D-Day sites, museums and visits in la Manche

Our selection of ways to relive the history of D-Day in 1944
Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

La Manche department is steeped in history and is an important place of remembrance. On 6 June 1944, more than 150 000 soldiers landed by sea or by air in Operation Overlord. The “longest day”, the turning point of the Second World War, paved the way for the liberation of France and Europe. After three months of fighting, Normandy was freed from German occupation, but was left scarred.

The best way to learn about the history of D-day is not through books, but on the ground, where the Allies actually fought. From Utah beach to Cherbourg, the roads to liberation are dotted with fascinating sites where you can follow in the footsteps of the American troops, and hear the many small stories that make up the bigger picture. Passing on history to ensure we never forget: this is the goal of the D-Day museums and sites.


Musée du Débarquement at Utah Beach

an emblematic site

At Utah Beach, a museum now stands on the very spot where the Allied troops landed on 6 June 1944. With a rich collection of wartime artefacts, vehicles and materials, relive D-Day as if you were there! 

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Built around German bunkers and with a view of Utah Beach, the D-Day Museum is a truly immersive experience. Several exhibitions tell you all about this historic event and about life during the Occupation. You can also see a rare B-26 bomber, of which there are only a few left in the world.

The musée du Débarquement


D-Day Experience

take to the skies

In Saint-Côme-du-Mont, at the heart of the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin Regional Nature Park, this emblematic site is dedicated to the Normandy landings. Not far from Carentan, this village was a strategic point for the American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Their mission was critical: to take Saint-Côme-du-Mont in order to link up the different landing beaches.

Climb on board an authentic aircraft and join your brothers in arms as you relive the crossing of the Channel. This dynamic flight simulator is unique in the world. Prepare for a truly immersive experience!


Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

The Normandy Victory Museum

100 days that made history

This must-see museum focuses on the period that followed the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. La Manche saw heavy fighting, with the Battle of the Hedgerows and Saint-Lô, the breakthrough in Avranches and the offensive in La Haye du Puits.

The different reconstructed scenes, collections of artefacts and old military vehicles, archive images and poignant accounts tell the story of those dark days. Temporary exhibitions are also organised throughout the year.

The Normandy Victory Museum

Photo, © Jim Prod

The Airborne Museum

remembering the Sainte-Mère-Eglise airdrop

This immersive museum is situated in Sainte-Mère-Église, opposite the church spire where the paratrooper John Steele was famously snagged and left hanging by his parachute. During a visit to this spectacular museum, you’ll relive D-Day alongside the American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

Photo, © Airborne Museum

Imagine taking off from England one night in an authentic C-47 aircraft, then jumping out and landing in the main square in Sainte-Mère-Eglise to join the fighting. A 20-minute film tells the poignant story of life under the German occupation, then the liberation of Sainte-Mère-Église and the Cotentin. Go back in time with the Histopad, an interactive tablet that will transport you to the key moments of D-Day.

Airborne Museum


Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Saint-Lô

a capital in ruins

From 6 to 22 June 1944, Saint-Lô was bombed, leaving more than 91% of the town in ruins. The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire has a model of the town that was the most heavily bombed in the department. There is also a reconstruction of the inside of an apartment. After the bombardment, the people of Saint-Lô were rehoused in temporary accommodation built by the Allies. Step into the daily post-war lives of civilians. A journey back in time that reminds us of the cost of freedom.

The musée d'Art de d'Histoire

Photo, © Xavier Lachenaud

Discover the D-Day in la Manche


World War II Museum

A reconstruction of life in the 1940s

In Quinéville, relive the history of the Second World War and life under the occupation. Walk down a typical 1940s street, with its shops and houses, and imagine the lives of the people of La Manche in those days.

The remnants of an anti-tank wall on the beach in Quinéville will take you back in time. Different vehicles and artefacts are exhibited in the World War II Museum, giving you an interesting look at the history of the time.

World War II Museum

Photo, © World War II Museum

Musée de la Libération in Cherbourg

the story of the first port to be liberated

With photos, archive documents and artefacts, this museum focuses on the daily lives of civilians and soldiers. A multimedia exhibition, “Cherbourg 1944, the strategic points of the Liberation”, describes the key strategic role of the port town at that time.

Photo, © D.Sohier

The Musée de la Libération is located in the Fort du Roule. These fortifications were built into the heights above Cherbourg during the Second World War. Now a Historic National Monument, the underground passages were equipped with artillery to defend Cherbourg Harbour, the largest artificial harbour in Europe.

Musée de la Libération


The batteries in Azeville and Crisbecq

essential parts of the Atlantic Wall

These lines of casemates were occupied by the Germans to defend the coastline of the Manche from inland.

Photo, © Batterie d'Azeville

Azeville battery

In Azeville, four powerful casemates were equipped with artillery that was used to shell the beaches when the Americans landed. You can visit the underground passages and the battery at Azeville with an audioguide. Find out more about the lives of the German soldiers and their relations with the local people. Guided tours and different activities are organised regularly at the battery, bringing to life the history of the site.

Azeville battery

Crisbecq battery

Just a short distance from Utah Beach is the Crisbecq battery, which fired the first artillery shot of D-Day. This unique site, with its 22 underground casemates, has been restored so that visitors can experience the atmosphere of the time. During the war, a whole village sprung up around the battery, with an anti-aircraft command post, a kitchen, ammunition bunkers, dormitories and an infirmary.

Crisbecq battery


The military cemeteries

places of memory and remembrance

In Huisnes-sur-Mer, Orglandes and La-Chapelle-en-Juger, the cemeteries pay tribute to the German soldiers who died during the battles fought there. The cemetery in Mont de Huisnes is the only German mausoleum in France, where 11 956 soldiers are laid to rest.

In Montjoie-Saint-Martin, near Saint-James, the American cemetery honours the heroes who died for freedom. These moving places help to guard the memory of this terrible war and to remember the soldiers who lost their lives.

Photo, © David Daguier - CD50

You may be interested in