Caen Memorial

Our selection of some of the more important museums and cemeteries in the département.

Related article: Calvados in Normandy, Tales from the Parisian Riviera

CAEN MEMORIAL

A strategic target for Allied forces, Caen was nearly reduced to rubble by daily raids. 30 years ago, the resilient city sealed its commitment to peace with the launch of the sprawling complex chronicling not only WWII but the events of the Cold War. Website: www.normandy.memorial-caen.com

Arromanches 360

ARROMANCHES 360

A fully immersive experience, the Arromanches 360 cinema makes a fine and hugely accessible introduction to the D-Day landings. It features a half-hour film projected on nine screens charting the Battle of Normandy and Operation Overlord. Website: www.arromanches360.com

D-Day Museum

D-DAY MUSEUM

The very first museum dedicated to D-Day, it overlooks the very spot on the beach of Arromanches where Allied forces established an artificial temporary harbour responsible for supplying the troops engaged in the Battle of Normandy. Website: www.musee-arromanches.fr

Omaha Beach Memorial Museum

OMAHA BEACH MEMORIAL MUSEUM

On the shores of Omaha Beach, the 1200m2 museum recounts in harrowing detail the day that marked a turning point in WWII, through dioramas, an extensive collection of uniforms, vehicles and memorabilia. Website: www.musee-memorial-omaha.com

Atlantic Wall Museum

ATLANTIC WALL MUSEUM

Housed in a 52ft restored German bunker, the Atlantic Wall Museum in Ouistreham has quite the back-story. German soldiers were held up inside for three days after the Sword Beach landing until British troops, literally, blew them out. Website: www.museedugrandbunker.com

Overlord Museum

OVERLORD MUSEUM

In Colleville-sur-Mer, opposite the Normandy American Cemetery, it is one of the newest and most comprehensive museums dedicated to the Battle of Normandy. Life-size reconstructions plunge visitors into the heart of the action. Website: www.overlordmuseum.com

Juno Beach Centre

JUNO BEACH CENTRE

In Courseulles-sur-Mer, the Juno Beach Centre pays homage to the 45,000 Canadians who lost their lives during the war, of which 5,500 were killed during the Battle of Normandy, and 359 on D-Day. It is manned exclusively by Canadian guides. Website: www.junobeach.org

Pegasus Memorial

PEGASUS MEMORIAL

Home to the first liberated bridge in 1944, the Pegasus Memorial pays tribute to the 6th Airborne Division, which not only captured Pegasus Bridge but held the eastern flank of the landing beaches for 80 days despite sustaining heavy losses. Website: www.memorial-pegasus.com

Museum of the Battle of Normandy

MUSEUM OF THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY

Based in Bayeux, the first large town to be liberated, on June 7,1944, this gem of a museum brings history to life through dioramas and archive footage, for a comprehensive play-by-play of the Battle of Normandy. Website: www.bayeuxmuseum.com

Falaise Memorial

FALAISE MEMORIAL

The Falaise Memorial shifts the focus to civilians and their unflagging courage through incessant bombings and the choke-hold of Nazism.The civilian death toll was far higher than that of soldiers, with an estimated 35 million casualties worldwide. Website: www.memorial-falaise.fr

Normandy American Cemetery

NORMANDY AMERICAN CEMETERY

On a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, this 70-hectare cemetery is lined with the graves of 9,387 fallen soldiers, most of them killed during the invasion of Normandy and the ensuing Allied military operations. Website: www.abmc.gov

Bayeux War Cemetery

BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY

The largest WWII cemetery of Commonwealth war casualties in France, the Cimetière Militaire Britannique de Bayeux contains 4,144 Commonwealth graves. Some 500 fallen Axis soldiers, mainly Germans, are also buried here. Website: www.cwgc.org

From France Today magazine

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Marion Sauvebois
Marion is the Deputy Editor of France Today and French Entrée. Marion left Paris for the bracing shores of Scotland 12 years ago and never looked back (a kilted Scot may have been involved). After graduating from Edinburgh University she trained as a journalist and honed her pen in newsrooms across the South West (with a brief segue into fashion writing) before joining the fold at the France Media Group. Now back to her roots, she spends most of her days baffled and amazed at France's cultural wealth and her compatriots' wonderful quirks.

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