Our Blog - Normandy Beaches/Caen - May 2007
In May, we took a weekend trip over to Caen to the Caen Memorial. It is a relatively short train ride out of Paris. We stayed at a nice Kyriad hotel right in the center of town, in a nice location for dinners, and close to the bus and tram lines. We had lunch and then caught a city bus up the the Caen Memorial.
The Memorial is on the North side of town, but easily accessible by the city bus, which has a stop right across the street. They have a 1-day pass which is good for 24 hours and is a good deal. We did a 2pm tour, which lasts for about 5 hours (8 people in a little van) and takes you out to several of the beaches. The next day, you go back to the memorial itself. The memorial contains a couple movies along with lots of displays that take you though the World War II and various conflicts up to the present day.
This is a picture of the American Cemetery, which is very close to the Normandy beaches. There are several American and Germany cemeteries in the area. There are over 7,000 graves here, most with white marble crosses but there are some with Jewish Star-of-David's. This land was given to the US government by France in honor of the D-Day landing.
On one of the beaches, you can still see some of the gun placements (some still with the guns in it). This is part of the "Atlantic Wall" that Hitler had started building. The gun is Czechoslovakian-made, and is really quite big! In some areas, you can see the depressions in the soil where the bombs landed when the planes did their bombardment of the coastline prior to the landings.
These are the remnants of the artificial port, code named "Mulberry". None of the beaches were good for ports, and they didn't think they could take the port of Cherbourg quick enough, so they build 2 artificial ports, one on Omaha and one at Arromanches. However, right as they were getting done a big storm took one of them out completely, and the other took heavy damage which took another month to fix.
These are the ruins of the Chateau/fortress built by William the Conquerer in 1060. It has large wall surrounding it.
This is the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen. It was built in 1066 by William the Conquerer.
This is the inside of the Abbaye.