London-Normandy-Paris-Reims D-Day Tour
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Date(s) - 03/06/2021 - 11/06/2021
All Day

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NORMANDY WWII HISTORY TOUR: D-DAY 1944: A JOURNEY THROUGH "THE LONGEST DAY"

JUNE 3-11, 2021

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 in Normandy.

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 codebreakers 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 Express for the 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. We will then visit sites from Operation COBRA – the breakout from Normandy, including the crucial crossroads of Avranches. In addition, we will visit the enchanted isle of Mont St Michel, an acclaimed World Heritage Site. Then, we will arrive in Paris to discuss the liberation of that city on August 24-25, 1944, as well as visit so many other iconic sites! Finally, we will visit the ancient city of Reims, where nearly all French kings were crowned and where the Germans surrendered to Eisenhower on May 7, 1945.

The WWII tour unfolds over nine days and eight 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 sites of William the Conqueror’s Bayeux Tapestry and Mont St Michel. The rich, verdant farmland, the quaint villages, the majestic cities and the dramatic cliffs and coasts create an incredibly memorable backdrop for this England – Normandy – Paris – Reims tour.

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WHY TOUR NORMANDY WITH ESSENTIAL HISTORY EXPEDITIONS

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 though 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 27 years of leading groups at Normandy. Brian’s many Normandy tours, both large and small, include military leaders, West Point professors and students, and business leaders of national companies. Brian’s combined experience as a scholar soldier brings the events on 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.

We strongly encourage you to read our many wonderful Testimonials from previous guests!

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ACTIVITIES & HIGHLIGHTS

London D-Day Tour
D-Day tour London
Bletchley Park Essential History Expeditions

Day 1: Introduction to London in WWII

  • We will meet in our central London hotel for lunch and an overview of the expedition.
  • We will visit the Churchill 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.
  • Dinner on your own in central London
  • We will see a play this evening. As the date gets closer, we will have a group vote on the play to attend.
  • London Hotel: Conrad London St James or similar

Day 2: Focus on ULTRA at Bletchley Park, Portsmouth & Seaborne Preparations for OVERLORD

  • At Bletchley Park, we’ll 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 with torrential rains beating against the windows, Ike made the decision — “Let’s go!” For the visit to Southwick House, each person must have a photo ID available. The dress code also dictates nice attire with no torn jeans or sportswear.
  • 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.
  • We will stay overnight in Portsmouth.
  • Portsmouth Hotel: Marriott Portsmouth

Day 3: Focus on Channel Crossing, American Airborne & UTAH Beach

  • Breakfast
  • On the Portsmouth harbor along the quays, we’ll discuss D-Day shipping.
  • We will board the Brittany Ferries Normandie Express ship (think small cruise ship) to cross the Channel and arrive just as the Allied soldiers and sailors did on June 6th, on the same Norman beaches! Lunch on your own onboard.
  • We will arrive in the early afternoon at Cherbourg in Normandy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We end the day at the western end of the battle for Normandy. The UTAH Beach Memorial with 4th Infantry Division where Americans first came ashore on June 6th.
  • 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. DK Eyewitness Travel lists Ranconniere as the #1 “Hotel with Character” in Normandy.
  • Social hour, followed by four-course dinner at Ferme de la Ranconniere; the restaurant is listed in the MICHELIN Guide.

Day 4: Focus on British Airborne, SWORD, JUNO & GOLD Beaches and Bayeux

  • Breakfast
  • In the pre-dawn darkness of June 6th, the British 9th Parachute Battalion, led by its intrepid 29 year old commander, made a daring against-the-odds assault against these German guns that threatened the entire invasion. Their success allowed the landings at SWORD and paved the way for the British advance inland. Today, we visit the gun emplacements at Merville Battery and climb into a C-47 that flew 101st Airborne troopers on D-Day!
  • 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.)
  • We will visit Pegasus Bridge, where glidermen of the British 6th Airborne Division captured the key bridge over the Orne and liberated the first French house in the invasion – today’s Café Gondree, where you may enjoy a coffee and may meet the owner, Madame Arlette Gondree, who saw the invasion as a little girl. Lunch on your own at 3 Planeurs or Café Gondree, both on the banks of the Orne.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dinner on your own in historic Bayeux at a charming restaurant in the shadow of the Cathedral.
  • Hotel: Ferme de la Ranconniere
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Day 5: Pointe du Hoc and OMAHA Beach

