Last week I finished off my series of posts about our trip to Normandy and Ypres with THE Battle Plan (our itinerary) which might be helpful to you if you decide to plan a similar trip. Along with that I promised some further resources that could be used for trip planning and today I deliver!
Pre-trip Reading Suggestions
- Non-Fiction Book: World War II 1939-45 by Christine Hatt (ISBN 0-531-14612-X) – A young adult book so this book was more of a summary but it was good for leading me to topics to explore more in depth
- Fiction Book: The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (ISBN 978-0385340991) – Just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean you won’t learn from it. I did and absolutely loved this book. It’s a story written in a series of letters based on the characters’ experiences with the recent German occupation on Guernsey.
- Fiction Book: Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson (ISBN 978-0062273451) – Centered around a young woman from British society that joins the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and is assigned to a field hospital on the Western Front driving an ambulance. Although it is primarily a love story it sparked an interest in me to learn more about this group of women, especially before my next trip to France and Belgium.
Ferme de la Rançonnière: Route Creully Arromanches, 14480 Crepon; Telephone 02.31.22.21.73; Email: email@example.com
This hotel has great reviews on TripAdvisor and I’d have to agree. It was centrally located to all the D-Day sites in Normandy, beautifully rustic and charming, excellent dining, and the staff was very helpful from the first (of a few) emails I sent them prior to arrival asking them about the accommodations and requesting a specific room. If you’d like to check out some photos there are lots on TripAdvisor and they are true to life as of March 2014 when we visited.
B&B De Potyze: Zonnebeekseweg 359, B-8900 Ieper; Telephone +32(0) 57 20 34 43; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This B&B received 5 stars on TripAdvisor and upon our visit it was easy to see why. Situated just outside Ypres at the home of Paul and Mimi (who are gracious hosts) this two room B&B is perfect if you want a quiet night and a hearty breakfast (they even encouraged us to take some pastries with us for a morning snack!). I highly encourage you to give yourself enough time to have a cup of tea with Paul who will tell you some great stories about the history of the property the house is located on. We have plans to return here for a couple nights in March 2015 as we explore more of Belgium.
Read More: Where to Stay in Ypres: The B&B De Potyze (my review)
Two of our three nights in France we dined at the restaurant in the hotel as we had reserved an all-inclusive room and dining package. Included was one dinner off each of their “Terroir” and “Gastronomic” menus and everything was delicious! The Calvados on the sorbet was a bit strong (it’s an apple brandy) but the second night we just asked for it without and they were happy to oblige. If they have the “fried scallops with celery and crumbled haddock, cream and biscuit of rye bread” as an option when you go…oh goodness, do get it. My mouth is watering right now thinking about it. That and the dessert the included apples and salted caramel ice cream. We had the same dessert both nights because it was just too scrumptious not to.
For other dining options may I suggest picking up some cheese, crackers, cold meats, a baguette, and a sweet treat for dessert and having a picnic in your very cozy room.
In Belgium you have to try the fries with mayo (or other sauce of your choice). A local favorite they make a quick, inexpensive, and delicious meal.
Please click on each link to view opening hours, admission fees, and other important information directly from each museum.
Churches and Cathedrals
All churches and cathedrals on this list were free to visit.
- Bayeux Cathedral : this website is in French but the link will take you directly to the page with the opening hours (dates and times are numerical); In addition to visiting for free the cathedral offers guided tours every day in July and August until 3:00 pm for 4.00 € for adults and children under 15 are free
Battlefields and Batteries
- Mont Canisy
- Crisbecq Battery
- Batterie d’Azeville
- Maisy Battery
- Pointe du Hoc
- Longues-sur-Mer Battery
- Site Hillman
- Pegasus Bridge
The Great War 1914-1918– provides an overview of WWI battlefields and war graves on the Western Front, museums that focus on WWI, along with ceremonies and events. This is a site you’ll be on for hours.
Military Cemeteries and Memorials
- German Military Cemetery
- American Military Cemetery * please note this cemetery is not open at all times so you should check the website for hours of operation at the time you will visit*
- Bayeux War Cemetery
- Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery
- Ranville War Cemetery
- Menin Gate Memorial
- Perth Cemetery (China Wall)
- Sanctuary Wood Cemetery
- Hooge Crater Cemetery
- Tyne Cot Cemetery
- Tyne Cot Memorial
- Essex Farm Cemetery
Fallen Heroes of Normandy; A Photographic Remembrance : website scheduled to officially be released in June 2015 but still contains a wealth of information on all American, British Commonwealth, French, German, and Polish military cemeteries, list of casualties, and photographs of soldiers. This websites truly a labor of love by the creator Carl Shilleto and his wife.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission- tells you the history of the commission, gives you with information about each of the Commonwealth cemeteries, and assists you with finding a cemetery or a particular fallen soldier.
The War Graves Photographic Project– works alongside the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to record, archive, and make available to the descendants the images of the graves or memorial listings of every service casualty since the outbreak of WWII. As of 2013 they have been able to record over 1.7 million graves and memorials.
D-Day Beaches in France
DDay-Overlord: The Battle of Normandy– over 1,500 pages of information on this website give explanations on military operations, war photographs, a film library, and bibliography for further learning. Each beach is represented and the links above for each beach will direct you to this site.
Military History Online – this link takes you directly to information (and further links) about D-Day, The Atlantic Wall, and each of the beaches. The website includes information on other wars, in addition to WWII.