A festive programme of events for the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings


NormandyRemembrance Tourism

  • dateFrom 1 March to 15 October 2024
  • placeNormandy

bpperry / Istock
© bpperry / Istock

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 21 March 2024

In 2024, Normandy is celebrating a historic anniversary to mark 80 years since the Normandy Landings and the Battle of Normandy took place. From 1 March to 15 October, there will be exhibitions, shows, tours, talks, balls, competitions, etc. all over the region and these events are expected to be highly moving and full of surprises. The highlight will be the official commemorations on 6 June at Omaha Beach in the presence of several Heads of State and the last remaining war veterans.

A key moment in 20th century history

On 6 June 1944 at midnight, more than 150,000 allied soldiers (23,000 paratroopers and 20,000 vehicles of all sizes from fifteen or so nations) changed the course of the Second World War. On that day, in an effort to put an end to Nazism, 10,500 men were killed, injured or taken prisoner. Then came three months of battles until Normandy, Paris and then the whole of Europe were liberated.

The military operation of 6 June 1944 took place in 3 phases: an airborne assault (airborne troops landed on Utah Beach in the west and Sword Beach in the east), aerial and naval bombardment of the Atlantic Wall, and amphibious landings on the five beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, as well as at the Pointe du Hoc. This area of the Normandy coast covers 80 km and there are so many places to visit in relation to this historic event: 44 museums, 29 cemeteries and 21 natural and remembrance sites to commemorate this turning point in the war. Thanks to the countless heritage sites, “remembrance tourism” is very much alive in Normandy. Passing this on to the younger generations is a core value of the region. Every year around the 6 June, there are countless events, festivities and celebrations to mark the anniversary of the landings, and official international ceremonies are held every 5 years.

Marie-Anaïs Thierry - CRT Normandie
© Marie-Anaïs Thierry - CRT Normandie

Unmissable places where you can learn all about the "longest day”

The five D-Day sectors of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beach are easy to reach by car, on organised excursions and even by bike!

The same goes for the region’s globally renowned places: Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the Pointe du Hoc, the American military cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, the Bayeux War Cemetery, the German battery in Longues-Sur-Mer, the man-made port in Arromanches, the Cross of Lorraine, and Pegasus Bridge.

The museums all have a special programme of events for 2024, including talks, documentary screenings and concerts. At the Normandy Victory Museum for example, iconic military vehicles and tanks from the Battle of Normandy will be on display, there will be parades of vintage Harley Davidson motorbikes or horse-drawn carriages, workshops to learn about the Morse code and map-reading, and setting up an American radio transceiver.

Some museums that are not-to-be-missed in 2024:

  • Airborne Museum (Utah Beach), dedicated to the memory of paratroopers.
  • Caen Memorial, an unmissable, all-round visit (https://www.memorial-caen.fr/) "smartCard-inline") .
  • Overlord Museum (Omaha Beach) to see the tanks and collections of objects.
  • The Grand Bunker (Sword Beach) dedicated to the Atlantic Wall.
  • Juno Beach Center Museum in Courseulles-sur-Mer, which pays tribute to the 45,000 Canadians who lost their lives during the Second World War, 5,500 of which died in the Battle of Normandy and 381 on D-Day itself.
  • The new D-Day Museum in Arromanches-les-Bains

The D-Day Festival Normandy

This year will be the 18th edition of this festival with over a hundred festive events throughout the month of June every year, to commemorate the Normandy Landings. This festival will be held from Saturday 1 June to Sunday 16 June 2024 on the landing beaches and other key sites from the Battle of Normandy. You can expect an action-packed programme of events, from Pegasus Bridge to Sainte-Mère-Église, via Ouistreham, Arromanches, the Pointe du Hoc, and of course Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach.

Some unmissable events:

  • On 31 May, an original sound and lights show will take place up over the 5 landing beaches simultaneously. This show will last 30 minutes and involves 2,500 drones (500 drones for each beach);
  • On 1 June, the International Peace March (Utah Beach to Carentan);
  • Synchronised fireworks displays along the coast, at the major Landing sites;
  • International parachuting of hundreds of soldiers above Sainte-Mère-Eglise;
  • Liberation balls;
  • The official celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings will take place on 6 June 2024 at Omaha Beach, in the town of Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer (Calvados) where 2,500 American soldiers lost their lives. Many Heads of State and representatives of countries that were involved in the war will be in attendance, to celebrate peace and reconciliation. A giant picnic will be organised on Omaha Beach, followed by a concert and a fireworks’ display. Another date for your diaries: on Thursday 30 May 2024 in the morning, the Olympic Flame will also be passing via Omaha Beach.

Check out the events’ calendar: https://www.normandie-tourisme.fr/partenaires/d-day-festival-normandy/programme/ and https://80e-normandie.fr/la-celebration-du-80e

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