  • Breakfast
  • Our first stop today is 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.
  • Our next 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. Picnic lunch, overlooking OMAHA Beach.
  • 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.
  • We will end our touring atop the bluffs, where 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: Operation COBRA and Mont St Michel

  • Breakfast
  • After six weeks of tough, difficult fighting the Americans finally captured St Lo in mid-July 1944 and we will visit the beautiful town center where the battle of Normandy began its final phase – the breakout!
  • Operation COBRA and the breakout commenced at St Lo and swiftly moved to Avranches where we will visit the site of General Patton’s 3d Army entering the fray. It is also the site where Henry II paid his public penance for the death of Thomas a Becket.
  • Next, we will visit the stunning Mont Saint-Michel, home of the still-active abbey and monastery built in the 8th century.
  • You will enjoy time on your own at Mont Saint-Michel for lunch and to explore the winding street and abbey.
  • We will return to the hotel in time for a social hour in the beautiful courtyard.
  • We will enjoy our final delicious four-course dinner at Ferme de Ranconniere.

Day 7: Paris in WWII and the City of Light

  • Breakfast and load luggage/checkout
  • Depart for Paris
  • Check in to Paris lodgings
  • Lunch on your own in Paris (for those going on the optional walking tour, we will grab quick baguette sandwiches or a similar quick repast).
  • Optional walking tour of WWII Paris events and personalities, with numerous sites including Ritz Hotel and the Hemingway Bar, and German Military HQ near the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.
  • You can also have time to explore the wonders of Paris on your own, including any of the following:
    • Holocaust/Deportation Memorial near Notre Dame
    • Myriad museums, including the Louvre, Legion d’Honneur, Invalides/Army/Napoleon, Musee d’Orsay
    • Famed cemeteries
    • The Americans in Paris — a walk along Montparnasse
    • Shakespeare & Co. bookshop on the Left Bank
    • The Latin Quarter
    • Walk and shop along the Champs Elysees — Arc de Triomphe to the Tuileries
    • Notre Dame and Ste Chapelle churches
    • Market at Les Halles and St Eustache church
    • Eiffel Tower
  • Dinner on your own
  • Paris Hotel: Hilton Paris Opera or similar

Day 8: Reims and the German Surrender (2022 Tour Does Not Include Reims Day)

  • Breakfast
  • We will take the train from Paris to Reims in the gorgeous countryside of Champagne.
  • In Reims, we will visit the museum dedicated to Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters and the German surrender 76 years ago.
  • We will visit the famed cathedral, where nearly all French monarchs received their crowns, most notably Charles VII when brought there by Joan of Arc!
  • The inner town has numerous Roman ruins and other historically significant sites, including famed Champagne houses. Lunch on your own at one of the many great restaurants in the pedestrian square.
  • Enjoy a cellar tour and tasting at the famed GH Mumm champagne house in the capital of the Champagne region.
  • Return to Paris by train.
  • Final Group Dinner in Paris to wrap-up the expedition.
  • Hotel: Hilton Paris Opera or similar

Day 9: End of the Expedition and Onward Journeys

  • Breakfast
  • Departures and onward journeys.
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THIS NORMANDY D-DAY TOUR INCLUDES

  • Nine days, eight nights of in-depth guided tours
  • Majority of meals as identified on the itinerary
  • All museum entrance fees
  • Daily transportation
  • Personalized tour support
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INTRIGUED BUT STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

  • Let’s set up a conference call! We would love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have.
  • Just complete the contact form below and let’s set up a call.

READY TO DISCOVER HISTORY?

  • 2021 Pricing: $4,950 per person, double occupancy; $750 single occupancy supplement.
  • Down payment: $1,000 per guest due upon registration.
  • All active duty and career retired military, and current and career retired educators will receive a 5 percent discount on the WWII tour tour.
  • All repeat guests of Essential History Expeditions receive a 10 percent discount on all future expeditions.
  • Essential History Expeditions is pleased to offer trip protection through Travelex. Please contact us for a quote or click here.
  • Please see Terms and Conditions for payment schedule and cancellation policy.
London-Normandy-Paris-Reims D-Day Tour 03/06/2021 - 11/06/2021 All Day London-Normandy-Paris-Reims D-Day Tour London-Normandy-Paris-Reims D-Day Tour 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. Mission Critical Systems 03-06-2021T00:00 03-06-2021T23:59 Active Active 03-06-2021 Active $0.00 03-06-2021
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