The Hotel Reine Mathilde
Just 20 minutes from the D-Day Beaches
June 6th 1944 - this is a day the world will never forget. When you get to see these places up close and treading the beaches that became the theatre to the largest amphibian and airborne military operation of all times, you’ll be moved like never before. You can visit these places freely depending on your knowledge of history, or perhaps follow one of the guides there on hand. Each place was part of the theatre of an historic event without comparison. So full of human experiences and drama and with seemingly every emotion felt, we cannot truly comprehend what it must have felt like to have landed in Normandy that day.
Ouistreham (Sword Beach) hosts the Musée du Mur de l’Atlantique (Atlantic Wall Museum). Presenting all the equipment as it existed in 1944, it serves as a good introduction and a starting point towards the other beaches. It’s also on this beach where Commander Kieffer of the Free French Forces and his men landed, and where the D-Day 70th anniversary ceremonies took place in 2014. Assigned to the Canadians, Courseulles-sur-Mer (Juno Beach) saw 14,000 Canadian servicemen alongside 9000 British troops, all of whom saw heavy losses. The Juno Beach Centre retraces every moment of this event.
Located in the exact centre of the landing area, Arromanches (just 10 km from the hotel) saw the construction of an artificial port, several remnants of which remain. The D-Day Museum will place you at the very heart of the action with its 360° cinema, Arromanches 360.
At Colleville-sur-Mer (Omaha Beach), you’ll find the American Cemetery. Since 1956, 9387 tombstones lined up across 70 hectares commemorate the sacrifice of American soldiers on this beach where the Landings could have failed due to the heavy Nazi artillery on this beach. The visitor centre, the Overlord Museum (a collection of more than 10,000 pieces, such as vehicles, tanks and canons, many of which saw full-scale drama) and the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum will leave you wanting to learn more.
To see the authentic B-26 bomber, head to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont (Utah Beach).