December 19, 2003 -- June 6, 2004 will herald the commemoration of the combined American, British, Canadian and free French forces' massive invasion of Normandy that signaled the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, a series of special tours will take place from the USA. This region will see an increase in tourism over the anniversary, so now is the time to plan.
Sponsored by AHI International, a nine-day/seven-night package takes you to Omaha Beach (where the main concentration of US forces landed), the American Cemetery at St. Laurent, the Peace Memorial at Caen, and a visit to Bayeux, the first French city liberated following the invasion.
You also visit Monet's home and studio at Giverny and Mont-St-Michel, that fabulous pile of rock, church and homes off the Normandy coast. A tour of a working dairy and cheese farm and a visit to a distillery to learn about Calvados, Normandy's apple-based version of cognac, follow. All this is part of AHI's well-known Alumni Campus Abroad programs, and is priced from $2,495 per person, depending on departure city.
You get the airfare on Lufthansa, SAS, or United Airlines to Paris and roundtrip motor coach transportation to Lisieux with baggage handling at both ends. You'll spend your seven nights at the Grand Hotel de l'Esperance, three meals daily (including breakfast buffet, two-course lunch and three-course dinner with wine), a welcome reception and dinner, a "Graduation Ceremony" from the program and a farewell dinner/reception. Also included are the excursions and educational programs, including a Meet the People panel discussion with local residents. There are 18 departures between April 12 and October 4, 2004. Contact AHI at 800/323-7373 or visit www.ahitravel.com.
Valor Tours in conjunction with Holland America, is offering a D-Day special that includes three separate components; airfare and a two-day stay in London; a 10-day cruise on the MV Noordam from Dover across the English Channel visiting sites such as Malo, Cherbourg and Amsterdam; and a 9-day end-tour from London to Berlin. The whole package costs $2,495 or you can pick and choose your pieces; the 10-day cruise starts from $1,145 per person. All costs are based on double occupancy and don't include taxes. Departures begin June 1, 2004.
For a fully detailed itinerary, visit www.valortours.com/D-DayCruise04.html.
If you want to travel independently, visit www.normandy-tourism.org first. You'll find a vast and deep resource for hotels, dining, tours and tips on how to plan your trip including instructions on how to arrive by plane, car, boat or train.
Are you planning on visiting Normandy next year? How you planning your trip? Tell us about it on our France Message Boards.