Fresh from the Rendez-vous en France Travel Market (the 9th edition was held in Clermont-Ferrand), Luxury Travel Advisor has the scoop on the country’s biggest travel news of the year. Chief among these is the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy. There is an impressive program of events through the year, but the annual festival—held from June 5 to August 21, 2014—will be distinguished by the June 6 ceremony with President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth, French President François Hollande and other Allied Heads of State. Visitors can attend the Giant Picnic on Omaha Beach on June 7, and enjoy an impressive fireworks display which will take place in 24 sites over the Landing Beachs from June 1- June 9. For the full calendar of events, including parachute drops and open-air concerts, visit www.the70th-normandy.com
The important D-Day commemoration is not the only big event in Normandy this year. Starting August 23, the region will host the World Equestrian Games for two weeks of competitions in the eight official Federation Equestre Internationale disciplines (like jumping and dressage). Horse lovers from all over the world will take part in the festivities until its finale on September 7. The World Equestrian Games is held every four years, alternating with the Olympic Games, and this is the first time it will be held in France. For more information, visit www.normandy2014.com
For art lovers, don’t miss an exhibit called “Impressionism and the Americans” at the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny (until June 29). Normandy was the birthplace of Impressionism, and many expat American artists (like Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent and James Whistler) were likewise inspired in this new style of painting.
Notably, AMA Waterways—the popular river cruise company—will host a new “Art Illumination Cruise” on the Seine for the first time this August. Cruising through Normandy, guests will be to see the landscapes that inspired the Impressionists, and then try their hand at painting with a complimentary workshop on the sundeck of the ship. AMA Waterways is also hosting special D-Day anniversary activities for their Paris & Normandy cruise. For more information, visit www.amawaterways.com
Photo of Port Arromanches by Lesley Williamson via Atout France; photo of horse by fifranck/Fotolia via Atout France; photo of a state room on an Amadagio ship via AMA Waterways