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School Trips to France

Top 3 Places to Visit on School Trips to France

France offers many opportunities for students to explore what they’ve learned in their textbooks. In France, students are surrounded by architecture, culture, and history. When planning school trips to France, there are some places that are essential to guarantee your group has a great time on the trip. ParisByM has created a list of the top 3 places to visit on school trips to France!

Paris

Paris is a destination filled with multiple historical monuments and museums. Here are a few locations that your students will enjoy.

The Eiffel TowerSchool Trips to France

The Eiffel Tower is a landmark recognized by many all around the world for its iron architecture, completed in 1887 by Gustave Eiffel. Students can visit the top of the tower to see the breathtaking view of the City of Lights which will make their school trip to France unforgettable.

The Arc de TriompheSchool Trips to France

The Arc de Triomphe is one of world’s best-known commemorative monuments, completed in 1806 and designed by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin. Students will learn how it has continued to be an iconic symbol of France. Those who are able, are welcomed to climb the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Although it’s a bit tiring, your students will enjoy another amazing view of Paris.

The Louvre

School Trips to France

The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum! It houses a large collection of French paintings between the 15th and the 19th century, statues, decorative arts, and Mesopotamian art. At the Louvre, students will learn about famous artists and see some of most well-known pieces of art, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Alexandros of Antioch’s Venus of Milo. The Louvre contains more works of art than you can imagine! We suggest that you plan with your students to decide what they would like to see.

Normandy

School Trips to FranceMont-Saint Michel

Mont-Saint Michel is a tiny island off the coast of Normandy. Although the island is extremely small, there is no doubt that there are many treasures for your students to explore.

The Mont Saint Michel Abbey is located at the top of Mont-Saint-Michel. The historical monument has both Gothic and Roman styles incorporated throughout the structure. Did you know that it was once a prison? Students will be fascinated by the information they learn during their visit.

The Grand Rue, or Main Street, is the busiest street at Mont-Saint Michel. On either side, you can find houses, shops, inns and restaurants. It is a great place for students to taste the divine cuisine the island has to offer and to buy gifts and souvenirs to take home.

D-Day Sites

The Normandy Coast is home to many monuments and museums dedicated to World War II. Here, students participating in school trips to France can pay tribute to their ancestors who fought for liberty. There are multiple locations along the coast that students find fascinating, but touring each location takes time. Depending on the length of your school’s trip, you can pick and choose based on what your students would enjoy the most.

School Trips to France

The Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches are known as the D-Day Landing Beaches. Students can see monuments and memorials at each beach. For example, at Omaha beach, students will find a memorial and the American cemetery, where almost 10,000 soldiers who fought are buried.

School Trips to France

The Memorial of Caen, The Musée du Débarquement of Arromanches (Landing Museum), the Museum of D-Day Omaha, and the Airborne Museum can all be visited on Normandy’s Coast. Each museum focuses on a different part of World War II or to commemorate the battles that took place at the different locations.

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is known for its hundreds of magnificent castles. Some are more well known then others, but nonetheless, your students will be amazed by their beauty.

Château de ChambordSchool Trips to France

Many claim this to be the castle most worthy of visiting. It is the biggest closed forest park in Europe; its area is similar to the city of Paris. There are horse and raptor shows that your students might enjoy!

Château de Chenonceau 

This castle is known as the “Castle of the Ladies”. Katherine Briçonnet supervised the construction and many women, including French queens, after her added their own personal touch. Students will understand the role women played in this part of history.

These castles are the most visited and famous, but there are many more to discover, depending on the theme that you would like to develop with your students.

 

 

ParisByM would love to help plan your school trip. If you would like to know more information on our offers for school trips to France, please click here.

 

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Normandy Beach

What To Visit For Your Normandy Battle Tours ?

1944. June, the 6th. D.Day of the invasion of Normandy. Soldiers from 16 different nationalities landed on Normandy’s beaches, marking the start of Europe’s liberation from the Nazis. Allies landed on the 5 beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Back on the track of a broken past.

