Normandy for Canadians

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#1
Port Williams, Nova Scotia
56 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
We are sailing on the Constellation in November and will be in Le Havre for 2 days. We are Canadians and are looking for a couple of options for seeing the Canadian cemeteries and Juno Beach in particular and anything else recommended. Has anyone done a Canadian type tour out of Normandy and could make suggestions? Not sure if we should rent a car and try and do it on our own or bite the bullet and do a tour. We are not sure there is even a tour company that would focus on the Canadian side of things. If we decide to rent a car and drive, does anyone have any recommendations on maps and itineraries.

Sorry for all the questions.
#2
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
28,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
If you read down the board, and over on the Western Europe board, here:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=233

where Normandy also gets coverage, you will see that tour companies do provide Canadian D Day tours. We used Overlordtours dot com, and they were wonderful. They get many recommendations on the boards.
#3
9,609 Posts
Joined May 2009
We were in Le Havre in May and 8 of us from our Roll Call used Overlord Tours as well (a day focused on the American sites). They were great, and they absolutely should be able to do a tour for you geared to the Canadian (and British) sites; see for example their tour at the link below.

http://www.overlordtour.com/overlordtour-tour-4.html

I highly recommend them. Keep in mind that they are a small outfit and book up quickly.

Have a great trip!
#4
Alberta, Canada
2,445 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Yes...Overlord Tours does Normandy Tours for Canadians. Our Roll Call group of 8 booked them last fall and we had a Great Day! Stopped at a Canadian Cemetary outside of Caen...Saw Juno Beach and area...Visited the Canadian War Museum (built 2008)...we could have spent the whole day there by itself!! Can't remember the guides name but he was very knowledgeable about the Canadian History there....we really enjoyed our tour!! Highly Recommend Overlord Tours!!

Pat
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#5
New Brunswick
40,801 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by 2Canucks
Yes...Overlord Tours does Normandy Tours for Canadians. Our Roll Call group of 8 booked them last fall and we had a Great Day! Stopped at a Canadian Cemetary outside of Caen...Saw Juno Beach and area...Visited the Canadian War Museum (built 2008)...we could have spent the whole day there by itself!! Can't remember the guides name but he was very knowledgeable about the Canadian History there....we really enjoyed our tour!! Highly Recommend Overlord Tours!!

Pat
Most of the good companies will gladly tailor the tour to Canadians I have one arranged for next year - different tour guide - but when I made inquiries - it could be done.
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#6
2,750 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by 2Canucks
Yes...Overlord Tours does Normandy Tours for Canadians. Our Roll Call group of 8 booked them last fall and we had a Great Day! Stopped at a Canadian Cemetary outside of Caen...Saw Juno Beach and area...Visited the Canadian War Museum (built 2008)...we could have spent the whole day there by itself!! Can't remember the guides name but he was very knowledgeable about the Canadian History there....we really enjoyed our tour!! Highly Recommend Overlord Tours!!

Pat
We are also a group of 8 travelling on Emerald Princess and will be in LeHavre on May 8th. Can you tell me what your tour cost?
Thanks Ontario Cruiser
#7
9,609 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Ontario Cruiser
We are also a group of 8 travelling on Emerald Princess and will be in LeHavre on May 8th. Can you tell me what your tour cost?
Thanks Ontario Cruiser
Overlord's pricing is on their web site. Last year, it was 800 euros for the full day, whether you had 1-8 people, and this year, 880. If you book now for next year, I believe they will lock in the current price for you.

http://www.overlordtour.com/overlord...rom-ports.html
#9
Brooklyn,NY
236 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Ontario Cruiser
Thanks but unfortunately they are booked for the date we want to go
Ontario Cruiser
________________________________________
Maybe you could ask who they recommend you use instead of them.
Then check their recommendation out on Trip Advisor.
Or use the company who do the American tours and ask if they could do
a Canada tour
#10
9,609 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Ontario Cruiser
Thanks but unfortunately they are booked for the date we want to go
Ontario Cruiser
Sorry!! But do a search here and on the "Britain" board (which includes western Europe) for Normandy, D-day and similar terms and you should find some other recommended guides.

Good luck!
#11
Newark, DE
2,048 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
[quote=halifaxcruising;34989244]We are sailing on the Constellation in November and will be in Le Havre for 2 days. We are Canadians and are looking for a couple of options for seeing the Canadian cemeteries and Juno Beach in particular and anything else recommended. Has anyone done a Canadian type tour out of Normandy and could make suggestions? Not sure if we should rent a car and try and do it on our own or bite the bullet and do a tour. We are not sure there is even a tour company that would focus on the Canadian side of things. If we decide to rent a car and drive, does anyone have any recommendations on maps and itineraries.
quote]

Sorry for the late response, but I have done 4 trips to Normandy on my own and can give you a few ideas. Though I am from the States, I have an interest in Canadian WWII history and toured parts of Normandy where Canadians participated. I also am a cruise fan and we are going to LeHavre in Independence next year and most likely will rent a car and drive again.

As to renting a car, you are lucky to have two days in LeHavre so renting and driving could be very workable. The only issue would be staying overnight in Normandy or returning to the ship. Caen is a fairly large town, is centrally located for a Canadian oriented tour and reasonably priced hotels could assist you there.

