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Normandy sites reborn amidst the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major restrictions worldwide and has severely affected cultural tourism. Despite the dire situation, French people in Normandy did not lose their spirits but instead used the time available and the lack of visitors as an opportunity to renew several historic sites and museums. We will look at two of those sites today, both located on Gold Beach.
 
The Landing Museum (Musée du Débarquement) in the small town of Arromanches is dedicated mainly to the story behind the famous Mulberry artificial harbors. One of these harbors, named after Winston Churchill, was erected here and the remains of the harbor can still be found on the beach.

The construction site of the new museum in Arromanches (Photo: Musée du Débarquement, Facebook)
The construction site of the new museum in Arromanches (Photo: Musée du Débarquement, Facebook)

The museum was opened on June 5, 1954 and was the first museum commemorating D-Day. The new museum will open its doors in 2023 but the old museum will still remain open during the renovations.

The concept of the new museum in Arromanches (Photo: Musée du Débarquement, Facebook)
The concept of the new museum in Arromanches (Photo: Musée du Débarquement, Facebook)
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A couple of miles from Arromanches lies one of the most famous D-Day-related sites in Normandy, namely the German coastal battery at Longues-sur-Mer. Three from the four casemates still house the original guns. Some of the scenes of the iconic 1962 war movie, The Longest Day were shot here, too. The site is visited by more than 400,000 visitors a year.

One of the casemates of the Longues-sur-Mer battery (Photo: Author’s own)
One of the casemates of the Longues-sur-Mer battery (Photo: Author’s own)

The modernization of the site and its facilities will be done in two phases and will end in 2024. The whole project will cost 2,3 million Euros / 2,6 million USD and will include the construction of a new tourist office offering a panoramic view overlooking the site from its rooftop.

The concept of the new visitor center at Longues-sur-Mer (Photo: Debarge & Bellaigue)
The concept of the new visitor center at Longues-sur-Mer (Photo: Debarge & Bellaigue)
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