D-Day Anniversary: London, Normandy, Paris
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Date(s) - 18/08/2019 - 25/08/2019
All Day



AUGUST 18-25, 2019

This fully guided and immersive tour will explore the people and places of Operation OVERLORD, the June 1944 invasion of Normandy that began Europe’s liberation from Nazi rule. We will walk the beaches and cliffs, learn from local experts and our own historian guide, and experience the planning and control from London and England and follow the operations from the Norman beaches to the Allied breakout.

Long before they launched across the Channel, the Allies transformed Great Britain into a vast armed camp, with millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen poised to assault Hitler’s Fortress Europa. We begin in London, examining the War Rooms of Winston Churchill’s Cabinet along with centuries of history and culture in the capital of the British Empire. We will also visit the grounds of Bletchley Park where, secret for decades, the ULTRA code breakers worked tirelessly for allied victory. Then, it’s off to Portsmouth on the Channel coast to discuss seaborne preparations, and visit the invasion headquarters of Dwight Eisenhower along with the British D-Day museum. From there we board the large, modern Normandie for the overnight crossing to the beaches of France!

The events of June 6, 1944, continue to inspire long after the guns have fallen silent. The largest invasion in history, on the isolated Normandy coast, drastically altered the conduct of the war and demonstrated the unflinching resolve of freedom-loving peoples. This D-Day tour will bring guests to the beaches, cliffs and fields; and villages, towns and cities where the Greatest Generation made their most indelible mark. From British glidermen at Pegasus Bridge, to the American infantrymen assaulting the beaches at Bloody Omaha; from American paratroopers jumping behind enemy lines at Ste Mere Eglise and Brecourt Manor to the Rangers climbing the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to the building of the artificial harbors at Arromanches. Finally, we will arrive in Paris just in time for the large commemoration events that surround the liberation of that city on August 24-25, 1944! And so many other iconic sites.

The WWII tour unfolds over eight days and seven nights with stories of all the Allied participants as well as those of the German defenders. In addition, EHE guests will visit the World Heritage treasure site of William the Conqueror’s Bayeux Tapestry. The rich, verdant farmland, the quaint villages and the dramatic cliffs and coasts create an incredibly memorable backdrop for this Normandy, France tour. The conclusion, in one of the world’s great cities on the anniversary of its liberation, promises to be incredibly memorable.

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While Europe is, of course, accessible to American travelers on their own, fully understanding a seminal event like the D-Day invasion, so large in scale and scope, requires months if not years of preparation. A professional, guided experience is essential in comprehending the complexities of the events and their timing, specific locations and personalities. Tours are available through many companies in Normandy. What sets Essential History Expeditions and Dr. Brian DeToy apart is his unique experience with 14 years as a university professor including teaching history and strategic studies at West Point, 28 years as a US Army officer with combat experience, and 22 years of leading groups at Normandy. Brian’s many Normandy tours, both large and small, include military leaders, West Point professors and cadets, and business leaders of international companies. Brian’s combined experience as a scholar soldier brings the events of this hallowed ground to life.

If a guest has a family member who served in Normandy, Brian will research the service member’s unit and weave that information into the tour, visiting all relevant locations and markers. Previous guests find this personalized approach to be emotionally gratifying and memorable.

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Day 1, August 18th: Introduction to London in WWII

  • We will meet at noon at our central London hotel for a welcome lunch and overview of the expedition.
  • Group visit to Churchill Cabinet War Rooms — from this location, near both to Parliament and No. 10 Downing, the War Cabinet received information, held high-level meetings and conducted its world-wide imperial war effort.
  • Walking tour of central London from Parliament Square along Whitehall, the center of British government, to Trafalgar Square and its iconic monuments, museums and public buildings.
  • Group dinner in central London.
  • Enjoy a spectacular evening at a West End show or at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We will survey guests in advance and select one play for all to attend.
  • London hotel.

