Activities for children

D Day - Ste-Mère-Eglise

Ste-Mère-Eglise was the first town to be liberated by the Americans. An American parachutist was caught on the church tower and a mock up hangs there still. This incident was featured in the film, The Longest Day. The battle for Set Mère Eglise was very fierce and some of the fighting took place in the church. The bullet holes have never been filled in. Get your children to see how many they can find. (Hint - Look on the church pews or the pillars at the back of the building).

The War Museum, opposite the church square, is guaranteed to give every child a realistic sense of what it meant to be a soldier in the Invasion. From the minute you see the 2 large parachutes – that form the museum – you will be captivated. Everything in the museum is genuine, preserved from the war: the uniforms, German as well as American and English are all real, and it’s fascinating to compare the differences. The soldiers’ big boots and the heavy back packs they carried with their strange tinned food, will capture children’s imagination – the food supplies looks quite Yuk! Even the guns and machine guns are the genuine articles, as is the flimsy glider plane. They were slow and vulnerable yet Allied pilots had to land them right into enemy territory!

See World War II D-Day Beaches, Museums and Cemeteries for more information.

Ste Mère Eglise is a small town built around the church square where there are plenty of cafes for lunch, a snack or a drink.

Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg

Cité de la Mer is a high tech museum of the sea with its own submarine. One of the most exciting things for children is being able to take part in a ‘virtual’ training session and once trained, the Captain will take them to the depths of the ocean (through a simulator).

A fascinating place with a mass of interactive things to keep children entertained!

Phare de Gatteville Lighthouse near Barfleur

Gatteville lighthouse is the second tallest in France. There are 365 steps, one for each day of the year. It is a challenge but something everyone should do at some time. If you make it to the top, all 75metres (240feet), you will be rewarded with stunning views stretching 40 kilometres.

Bayeux Tapestry

This is a must, particularly for older children (and their parents) or those with a school project to do. It tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is 70metres (230ft) long – nearly as long as Gattevile is tall! It is impressively displayed in a darkened room and the story is relayed in English through ear phones. Little children seem happy just to walk around and look at the knights on horses or well-known scenes like poor Harold losing his eye, or see if they can find William’s laughing horses, (that are depicted on the cushions at the house.) Included in your ticket are imaginative films of William’s army setting off for England in stormy seas.

5 owl rating - Bayeux is a beautiful town, early Norman to late eighteenth century architecture, with a 10th century magnificent Cathedral, whose ‘Walt Disney’ spires can be seen from miles away on the N13 road. Look out for them as you drive along. There are plenty of child friendly restaurants and cafes in the town.

Isle de Tatihou

First there is the fun of the amphibian boat to the island – a 15 minute trip. If the tide is in, the boat floats; if the tide is out the boat becomes a bus and drives through the oyster beds to the island! Next walk to the Vauban tower; it’s a real knights’ fortress. On the island is a tourist centre, bird sanctuary, and Viking boat for children to climb over. A picnic on the beach will round off your expedition. Allow about 3 hours.

Isle de Tatihou is a highly enjoyable, worthwhile expedition. NB. Be sure to buy your tickets before you set off though!