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Thread: Normandy Beaches

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    Normandy Beaches

    Hello everyone,

    We are thinking of taking some of our explorers/scouts to France to the Normandy beaches for a few days. Do you have any recommendations for tours and campsites where we could go? We are also thinking of visiting Caen to see the Bayeux tapestry. Many thanks for your suggestions.
    Last edited by Caroline Sauret; 28-02-2018 at 12:14 PM.

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    Not sure about campsites as we weren't camping when we were there.

    The Bayeux Tapestry is worth a look but don't overlook other things in Bayeux whilst you are there - its an interesting place. Its home to the British cemetery for those killed during the D-Day campaign which creates an interesting connection between those from Bayeux who invaded us in 1066 and us "invading" back in 1944 - a point which is made on the main memorial which is separated from the cemetery by the inner ring road - which might seem odd until you realise the road was built as part of the advance in order to get forces around Bayeux avoiding its narrow streets. There is also a nearby D-Day museum - you can get a combined ticket for that and the tapestry. We parked at the museum, walked just up the road to the cemetery etc, and then after seeing the museum walked into Bayeux to see the tapestry which takes you past the Cathedral etc. (I seem to recall there is a massive hyper market just along from there which might be useful to know for picking up supplies).

    Its also interesting to visit Pointe du Hoc (free entry, massive car park, posh visitor centre etc) which is the American funded memorial site as well as a well known landmark in the D-Day invasion. It was expected to be heavily armed but on the day no big guns were there. If you are in any way into conspiracy theories, contrast what you see at Pointe du Hoc with what you can find at "Batterie Maisy" further to the west. Basically a Brit discovered some papers in an old uniform suggesting that there was an un-documented German fortification in the Maisy area that was intended to cover part of the coast at the point where it turns north towards Cherbourg. He then bought the relevant piece of land and has spent years digging it out, finding various fortifications etc supposedly deliberately covered up by the Americans at the end of the war. Compared to Pointe du Hoc, its just some fields with fortifications in them, with a portakabin at the entrance, but the guys there were talkative and informative. I guess at a push if you got in contact with them they might know of a suitable campsite.

    The other place we visited was Sainte Mere Eglise - the site of the American parachute landings that famously left one of their guys hanging by the parachute from the church tower. Reasonably interesting museum there, but we didn't stay long as we were just passing through on the way from Cherbourg.

    If you go in via Cherbourg or more likely are back there with time to kill on the way home, there is a fairly substantial museum on the dockside which covers all sorts of maritime stuff. They've got a decommissioned nuclear sub, a display on the Titannic as well as some aquarium displays.

    Roads around the area, especially the main ones are amazing by British standards, very smooth and very little traffic on them.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Senior Member Ker-stee's Avatar
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    https://www.facebook.com/Normandy-Ca...6192351324123/ Our district have been to this event a couple of times now and it's thoroughly enjoyed!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline Sauret View Post
    We are also thinking of visiting Caen to see the Bayeux tapestry.
    When are you thinking of going?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42713552
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ker-stee View Post
    https://www.facebook.com/Normandy-Ca...6192351324123/ Our district have been to this event a couple of times now and it's thoroughly enjoyed!
    I saw this but no information I can see from their website yet. I will keep an eye on this.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    When are you thinking of going?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42713552
    We don't know exactly when, maybe May June 2019 during half-term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    Not sure about campsites as we weren't camping when we were there.

    The Bayeux Tapestry is worth a look but don't overlook other things in Bayeux whilst you are there - its an interesting place. Its home to the British cemetery for those killed during the D-Day campaign which creates an interesting connection between those from Bayeux who invaded us in 1066 and us "invading" back in 1944 - a point which is made on the main memorial which is separated from the cemetery by the inner ring road - which might seem odd until you realise the road was built as part of the advance in order to get forces around Bayeux avoiding its narrow streets. There is also a nearby D-Day museum - you can get a combined ticket for that and the tapestry. We parked at the museum, walked just up the road to the cemetery etc, and then after seeing the museum walked into Bayeux to see the tapestry which takes you past the Cathedral etc. (I seem to recall there is a massive hyper market just along from there which might be useful to know for picking up supplies).