Day 2, August 19th: ULTRA at Bletchley Park, Portsmouth & Seaborne Preparations for OVERLORD

  • Breakfast
  • At Bletchley Park, we will visit the ULTRA Code Breakers compound — a vital component in Allied victory and real-life inspiration for the recent Oscar-winning film “The Imitation Game.”
  • Lunch on your own at Hut 4 Cafe in Bletchley Park.
  • Next, we’ll join the director of Southwick House, the Headquarters of the Allied High Command in the days before the invasion, and the location, where, in the dark hours of night iwth torrential rains beating against the windows, Ike made the decision — “Let’s Go!”
  • Group dinner in Southwick Village at the Golden Lion, a traditional British pub with a rich history of visits from legendary leaders Winston Churchill, Montgomery and Eisenhower.
  • On the Portsmouth harbor along the quays, we’ll discuss D-Day shipping.
  • We’ll board the Normandie for the Channel Crossing: enjoy private ensuite stateroom cabins through the night from Portsmouth, England, to Ouistreham, France.

Day 3, August 20th: The British Airborne & Beaches

  • Breakfast
  • We will arrive at dawn just as the Allied soldiers and sailors did on June 6th, on the same Norman beaches!
  • We will visit Pegasus Bridge, where glidermen of the the British 6th Airborne Division captured the key bridge over the Orne and liberated the first French house in the invasion — today’s Cafe Condree, where we will enjoy coffee and may meet the owner, Madame Arlette Gondree, who saw the invasion from this house as a little girl.
  • Visit the nearby Ranville British Cemetery, where the first Allied killed in action are buried. (We will also visit cemeteries of the Germans and Americans to see how each remembers their fallen.)
  • Visit Caen Memorial Museum. There are a plethora of museums throughout the region but none tell the story as well as this official site with its incredible collection that goes into both depth and breadth of the vast enterprise.
  • We will drive west along the SWORD & JUNO beaches, where the British 3d Infantry Division and the Canadian 3d Infantry Division landed.
  • We will visit Courselles, the heart of JUNO Beach, where we will discuss the Canadians, Free French & the French Resistance in the success of the invasion. Group lunch on the way.
  • Arromanches is next, the site of GOLD Beach, another British landing site for the 50th Infantry Division & the location of the British Mulberry artificial harbor; option to visit the museum on your own.
  • We will return to Caen, the capital of Normandy since the days of William the Conqueror in 1066! We will walk the old town, including William’s Abbaye des Hommes, the Universite, and his ducal Chateau.
  • Dinner tonight will be on your own in a quaint, yet fabulous restaurant in the medieval 13th century streets of Old Caen.
  • Check-in to lodgings at the gorgeous Ferme de la Ranconniere in the town of Crepon, situated between Bayeux and GOLD Beach. The lodgings were originally built in the 13th century and have been beautifully refurbished.

Day 4, August 21st: American Airborne, UTAH Beach & Bayeux

  • Breakfast
  • We begin the day at the western end of the battle for Normandy. First up is the UTAH Beach Memorial with 4th Infantry Division where Americans first came ashore on June 6th.
  • Next is the 101st Airborne Division landings near Ste Marie du Mont, and the Band of Brothers of Easy Company at Brecourt Manor. The monuments to these men are a perfect place to examine the minute tactical battle detail of Americans in combat.
  • At La Fiere Bridge we will observe the tough defense by the 82d Airborne Division to hold the town of Ste Mere Eglise.
  • In the quaint town of Ste Mere Eglise, we will discuss the 82d Airborne Division in the first French village liberated by Americans. You will have the opportunity to visit the church, which beautifully commemorates the airborne paratroopers, and walk the town
  • Lunch on your own in a café in a town that still regards the Americans as their best friends and liberators!
  • Heading back east, we will stop in La Cambe to visit the German Normandy Cemetery. The somber landscape stands in contrast to those of the Allies although the remembrance remains extremely moving.
  • In the old town of Bayeux, we will visit the famed Tapestry Museum, where the story of William’s conquering of England has been portrayed for 1,000 years!
  • A walk through the ancient center of Bayeux will include the glorious Cathedral and medieval streets.
  • Four-course dinner at Ferme de la Ranconniere; the restaurant is listed in the MICHELIN Guide 2017.
  • Lodging night at Ferme de la Ranconniere.
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Day 5, August 22nd: Pointe du Hoc & OMAHA Beach

