Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Superb book. I prefer paperback version over Kindle version
on 30 November 2014
We went to Normandy this summer, to the D-Day beaches, and we took two books, one of them this one.
This is the book that we referred to the most. It is a superb book. Not only is it a guide to the individual sights but it contains a series of suggested itineraries, each of which can be `done' in one day.
The book also gives you a lot of the history behind each site.
My personal preference is to avoid Kindle versions of travel guides. I bought the paperback version of this book and the Kindle version of another travel guide. While the latter's content was good, I found the Kindle format terribly irritating. It taught me that when using a travel guide, you want to be able to flick quickly through it and jump around easily - that's SO much easier with a physical book. In addition, you want it to be in colour - you can cure that by taking your iPad with you but an iPad is bigger and heavier than this book in its paperback version. Travel guides just don't work well in the Kindle format, in my opinion.
You may feel otherwise but that is how I feel. I found the relative awkwardness in flicking around the Kindle book a major handicap.
We also found Brittany Ferries' iPhone/iPad app useful (and very cheap).
For what it's worth, my favourite place to visit was Pointe Du Hoc. Please be aware that you can download a terribly good free iPhone/iPad (and presumably Android) app on Pointe Du Hoc, created by the American Battle Monuments Commission, which will give you an audio tour - just search on iTunes for `Pointe du Hoc'. Also, because Pointe du Hoc is outdoors and is a self-guided tour, you can visit it after other places have closed. So, for example, the US cemetery at Omaha Beach closes at 6 p.m. in the summer - you could go from there to Pointe du Hoc (for example, in July it does not get dark until 11 p.m. so the evenings are beautifully long). The only thing at Pointe du Hoc which you would miss is the museum which closes at 6 p.m. but it is very small - it is nothing like missing the museum at the US cemetery at Omaha Beach. Better still, aim to arrive at Pointe du Hoc at about 5 p.m. to catch the museum.
One tip: if travelling via Le Havre, may I suggest that you visit Honfleur. It is about 20 minutes' drive from the Le Havre ferry terminal, yet only about 5 minutes off the motorway from Le Havre to Caen (so it adds pretty well no time to your journey). You take the first exit immediately after crossing the 'Pont de Normandie' - the impressive bridge - if travelling from Le Havre to Caen. Honfleur makes a great first port of call for breakfast on the way out (if on the overnight ferry), sitting in a café outdoors by the picturesque harbour, or a last port of call on the return journey. It makes for a much more relaxing and civilised end of a holiday than a motorway dash from Normandy for the ferry.
Also, if you have a diesel car, diesel (not unleaded too, sadly) is a lot cheaper in France than in the UK. In the summer of 2014 we paid approximately 1 GBP per litre at which time it was approximately GBP 1.30 in the UK. So don't make the mistake I once did of `doing the right thing' and filling up immediately before leaving home.
Back to the book: even a week with this this book was insufficient time to see all of the key sights. There is so much to see regarding D-Day.