To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the ensuing 100 days of the Battle of Normandy, the region of Normandy will be hosting an impressive calendar of special events.
From March to September 2014 events including historical re-enactments, firework displays, military processions, concerts, exhibitions and much more will take place throughout Normandy. There are several new museums, exhibitions and tours and fans of apps will not be disappointed with the new downloadable schedules developed especially for this important anniversary.
2014 may well be the last time that a significant number of veterans are able to gather in Normandy which would make it the last occasion that 21st century children will have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the immense courage and heroism of these men.
The official commemoration ceremony of 6th June will take place at Sword beach in Ouistreham. This event will be reserved for veterans and heads of state.
A very few highlights from the huge number of special events in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day Normandy 2014 calendar include:
June 5th – Setting the coast alight: Fireworks. 24 towns, 24 key sites of the D-Day Landing Beaches will take part in a spectacular display along 50 miles of Normandy’s coast. 24 ambitious synchronised firework displays will take place at nightfall on June 5th. Details: www.normandiememoire.com
June 7th – Giant picnic on Omaha beach, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. Held since 2005 this festive event normally attracts around 1500 people but it is hoped that 2014 will see bumper numbers turn up and join in. Details: www.oti-omaha.fr
June 8th – Parachute show in La Fière near to Sainte-Mère-Église. A deluge of civilian and military parachute drops, with several nationalities present (USA, France, Germany, Holland, UK…) at the historic site of La Fière, drop zone in 1944. Varied activities will take place all day long on June 8th with on-site catering. Details: www.sainte-mere-eglise.info
June 14th – Sep 14th: The Lights of Liberty, sound and light show at the Bayeux cathedral at nightfall; a recital with colours, special effects, music and projected images. www.bayeux-bessin-tourisme.com
Many events are still being confirmed so check the dedicated website for more information: the70th-normandy.com
New for 70th Anniversary of D-Day Normandy 2014:
Overlord Museum, Colleville-sur-Mer
Opened in June 2013, this museum houses an impressive collection of World War II objects and military vehicles, restored to full working order. The collection was made over a 40 year period by Monsieur Leloup who lived through the events in Normandy in 1944. Details: overlordmuseum.com/en
The new film showing at the circular Arromanches 360° cinema, ‘Normandy’s 100 Days’, was produced by the creators of the hugely successful French television series “Apocalypse.” Projected in high-definition, featuring archive images and footage from around the world, the film retraces the history of the Battle of Normandy, from the preparations for the D-Day Landings to the Liberation of Paris. Details: arromanches360.com/en
D-Day in high-tech: Arromanches 1944 app
Available from itunes apple store and Googleplay ARROMANCHES 1944 gives a 360° view of the 1944 Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches, reconstructed in 3D which lets you see the port operating as it did in 1944. With augmented reality, it also allows you to revisit the German coastal defences, as well as the villages of Saint-Côme de Fresné and Courseulles-sur-Mer to observe the D-Day landing operations between 5am and 7.25am on the morning of June 6th.
Find out all the details and updates for the Normandy D-Day 70th Anniversary events: www.the70th-normandy.com