Must-see places in La Manche: Utah Beach, Sainte Mère Eglise, and Ravenoville.
Hello! Today I am taking you to another landing beach. After Arromanches and Pointe du Hoc, we’re going a little further west this time to discover Utah Beach and Sainte Mere Eglise, which have historical significance, but also Ravenoville which was a favourite of mine on my trip in La Manche.
My day trip itinerary near Utah Beach
I’m based near Caen, so I needed at least a day to fully enjoy la Manche and Utah Beach surroundings. My journey began at Sainte Mere Eglise in the morning, where I stayed for about 30 minutes. Then I went to Ravenoville, stopping on the way at two German batteries, Azeville and Crisbecq. A picnic break in Ravenoville gave me some strength back before heading on to Utah Beach. Finally, I visited the Natural Reserve of Beauguillot and enjoyed a sublime sunset at the Pointe de Brevands. Let’s go into detail now!
What to do in Sainte Mère Eglise
The story of Sainte Mère Eglise begins well before the Second World War. Indeed, William from Sainte Mere Eglise was consecrated bishop of London in 1199, and the village was in the heart of the conflicts with England in the fourteenth century. Nowadays, Sainte Mere Eglise is famous because we can see a man hanging from his parachute atop of the Church. During the Normandy landing one of the American paratroopers, John Steele, got stuck on the steeple for two hours while the fighting raged below him.
If you visit the Church and the Airborne Museum you can learn more about the story and the village’s links to the Normandy landings. Unfortunately I couldn’t visit the museum myself as it was closed for refurbishment. I’m sure the town wants it to look brand new for the 75th anniversary of the landing in June! The surroundings are also worth the detour as the town hall is really pretty.
On the way to Ravenoville and its colourful beach houses!
On the road you can stop and visit two well preserved German batteries, Azeville and Crisbecq, though nature is creeping back in around their edges. Without a doubt, Ravenoville is the best place to have a picnic on the beach! Sand as far as the eye can see, colourful houses by the sea, and the only background noise is waves on the shore… Or (grown-up) children who have fun on the outdoor games! Ravenoville was one my favourite place during this day trip.
What to do at Utah Beach ?
The answer is very simple!
- A superb walk on Utah Beach. It’s expansive and wild with huge grasses that are typical of Normandy. The best way to enjoy the beach is to go on top of the dunes.
- Utah Beach Museum retraces the events of D-Day, from its preparation to its success. The museum is located at the very spot where US troops landed in Normandy in June of 1944. There is also an impressive aircraft to see, a B26 bomber, of which there are only a few copies in the world.
- A little before arriving at the Utah Beach parking lot, I advise you to stop at the Blockhaus de la Brèche to discover more German batteries that are on the beach.
What to see near Utah Beach?
Close to Utah beach, you can wander in the Natural Reserve of the domain of Beauguillot which is also a famous site of Allied landings of 1944. Today the Nature Reserve is the perfect place to discover a rich natural ecosystem with nearly 189 species of birds, and 17 different mammals. A unique place for nature lovers in Normandy. And what do you think about ending your day enjoying a beautiful sunset at the Pointe de Brevands with a view on both the Calvados and La Manche coasts?
So what do you think about this day trio near Utah Beach? Do you have any questions or would like to share any thoughts?
Boujou (the Norman way to say XOXO)
|Road trip: approx. 60 km
Parking: free except at Sainte Mere Eglise
Utah Beach Museum: