View Full Version : OT: Visiting UK/France... places to see?

08-02-2006, 03:18 AM
Hi all,

Long time lurker but infrequent poster. I've been playing IL2 offline since 2002ish and have the upgrades to PF ... but havent had a game in ONE YEAR (gritting teeth)!!!! due to study and family commitments.

BUT ... I've finally finished my study and am visiting the UK and France from mid August till mid September. Gunna be hanging around Kent/Sussex then off to Normandy and Paris.

So, has anybody got any special places that you know of that I should visit ? ... especially round Normandy and Paris .. (I've been to the UK before)...any suggestions would be much appreciated.

(please don't mention the 60th Anniversary of the Spitfire at Duxford on the 3rd ... (sniff) ... wedding in Paris then (not mine!))

Cheers from NZ


08-02-2006, 11:47 AM
Hope you have a good time over here in the U.K.
If you haven't already seen it, stonehenge in Wiltshire is pretty good. Duxford's good on any day too if you haven't been before. St Pauls cathederal is interesting and Canterbury Cathedral is close by too. If I think of anything really good, I'll get back to you. Shame you're not staying further north, the Yorkshire moors and peak district are really beautiful. Anyway, welcome to England and enjoy. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

08-02-2006, 08:38 PM
Normandy is a must. Visit the little museum in Arromanches and look at the remains of the British Mulberry harbor just offshore.

There is a nice armor museum at Bovington in the UK if you like tanks. The Imperial War Museum in London is excellent too.

Tons of stuff to see in both countries. No chance you'll be bored.

08-04-2006, 05:18 AM
Well done Zeus-cat, I can't believe I forgot I.W.M and Bovington, they're both excellent although I haven't been to Bovington for many years (not since I was about ten years old!)
The London eye is worth checking out by the way.

08-04-2006, 08:54 AM
As Zeus says, the Imperial War Museum is worth a visit. I'd recommend a trip to the RAF Museum at Hendon, North London. Only slight downside is that the lighting in the main hangar is awful which makes photography a pain. It's 1 of my fav museums plus it's free to enter as is the Imperial War Museum. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

08-05-2006, 10:46 PM
If you do make it over to France, I'd say, if you can wrangle it, a trip to Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword, or Gold might be in order.

08-06-2006, 02:11 AM
If you're also interested in the Great War, a visit to Verdun is a must when you're in France.

08-08-2006, 05:17 AM
The UK side has been reasonably covered here.

Concerning Paris/Normandy there is:

Aerospace museum at le Bourget - has a good section of WW1 planes and small collection of WW2 - but has a real I153.

La Ferté Ales (south of Paris) Medium size collection but all flyable and flying most days - Three flyable Fokker triplanes - where else will you find that.

Normandie Niemen museum at Les Andeles (half way between Paris and Rouen). Small museum about the French squadron that fought on the Eastern front. Make sure you have someone that reads french with you - no English sub-titles.
On the way there stop at la Roche Guyon which was Rommel's HQ and while you are at it visit Monet's Garden at Giverney - not very warlike but you can't be completely immune to art.

Verdun's a long way from Paris - rent or borrow a car and visit the Somme Battlefields start from Amiens + Vimy Ridge near Arras - everyone should do that to start to comprehend the scale of the western front. Read Lyn McDonald's book about the Somme in advance.

Don't miss the Bayeaux Tapestry while in Normandy and make the trip to Le Mont Saint Michel - quite remarkable stuff to see.

If stuck with a question or problem while in France post me up a question on the GIAP website (click on my badge or google 69.GIAP). I've been living between Paris and Normandy for 15 years so know the patch quite well.

08-09-2006, 06:57 PM
Thanks everyone ... some fantastic ideas there ... I'm definately dragging my better half around the Normandy beaches ... and le Bouyrget and Le Ferte Ales I've heard about on the airshow circut.

I stayed in the UK for two years back in 1996-98 and had a good look around the south and London ... Hendon is probably on the books again but I agree with the lighting problem. I think they call it ambience?

I like the idea of la Roche Guyon and Monet's Garden ... I have a few Monet prints of water lillies etc so not immune to art at all.

Cheers for the offer STENKA_69.GIAP ... got any hidden treasures around the Normandy beaches .. all the main sites seem to be covered by surely there are some spectacular fortifications/sites off the main track ?

