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WWII Sites

My adult son and I are planning to visit WWII sites next fall. We're planning on Normandy but what other areas would be of interest?

Posted by
5688 posts

If you are going as far as London, don't miss the Cabinet War Rooms.

Posted by
20 posts

La Musee de la Reddition is in Reims--it's the school house where Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies in Aug 1945. Reims is an easy TGV from Paris and you can make a day trip of it by adding on a visit to the glorious cathedral, which is where the kings of France were crowned, starting with Clovis in the 400's--he was the first Christian king of France. Joan of Arc brought Charles VII to be crowned here--there's a statute of Joanie on her pony in the town square. You'll also recognize the cathedral facade as the subject of Monet paintings. Oh, and Reims is also a major city in the Champagne region, if you need more sites to round out the day.

Classic Paris Walks offers a very good walking tour of WWII sites in Paris http://www.classicwalksparis.com

The Shoah museum in the Marais is excellent--serves as a research institute and repository (e.g., they have the card catalog kept by the Vichy govt on Jewish citizens). Warning, it's almost all in French.

Bon voyage!

Posted by
850 posts

In addition to visiting the Normandy beaches there is a nice WWII museum in Bayeux. If you venture over to Hamm, Luxembourg there is an American Military cemetery where General Patton is buried. Many of those buried there were killed in the Battle of the Bulge. General Pattons cross is at the front of the cemetery so it is easy to find.
There is a monument at Remagen on the Rhine just above Koblenz which is where the bridge was the Germans failed to blow up allowing the allies to cross over the Rhine and was a huge psychological blow to the Germans.
Many places in France, Belgium and The Netherlands. Of course, Germany has many sites if you should get that far. The tour of Hitler's Eagles Nest in Bertchesgaden by David and Christine Harper is the best I have taken. Here is their website if you ever go there.

http://www.eagles-nest-tours.com/EN/eagles-nest-tours/index.php?navid=2

Posted by
27 posts

My husband and I were just discussing the topic in General Europe about the most inspirational sight. The crosses at the Hamm cemetery in Luxembourg was one of my great memories. There were big yellow mums at Patton's cross. We have been to the punchbowl in Hawaii and to other American and German military cemeteries but the one in Luxembourg stands out as a place to reflect on the sacrifice of so many.

Posted by
32268 posts

With regard to visiting WW-II sites in the Normandy area, you might want to consider a tour. I used Battlebus and would highly recommend them!!! Check www.battlebus.fr for info. I took both the American highlights tour as well as the Canadian tour, and the day-long tours cover a lot of the significant sites including St. Mere Eglise (Pvt. Steele is STILL hanging on the Bell Tower!) and the American cemetery (two of the Niland brothers are resting beside each other - they were the inspiration for the movie "Saving Pvt. Ryan").
There are so MANY sites throughout France, Belgium and surrounding countries, you'll have to prioritize and decide which are most significant for you. The "Bridge Too Far" and "Battle of the Bulge" areas are on the list for my next trip to Europe. I'd also like to see some of the WW-I areas such as Vimy Ridge, as that is significant for me.
Good luck with your planning.

Posted by
850 posts

Ken, I have been to Arnhem a couple of times and the Bridge Too Far still stands (although damaged it was rebuilt) and is now called the John Frost bridge, named after the British General . There is an excellent Airborne museum in Oostebeek just outside of Arnhem which gives a good detailed account of Operation Market Garden with some actual footage on film. Excellent. Also, there is an allied cemetery just out from Arnhem where over 1700 allied soldiers (mostly British) are buried.
Further south toward the town of Best is the Wings of Liberation Museum. This museum is located close to the landing zone of the 101st during Operation Market Garden. If you watched the Band of Brothers on HBO or have the DVD collection of this great account of Easy company you will find this museum to be of interest to you.

Posted by
6798 posts

Lane writes, "There is a monument at Remagen on the Rhine just above Koblenz which is where the bridge was the Germans failed to blow up allowing the allies to cross over the Rhine and was a huge psychological blow to the Germans."

A good site to visit - not just a monument, but a museum as well:

www.bruecke-remagen.de

The Ardennes (Belgium) towns of Stavelot, La Roche en Ardenes, Malmedy, Houffalize, as well as Bastogne, are very worthwhile; see also the Henri Chapelle cemetery to the north, near Eupen.