As to itenerary, if you are not reasonably familiar with Canada's participation other than Juno Beach try to find a copy of Terry Copps, "A Canadian's Guide to the Battlefields of Normandy
http://www.wlu.ca/press/Catalog/copp-normandy.shtml

I have an older version but it is quite useful to understand the entire events and includes detailed maps and descriptions. Well worth the expense.

If you spend both days in Normandy I would recommend one day between Caen and the Beaches and the next to travel south of Caen toward Falaise-Argentan and return to the ship.

Obviously, Juno Beach and the Juno Beach Center would be on an agenda, but I would also recommend Douvres (A German radar station), Longues-sur-Mer (German gun battery), Beny-Reviers (Canadian War Cemetery), Pegasus Bridge (British paras and Cafe Gondree for lunch) and a lesser known spot, the Abbaye d-Ardennes. The Abbaye was the site of a German HQ and Canadian PoWs taken on D+2 were murdered there. It has been renovated and the small garden where the murders took place has a moving tribute to the victims. Few people know about this location, and for Canadians it is especially important.

When you drive the main highway (N158) south of Caen toward Falaise Argentan, there is another Canadian War Cemetery at Cintheaux and a little further the Polish Cemetery at Urville. The Polish Armored Division fought with the Canadian First Army throughout the NW European campaign. At Falaise is the citadel of William the Conqueror and taking the country roads east into the foothills you can visit St Lambert sur Dives where Canada's only VC won in Normandy was awarded to Major David Currie. Driving up to the crest of the Mt Ormel is a memorial and musuem to the Polish Armored division and an incredible view of the beautiful valley below where the German army was annihilated in the Falaise-Argentan pocket.

It would be an aggresive agenda to do it on your own in two days, but if you are up to it, it is possible. Get a good map, Michelin #231 'Normandie' in 1:200,000 scale is workable, but if you have Terry Copps book, the smaller details are available to find those locations. Even an abbreviated version of my recommendations is possible and I have always found that the French are very helpful and we manage to get by without an ability to speak French. Bon Voyage!

Dion
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#12
New Brunswick, Canada
11 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Originally posted by halifaxcruising
We are sailing on the Constellation in November and will be in Le Havre for 2 days. We are Canadians and are looking for a couple of options for seeing the Canadian cemeteries and Juno Beach in particular and anything else recommended. Has anyone done a Canadian type tour out of Normandy and could make suggestions? Not sure if we should rent a car and try and do it on our own or bite the bullet and do a tour. We are not sure there is even a tour company that would focus on the Canadian side of things. If we decide to rent a car and drive, does anyone have any recommendations on maps and itineraries.

Sorry for all the questions.
We have arranged a tour of Canadian Highlights for that are on November 5th and are looking for 2-4 people to join our party. Please let me know if this date works for you and I will send you the itinerary [email protected]
#14
London, England
3,391 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
We have just stayed a week near Arrromaches and visited the main D Day sites. As we live in London we took our own car on the ferry. We visited the Juno Centre and some of the other museums too.

I saw quite a lot of information regarding D Day Tours on leaflets that I picked up. If you look on the Normandy Tourist Office website it is all there.

I would possibly weigh up renting a car. It is easy driving as there is not a lot of traffic in the area and it gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want to do. We also visited the Bayeux Tapestry, which is amazing. Bayeux is a lovely town and parking was easy.

We also went to Honfleur, which is a lovely town on the coast not far from Le Havre. Well worth a visit close to Honfleur are trouville and Deauville.

We go to France quite frequently, but hadn't been to Normandy beore. W e really enjoyed our visit and will certainly return.

If any of your party are WWII veterans they will have free entrance to all the museums.

A very moving experience not to be missed.
#15
New Brunswick
40,801 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Ontario Cruiser
Thanks but unfortunately they are booked for the date we want to go
Ontario Cruiser
Try Eva Ruttger (Welcome to Normandy). Here is her website www.visitnormandybeaches.com

We booked with her for Canadian and has been excellent in emails. A few reviews on trip advisor and I found other good reviews on google searches.
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#17
Montreal, Quebec
865 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by Ontario Cruiser
Thanks we will try her
Ontario Cruiser
We were at the DDay Beach this past September. We arranged a full day, private tour of the CDN Beaches, 280E, with PIERRE DOUBLET [[email protected]] We ended up with time to visit the Amer.Cemetery&Museum. He was absolutely fantastic,very knowledgeable, thorough, and fluent in Eng. His tour was 1/3 the price of the popular tours and we were only 2 couples in a comfortable minivan. We have booked many private tours on our travels/cruises and have payed far more for far fewer hours and less substance. Pierre Doublet is truly passionate about the history of this area (resides in Bayeux) and he made our visit very special. It is one of the best tours we've ever had.
#18
2,750 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We (6 of us) just booked a tour with Christophe on May 8th to cover the cdn landings and cemetary etc.. Great reviews on trip advisor (500 Euros) for the day.
I have some other contacts if anyone wants just let me know and I will give you my email address
Ontario Cruiser
#19
Calgary
31 Posts
Joined May 2014
Just a note to update that Pierre Doublet retired in November of 2013. He was recommended in this thread so I sent him an email to see if he was available for a tour in 2015. He sent a friendly reply back recommending Overlord Tours, stating he was retired.

I realize this thread is somewhat old, thought I would add this information anyway, so cruisers don't continue to contact him.