One of the best war sites to visit in Normandy is Pointe Du Hoc, located about 45 minutes away from the coastal town of Arromanches which we were staying in. Pointe Du Hoc is a lookout, which was used by German forces during the D-Day landings and now comprises of remaining part-destroyed turrets and bunkers. Pointe Du Hoc was initially the intended location for the opening beach-storming sequence to Saving Private Ryan, however they opted for Omaha beach instead.
There is so much to explore at Pointe Du Hoc, from the giant craters which have scarred the landscape to the numerous bunkers dotted around. Some of the bunkers are amazingly still well intact and can be explored – just remember to take a torch! There is a nice memorial as well located on the very edge of one of the cliffs which really does looking striking, backing onto the sea behind it.
It’s not only World War 2 history which Normandy has in abundance, Bayeux is home to one of the oldest (and possibly longest?!) stories in the world! Bayeux is of course home to the famous Bayeux tapestry, an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long, depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings. This was something I definitely wanted to see whilst I had the opportunity and it was a fantastic experience.
You get given headphones to listen to as you walk around the tapestry, and honestly, the story is so immersive! The tapestry itself is magnificent and is in pristine condition considering how old it is! Sadly you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the Bayeux tapestry, as the flashes could hasten degradation of the cloth.
Bayeux itself is a beautiful city with a lot of history, evident in the magnificent cathedral, watermills and old cobbled streets. It was lovely sitting out in the sun enjoying a beer watching the day go by without a care in the world.
Normandy has so much more to offer than just cider and cheese, and as you can tell, you’ll come back well educated! Have you visited Normandy before? Let me know in the comments!