All along Normandy Coast are monuments and museums dedicated to World War II. In fact, the battle of Normandy was a decisive turn for peace in Europe. 4 days are needed to do a complete tour. But you can skip some steps.

 

Practical Information Before Doing Normandy Battle Tours :

For Normandy Battle Tours, you can rent a car. But I recommend you contact a tourism agency or to book a tour with a guide since organizing this tour will be pretty difficult, especially if you do not know French roads well. As for public transportation, it is limited and not advised.

 

Day 1 : Mémorial of Caen, Sword Beach and Canadian Tour

To start Normandy Battle Tours, you should visit the Memorial of Caen, one of the most important museum on World War II. It covers the contemporary history from Sarajevo to the fall of the Berlin wall. You can take a ticket for the visit of the Memorial of Caen and for “Arromanches 360”, a circular cinema with unique footage of WWII.

Then visit Juno Beach and the Sword Beach, where the Merville Battery is located. At the Merville battery, you will discover the Germans’ defense system, with 20km-ranged cannons.D Day sites, 5 beaches of Normandy, Normandy Battle Tours

At Juno Beach, which was affected to the Canadian army, was held a bloody battle. The low tide and the lack of visibility, led to a late arrival of the army, enabling the opposing army to organize itself. Thus, Canadians suffered heavy losses. It is also the beach of Charles de Gaulle’s return (you can take a look at the Lorraine cross).

The Center Juno Beach is the only Canadian museum. It depicts Canada’s role during World War II.

 

Day 2 : Arromanches, the “Musée du Débarquement” and the British Cemetery

Arromanches’ port, also called Port Mulberry or Port Winston, is the ground zero for the operation. Actually, there were 2 harbors but the one on Omaha beach was destroyed by the storm. Normandy Battle ToursThe floating port was decisive for the liberation of France, especially for the offensive of Montgomery at Caen. The artificial harbor was built for the battle in 8 days thanks to a system of  spare parts. Located on the middle of the 5 beaches, weapons and ammunitions were provided by this bridge.

Enjoy a 19-minute movie at “Arromanches 360“, a circular cinema with exclusive images and footages of the World War II, ideal to immerse in the context of the war.

After this, you can visit the “Musée du Débarquement” of Arromanches, the first museum to commemorate the battle of Normandy. Built on the ruins, the museum will describe how the harbor was made.

Then, you can walk through the British cemetery. Actually, there are 27 cemeteries in Normandy. So there is no need to visit all of them.

 

Day 3 : Omaha Beach and the “Pointe du Hoc”

Normandy battlefield excursion in 1 to 2 days, Normandy Battle ToursOmaha beach is also called “Bloody Omaha“, since one of the most devastating battles was here. Near Omaha beach, you will find a memorial and the American cemetery, where almost 10 000 soldiers who fought for peace are buried. For a better understanding of the context, I recommend you visit the visitor center.

The Museum of D-Day Omaha was built in commemoration of American soldiers who fought on Omaha Beach. Some special pieces are displayed as a rebuilding of Port Arromanches A.

After Omaha beach, you should admire the Pointe du Hoc. American rangers climbed steep cliffs to take this important observation base of German fortifications. They discovered then that the Germans had moved their cannons a few days before. The mission was so risky that from the 225 rangers, only 90 were in shape to fight. It still bears the marks of the intense bombing from the Allies. You will be able to visit the remaining bunkers.

Normandy Battle Tours

 

Day 4 : Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the batteries of Marcouf and Utah Beach

Sainte-Mère l’Eglise is the first village liberated by the Americans. Paratroopers took a lead role in this mission. One story in particular, made this village famous. Wounded in the legs, one paratrooper landed on the Church tower and remained hanging here for 3 hours. He pretended to be dead, then was captured by the Germans and fortunately he managed to escape. A manikin was put on the Church as a souvenir.

