If I had to choose my top 3 Omaha Beach places to visit I’d opt for La Pointe du Hoc, the Normandy American Cemetery and Les Braves. In just over 7 weeks time Normandy will be hosting events for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
I visited these 3 Omaha Beach spots in February 2018 on a chilly but sunny day. I wanted blue sky for the photos I was going to take and I wasn’t disappointed. Rather than visit a museum, I chose 2 places where there were visitor centres. This gave me a real feel for the challenges that the American troops faced at Omaha Beach.
It took me around an hour to drive to Omaha Beach. I started my day at La Pointe du Hoc. It’s between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. You can read about my visit here. I genuinely felt as if history came to life as I walked around this battle site.
Next on my list was Les Braves. This beautiful steel sculpture is on the beach just beyond the memorial. Again, the clock seemed to roll back as I thought about the men who lost their lives on this beach. My review is here and includes a video of the beach.
My final stop was the Normandy American Cemetery. The visitor centre is very informative and the cemetery itself is unforgettable. It is beautifully maintained and a fitting tribute to those for whom Normandy is their final resting place. The drone footage in my review article shows the extent of the site.
It is still one of the most memorable days I’ve had in Normandy. I can still recall the emotion I felt as I visited each of these 3 amazing sites. Time now stands still for these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
For more information about Omaha Beach visit this page.
Les Braves; this beautiful steel sculpture has been on my ‘to-do’ list of places to visit for quite some time. I came across a photo of it online not long after I moved to Normandy and it mesmerized me. On a cold but sunny February day, I headed off to see ‘Les Braves’. It’s set on Omaha beach just 10 meters or so from the shore at Saint-Laurent sur Mer.
Les Braves – a personal reflection
There are 3 elements to the sculpture representing hope, liberty and fraternity. The central structure’s message is about standing up for freedom. On one side are the wings of hope and on the other are the wings of fraternity in homage to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. As I stood taking in its beauty, I thought of all those men who didn’t make it, who were so near and yet so far. The symbolism of the sculpture being located on the beach so close to the shore really made me reflect.
Omaha beach spans 4 miles of the Normandy coastline between the villages of Vierville, Saint-Laurent and Colleville. The villages are set back from the shores; the 1st and 29th US Infantry Divisions faced considerable challenges to navigate the beach and the cliffs due to the German defences in place. Les Braves was inaugurated on 5 June 2004 – the day before the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Another memorial on the shore is also dedicated to the soldiers who fought for freedom in 1944.
Les Braves stands 9 meters high, measures 15 meters wide and weighs in at 15 tonnes. It was made in Normandy thanks to the support of Monsieur and Madame Jean Paul Delorme. It was given with thanks to the men who liberated France and Europe.
My pictures show this amazing steel sculpture glinting in the sunlight as the waves gently lapped around its base. A far cry from the scene in 1944 as those brave soldiers fought D-Day’s bloodiest battle on Omaha Beach.