  • Breakfast
  • Our first stop is one of the most dramatic landscapes of the entire region! Marvel at the climb of the 2d Ranger Battalion up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. The capture of the guns was critical to invasion success.
  • At the western end of OMAHA Beach, we will discuss the 29th Infantry Division at Vierville. This is the area where the fierce landing scenes in “Saving Private Ryan” took place. It is also the location of the remains of the American Mulberry artificial harbor.
  • Moving to the eastern end of OMAHA Beach, we will see the incredibly difficult high-ground facing the 1st Infantry Division at Colleville; we will follow the climb to the top of the bluffs for success against great odds. The bus is available to drive those who do not wish to hike up the ridge.
  • Atop the bluffs we will visit one of the most memorable, beautiful and awe-inspiring sites in American military history: the incomparable American Cemetery.
  • Happy hour in the lovely courtyard of the Ferme de la Ranconniere.
  • Four-course dinner at Ferme de la Ranconniere; the restaurant is listed in the MICHELIN Guide 2017.
  • Hotel: Ferme de la Ranconniere.

Day 6, August 23rd: Paris and the Liberation of the City of Light

  • Breakfast
  • We will visit various sites associated with the liberation:
    • The Ritz Hotel, the bar Ernest Hemingway liberated!
    • Hotel Meurice, HQ of the German garrison and surrender site.
    • The Memorial of the Deportation on the Ile de la Cite behind Notre Dame.
    • Celebrations on the Champs Elysees.
  • Visit the incomparable Invelides, with the French military history museum’s exhibits on WWII and the liberation of Paris.
  • Walking tour of liberation sites between the French Resistance and Nazis.
  • Check-in to lodgings in central Paris.
  • Group dinner at a premier restaurant on the Left Bank.

Day 7, August 24th: Celebrations and Festivities for Liberation

  • Breakfast
  • Today, we will join in the festivities surrounding the 75th liberation commemoration, including Allied (French, American, British and others) parade on the Champs Elysees!
  • Major plans are currently in development by the French and other Allied governments; more details to follow as they become available.
  • Lodgings in central Paris.
  • Final group dinner in Paris.

Day 8, August 25th: Liberation Commemoration & Departure/Onward Journyes

  • Breakfast
  • Official events of the liberation of Paris will continue today throughout the city.
  • Departures and onward journeys.
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  • Seven and a half days of in-depth guided tours, led by an expert historian
  • Accommodations for seven nights in London (1 night), Channel Crossing (1 night), Normandy (3 nights) and Paris (2 nights)
  • All transportation after joining the group in London through Paris
  • All meals as identified in the itinerary
  • All museum and activity entrance fees
  • Personalized tour support
  • Alcoholic drinks are EXCLUDED
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  • Let’s set up a conference call! We would love to chat with you to answer any questions you may have!
  • Just complete the contact form below and let’s set up a call.


  • This trip has been sold out for months but now has two spaces (one double occupancy) because of a health-based cancellation. Contact us today for registration information!
  • Pricing: $4,350 per person, double occupancy; $700 single occupancy supplement.
  • Down payment: $1,000 per guest due upon registration.
  • All active duty and career retired military, current and career retired educators, and students will receive a 10 percent discount on the Normandy tour.
  • All repeat guests of Essential History Expeditions receive a 10 percent discount on all future expeditions.
  • Please see Terms and Conditions for payment schedule and cancellation policy.
D-Day Anniversary: London, Normandy, Paris 18/08/2019 - 25/08/2019 All Day D-Day Anniversary: London, Normandy, Paris D-Day Anniversary: London, Normandy, Paris Join us to commemorate the liberation of Paris following the 75th anniversary of the largest military invasion in history and the turning point of WWII. The events of June 6, 1944, continue to inspire long after the guns have fallen silent through the unflinching resolve. Mission Critical Systems 18-08-2019T00:00 18-08-2019T23:59 Active Active 18-08-2019 Active $0.00 18-08-2019
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