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Remembering D-Day: London to the Normandy Beaches

Alternate Itinerary
May 09 - 16, 2014 (8 Days)

Days 1 & 2 — U.S./London, England

Depart on an overnight flight to London. Upon arrival, check into our centrally located hotel. The afternoon begins in the Cabinet War Rooms, a fortified bunker deep underneath Whitehall from which Winston Churchill directed the British war effort. Wander through the rooms—and the adjacent Churchill Museum—and examine maps, telephones, and items from Churchill’s life. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Millennium Bailey's Hotel London Kensington (D)

Day 3 — Bletchley Park/London

This morning, immerse yourself in a world of intrigue and espionage at Bletchley Park, and discover the story behind the Enigma code breakers, who successfully deciphered the encryption used by the Wehrmacht. After lunch, return to central London and enjoy an insider’s tour of the interactive World War II exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. The evening is at leisure.
Millennium Bailey's Hotel London Kensington (B,L)

Day 4 — London/Portsmouth/Normandy, France

Travel south to Portsmouth, where we begin with a visit to Southwick House, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force and where, on the evening of June 5, Eisenhower made the decision to strike on June 6. At the D-Day Museum, examine the Overlord Embroidery, a stunning, handcrafted depiction of the D-Day events that stretches some 270 feet. This afternoon, cross the English Channel to Normandy by ferry. Settle into our hotel tonight.
Hotel Villa Lara (B,D)

Day 5 — Sainte-Mère-Église/Utah Beach/La Cambe

Explore the village of Sainte-Mère-Église, where the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division paratroopers dropped from the sky in a hail of gunfire on the night of June 5. View the church steeple upon which one unlucky paratrooper was entangled for hours, and visit the village’s remarkable museum. Continue to Utah Beach, site of one of the two American amphibious landings in the early hours of D-Day. Stop for lunch at Le Roosevelt, a restaurant built around a former German bunker just steps from the historic beach. This afternoon, pay a visit to the German war cemetery at La Cambe.
Hotel Villa Lara (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Caen/Arromanches

In Caen, delve into the history of D-Day at the impressive museum, the Mémorial de Caen. Then travel to Arromanches, where a Mulberry harbor still rises out of the surf—one of the few remnants of the prefabricated concrete harbors that assisted in landing Allied supplies. Visit the Arromanches Landing Museum and watch a spectacular film on the landings in the Arromanches 360 theater. Gather for a private evening reception at the Château de Creully, from which BBC correspondents reported on the Allied invasion.
Hotel Villa Lara (B,L)

Day 7 — Pointe du Hoc/Omaha Beach

One of the most dramatic sites along the Normandy coastline is Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers used hooks and ropes to scale cliffs some 100 feet high in order to destroy key German gun positions. Walk along cliff-top pathways still cratered by mortar blasts and venture into the concrete bunkers from which German forces unleashed a barrage of artillery fire. Then wander along Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of invasion day. Follow a short path that leads from the beach to the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. Pay your respects to fallen heroes by laying a wreath at the Big Red One monument, dedicated to members of the Army’s First Infantry Division who died at Omaha. Take in the poignant sight of row upon row of small white grave markers stretching across many acres.
Hotel Villa Lara (B,D)

Day 8 — Paris/U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for your flight home.
(B)