The D-Day Festival in Normandy happens every year but this year it’s special, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. There are special D-Day Festival in Normandy events from May 27 to June 18 but the most important dates are from June 1 to 9. Towns, villages, museums, military sites put on exhibitions, events and a whole lot more. It happens all along the coast where the D-Day Landings took place as well as inland.

The Festival runs from the east at Merville-Franceville, to Caen, Audrieu, Montfiquet, along all the beaches then into the Cotentin Peninsula up to Cherbourg and down the west side to Portail-sur-Mer.

From June 1 to 9, Normandy will be packed with visitors attending the exhibitions, concerts, picnics, military vehicle parades, dances, films, special camps, parachute drops and a whole lot more. 

D-Day Festival dance in Carentan with many dressed as soldiers and others in 1940s costume in square with statue and houses behind
1940s Dance © Carentan Tourist Office

What to See and Do

Every Tourist Office in Normandy will have the booklet of all the events. So pick one up, look at the dates you will be there and choose what to see, experience, visit and take part in.

What Caught My Eye for the D-Day Festival in Normandy 2024

Saturday 1 June: Picnics are being organised, as well as concerts and re-enactments.

Arromanches-les-Bains: Huge artwork will be created from 9am on on the beach by Sébastien Yondo Makembe (Sym Arts). Picnics, concerts and ere-enactments.
Vierville-sur-Mer: Omaha Beach Freedom Picnic Concerts. Three concerts give you nearly 6 hours of live music, followed by fireworks at 11.30pm.

Group of women soldiers in WWII uniform performing on stage at Omaha Beach picnic concert
Omaha Beach Picnic Concert © Omaha Tourisme

All Five Landing Beaches: As night falls, over 20 huge firework displays will light up the sky simultaneously over the five Landing Beaches. A fantastic family-friendly and free event.

June 2, 4, 6, 7: Paratrooper demonstrations at the Merville Battery. You’ll see how paratroopers prepared for their D-Day jumps.

Inside the Merville Battery looking at gunners seat and sea beyond
The German view from the Merville Battery © Mary Anne Evans

June 4-9: Sainte-Mère-Église offers 6 days with demonstrations, exhibitions, concerts, jumps, re-enactments, music, dancing and more.

June 5: Saint-Lô: International Ceremony in tribute to the civilian victims.
Sword Beach: Around 200 musicians from 13 different nations will parade along the beach for the international Pipers Parade. 3.30pm to 5pm. Look up into the sky for a flight of vintage British Piper aircraft.

Events on June 6, 2024

The official international ceremony of the D-Day Festival events in Normandy takes place on Thursday 6 June 2024 on Omaha Beach. Heads of state, veterans and officials will commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day (by invitation only). If you’re there, remember that many beaches and roads will be cordoned off with no access to visitors, vehicles etc.

Map of parking restrictions for D-Day Normandy landing anniversary
2024 Normandy D-Day Parking Restrictions

Special events before and after: Franco-American Ceremony in Colleville-sur-Mer, before the official International Ceremony.
Franco-Canadian Ceremony in Courseulles-sur-Mer, after the official International Ceremony.

In Arromanches-les-Bains
World War II military uniforms and vehicles on display 10am-6pm
Somme Battlefield Pipe Band: an association dedicated to promoting the music and history of Scottish soldiers. Their musical repertoire consists mainly of traditional Scottish tunes, with a few Irish, American, Canadian and Australian tunes. 5-6pm
Fireworks at Arromanches-les-Bains 11.30pm

blue sky with clouds and parachutists n air from small planes at D-Day Festival
Parachute landings at La Fiere © OT Baie de Cotentin

Everywhere in the World: Listen at 7.44pm (French time) as Liberty Bell Towers in France and around the world will ring out the message for memory, liberty and peace.

Liberty Bells Poster D-Day June 2024 showing Bells of Freedom with dates and to left, flags and bells
Liberty Bells Poster June 2024

June 7: Two very special events will take place though only to an invited audience and with huge restrictions and security:
Ceremony with American President Joe Biden in Cherbourg
Bayeux Liberation Ceremony with President Macron in Bayeux

Jun 7: Arromanches-les-Bains: As part of British D-Day Week, display of 300 historic D-Day vehicles, opposite the remains of the Winston Churchill artificial Mulberry harbour.
Musical stages: Jazz band, Pipe band, French songs.

D-Day Arromanches les Bains Military Parade of vehicles with one old jeep driving through street
Arromanches les Bains Military Parade of vehicles for D-Day

June 8
Arromanches-les-Bains: The Patrouille de France Air Show takes to the skies above the town from 3pm to 6pm.
Douvres-la-Déliverandes: The 35-strong brass band Le Bagad de Lan-Bihoué will march in front of costumed people on foot and on bicycles, followed by vintage military and civilian vehicles. Evening ball; refreshment bar and food trucks. 4 to 11pm.

