Bayeux - Where else would you land?

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
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Trip End May 18, 2013


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Flag of France  , Normandy,
Monday, February 18, 2013

Travelling north, Del suggested we stay in the small town of Bayeux and it was an inspired choice! Bayeux is situated 10 km from the D Day landing beaches of WW11 and was the only town in the area that was not damaged or destroyed during the subsequent fighting.

What we drove into was a lovely town which maintained its beautiful village architecture of small winding streets, full of shops and a number of restaurants and pubs.

The whole focus of the area is tourism for the WW11 landings, ciders and its natural beauty.

As Steve has a strong interest in modern history, it was inevitable that we spent a day driving through the country side visiting such places as Ponte du Hoc. This is where US soldiers climbed the 200 meter cliff face using specially designed grappling hooks while under heavy fire from the defending German troops.

Along the way we drove through small villages some with only a couple houses and barns which dotted the rolling hills. We stopped at Omaha Beach, the site of the main US beach landing, which many will remember from the opening scenes of the movie Saving Private Ryan. Steve walked to the water's edge which was at the height of the outgoing tide and when looking back to shore marvelled at how people could get out of barges and boats, under withering fire and try and make their way across open ground some 400 meters away. The golden sandy beaches stretch for some 4 km and then rise up into the surrounding hills.

There were five landing beaches - Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. All the way along the strip there are a multitude of Museums and sites set up to remember the 6th June 1944.

We visited the US Cemetery and Memorial situated just outside Omaha Beach. This is a beautiful place which sits high on a cliff overlooking the beach. When you enter you go through a memorial with pictures and films showing various stories of people who lost their lives during the campaigns and they are extremely moving. Once outside and walking the pathways you look down at the rows and rows of white grave stones and realize how destructive the war in Europe was.

Bayeux is also home to the Bayeux Tapestry. The 70 meter tapestry depicts the Norman conquest of England in 1066 which ended with William the Conqueror as the King of England. This brilliant tapestry documents the lead up to the events and the consequential results and hangs on walls which allow you to walk around while listening to the supplied audio guide.

Bayeux was a fantastic place to base ourselves in this part of the world. Apart from the history in the area, the meals and friendly hospitality we had at the restaurants, the beauty of the rolling hills and the picturesque small villages, make it everything you expect of France.
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Comments

Kerrie Lane. on

We agree! Bayeux is high on our favourite city list. Great food, history and scenery. I have very fond memories of the garlic snails I ate there in 2011.

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