What to expect for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in France

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
What to expect for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in France
This photograph taken on April 15, 2024, shows a D-Day' velcro badge reading "D-Day 80, 1944-2024" to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in a D-Day shop in Courseulles-sur-mer, Northwestern France. (Photo by Lou BENOIST / AFP)

From international ceremonies to re-enactments and art exhibits plus parades, there are several things in store for the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France.


There are several events planned to recognise the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, with the majority taking place at or near the historic sites in Normandy, northern France.

The D-Day landings, sometimes referred to as the Normandy landings, were a series of air and sea operations as part of the Allied invasion of France during World War II. In France they are referred to as Jour-J, le Débarquement or la Bataille de Normandie

The landings began on June 6th, 1944 under the codename 'Operation Overlord', among the largest seaborne invasions in history, and they helped to begin the liberation of France from occupation under Nazi Germany, eventually laying the foundations for Allied victory in Europe.

Thousands of Allied troops died, as well as between 4,000 to 9,000 German soldiers during the D-Day invasion alone and an estimated 20,000 French civilians were killed in the ensuing bombardments of villages and towns.

The 'D-Day Festival Normandy' will involve the bulk of the remembrance events, including the official ceremony, and it will take place from June 1st-16th. It will kick off on June 1st with a firework display. 

You can download the full itinerary HERE. English translations can be found under the original French. There is also more information available on the website, with an interactive map HERE.

Outside of north-western France, over 300 movie theatres across France will screen the WWII film 'Saving Private Ryan' again on June 6th, according to the studio Paramount. The cinemas in the Paris region will be particularly involved, with over 50 of them participating in the re-screening.

Here are some of the main events planned in Normandy;

The official international ceremony - June 6th

This will take place on the date of the anniversary at Omaha Beach and will involve various heads of state, veterans and other French officials. 

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to be present, as will Britain's King Charles and US president Joe Biden.


Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the French presidency confirmed that Russia had not been invited. However, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will be in attendance.

It will likely resemble the previous large anniversary commemoration, which took place in 2014 and saw 17 heads of state in attendance for a ceremony at Sword beach.

Expect road closures in the area. Keep track of them using this map.

For security purposes, France will mobilise 43,000 police officers, gendarmes, firefighters and military personnel during the week of commemorations.


Air show

The Patrouille de France aerial display team will fly over Omaha Beach on June 6th - the day of the international ceremony.

Country-specific ceremonies

There are also going to be smaller individual ceremonies commemorating British soldiers at Gold Beach in Ver-sur-Mer, Americans at Colleville-sur-Mer, near the American cemetery and Omaha beach, before the official ceremony on June 6th. and Canadians at Courseulles-sur-Mer, after the official International Ceremony.

There will also be a ceremony at Juno Beach on June 6th, remembering the Canadian and British servicemen and women. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and the UK's Prince William will be in attendance.

These ceremonies may require advanced registration.

Museums, culture and art

Several museums, including the Utah Beach Museum, the Overlord Museum, and the Normandy Victory Museum will have special exhibits.

A few examples are the 'Standing with Giants' exhibit at the British Normandy Memorial, which features over 1,475 silhouettes, made from recycled materials, meant to represent the British soldiers who lost their lives.

There is also a photo exhibit on the role of Native Americans during WWII, which runs from May 8th to September 29th at Route de Grandcamp in Vierville-sur-Mer.



There will be several small-scale military vehicle parades, as well as some larger ones.

The 'liberation of Sword beach' parade will involve more than 100 military vehicles and people dressed in period attire. It will take place on the streets of Colleville-Montgomery and Ouistreham Riva-Bella, with live music from the 'D-Day Ladies'. It will take place on June 8th.

There is also the Bayeux Liberty Parade (June 9th), which will involve more than 300 historic vehicles to recognise the first city to have been liberated in France. The event will open with a pipe band, and there may be an air show involved too (though this is subject to change).  

READ MORE: Oldest allies: The best and worst moments of the French-American relationship

Re-enactments and reconstructions of military camps

Camp US - An American re-enactment camp with around thirty vehicles and around forty participants in uniform. There will also be a free exhibit of old photos (June 2nd-4th), the screening of a WWII themed film on June 6th, food trucks and free parking nearby. Free to visit from June 1st-8th.

Camp Nan White - A Canadian re-enactment camp at Bernières-sur-Mer. You can discover Canadian military vehicles, radios, field kitchens and more. Plus, there will be a free concert. Free to visit from June 1st-9th.

Camp Geronimo - An American re-enactment camp at Sainte-Mère-Église. There will be several period vehicles, including tanks, as well as an exhibit on women in the US military, and a parade. Free to visit from June 1st-9th.

Parachute drops

Civilians, soldiers, veterans and re-enactment groups will take part in multiple commemorative parachute drops. There will be one on June 2nd at Carentan-les-Marais, another on June 5th at Azeville, and one at La Fière in Sainte-Mère-Église on June 9th.

Concerts and balls

Sword Beach Swing Festival - From June 7th-9th, music from the 20s to 40s, swing dancing, and more. Taking place at the Salle Trianon in Lion-sur-Mer from 7.30-8.00 pm on June 7 and 8, and from 2pm onward on June 9th. Free and open to all.

Somme Battlefield Pipe Band - Listen to traditional Scottish tunes, with some Irish, American, Canadian and Australian music mixed in. Located at Arromanches-les-Bains, starting at 5pm on June 6th.

Up the Johns Liberty Band - Enjoy an evening of fun with period costumes, live music, food and dancing, alongside members of the Canadian regiment that liberated the commune of Thue et Mue 80 years ago. Taking place at the Gymnase Victor Lorier at Rue de la Pérelle from 7.30pm onward on June 8th.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the D-Day commemorative events. You can find the full programme HERE.



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