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  • Address: Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, France 14280
  • Hours: Tues-Fri: 2pm-6pm

Bayeux ATTRACTIONS See all

Ardenne Abbey Tours

If you're traveling from Caen to Bayeux on your way to WWII sites, you may pass by a fairly new-looking church in the small village of Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe. Its aesthetic might seem old, sure, but its overall look is too new to be the original architecture. And after seeing so many beautiful old churches in France, it would be easy to pass by without giving it a second thought.

But to WWII historians as well as those who are on the search for WWII sites of interest in Normandy, this church – the Ardenne Abbey – is high on the list of places to pay one's respects to the fallen heroes of WWII. It was here that the Germans made their headquarters during the Normandy battles of June 1944, and it's the site of one of the most egregious violations of the Geneva Convention from the war.

In this sanctuary-turned-Nazi-base, 20 Canadian soldiers were executed by the German soldiers who had captured. Now, as horrific as that is on its own, it's understandable if it doesn't seem terribly out of the ordinary; thousands of soldiers lost their lives in the Normandy battles. But the fact that they were either shot or beaten in the backs of their heads is what ultimately resulted in the trial of Brigadeführer Kurt Meyer, commander of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, and the resulting verdict of guilty under the Geneva Convention. 

Because the Ardenne Abbey was soon lost to Allied bombardment, it has since been reconstructed; thus its new-looking exterior. And on the grounds visitors will find a memorial to the executed soldiers, with the solemn vow, “Lest we forget.”

While so many of the WWII museums in Normandy focus on the victories, this humble memorial serves as a haunting reminder that even here, so far from the atrocities to the east, had known its own kind of brutality. Lest we forget.

Tours & Tickets

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Private Tour: Normandy Landing Beaches, Battlefields, Museums and Cemeteries from Caen, Caen, null
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Private Tour: Normandy Landing Beaches, Battlefields, Museums and Cemeteries from Caen

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 19 Reviews

Take a private tour from Caen to Normandy, where you’ll explore sites of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 – more famously known as D-Day. You can ...  Read more

Location: Caen, France
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $112.12
Private Tour: Normandy Landing Beaches, Battlefields, Museums and Cemeteries from Bayeux, Bayeux, ... 
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Private Tour: Normandy Landing Beaches, Battlefields, Museums and Cemeteries from Bayeux

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 56 Reviews

Take a private tour from Bayeux to Normandy, where you’ll relive the events of the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944 – more famously known as D-Day. You can ...  Read more

Location: Bayeux, France
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $102.69
Le Havre Shore Excursion: Private Day Tour of the Juno Beach Center, Canadian Cemetery and Abbey ... 
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Le Havre Shore Excursion: Private Day Tour of the Juno Beach Center, Canadian Cemetery and Abbey d'Ardenne

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

While your ship is in Le Havre, trace the story of the 1944 D-Day landings by Canadian forces on this private full-day shore excursion. Led by your guide, ...  Read more

Location: Le Havre, France
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $132.63
Normandy Battlefields Tour - Canadian World War II Sites, Bayeux, Ports of Call Tours
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Normandy Battlefields Tour - Canadian World War II Sites

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 102 Reviews

Hear the story of World War II from a different perspective on this tour of Normandy’s Canadian war sites. Rather than focusing on the American and British ...  Read more

Location: Bayeux, France
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $83.22

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