegasus Bridge, captured just after midnight on D-Day by elements of the 6th Airborne Division.

You will visit the Hillman Bunker complex. Found a couple of miles inland from Sword Beach, the fortifications that made up the Hillman complex are just outside the village of Colleville-Montgomery, known prior to 1944 as Colleville-sur-Orne.

It was here on the June 07, the Germans finally gave up to the 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. The different bunkers, used as a German command post, are now cared for by the Association of the Friends of the Suffolk Regiment.

The Commonwealth Military Cemeteries are sadly present in numerous villages and towns in Normandy. They can be different in the size but the emotion stays the same, each grave has flowers, sometimes photographs and letters are laid down by relatives. You will also read the touching epitaphs chosen by parents, brothers and sisters or children.

Visit Sword beach where 28,000 soldiers including 177 Free French soldiers, came ashore to start the liberation of Western Europe. They were the only French soldiers to be involved in the assaults on D-Day.

Next on to the Merville Battery Museum. The men of the 6th British Airborne Division under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Otway were tasked with the capture and destruction of the guns strategically situated to fire on the landings taking place three miles further west on Sword Beach.

These men were missing equipment, ammunition and lacked communications. Also, despite the reinforcements that were meant to arrive during the attack not turning up, this small group of determined British soldiers managed to succeed in their D-Day mission, and this gun battery today remains as a museum to the testament of the courage of these men.
 

Late Rooms in France

 

Bayeux
(Basse-Normandie)
Pop: 16,000

Attractions in Bayeux

Musee Memorial de la Bataille de Normandie-museum recounting the WW II Battle of Normandy

Musee de Ballons - depicts hot-air ballooning history from 1783 to date, housed in the exquisite Chateau de Balleroy, annual balloon meeting on site

Centre Guillaume le Conquerant - major drawing card in Bayeux is the renowned Bayeux Tapestry (Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde) which details the conquest of England by William the Conqueror

History of D-Day at Normandy Driving Tour

D-Day Beaches on the Cote de Nacre

Bayeux War Cemetery

Cathedrale Notre Dame-touted for its Norman Gothic accents

Omaha and Juno Beaches-where the landings materialized

American Military Cemetery - close to10,000 interred there

Normandy beaches

Largest British World War II cemetery