Idyllic Normandy on France’s northern coast has a big historical footprint for a long time. It’s the place from which a conqueror named William set sail to tame England nearly 1,000 years ago.
But in 2019, our focus will be on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the course of world history was altered because of the World War II English Channel crossing that launched the Allies’ bloody liberation of France from Nazi rule.
There are more than 20 cemeteries in Normandy honoring war dead from Allied and Axis countries. The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, is seen in the opening and closing scenes of “Saving Private Ryan” and is a moving experience.
The Utah Landing Beach Museum, where you can see an original B-26 bomber, is one of several you can visit to learn more about the perilous effort. The Musée du Débarquement in the lovely village of Arromanches-les-Bains is another choice.
Bayeux is an excellent staging place for a vistor’s tour of Normandy. While it’s most known for the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman invasion, it’s also another excellent stop on your D-Day tour.
Don’t miss: Where the Seine River meets the English Channel is Honfleur, home to a picturesque harbor and other points of interest that captured the eye of impressionist Claude Monet. Insiders advise renting a car to truly see all that Normandy has to offer.