This was my second time in this port. The first time, I took a ship excursion to Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Bayeux. It was a long day on a coach bus with limited time at any one location. Also, it was very expensive (around ... Read More
This was my second time in this port. The first time, I took a ship excursion to Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Bayeux. It was a long day on a coach bus with limited time at any one location. Also, it was very expensive (around $250 pp). This time, we decided to rent a car and visit the sites that were most important to us. Because our ship was in port on a Sunday, most car rental agencies are closed, as are a lot of business in the town of Le Havre. However, although their websites say they are closed, both Rent-a-car and Sixt were opened on Sunday with limited hours for cruise passengers. Sixt is located in town, so I would recommend Rent-a-car (email@example.com), which has a desk in the cruise terminal. Many of the cars are manual transmission, but we were upgraded to an automatic for free. Our car cost 90 Euros. The service at the desk is slow with one clerk, so I'd recommend getting off the ship as soon as possible to get going.
Once on the road, we took the Pont de Normandie toll bridge to save time and get on the highway going west. We went to our furthest point west and worked our way back. Our first stop was Pointe du Hoc, the site of the US Ranger assault between Omaha and Utah Beaches. We got a little turned around when first out of Le Havre, but got there in about 1:45 hrs. We spent over an hour at the visitors' center, walking the paths to the point, going in German bunkers and looping back to the parking lots. The German cemetery La Cambe is nearby, but we didn't realize it so didn't take the time to go back once we were already heading east. Our second stop was Omaha Beach and the memorial. There are two parking lots. We spent a little time walking the beach and imagining what it must have been like for the soldiers. Then we traveled to the nearby American cemetery, which contains 9387 graves of soldiers killed in the events surrounding D-Day. The visitors' center was closed for renovation (scheduled to reopen June 1, 2019), so we spent our time walking around the cemetery and memorial. They offer free tours at certain times. We caught the tail end of a tour so asked the guide a few questions. From there, we felt like we were running out of time so we got back on the road. We stopped in Benouville. British gliders crash landed and captured the Pegasus Bridge in the hours leading up to the D-Day beach invasion. A modern draw bridge crosses the canal now, but the original is housed in a park at the memorial museum down the street along with a glider. From there, we hurried back to the port just in time for all-aboard. We cut it a little close for comfort and didn't even have time to gas up our car. Regardless, renting a car was totally worth it. It was a lot less expensive than the tours and we had the flexibility to do what we wanted. Read Less