    Its also interesting to visit Pointe du Hoc (free entry, massive car park, posh visitor centre etc) which is the American funded memorial site as well as a well known landmark in the D-Day invasion. It was expected to be heavily armed but on the day no big guns were there. If you are in any way into conspiracy theories, contrast what you see at Pointe du Hoc with what you can find at "Batterie Maisy" further to the west. Basically a Brit discovered some papers in an old uniform suggesting that there was an un-documented German fortification in the Maisy area that was intended to cover part of the coast at the point where it turns north towards Cherbourg. He then bought the relevant piece of land and has spent years digging it out, finding various fortifications etc supposedly deliberately covered up by the Americans at the end of the war. Compared to Pointe du Hoc, its just some fields with fortifications in them, with a portakabin at the entrance, but the guys there were talkative and informative. I guess at a push if you got in contact with them they might know of a suitable campsite.

    The other place we visited was Sainte Mere Eglise - the site of the American parachute landings that famously left one of their guys hanging by the parachute from the church tower. Reasonably interesting museum there, but we didn't stay long as we were just passing through on the way from Cherbourg.

    If you go in via Cherbourg or more likely are back there with time to kill on the way home, there is a fairly substantial museum on the dockside which covers all sorts of maritime stuff. They've got a decommissioned nuclear sub, a display on the Titannic as well as some aquarium displays.

    Roads around the area, especially the main ones are amazing by British standards, very smooth and very little traffic on them.
    Thank you for all your suggestions.

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    We have been to the last two Transatlantic Council Camporees, 2014 and 2017. Thoroughly worthwhile and well organised. Will be going again in 2019.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Andrew Wright For This Useful Post:

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    As mang says, the Pointe du Hoc museum is great, but I also like the Pegasus Bridge museum. Smaller but equally well put together. The beach at Arromanches and the remains of the Mulberry Harbour are also very evocative. Any coincident visit to a war cemetery will certainly make an impact.

    I would probably do a couple of days on an "exploration timeline" of D-Day and then go for other cultural activities.

    If you want to go further east, Houlgate is a pretty resort, and the classic French holiday resorts of Trouville and Deauville are splendid. Honfleur is very picturesque, but also very touristy.

    I also just discovered the Beauregard Adventure Park, near Caen. I haven't looked into it in more detail though, so I don't know if it would be appropriate for the age range/adult support.

    Are you aware that there a few rather obscure (French) rules and regulations involved with taking Scouts to France? If not, give the Infocentre a call and they will help you out.
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    Second for the Pegasus bridge museum. Also, the beach at Arromanches. I do recommend swimming there. The water is shallow at high tide and you can safely go out to the nearest mulberry (following all the usual rules of course). It is very popular but not busy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny E View Post
    As mang says, the Pointe du Hoc museum is great, but I also like the Pegasus Bridge museum. Smaller but equally well put together. The beach at Arromanches and the remains of the Mulberry Harbour are also very evocative. Any coincident visit to a war cemetery will certainly make an impact.

    I would probably do a couple of days on an "exploration timeline" of D-Day and then go for other cultural activities.

    If you want to go further east, Houlgate is a pretty resort, and the classic French holiday resorts of Trouville and Deauville are splendid. Honfleur is very picturesque, but also very touristy.

    I also just discovered the Beauregard Adventure Park, near Caen. I haven't looked into it in more detail though, so I don't know if it would be appropriate for the age range/adult support.

    Are you aware that there a few rather obscure (French) rules and regulations involved with taking Scouts to France? If not, give the Infocentre a call and they will help you out.
    Thank you very much Penny. Yes I have been warned about the rules and regulations in France.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Many thanks inforlife and swimming in the sea is a very good idea. Will definitely do the Pegasus bridge museum and Arromanches.

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    Andrew Wright, I have sent you a private message.

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