Why tour Normandy with Gary?

Normandy has been a frequent subject of my travel writing ever since the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994. For the 70th anniversary, in 2014 and 2015, I lectured extensively in the U.S. about war touring Normandy. (See numerous articles of mine about the Landing Zone and other points of travel interest in Normandy).  Also on the occasion of the 70th anniversary year I organized and conducted in Paris for the French press and general public a round-table discussion among museum directors from Normandy and other officials concerning the evolution of tourism relative to war touring. My own father arrived in Normandy after the Invasion as part of the medical corps with a regiment that would then go into Germany and into Austria. This year, 2019, the 75th anniversary is now upon us.

As one of the only French and American dual national travel experts equally at home guiding in Paris and in Normandy, my clients for Normandy tours seek out not only insights into the D-Day Beaches and Landing Zone but also the broader impact of the war in Normandy, in France and at home, then and now.

Beyond the sights, both well known and lesser known, that we see when visiting the D-Day Beaches and the Landing Zone, what is the significance of the Invasion of Normandy today? If looking for a purely military approach to the Landing, I may not be the guide for you. That’s because I believe that Normandy tells us about far more than the range of 152-mm artillery versus 155-mm artillery and the number of dead and wounded. In fact, the great Allied success story of Normandy represents more than a military story. It can also speak to us of 75 years since the Invasion of Normandy. And it speaks to us not only as Americans but as individuals, families and communities. Visiting Normandy with me is not an act of sightseeing alone but of grasping our relationship to the events of 1944.

I’ve therefore had the pleasure—and the honor—of touring Normandy with Americans from many different backgrounds, including sons, daughters, grandchildren and relatives of veterans, veterans themselves, and many others who wish to further understand their connection with the events that took place here. And I hope to have the pleasure—and the honor—of helping you do so as well.

How much time should you devote to touring war sights?

While the limited time of most American travelers leads them to seek out a daytrip to the Landing Zone, it’s the overnight or two-night stay that I highly recommend for reasons that I explain in this article.

Even on a daytrip from Paris, it’s important to see and learn about the Landing Zone beyond Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery, the trio of sights that hold place of honor for American visitors on D-Day tours. Furthermore, there are worthwhile non-war-related sights to be see and people to meet—Monet’s House and Gardens at Giverny, the pretty old port of Honfleur, calvados brandy producers, and much more.

I would want to speak with you by phone about possible approaches before setting plans for a tour so as to make the tour insightful and enjoyable for all those on the trip. Touring with families with teenage or younger children need not be the same as touring with adults alone. And some visitors have more knowledge of the war or more specific interests than others.


Without looking to discourage anyone from contacting me to accompany them on a daytrip to Normandy, I recommend that travelers wishing to see highlights alone and simply in need of transportation seek out one of the daily touring companies specialized in group D-Day tours and setting out from Paris, Caen or Bayeux.

For my private daytrips from Paris, including transportation, count 1300-1425€ for 2 plus 100€ per additional traveler. Cost varies depending on specific destinations within the D-Day Landing Zone.

Having said that, my clients have sometimes already planned to rent a car on their own for more extensive travels outside of Paris and then ask me to accompany them for one or two days in Normandy without my having to arrange or factor in transportation costs. In the case, my fee is 650€ for 2 plus 30€ per additional traveler, plus hotel costs if overnight or longer.

I’m actually a fan of 2-day/1-night excursions and 3-day/2-night Normandy tours, whether organized and guided throughout by me or not. So inquire about those if interested in a more relaxed and extensive excursion to Normandy.

Also inquire about multi-region trips that include Normandy: the WWII war sights of Normandy and the WWI sights of northern France or the D-Day Zone of Normandy and castles of the Loire Valley Because of the variety of sights, tastes and encounters, multi-region tours can be especially interesting for families with teenage children and for 4 or more adults traveling together.

Let’s start planning!

Use this form to pre-book a tour or to request further information about specific tours, event planning and consulting services for Paris or elsewhere in France. The more you can tell me about your interests and your travel party, the better I can personalize a response. For Normandy tours, please let me know if any of your relatives served in the Second World War and if so where and in what capacity.

Provide your phone number if you would like me to call you for a 5-10-minute no-obligation chat about your upcoming trip.

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