Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial#3 in Best Things To Do in Normandy
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Somewhere around 9,000 soldiers are buried in this Colleville-sur-Mer war cemetery, which overlooks Omaha Beach. Most of these lost their lives during the D-Day invasion. There's also a memorial that gives a narrative of the invasion, as well as a reflecting pool and a chapel. And about 1,500 soldiers who were missing-in-action are remembered on the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircle garden to the east of the memorial.
Many Americans who visit Normandy are partial to this cemetery and memorial in particular. One TripAdvisor user, from Massachusetts, says: "The visitor center, museum, and finally the graves of the war dead leave a dizzying impact on those who come to look, learn, and remember. … I recommend a visit here above any other sites for those interested in the D-Day invasion."
You can visit this cemetery daily, from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on the time of year.
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#1 D-Day Beaches
World War II’s successful Operation Overlord took place on the coast of France. Although there were heavy Allied casualties, this invasion turned the tide in the war and helped lead to the fall of Nazi Germany. Today this piece of coastline, which includes Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, is collectively known as the D-Day Beaches.
Visitors can tour the about 50-mile stretch of beach and pop by a number of museums, memorials and cemeteries that have spread out alongside the sand. The American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe-du-Hoc bomb craters are especially moving. Many recent travelers recommend exploring the beaches with a tour guide.
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