Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque, Flemish: Duinkerken) is a small city located in the province of Normandy, France. It is located next to the North Sea and has an impressive harbor (3rd biggest of France) but more known for the Battle of Dunkirk during World War 2 in 1940. The city has a lot of impressive sites to visit to give you a look in the past. In this blog we will share with you our take on the places you should visit!
Shipwrecks on the beaches of Bray-Dunes
The beach of Dunkirk has one spectacular and unique sight: when the tide is low you can see carcasses of ships which where bombed during the 1940 battle where British (and French) troops tried to fled France during the German advancements in the country. This happening is known as Operation Dynamo. During this operation, over 338.000 men reached the UK with more than 1.000 ships. Over 200 ships where sunk, and are remnants of the World War. Check the overview of the tides HERE. Are you with the car? We parked in the parking you can see below, which was very close to the shipwrecks.
The Mole was the escape point for a lot of allied soldiers in 1940. If you have seen the movie of Dunkirk, you see the soldiers waiting in a tight line to be picked up by boats coming in from the UK. You can walk this small pathway up to the end of the pier. This point of evacuation has a good view on the beach of Dunkirk and the harbor, and lets you experience how it was for the soldiers back then to wait for their rescue.
Operation Dynamo Museum
If you want to have a good understanding of the history of Dunkirk during World War 2, the Operation Dynamo museum is a good way to start. There are a lot of memorabilia on display, from vehicles, sea mines, guns, military clothes to flak cannons. There is an informal movie (in both French and English) regarding the Operation Dynamo, and there are a lot of informal signs (in Dutch, English and French) explaining the displayed memorabilia and a timeline of what happened during the war.
Dunkirk Memorial at the Dunkirk War Cemetery
The War Cemetery of Dunkirk is also the place where you can find the Dunkirk Memorial. This memorial is dedicated to the 4,500 British soldiers who lost their lives during the war, and who have no known grave.
There is also a graveyard site for the fallen soldiers of World War 1 which is quite impressive. 1,863 soldiers – of whom 88 unknown – are buried here.