Thanks again everyone ... we'll be in ole'blighty in 10 sleeps. (my 2.5 yr old daughter is really excited about going on a plane ... where she gets that from I could'nt tell ... ;-) )

Cheers Esq.

08-10-2006, 05:40 AM
I hope you don't have to "drag" your better half around the Normandy beaches. It is a very moving experience to go to the cemetry there and see alomst 10,000 white crosses. Then you can walk down to the beach. I don't see how anyone couldn't grasp the sense of sacrifice, duty and honor of such a place.

Walk around the cemetry and read the crosses. It is chilling to see so many that say June 6th. Also, a lot of them have no name, they just say "Known but to God".

There is a German cemetery about 20 miles away (I think???). I can look it up if you want. It is a completely different experience that the American cemetery. Worth the visit if you have time.

Pont du Hoc is a great visit too. All this stuff is free if I recall correctly.

There is a destroyed village in France, Oradour - Sur - Glane, that is a great visit too. This isn't free, but well worth your time and money. The SS rounded up and executed the entire village of 600+ people shortly after D-Day as retribution. Only six people escaped. They then burned the village to hide their actions. After the war, France decided to leave the village as is and make it a memorial. All the wood in the buldings is gone, only the shells remain. Very eerie. Walk through the cemetry and you will see entire families buried together, all dying on the same day. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, children and even infants, all dying on June 10th (I think???). Moving, disgusting, many emotions at once when you see this. There is also a lot of politics here as the relatives of those executed got very upset with France when they pardoned and released from prison a number of the SS officers after the war. They did this to bring healing between France and Germany. There are too many details to list here, but it is an interesting story. I'll post some photos in a day or two.

08-10-2006, 07:38 PM
Some of the photos from my trip to France back in 1999.

The American cemetery at Normandy. There are almost 10,000 graves here. You could be buried here if you were an American killed in the European theater.


The town of Arromanches. The remains of the British Mulberry harbor can be seen in the background.


Another photo of the Mulberry. Taken from the beach when the tide went out.


08-10-2006, 07:41 PM
One of the pillboxes on Pont du Hoc.


A machine gun pillbox. You can walk around inside these fortifications.


08-10-2006, 07:51 PM
Some photos from Oradour. See my previous post in this thread for an explanation of what happened here on June 10th, 1944.


You don't need to speak French to understand what this grave marker says... Look at their ages and remember that they all died on June 10th.


This photo requires a little explaining. The plaque commemorates the soldiers who fought (and died?) in World War I. The bullet holes are from the German machine guns when the SS slaughtered the women and children after they herded them into the church at Oradour in 1944. Only one woman from the village survived the massacre. She crawled out the window behind the altar and escaped the machine gun bullets and grenades the SS used to kill everyone else in the church.

My only regret about this photo is that I somehow screwed it up when I took it. It is just so ironic that a plaque hung to honor the dead from a horrible war is shattered by the bullets of another war during a massacre of innocent civilians.


08-10-2006, 09:54 PM
Sobering stuff. Thanks for sharing

-HH- Beebop
08-10-2006, 10:41 PM
wow. Very moving pictures. The beauty and the horror.

I need to visit Europe.

08-10-2006, 11:36 PM
Thanks for the pics Zeus-cat. Very sobering indeed.

As for "draggin" my better half around ... she will be interested for a while, she enjoys the historical side, ... and her aircraft identification is getting better than it was ... but ... after probably the third or fourth beach or aeroplane museaum you can imagine that the novelty has worn off (for her!).

I had heard about Oradour-Sur-Glane some time ago but I thought that leaving the town the way it was, was just a rumour. Now I know better. Bit too far south for a visit this time round I'm afraid.



08-11-2006, 12:57 AM
For crying out loud get to the Imperial War Museum in London, and Hendon RAF Museum if you can. I could have spent all day at both but only got a few hours at each.

Don't miss the BoB hall at Hendon. Bf109 that was shot down in the BoB, Defiant, Cr42, Bf110g, Ju88R...sorry I'm rambling.

08-14-2006, 11:19 PM
Thanks for the loud crying Jolly_magpie, I've been to both about 10 years ago ... Hendon will be a probable if time allows !!!!

Planning on a bit of a tiki-tour around the Dover Coast/Surrey area to check out some of the smaller museaums and old airfields ... heres hoping anyway.

Cheers Esq.