Blog Normandy Familarisation Trip

Day 1 – Cite de la Mer, Airborne Museum, Bayeux and Bayeux Tapestry, Juno Beach Centre, Biscuiterie de Jeannette.

Cité de la Mer, Cherbourg

Set in the old cruise terminal of Cherbourg, Cite de la Mer is a fantastic museum based on ‘man’s adventures under the sea’. Visitors can view a collection of underwater vessels, an aquarium, a nuclear submarine, and a ‘Titanic Experience’ with interactive areas. New for next year will be a ‘Walking into the Depths’ experience, a simulator where you begin a virtual dive down into the mysterious, inhospitable world of the ocean depths!

American Airborne Museum, Sainte-Mère-Église 

This fascinating museum is based on the exploits of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Once inside you are handed a ‘histopad’, an interactive iPad, that transports you to the heart of Normandy in 1944, giving you an in-depth experience of the D-Day landings, using photographs, games and animated maps.

Bayeux and The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux was just an amazing medieval village, a fabulous place to have a little wander around. It boasts a stunning cathedral, cobbled streets, shops, and boutiques. We stopped for lunch in a typical French café right in the middle of Bayeux’s square. Highly recommended if you would like the children to take in a truly French experience.

Next stop was the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Once inside you were issued with a clever audio stick that brought the tapestry to life, a great way to understand the story and visually see the events leading up to the Norman Conquest and eventually the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer

This is the D-Day beach where the Canadians landed on 6th June 1944.  The Juno Beach Centre pays respect to the 4,500 Canadians who lost their lives during the war.  It is situated right on the beach with easy access to view and explore the many bunkers that line the sand dunes and take in the sights of the stunning beach where the historical landings took place.

Biscuiterie de Jeannette, Colombelles

A great little factory to stop at for around ½ hour to see how the famous Madeleines are made and produced. A lovely stop for the students (and teachers!) to have a chance to spend a little bit of spending money in the factory shop.

Day 2 – Mont –Saint-Michel and Abbey, Musee de la Poterie, Musee de Poiree.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Magical Mont-Saint-Michel!!! The day started with a visit to one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. An island set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge. We were transported by ultra-modern shuttle buses called ‘Passeurs’ and dropped around 500m away from the island, giving us the full magnificence of the Mont-Saint-Michel as you approach. Once inside you feel as though you had travelled back in time to medieval days with its cobbled streets lined with restaurants, museums, and shops. Its winding and twisting passages lead to the impressive Abbey that sits atop the mount. The rock, the abbey its chapels, crypts, cloisters, and Gothic rooms all take you on an unforgettable journey through history………following in the footsteps of the medieval pilgrims.

Musée de Poterie

A beautiful little place up in the hills of Normandy looking out over gorgeous countryside. Here the students can take part in making pottery or bread.

Musée du Poiré

A fun place to visit to make apple or pear juice from the orchards that surround the museum. (Seasonal only)

Day 3 – Caen, Pegasus Memorial and Calvados Experience.

Caen

A beautiful bustling city where we wandered around for a few hours taking in the atmosphere and the stunning buildings, such as L’Abbaye aux Hommes and L’Abbaye aux Dames, where William the Conqueror and his wife are buried. A perfect place to stop and order a French coffee!

Pegasus Memorial Museum, Ranville

A fascinating visit dedicated to the action on D-Day of the men of 6th British Airborne Division. There we got a chance to see the original ‘Pegasus Bridge’ in its full glory, along with a full-size copy of a wartime Horsa glider. Inside were also hundreds of historical objects and photos of the era which were presented in the museum.

Caen Peace Memorial

Such an impressive museum with lots to see and do; Second World War, D-Day Landings and Battle of Normandy, the Cold War, and lots more experiences. This is another great place to stop and have lunch either in the ‘Le Bistrot’ for snacks or ‘Les Pommiers’ for a more authentic French lunch.

Calvados Experience, Pont-l’Evêque

A brand new interactive museum giving a multi-sensory journey through the process of making Calvados from the Vikings to the present day. A great experience and a little Calvados tasting at the end of the tour. (Apple juice for the students of course!)

Home time

Before heading to the ferry port we stopped off at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Coleville sur Mer. A truly moving visit to commemorate the graves of 9,380 American Military, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings. An experience not to miss!

Normandy has the perfect balance of culture and history, meaning it will appeal to any student! I cannot recommend this destination enough. I have learned so much over such a short period of time and the benefits it has on student’s work is incredible.

If you’d like some more information or for a quote for your group, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Email: info@theschooltravelcompany.com Phone: 01384398893