September 3-10, 2019
June 6, 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest coordinated amphibian landing in history and a significant turning point of World War II. In commemoration of Operation Overlord and its unforgettable culmination and with New York Times-provided insight and guidance, take an eight-day journey to delve into the motivations and multinational efforts necessary to stage this remarkable feat.
Travel from London to Normandy to Paris to learn more about this complicated operation even as you see where it took place. From the Churchill War Rooms in London to key sites in Portsmouth, to the beaches, bluffs and final resting places of the heroic soldiers in Normandy, this journey traces the path of the Allied troops in remembrance of one of the most poignant moments of World War II. The New York Times was with the soldiers and strategists as it was happening, and your expert will help you feel as if you were there, too.
Churchill War Rooms
Arrive in London and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Meet your fellow Times Journeys travelers and your expert in the early afternoon for a guided visit to Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms and adjoining Churchill Museum. It is from this underground “safe place” below Westminster that Churchill directed the British war effort, protected from the German bombardment. You can still see maps, telephones and bunks preserved since 1945. This evening, attend a welcome reception and dinner.
Breaking the Code
Travel to Bletchley Park for an in-depth perspective on the first machines designed to break German code, the Bombe and the Enigma. They are credited with shortening the war by successfully deciphering the encryption used by the Wehrmacht to safeguard its messages, dramatized in “The Imitation Game.” After lunch in a local pub, visit the H.M.S. Belfast, part of the Imperial War Museums. The Belfast was launched in 1938 and almost immediately went to war. It led an expeditionary force at Normandy on D-Day, and later was retrofitted for battle in the Pacific. It last saw action in the Korean War. This evening, dinner is on your own.
Across the Channel
Travel south to Portsmouth. At the D-Day Museum, examine the Overlord Embroidery — a stunning, 270-foot handcrafted depiction of D-Day events — and view a replica of the map General Eisenhower used to plot Allied positions. Just outside Portsmouth, you might have a chance to visit the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force by special arrangement. Then cross the English Channel by ferry and arrive in Normandy in the late evening.
Air and Water
Explore the village of Sainte-Mère-Église, where the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division paratroopers dropped from the sky in a hail of gunfire on the night of June 5. View the church steeple upon which one unlucky paratrooper was entangled for hours, and visit the village’s Airborne Museum. Stop for lunch at Le Roosevelt, a restaurant built around a former German bunker just steps from Utah Beach. Continue to Utah Beach, site of one of the two American amphibious landings in the early hours of D-Day. Stop briefly at La Fière bridge and Brécourt Manor, both sites of smaller skirmishes that were part of the overall Normandy campaign. Time permitting, pay a visit to the German war cemetery at La Cambe.
Harbors and Cliffs
This morning, visit Pegasus Bridge Memorial and Museum, dedicated to the men of the British 6th Airborne Division. Hear a private talk by the director of the museum, and then tour the exhibits that recount the battle for this strategic location in 1944. Travel to Arromanches, remnants of the prefabricated concrete harbors that assisted in landing Allied supplies, to visit Mulberry Harbor and the Arromanches Landing Museum. One of the most dramatic sites along the Normandy coastline is Pointe du Hoc, where United States Army Rangers used hooks and ropes to scale cliffs some 100 feet high to destroy key German gun positions. Walk along clifftop pathways still cratered by mortar blasts, and venture into the concrete bunkers from which German forces unleashed a barrage of artillery fire. In Bayeux, visit the British cemetery and have some time to explore the town before a guided visit to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. This evening is yours to explore Bayeux.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
Visit the Overlord Museum, which chronicles the time between the invasion and the liberation of Paris, and then wander along Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of D-Day. Later, at the American military cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, you can lay a wreath in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This evening, attend a private reception at the former BBC WWII headquarters at Château de Creully before heading out for dinner on your own.
Onward to Paris
En route to Paris, visit Le Château de La Roche-Guyon, a 12th-century estate that was former headquarters to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel of Germany. From his bunker at the château, he tried to defend Normandy against the Allies after D-Day. After checking in to your hotel in Paris, gather for a farewell reception and dinner to celebrate your journey.
After breakfast, transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for individual flights home or onward.
A member of the Doyle Collection, The Kensington is located in the fashionable Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Manoir de Mathan
This delightful country inn is in the heart of the Normandy countryside, well placed for visiting the D-Day beaches and related sites.
’Hotel du Collectionneur
An ode to the Art Deco transatlantic liners of the era, the Hotel du Collectionneur allows guests to relive the elegance and sophistication of the 1930s.