|Subject: Re: Need France and Italy advice|
I would say that an overnight is necessary. You need to see the museum in Caen (LeMemorial) and tour the landing sites. Include the cemeteries. I suppose you could find an organized tour, however , we had a rental car. A Ziner recently mentioned renting a car in Bayeux, so you could find that message in the archives. I might add, if you stay in Bayeux, make sure you see the Tapestry. http://www.hastings1066.com/
If you drive, visit the LeMemorial museum. I understand that it is not close to the train station. We had thought about taking a train, but ended up driving from Bayeux. It takes a number of hours.
To tour the landing sites, start with the beach town of Arromanches, the site of the first ever prefab artificial harbor, Churchill's brainchild. It was named Port Winston in his honor. The museum, lecture, models and videos helped us understand how they towed the Mulberries(115 football field-sized hollow cement blocks) across the channel from England to form a harbor to deliver supplies to the D-Day troops. Some are still visible today. From there go to Longues-Sur-Mer to see the German bunkers and guns that were still intact that guarded against sea attacks at the town of Arromanches. You can clearly see how the Germans could see right where the port was being constructed. Next stop at the American Cemetery at St. Laurent. The row upon row of 9400 white crosses and Stars of David are a chilling reminder. A German cemetery is near by with its rows of black crosses. Then visit Pointe du Hoc was where 225 U.S. Rangers attempted a castle-style assault on the German occupied cliffs with grappling hooks and ladders borrowed from the London fire department. Only 90 survived. This will take a good portion of the day. You can stop at Omaha Beach and other places along the way, but I have identified what we felt were the highlights. I could have spent several more days and probably will some day.
Wil & Elizabeth Orlando, Fl.