Backpacking Through History to Caen, France

France was one country that I dreamed about traveling to ever since I was little and my parents went and left me with my grandparents because I was too young to go. There are a lot of things that you have to take care before traveling abroad such as passports, international travel medical insurance, and the right luggage. Once you have all those figured out you can let the adventure begin. There were many places to backpack to in France, but when I went my favorite spot was Caen. From here you can take a day trip to Omaha Beach where the Allied forces invaded France on June 6 194 (D-day). Standing on Omaha Beach was so surreal and I could just picture the troops arriving in the boats and having to run up the entire beach while looking up at the German army on top of the hill. There are several tips that I would recommend when visiting this historic site.

  1. Time of day: I got to Omaha Beach around 8 am. This is the perfect time to go because the tide is out so you really get the full effect of how far the troops had to run to get to the shore. Plus in the morning it is not so hot.
  2. Pointe du Hoc: It is 4 miles west of Omaha Beach and there are cliffs that are 100 feet tall. This is where the German army stood over the American troops and released fire on thousands of young American soldiers.
  3. The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Sea: American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. This is the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. There are 9,387 white crosses that represent where the soldiers that were killed on D-day were buried. Seeing all the white crosses in line covering 175 acres really puts into perspective how many lives were lost in just one day.

There is a lot to see when visiting France but going to Caen is a must see just for perspective on World War II. The sites and the feeling that I got when I was at Omaha Beach is almost indescribable and is a must see for everyone.

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