The Airborne museum covers especially the role of paratroopers and the material and techniques of the time.

After visiting the museum, you can either explore the labyrinth of the batterie of Crisberg or the battery of Azeville. The first one, the battery of Crisberg, has shown the most opposition. Its 30km-ranged guns made it the most impressive battery of the Normandy Coast.

To end your Normandy Battle Tours, go to Utah Beach. In the “Musée du Débarquement” is displayed one of the 3 last bombardiers still existing, the bombardier B26.

Normandy D-Day sites, Normandy, D-Day sites, france in 5 days, Normandy Battle Tours

 

Now, you have all the tools to prepare ideal Normandy battle tours. So, what are you waiting for ?

 

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Pointe du Hoc

Pointe de Hoc

US President Regan giving a speech for the commemoration of the 40th birthday of the D-Day at Pointe du Hoc.

The Pointe du Hoc is the highest point between western Utah Beach and eastern Omaha Beach. From this point, you can overlook the English Channel. This lookout provides a great view of the coast of Normandy.

Because of its’ particular location, the Germans placed heavy artillery (gun pits) on the cliff, threatening both Omaha and Utah beach. It was then considered an essential mission to blast the German artillery immediately when Operation Overlord began to protect the landing troops and reduce casualties.

On D-Day, the U.S Army attacked and took over Pointe du Hoc after scaling its cliffs. Unfortunately, they discovered the artillery had recently been taken to another location.

 

Normandy D-Day Tour, American sector

Sainte-Mère-Église

Normandy D-Day Tour, American sectorSainte-Mère-Eglise was the first town of France in the Cotentin region liberated by American paratroopers. It is also famous for the American paratrooper, John Steele, who’s parachute was caught on the church tower during the Overload operation. You can see a copy of John Steele still attached to his parachute on the church tower. There is a museum dedicated to American paratroopers called Airborne Museum. It is located just in front of the church. This museum takes you back to D-Day alongside American paratroopers. Also, admire Sainte-Mère-Église with its special atmosphere full of history.

Normandy D-Day sites, Normandy, D-Day sites

Carentan

Normandy D-Day sites, Normandy, D-Day sites, CarentanThe small town of Carentan is known for its cultural heritage and its medieval buildings. It’s a city full of history. There are a lot of places to visit such as Notre-Dame of Carentan church which suffered a lot of damage during the D-Day bombings. Additionally, you will find hotels which housed famous people such as French writer Honoré de Balzac and emperor Napoléon 1er, as well as beautiful harbours. 

Normandy D-Day sites, Normandy, D-Day sites, Omaha beach

Omaha beach

Omaha_Beach_Memorial_on_German_bunkerOmaha beach was one of the landing beaches assigned to the Americans for landing in France on D-Day. This is where they suffered the most casualties while fighting against Germans troops in hopes of liberating Europe (30% of all casualties of the D-Day). Hence the name « Bloody Omaha » or « the Beach of blood ».

The name Omaha was used as a code name during Operation Overlord, chosen because it was the place of birth of one of the officers engaged in the operation (the city of Omaha in Nebraska). The same with the other American beach, Utah beach,  state of birth of another American officer.

Located a few meters away, the American cemetery of Colleville-sur Mer overlooks the beach. 

American cemetery D Day Omaha beach, france tourist attractions

Normandy American Cemetery

American cemetery

On the 8th of June in 1944, the U.S First Army established a temporary cemetery in Normandy. After the war, the present-day cemetery was established just a short distance to the east of the original site building a memorial and a chapel to go along with it.

The cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach. Among the 9 386 graves are the ones of 3 recipients of the Medal of Honor and 2 sons of President Theodore Roosevelt (one being one of the 3 recipients of the Medal of Honor, the other killed during WWI and reburied next to his brother after WWII).

This is a place of reflection to honor the memory of the dead, many Americans go to meditate on the grave of one of their ancestors.