Gold Beach

D-Day Beach with Artificial Harbour

Gold Beach was one of the five most important D-Day beaches during World War II. Just before the landing beach in Normandy, the British built a complete harbour in the sea. In just 100 days, 220,000 soldiers, 530,000 tons of supplies and 39,000 vehicles were landed. In the town of Arromanches-les-Bains in France, you can still see countless remnants of the most important battle of that war. In this article, you can read about the sights in and around Gold Beach.

Gold Beach is located between the villages of La Rivière and Longues-sur-Mer, near the strategic site of Arromanches. British troops in particular landed here. This beach is a must for anyone who wants to know more about D-Day. Much of history has been written along this elongated beach. It is a past that is still visible today. And all this in an impressive setting because of the steep cliffs that you see around you. With remarkably rugged land behind it, but also farmlands and small villages.


Arromanches. ©Corno van den Berg

This coastal town played a vital role during the invasion, as the artificial Mulberry harbour was built here. It now mainly runs on tourism and has numerous useful facilities. In the town, you will find restaurants, a supermarket, hotels and various museums. I also saw intriguing street art.

You can walk along the coast. You will find stately houses along the beachside. In the early morning, I first bought a sandwich and a coffee at a local bakery and then walked along the boulevard. I greeted the residents who drank their coffee at the seaside.

Street art in Arromanches. ©Corno van den Berg

Winston Churchill Artificial Harbour

As you walk down to the beach, see the remains of the man-made harbours. The Winston Churchill Artificial Harbor was named Port Winston in honour of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It was one of two artificial harbours built during World War II as part of the Allied Operation Overlord in 1944. It served as an important logistical point for Allied forces during the Normandy landings and subsequent fighting.

During the planning of the invasion, it was decided that the Allies needed an efficient method of landing large quantities of troops, vehicles and supplies. Due to the limited port capacity on the Normandy coast and the threat of German defences, it was decided to build artificial harbours. These consisted of various components, including caissons, pontoons and floating roads. They were secretly built in the UK and transported to the Normandy coast.

It consisted of large floating caissons, known as Phoenix caissons, that were used to form a breakwater and provide shelter for ships entering the port. Pontoons were used to create quays and jetties onto which vehicles and supplies could be unloaded. The artificial harbour played a vital role in supplying Allied troops after landing at Gold Beach. It made it possible to land equipment and supplies even in adverse weather conditions. Take a walk on the beach and you will automatically see more remains looming.

At low tide, you can walk around the remains of the unique harbour in the sea. ©Corno van den Berg

Dutch History

Breakwaters were laid around the harbour, these were mainly ships. Also included was an old Dutch cruiser, the Sumatra. The unique harbour is almost gone, only parts of the breakwaters are left. The rough sea has taken on countless parts of history.

Musée du Débarquement

Located in Arromanches-les-Bains, this museum displays the story of the landing at Gold Beach and the construction of the Mulberry Port. It has an impressive collection of artefacts, models and audiovisual presentations.

Address: Place du 6 Juin, 14117 Arromanches-les-Bains

Batterie de Longues-sur-Mer

An intact German anti-aircraft gun at Batterie de Longues-sur-Mer. ©Corno van den Berg

This German coastal battery is located near Gold Beach and consists of four large guns still in their original positions. They are remarkably large and massive. Batterie de Longues-sur-Mer is one of the best-preserved coastal defences of the Atlantic Wall, which once ran from Scandinavia to Portugal. You can see the cannons up close, as well as the bunkers they are in.

Cap Manvieux

The cliffs at Cap Manvieux. ©Corno van den Berg

West of Arromanches there is a road to Cap Manvieux. I think this is where you have the best view (see opening photo) over the cliffs, the sand and the artificial harbor. It is not marked, but you can find it on Google Maps. There is a small parking lot, after which you have to walk about 30 meters for a majestic view.

Eglise Saint-Côme-et-Saint-Damien

This church in the village of Saint-Côme-de-Fresné, near Gold Beach, served as a field hospital during the landings. It has a chapel dedicated to the wounded soldiers and is an important historical site that you can visit.

Bayeux War Cemetery

German soldiers are also buried at Bayeux British Cemetery. ©Corno van den Berg

A total of 4,648 people are buried at Bayeux War Cemetery. This cemetery is mainly dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers who died during the liberation of France in World War II, particularly during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. The cemetery also contains the graves of soldiers from other nationalities, including Poles, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, French and Germans. You can visit this cemetery.

Accommodation near Gold Beach

Most visitors spend the night in Arromanches, although you can also spend the night outside this town. There are several small hotels, holiday homes and apartments that you can book. Be there on time, everything is often fully booked during the holiday periods.

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