'Disney D-Day Land' row over plan to open tourist attraction

Plans to create a permanent tourist attraction recounting the Normandy Landings in France have sparked warnings against turning the bloody Allied invasion into a “Disney-style”, commercial “D-Day Land”.

The idea was first mooted by Herve Morin, head of the Normandy regional council, who wanted to create a permanent site to mark the landings of June 6, 1944 in time for the 80th anniversary in 2024.

Around five million people visit Normandy every year on “remembrance” tours, often seeking details of relatives who fought in the biggest amphibious operation in military history which proved decisive in the liberation of France and defeat of Nazi Germany.

Mr Morin says private investment will stump up the €100m for the “grandiose” project, which he said would harness “the latest technology” to create light shows and film projection created by a “famous Anglo-Saxon film director”.

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There are rumours Steven Spielberg has been approached to work on the attraction which Mr Morin hopes could be placed somewhere between Caen and the landing beaches.

Patrick Jardin, mayor of Arromanches-les-Bains, site of Gold beach where British troops landed, said: “Anything that brings to the fore the landing beaches in the coming years is a good point.”

But Olivier Paz, mayor of Merville-Franceville, said the project must not be “allowed to become Disneyland”. And more than 1,000 people have signed a petition, launched by an association called “the national group of 1939-45 research”, warning against the creation of “D-Day Land”.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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