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In Normandy, Carentan-Les-Marais could host a memorial project in tribute to the heroes of the Second World War

In Normandy, Carentan-Les-Marais could host a memorial project in tribute to the heroes of the Second World War

The playful scenographic park "Tribute to the Heroes" is an immersive experience that plans to trace the history of the D-Day landings of June 1944, from its genesis to the liberation of Paris.

The site of the park of 32 hectares (79 acres) is located in the town of Carentan-Les-Marais (English translation), at the crossroads of the Manche and Calvados French departments. A location near the landing beaches and Sainte-Mère-Eglise as well as the interchange of the national 13. This project for a tourist site with a historical and memorial purpose should be a windfall for the region, which could benefit from an influx of 600,000 visitors and thereby create 350 to 400 jobs.

An opening planned for 2025

Originally planned to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2024, the site should finally open in 2025. The developers will apply for the building permit in the fall of 2022 with an authorization hoped for in 2023. Numerous environmental studies will be granted in parallel.

An XXL project

The investment is large: about one hundred million euros! The co-producers Roberto Ciurleo and Stéphane Gâteau promise "the most fascinating travelling ever made in the world." The show designed and directed by Serge Denoncourt is based on an unprecedented immersion of 45 minutes. The grandstand with a thousand seats will advance for more than 400 meters (437 yd) at a rate of 60 centimeters (2 ft) per second. Screens and sets will follow one another to make the spectators relive the story of June 6, 1944 between archival images, new scenic technologies and living paintings.

The controversy

The park is attracting criticism. Among the concerns, the impact on the environment and agricultural land is major. Although studies are still underway, the collectives are concerned about the consumption of agricultural space and its impact on biodiversity. Detractors also denounce the carnival side of a DDay Land which would reduce a major historical event, otherwise very well illustrated in the region, to an amusement park with a mercantile vocation.

"We are serious, respectful, precise people. And on the landscape approach, our work is rigorous and virtuous" retorts Richard Lenormand, general director of the project. To clarify matters and break the silence, the promoters recently communicated by revealing details of their project in a video trailer.

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Related reading:

The great war reporter Patrick Chauvel sets up his archives at the Caen Memorial

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