Nice to get to know you, Normandy
Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
15Trip End Aug 15, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Saint Marie du Mont
Port Winston Artificial Harbor
After that spectacular experience, we headed to Saint-Marie du Mont, a small village about 5km away from Utah Beach. This village was the site of a bloody battle between American paratroopers and German soldiers. Eric, our guide from the museum, recommended visiting the small church on the town square. A gun battle erupted in the church during the war, and several slugs are still stuck in the stone walls, and a confessional is riddled with bullet holes. Intense, to say the least. Our day rounded out with visits to Pointe du Hoc, where Army Rangers scaled cliffs to reach German bunkers atop-you can actually wander through the 'pillboxes' built into the hill, and survey the damage from bombs that rained down around the bunkers. Our last stop was Port Winston Artificial Harbor in Arromanches, which was built from American ships to the shore to transport equipment, soldiers, and supplies. Standing on the beach with children laughing and playing everywhere, you can still see huge chunks of metal jutting out from the water where temporary bridges were, as well as an old machine gun stand.
The day was exhilarating and exhausting, and we drove into the quaint port town of Honfleur to check in to our b&b
Today, we lounged around for a bit, had a fabulous breakfast (vanilla yogurt in the cutest small glass jars is my new fave), and then hit the road again, today for Bayeux. Bayeux was the first village to be liberated by the American troops, and is virtually untouched by WWII damage. A museum there houses the famous 'Bayeux Tapestry' from the 11th century, which is a 50 meters long 'cartoon' telling of how William the Conqueror (originally Duke of Normandy) came to be King of England. The detail in storytelling on this piece of fabric is amazing. Unfortunately, no pictures allowed. Google it.
Bayeux also has a fantastic Notre Dame Cathedral that is, in my opinion, more grand than the one in Paris. Sorry, Quasimodo. :) We wandered around the inside and outside for a good long time, admiring the combination of Norman, Gothic, and Baroque architecture that comprise this building. Apparently it's had a lot of work done after several disasters: fires, towers collapsing. The usual.
And now we're back at the b&b, just unwinding. I'm not feeling too hot today (cold coming on or something?) so I think it'll be a quiet night. Enjoy the latest pictures! Tomorrow, we are heading out to do some ciderie and fromagerie tours. Jealous? ;)
***As a side note, I noticed as I was uploading pictures today that I take A LOT of pictures of stained glass windows. For those of you who are like, "Geez, enough with the stained glass already!", I hear you. But I probably can't/won't stop. It's a real problem. Seriously.