One day in Normandy with kids
We recently enjoyed a short family break in Normandy, here's what we got up to in one day...
A morning market is a great way to start the day, especially if you want to grab some picnic goodies. Kitty and Ozzy loved the market we visited in Aunay-Sur-Odon, close by to where we stayed ( at Eco Gite Lenault) and we stopped at a Patisserie for some goodies.
Market day in Aunay-Sur-Odon is Saturday.
I recommend Boulangerie Jules if you visit - friendly and a huge selection yummy things.
Next, on to Bauyeux.
Where I got my fix of shuttered windows and shops...
We visted the Bayeux Tapestry which was the surprise hit of the holiday. Of course we knew that we would like it but with Kitty and Ozzy being 6 and 5 years old we were uncertain what they would make of it. The good news is that there are audio guides that tell the story point by point as you walk along the tapestry. The story is broken down by numbers which can be seen at various points along the tapestry. The audio guides are like mobile phones on a lanyard so you put them to one ear, as opposed to headphones.
I recommend that if your children are younger, under 8, that you don't opt for separate adult audio guides but instead ask for childrens audio guides for your visit too. The adult and childrens audio guides run at different speeds which might lead you to be at different parts of the tapestry at different times. Also it's much more engaging to be able to talk to your child about the story as you listen together - especially for younger ones who might be more easily distracted or get bored if not properly hearing the story.
We visited the cathedral in Bayeux, which is beautiful.
Next we drove along to Arromanches-les-Bains.
Central to the D-Day beaches, for the remains of its famous wartime artificial harbour. When we visited the tide was in so sadly we didn't get to the beach there but I'm told by friends who have visited that it's great for exploring. There's plenty of war memorabilia outside the Musee du Debarquement and Ozzy and Kitty asked so many questions about war - luckily their father is a bit of a war nerd so answered them all. Should we return one day we'd like to visit the Musee du Debarquement and the Cinema 360.
From Arromanches-les-Bains we drove along to Longues Sur Mer Artillery Battery, where there's a former German long range artillery.
One of the only heavy gun batteries in France to still have its original guns in their bunkers, this is a good place to take children for hands on learning about D Day. You can explore the batteries, touching and getting up to these guns really does give a sobering idea of the scale of the war and a chance for younger minds to use their imaginations. Oscar found this really interesting - he can still tell you how far out to see these guns could fire...
Longues Sur Mer Artillery Battery is free to visit and open 356 days a year.
The natural progression in the day, both geographically and historically saw us end our day at the American Cemetery at Omaha.
From the cemetery you can walk down to Omaha Beach, which is vast. We watched horse and traps racing along the golden sands as we walked down, it's an awe inspiring beach for so many reasons.
There are sand dunes on the edge of Omaha beach that we would love to come back and play in in a future visit.
Where: Normandy American Cemetery, American Cemetery ,14710 Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Opening times: 9 am to 6 pm from April 15 to September 15th, 9am to 5pm the rest of the year. Closed on December 5th and January 1st.