Are you planning to explore the D-Day landing beaches, and Gold Beach in particular? Take the opportunity to visit the Arromanches 360 cinema. It overlooks Gold Beach, where some 25,000 British soldiers landed on June 6, 1944. You’ll also see the remains of the artificial port Winston, built by the Allies. Cinéma Circulaire offers films on the Battle of Normandy, based on archival footage. An immersive experience full of emotion that will plunge you into the heart of history.
In this article, we give you all our advice in pictures to help you prepare for your visit.
This review is completely independent, we visited anonymously and paid our admission in full.
Why visit the Gold Beach circular cinema?
Is Cinéma 360° worth a visit?
Absolutely! We recommend you take this tour before or after Gold Beach. The projection provides a better understanding of the Battle of Normandy and the relics still present on the beach. After your emotionally-charged viewing, you’ll never see the panoramic views from the cinema’s roof terrace in the same way again, whether they’re of the Normandy countryside or the D-Day landing beaches.
Why is Circular Cinema famous?
The Circular Cinema is famous for many reasons. Firstly, it is managed by the Mémorial de Caen and has been designed as an extension of this visit. We strongly recommend a visit to the Memorial before touring the D-Day beaches. To find out more, read our article dedicated to this major memorial site! Secondly, it offers an exceptional overview of Gold Beach and its remains. Finally, its immersive dimension sets it apart from other, more traditional, D-Day sites. In fact, we’ve listed it among the best D-Day museums.
What we liked best
Although this site is small and quick to visit, we’re sharing 3 favorites with you:
- Stock footage: the films shown in this cinema are made up of British, Canadian, German, American and French stock footage. We feel privileged to see them, and above all very moved.
- The view of Port Winston: as the cinema is on the heights of Arromanches, the view of the old artificial port is exceptional, especially at low tide. The cartels show the scope of the Mulburry project led by Winston Churchill.
- Sculptures: you won’t want to miss the contemporary sculptures next to the cinema. Made of steel, they blend into the pebbled ground and pay fitting tribute to fallen soldiers.
Practical tips and map: Arromanches 360 cinema, France.
Where is the cinema?
Cinéma 360° d’Arromanches is located rue du Calvaire in Arromanches-les-Bains (14117), in the Calvados department of Normandy.
- Driving time from Paris: 3h15min.
- Driving time from Caen: 40min.
- Driving time from Bayeux: 20min.
How to get there
We recommend driving to Arromanche, the easiest way to visit the town and Gold Beach, as well as the other D-Day sites.
Alternatively, you can get there by train. From Paris, it takes 3h15 to reach Arromanches-les-Bains. You’ll need to take a TER train to Bayeux and Caen from Paris Saint-Lazare station.
Once in Bayeux, you can take bus 121 towards Courseulles-sur-Mer and get off at the “Arromanches-les-Bains: Avenue de Verdun” stop. For more information, visit the official website of the Normandy region transport network here.
OUR ADVICE FOR RENTING A CAR IN Normandy
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is comfortable enough (distances can be long) but compact (some parking lots and villages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
Ample paid parking is available. It comprises several areas, one for cars, one for buses and one for motorhomes. Bicycle parking is also available nearby. If you prefer, you can park in town and walk up.
Schedules and rates
The cinema is open:
- April 8 to August 31: daily, 10 am to 6 pm.
- September 1 to 30: daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- October 1 to April 7: 10am to 5pm, with weekly closing on Mondays in November and December.
An annual closure takes place from January 1 to 23. On December 24 and 31, the cinema closes early at 4.30pm.
Prices are as follows:
- Full price: €7
- Reduced rate: 6€ (students, children aged 10 to 18…)
- Free admission for welfare recipients, children under 10…
Discounts are available on tickets combined with other D-Day sites (Mémorial de Caen, Mémorial de Falaisen Cité de la Mer de Cherbourg).
For the latest rates and timetables, and a complete list of free and reduced-rate beneficiaries, visit the official website here.
How long does it take to visit the cinema and what are the main difficulties?
The film lasts 20 minutes. Allow 1 hour for viewing and a full tour of the site. The entrance to the cinema has an access ramp. The site is accessible to people with reduced mobility, except for the climb to the roof terrace to access the orientation table, which is via a staircase only. Viewing can be difficult for the elderly, as the projection room has no seats.
Best time to visit the cinema
If you’d like to visit us in a quiet location, we advise you to take advantage of periods outside school vacations if you can. Like the Caen Memorial, the Arromanches cinema is the subject of numerous school outings. If possible, we recommend that you go on weekdays, and avoid the busy period between 2pm and 4pm.