D-Day festival Normandy in Douvres with lots of old bicycles from 1940s in square with people
D-Day Festival at Douvres © Mathilde Lelandais

June 8, 9: Isigny-sur-Mer. Isigny Swing festival, a free two-day festival of concerts and swing dancing in the Parc de l’Hôtel de ville.

June 9: La Fière. From 10am watch the large parachute drop with characters in period costume jumping from several C-47s, historic aircraft. Followed by military troop drops. Bring appropriate clothing and a picnic.

Blue sky with lots of parachutists jumping for D-Day Normandy landing commemorations
Parachute jump in the Bay du Contentin © OT Baie du Cotentin

Bayeux Liberty Parade. As part of British D-Day Week, a traditional parade of 300 historic vehicles, including British ones, will drive along the southern ring road (Liberty Alley) of the first liberated town in mainland France. 11pm-12.30pm.
Port-en-Bessin. Display of around 100 historic D-Day vehicles, in the centre of the first oil port of D-Day. Musical stages: Jazz band, Pipe band, French songs. 4-6pm.
Longues-sur-Mer: Display of around 100 historic D-Day vehicles, near the German Coastal Defense Battery.

Longues-sur-Mer Normandy battery looking from headland with grass and cliffs out to sea
Longues-sur-Mer Battery © Mary Anne Evans

More D-Day Festival Events after the Big Ceremonies

Don’t worry if you come after June 9 and the big events; there’s plenty to see and do in Normandy along the D-Day Landing Beaches, lasting until November, 2024. Here’s a very small selection but you will discover a whole lot more from the local tourist offices.

June 11: Caen. Girly Swing Band. Dance to pre-war music (Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, Mistinguett). 8pm to 10pm.

June 27: Caen, Utah Beach and other D-Day landing sites. Grand Choral pour la Paix sees a full orchestra and 250 singers perform music and songs around the theme of peace from Queen, Beethoven, Balavoine, Voulzy, Karl Jenkins and many more, plus an original creation for this project. Le jour où tu reviendras (The Day You Return) recounts the war from the point of view of the mother of a young soldier at the front, who trembles every day as she listens to the radio. 8pm to 10.30pm.

D-Day Normandy Poster for June 27, 2024 concert at Caen
Poster for June 27, 2024 concert at Caen

Reconstructions of Military Camps

D-Day Festival camp geronimo with soldiers in period uniform with ammo and spectators behind rope
Camp Géronimo © C. Cauchard

Jun 2-6: Walk around the military camps specially reconstructed to show what life was like. Tents, vehicles, displays and more at Bloody Gulch, Meutis, Normandy Victory Museum at Carentan-les-Marais, Camp Géronimo at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Arromanches-les-Bains, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Omaha (Vierville-sur-Mer), Merville-Franceville Plage and Camp Hillman at Colleville-Montgomery.

Military Fairs

Military Fair at d-Day Festival Noramndy with man in uniform looking at books in plastic box on table with others on other side
Military Fair © Gold Beach Tourisme

For the real enthusiasts these take place in different places: June 2 at Grandcamp-Maisy and Carentan-les-Marais; Sainte-Mere-Eglise; in the command post in Crisbecq and Jun 7 at Vierville-sur-Mer.

Special Exhibitions of the D-Day Festival in Normandy

Caen:  Apr 15-Aug 23: Calvados, 6 June 1944. D-Day through the eyes of civilians. Exhibition at the Calvados Archives (free admission).

Calvados Normandy D-Day poster for Calvados archives poster showing red words on date and venue and black and white faded photo of bombed ruined Caen
Calvados Archives Exhibition Poster

May 8, 2024-January 5, 2025: Caen Memorial Museum has a major exhibition dedicated to the United States between the wars: The Dawn of the American Century, 1919-1944. The museum will also be showcasing its new space, which has been transformed into a London Underground corridor. There are also exhibits devoted to the Resistance movement in Normandy.

Deauville: May 25-October 31: Robert Capa, Icons shows the photographer’s images shot on the beaches of Normandy, in partnership with Magnum Photos. At the Franciscaines de Deauville in the seaside resort of Deauville which is well worth a visit.

Black and white phot of Robert Capa war photographer sideways on looking into old video camera
Robert Capa, Spanish Civil War 1937 © Gerda Taro/Wikimedia

More on D-Day and Normandy

Major article on the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches

Soldier's helmet on beach at entrance to concrete bunker looking out to sea
D-Day Landing Beach © D. Dumas CRT Normandie

Practical Information

All the events are listed in the D-Day Festival Brochure you can pick up at any tourist office in Normandy. It’s online here.

Events in France in May
Events in France in June

More about Normandy

How to Get to Normandy from the UK
Guide to Normandy
Guide to Courseulles-sur-Mer at the centre of the Landing Beaches

Accommodation & Hotels

Pierre et Vacances Self-Catering Apartment in Courseulles-sur-Mer and Normandy
Hotels and Accommodation near the D-Day Landing Beaches

The guide book D-Day Landing Beaches Guide Book by Mary Anne Evans and Alastair McKenzie published by Bradt Guides in March 2024.

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