What makes Normandy Heroes different from other tour companies who offer private tours ?
There are other guides who offer a personalized service to visit the Normandy beaches and battlefields but Normandy Heroes is the first and currently only tour service that exclusively focusses on helping families of Normandy veterans. Where other guides mainly offer regular tours of the main sites for a wide variety of clients and only occasionally propose tours for veterans or their families, we specialize in a personalized experience for you, the families of Nomandy veterans. We also propose our standard D-Day tour only to you as part of a 2 or 3 day package. At Normandy Heroes we ensure that sufficient time goes into research, route planning and arranging of special moments for your tour. We also work with the best researchers on site at the National Personnel Records Center in Saint-Louis, MO and the National Archives at College Park, MD who in a very limited time can obtain archives and records that most other guides have no access to. Having assisted American WWII veterans and their families at a museum, on numerous battlefield tours and at a US military cemetery for over a decade, your Normandy Heroes guide Geert is the perfect choice for your customized military heritage tour. Being fully bilingual your guide also enables you to experience how the local population still remembers and appreciates what your Normandy Hero accomplished 70 years ago. Normandy Heroes also cares about you after your tour through « Operation Normandy Heroes ». In the end only the families who have toured with Geert can really tell you what makes the difference when choosing Normandy Heroes. Read about their experiences here.
Why should I choose Geert as the guide for my customized private Normandy military heritage tour ?
Don’t just believe Geert. According to USA Today Travel these are some of the main qualities of a good tour guide :
Reputable tour guides have undergone a program of training and are either members of a professional guiding association or government certified. Geert has trained with the National Park Service and is a Certified Interpretive Guide and Trainer with the National Association for Interpretation.
Tour guides normally are recruited from within the local community, so have a good knowledge of the area’s history, culture and traditions. European, Geert has lived in Normandy for over 12 years, has been active in community and local charity work and is totally integrated. At the same time he is extremely comfortable with American culture and customs having worked with and for Americans for many years.
The advantage of employing a tour guide is that he can speak the language. Geert is fluent in French, English and Dutch. This is vital to your experience meeting the local population of Normandy. At the same time Geert’s English is absolutely flawless being trained by and having worked for Americans for nearly a decade.
The tour guide will do all of the planning for your trip. Geert only does customized private tours with the highest attention to detail. He will literally save you weeks or sometimes months of research to put together a tour itinerary that follows your hero’s footsteps in Normandy during WWII.
A professional tour guide will help keep you safe. Geert focuses 100% on guiding not splitting his attention between guiding and driving. He does drive all of the personalized tour itineraries prior to your tour date to assure absolute safety on the day of your tour.
What is included in my Normandy Heroes tour and what is not?
The Normandy Heroes tour includes a variety of high quality services such as :
1) A complete research package on your Normandy Hero including daily locations of his unit and movements they made in Normandy, a daily record of events which shows combat details within the unit your Normandy Hero was assigned to, when and where he was wounded, killed or missing in action and possible burial locations of his buddies in the Normandy American Cemetery.
2) A personalized tour itinerary based on the archival research. Your guide will personally drive the itinerary prior to your tour date, trace civilian eyewitnesses of the fighting your veteran was involved in (if any are left) and set up a meet and greet with them on the day of your tour when available, obtain access to places closed to the public when possible and research a variety of stories and details on the area and battles your Normandy Hero fought in.
3) Your guide will join you at any location within 10 miles of the Bayeux town center and offer a 9 hour fully guided tour of all sites visited.
The tour does not include hotel/accommodation and meal charges including lunch, incidental expenses such as laundry, drinks, personal expenses, tolls, entrance charges to museums or attractions, and all travel, your fuel and associated costs.
Why does Normandy Heroes not offer any tours in their own operated vehicle ?
Many guides in Normandy combine guiding and driving. At Normandy Heroes we have made the choice not to combine driving and guiding. For us it is important that your guide is available for you at all times, only focusing on the story of your Normandy Hero. That is why your guide will join you as a passenger in your own rental vehicle or you can choose to ride with Albion Voyages, a fully licensed, Franco-American owned and Normandy based transport company with over 25 years of experience and some of the most courteous and reliable bicultural drivers in the business.
If my Normandy Hero served in the United States Navy or Army Air Corps can you put together a tour about his story as well?
We can. A lot will depend on what your Normandy hero did. If he served in the Army Air Corps we can look for his squadron history, a Missing Air Crew Report, locate former air strips, identify targets, etc. If he served in the Navy we can find his Navy Service Record, look for a ship log and take you to memorials to the US Navy in Normandy during WWII. Generally these tours tend to be shorter and cover only 1 day but are nevertheless very relevant and meaningful.
When should I come to Normandy and what should I wear ?
Normandy Heroes offers tours all year round. Keep in mind though that the weather can be quite bad during the winter and days tend to be very short (8 hours in December-January) Tours will be adapted accordingly. Being near the coast, Normandy weather is always windy and there is a risk of rain throughout the year even in the summer. We therefore recommend to wear several layers of clothing you can easily add and remove. Hats, gloves and scarves are a must during the winter period. Tours also involve an important amount of walking and standing sometimes in areas that are off the beaten path due to the nature of your tour. Appropriate footwear is essential for your comfort during the tour. Please let us know if there are any mobility issues so we can make the necessary recommendations for your tour.
Where should I stay ?
Bayeux makes a very good center for visiting the D-Day landing beaches and battlefields. It can be easily accessed by train and car and it constitutes a convenient location to start your Normandy Heroes tour from. It is one of the few towns in Calvados to have survived WWII practically unscathed and a great place to soak up the Norman atmosphere. The town offers a variety of hotels and B&Bs. A listing can be found on the Bayeux Office of Tourism website
Are your tours suited for children ?
At Normandy Heroes we are very much about passing down your hero’s story to future generations (See « Our Heroes »). Our tours can be an extremely meaningful learning experience for your children providing that you consider they are old enough to understand the importance of the experience and are physically and mentally able to follow at least one full day 9 hour tour. We would recommend children to be at least over 6 years of age. If you rent your own vehicle you would need to know that in France child safety seats are compulsory up to the age of 10. When travelling with Albion Voyages both full car safety seats and bumper seats can be provided. We will do our best to adapt the tour to your children to make it an enjoyable experience for the entire family.
Are there any physical requirements for your tours ?
A Normandy Heroes tour is a completely customized tour which follows your loved one’s footsteps. It will often take you off the beaten path. We make it a point to let you discover your hero’s story up close and personal and allow you to stand where he fought. This could involve lots of walking and standing in a variety of places. Of course we tailor our tours specifically to your needs. If there are mobility issues or other restrictions please let us know and we will adapt your tour as much as we can in order for it to meet your expectations and assure absolute tour comfort and safety. Check our terms and conditions for additional information.