By the spring of 1944, the Allied forces were pushing up the Italian peninsula and the Soviet Union's Red Army was closing in on occupied Poland. Adolph Hitler’s Wermacht, however, still held an iron grip on most of mainland Europe. The Allies knew that their best chance of defeating Germany was to open a second front in the West. The decision was made to launch a massive cross-Channel invasion on the European continent at Normandy. It was their best chance of crushing the Third Reich.
Join us on this memorable tour, our 5th tour to Normandy, that focuses on those pivotal days of 1944 when the outcome of the war hung in the balance. Led by Historian Guide Ed Bearss we will follow the action, as the allies invade Fortress Europe.
September 15 Individual departures from the U.S.
Note: American staff, Ed Bearss & Marty Gane, having just completed our WWII England tour, will fly from London to Paris. They are booked on British Airways flight #306, scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 8:50 am on Friday, September 16, arriving in Paris Charles de Gaulle at 11:15 am.
September 16 (B, D) Individual arrivals in Paris. Meet Battlefield Guide Ed Bearss and Tour Manager Marty Gane at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:15 am. We will transfer by coach from the airport to our hotel in Bayeux, our base for the next four nights. Toast our journey at tonight's welcome dinner where we will meet our Normandy Battlefield Guide.
Overnight Hotel ibis Port en Bessin (north of Bayeux)
September 17 (B, L) We will begin our orientation of the Normandy invasion at the American Cemetery and Memorial on a cliff above Omaha Beach. We will walk the beach itself and see the draws that let the men of the Big Red One’s 16th U.S. Infantry fight their way to the top of the bluff, where the Fortress Europe defenses are breathtakingly impressive. We will revisit the American landing at Vierville-sur-Mer’s, highlighted in the movie Saving Private Ryan, and we will have lunch at a chateau that was Nazi headquarters. We end the day at the Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument, on the field where Col. James E. Rudder and his Rangers stormed a seemingly impregnable position. Overnight Hotel ibis Port en Bessin (north of Bayeux)
September 18 (B, L) Today we will focus on the American right flank at Normandy in visits to Utah Beach, the Utah Beach Museum at La Madeleine, the German Battery at St. Marcouf, Ste.-Mère-Eglise, and Carentan. We will revisit the battle’s most disastrous night at Ste.-Mère-Eglise when American paratroopers, illuminated by the flames of a burning house, became easy targets for German snipers. We will a tour of the town’s outstanding Airborne Museum and then we will visit Brecourt Manor to learn about the famous attack on the German Artillery Guns which was immortalized in the "Band of Brothers." Overnight Hotel ibis Port en Bessin (north of Bayeux)
September 19 (B) This morning we will explore the British and Canadian landing areas—Gold, Juno, and Sword. We will see the massive German battery at Longues, the artificial Mulberry harbor at Arromanches, and the “Pegasus Bridge” captured by the British in the opening minutes of D-Day.Overnight Hotel ibis Port en Bessin (north of Bayeux)
September 20 (B, D) Today we will visit the medieval town of St. Lo and its surrounding hedgerow country, the key to the breakout from the Normandy beaches. We will learn of Thomas Howie, the “Major of St. Lo,” Operation Cobra, and the Avranches Breakout. We will stand with the 30th Old Hickory Division at Mortain and join the Polish units on Mont Ormel, as we travel the “Corridor of Death.”
O/N Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
September 21 Individual departures from Paris.
Note: American staff, Ed Bearss & Marty Gane, are flying from Paris to Washington on September 21. They are booked on United Airlines flight #914, scheduled to depart Paris Charlesde Gaulle at 12:25 pm on Wednesday, September 21, arriving in Washington Dulles Airport at 3:00 pm on September 21.
Edwin C. Bearss is a National Treasure. Author, lecturer and one of our nation's preeminent historians, Ed's encyclopedic knowledge and unflagging energy are legendary. A native of Sarpy, Montana, Ed is a decorated WWII Marine Corps veteran from the Pacific Theater. Ed has enjoyed a 41-year career as an historian for the National Park Service. In 1981, he was named Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, a position he held until 1994. Ed has led many WWII tours from Normandy to the Rhine River; the Battle of Crete, and the Italian Campaign. This will be Ed's 6th tour to Normandy.
* Historian Guide: Edwin C. Bearss is scheduled for this tour
* Services of a Normandy guide
* Services of a professional tour director: Marty Gane is scheduled for this tour
* 5 nights in hotel accommodations
* Private, air-conditioned, motor coach for all sightseeing
* 1 wine reception, 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners.
* All admissions, tours and excursions as described in the itinerary
* All taxes, baggage handling (one bag per person), & gratuities
* Pre-trip notes, reading list and map book
What is Not Included:
Airfare; transfers between airport and hotel; trip insurance; personal items such as wines, liquors, a la carte orders, room service, laundry charges; and meals and other items not specifically mentioned as included.
Price does not include airfare, however, we are happy to help with flight arrangements.
COST: 7 DAYS/5 NIGHTS
Double Occupancy: $2,195 per person
Single Occupancy: $2,450
NOTE: If you take both our WWII England tour and our Normandy tour back-to-back, we will deduct $200 per person off the combined price and we will include the cost of the flight from London Heathrow to Paris.
(NOTE: All costs are based on a minimum of 25 participants.)