What with the 75th anniversary commemorations of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy taking place between now and the end of August, and D-Day just a week away, we thought we’d share our five favourite spots for a bite to eat near the D-Day Landing Beaches…
Ouistreham was given the code name Sword Beach when the Allies and the free French landed here on 6 June 1944. Today it’s a bustling stretch of coast with a marina, fishing harbour and ferry terminal for those travelling from Portsmouth. If you head north along the coast, overlooking the beach at Colleville-Montgomery, you’ll find the perfect place to enjoy some local seafood at Au Vivier. This family-run fishmonger’s comes complete with an unpretentious oyster bar and is a favourite haunt for locals who love their seafood.
Courseulles is a quaint fishing village on Juno Beach where the Canadian troops landed in 1944. My two local foodie friends both recommended Dégustation de l’Ile, which is handily placed for visiting the Juno Beach Centre, a Canadian government-run museum, which is an excellent introduction to D-Day for children. The restaurant is a natural extension of the family-run oyster farm just down the road in Courseulles-sur-Mer, Aux Régals de l’Île, and so your yummy seafood platter is guaranteed to be wonderfully fresh and delicious.
As you wind westwards along the coast, the picturesque coastal town of Arromanches-les-Bains comes into view, with its impressive artificial Mulberry Harbour built in 1944 for the Allied Landings. Local oyster farm La Calvadosienne in Asnelles, just east of Arromanches, offers a €6 menu, or if you’re particularly partial to huîtres, you can even take a tour of the farm and taste some fresh oysters on the seafront. What better way to enjoy the local scenery?
A short drive from ‘Bloody Omaha’ where the American troops landed, and near the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer (made famous by Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan), is the Château de Chenevière. This welcoming 5-star hotel has two restaurants in the summer season and is a wonderfully peaceful place to soak up some well-deserved luxury. Le Botaniste is the gastronomic restaurant with a sumptous menu, delicious accompanying wines and unparalleled service. Le Petit Jardin is a pop-up restaurant open in the summer months for a relaxed meal in the chateau gardens. We strongly recommend the scallops when in season!
On the east coast of the Cotentin Peninsula, Utah Beach is where the American troops landed. It is now home to the Utah Beach Day-Day Museum, which clearly explains the major events of 6 June 1944 through exhibits, videos and a dedicated mobile app. Just five minutes inland you’ll find the hotel-restaurant Le Grand Hard in the village of Sainte-Marie-le-Mont. Here, the emphasis is on good local food, the seafood and beef are worth trying, and the €28 three-course menu is excellent value for money.dedicated D-Day 75 website. For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourism website.
Cover photo © M. Mochon | Text: A. Weatherhead