Advice on how to visit
We recommend you start your visit inside the cinema, where you can read panels explaining the historical background to the film’s subject. In this way, we were able to take a closer look at the chronology of the Battle of Normandy. We recommend you then watch the film, head to the rooftop terrace, and finally take a stroll up the hill to enjoy the panoramic views.
Cinema with children
The Cinéma does not offer mediation or films specifically for children. The tour is accessible, but we recommend that you bring children aged 10 and over. The 360° projection plunges viewers right into the heart of the war, which is why we don’t recommend it for hypersensitive people either.
The cinema has no snack bars or restaurants. However, there is a picnic table next to the bike park. Alternatively, we recommend a meal at Arromanches-les-Bains. Here’s our selection of restaurants:
- La Petite Plage: gourmet home-cooked food made with fresh produce, just 2 steps from Gold Beach, so don’t hesitate!
- Fish & Co: as the name suggests, this restaurant specializes in fried food. There’s fish & chips, of course, but also calamari, fried chicken and bowls.
If you prefer to eat out in Bayeux, check out our article on its best restaurants!
STAYING NEAR THE D-Day beaches
Option 3: next to one of the beaches
If you’re looking for a seaside holiday or are fascinated by one of the beaches, you can choose a more specific hotel:
The immersive experience
The visit begins as soon as you enter, with explanatory panels and a presentation on the film being shown. In our case, we were able to follow the chronology of the Battle of Normandy, from the American capture of Cherbourg on June 26, 1944, to the Allied bombardment of Le Havre on September 3, 1944. This episode put an end to the battle, which led to the deaths of 92,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilians.
We appreciated the presence of authentic objects. One area featured a photo of British soldiers who left in July to liberate Caen. At the feet of the photo, their equipment was on display.
The film: The Battle of Normandy
We then entered the cinema. We were surprised to find that it doesn’t have seats like a conventional cinema, but horizontal bars on which you can stand or lean. This approach undoubtedly allows visitors to be right at the heart of the action, with their eyes on the nine 360° screens.
Seeing these archive images moved us. We were truly immersed in the era, alongside soldiers and civilians. The video archives of the D-Day landings and the bombardment of Le Havre, our home town, made a particularly strong impression on us. Hearing the voices of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle in succession, recorded in 1940, further enhanced the immersive experience. Being surrounded by 360° screens really enriched our viewing and aroused our emotions. If, like us, you want to immerse yourself in history, book your visit!
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Discover Gold Beach and Winston artificial harbour
After the screening, we explored the rest of the site and its remains. We first headed for the statue of the Virgin Mary, adjacent to a dead monument, and part of a bridge that was used as a floating way for the Allied artificial harbor at Arromanches, called Port Winston. After the war, the port’s floating lanes were used in towns whose bridges had been destroyed during the war. It was installed in the town of Revins, in the Ardennes, before being exhibited here. We found it impressive!
We then took time to admire the metal sculpture of the soldiers landing on Gold Beach. We found that the characters’ movements conveyed a great deal of emotion.
A few minutes later, we discovered the cartels in front of the Gold Beach viewpoint. They made it easier for us to imagine the scale of the artificial harbor at Arromanches.
MORE ABOUT THE D-Day sites
- The best landing sites to visit
- Visit the 5 D-Day landing beaches
- Where to stay – best hotels near the beach
- The best D-Day museums in Normandy
- German batteries to visit
- Car rental tips: Caen – Roissy-CDG – Orly – Beauvais
- Visit Omaha Beach
- Visit Utah Beach
- Visit Gold Beach
- Visit Sword Beach
- Visit Juno Beach (coming soon)
Orientation table on the roof terrace
To round off our visit, we climbed up to the roof terrace of the circular cinema. We discovered an orientation table, which helped us imagine our surroundings at the time of the D-Day landings.
In addition to the view of Gold Beach and the harbor we had already contemplated below, we were able to enjoy the panoramic view of Juno Beach, where Canadian troops landed on June 6, 1944. In the distance, the sign points to Sword Beach, where British and French troops landed together. Among them was the last French veteran of the D-Day landings, Léon Gautier, a marine rifleman with the Kieffer commando, who died on July 3, 2023.
Finally, we turned our attention to the parking lot and the countryside. It was in this area that British paratroopers from the 6th Airborne Division landed on the night of June 6, 1944. Other major D-Day sites are indicated, such as Pegasus Bridge, taken by the British on June 5, and the Merville Battery, seized by 150 British paratroopers. This latest assault is part of the D-day exploits. To find out more about the D-Day landing sites, read our dedicated article!
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Normandy
All our tips in this article were put into words with the help of Fanny.