My Travel Blog

How to Properly Experience Normandy

We picked up our friends Bruce and Tess at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and we were off to the Normandy Coast.  We stayed in the heart of Normandy in the town of Bayeux.

The last time we were in Bayeux we were looking to buy a barge.  We found Rabelo in La Havre less than fifty miles away.  I have to admit that our last visit to Normandy other than finding Rabelo was not that exciting.  We visited Omaha and Utah beaches and the American Cemetery.  The beaches still looked like beaches, but the cemetery was very moving.  This time we hired a guide, which completely changed our perspective.  Monica with was amazing.  Shortly into our tour it became abundantly clear that Monica was much more than just a tour guide.  She was a student, or maybe I should say professor of the WWII battles surrounding the D-Day invasion.  I have never met a tour guide that was as passionate or knowledgeable as Monica.

If you’re going to Normandy then definitely spend the money to hire a tour guide. If you can get Monica that would be the best.

Our first stop was one of the many museums in Normandy. Here General Eisenhower is meeting with his soldiers knowing that their chances of survival were slim.

This is a Sherman tank, but according to Monica not the exact model used for the D-Day invasion.

And you thought your Harley was bad ass.

PFC John Steel.

During the D-Day invasion PFC John Steele parachuted behind the German lines, and his parachute got caught on this church.  He played dead for three hours so that the Germans would not use him for shooting practice.  Eventually the lookouts in the church steeple pulled him in through one of the windows only to discover he was still alive.  PFC Steele was placed in a prison camp, and three days later he escaped and made it back to the allied beachhead.  Red Buttons played PFC John Steele in the movie, “The Longest Day.”

Spending time with our friends Bruce and Tess at Utah Beach.

Storming the beach. Note how the brave men are right behind the women.

The cliffs at Point du Hoc that were assaulted by two battalions of US Rangers. Can you imagine climbing these cliffs under fire?

A gun emplacement at Point du Hoc.

The American cemetery.

Lowering the flag at the American Cemetery.

One of two brothers that were the inspiration for the movie Saving Private Ryan.

An interesting sculpture at Gold Beach.

-Tom Miller

Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.