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.