normandy: the caen peace memorial & the d-day landing sites

Saturday, July 1, 2006: We have a wonderful breakfast at Le Manoir served by Sue Roberts and her sister Lizzy: granola with hazelnuts, yogurt with berries, fruit salad with sugared lime, boiled egg, croissants with lemon curd.  We chat with a nice Australian family from Sydney; the boys enjoy their 16-year-old son.  The couple tells us their favorite site in Normandy is the 360 degree film at Arromanches.

Today we explore the Normandy D-Day landing beaches.  We head to the Caen Peace Memorial then some of the D-Day landing sites: Arromanches-les-Bains, The Batterie de Longues, and Omaha Beach.

The film about the invasion is excellent, bringing tears to my eyes.  The museum traces the growth of fascism in Germany.  Fifty million people died in World War II, 27 million of them Russians.

The 360 degree film at Arromanches, which the Aussie family recommended, is fabulous!  The filmmakers juxtaposed current tranquil scenes of the Normandy countryside and villages with actual violent war footage.  It brings home the fact that much death and destruction once occurred in this peaceful land.

After the film, we eat sandwiches and glaces in Arromanches.

The town of Arromanches-les-Bains lies along the stretch of coastline designated as Gold Beach during the D-Day Landings on 6 June 1944; it was one of the beaches used by British troops in the Allied invasion. Arromanches was selected as one of the sites for two Mulberry Harbours built on the Normandy coast, the other one was built further west at Omaha Beach.

Today Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and War Cemeteries, there is also a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and in particular, the Mulberry harbours (Wikipedia: Arromanches-les-Bains).

At Mulberry harbour was a portable temporary harbor developed by the British in World War II to facilitate rapid offloading of cargo onto the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy (Wikipedia: Mulberry Harbour).

Alex and the Caen Peace Memorial
Alex and the Caen Peace Memorial
Normandy battlefields
Normandy battlefields
Normandy landing beaches
Normandy landing beaches
me in Normandy
me in Normandy
Caen Memorial
Caen Memorial
Caen Memorial
Caen Memorial

At Pointe du Hoc, the boys have a good time running in and out of bomb craters and old German bunkers. The boys chalk some graffiti on the walls of a bunker.  The weather is gorgeous, cool and quite breezy.

Bunker
Bunker
The boys make their marks on the German bunkers
The boys make their marks on the German bunkers
Adam... hmmm.
Adam… hmmm.
bunker
bunker
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Adam
Adam
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Normandy beaches
Adam
Adam
Normandy coast
Normandy coast
Normandy
Normandy
Normandy coast
Normandy coast
me and Normandy beaches
me and Normandy beaches
Adam in a bunker
Adam in a bunker
Normandy
Normandy
Normandy
Normandy
Alex: Appropriate T-shirt??
Alex: Appropriate T-shirt??
Normandy coast
Normandy coast

We come across a wedding taking place on the battlefield.

a wedding takes place on the battlefield
a wedding takes place on the battlefield
Mike
Mike
Adam in Normandy
Adam in Normandy
Normandy coast
Normandy coast
Normandy coast
Normandy coast

We then head to Bayeux where we encounter a Medieval festival with Middle Age reenactors.

Street performers in Caen
Street performers in Caen
more street performers
more street performers

Mike and I eat pasta and Alex eats pizza at Le Florentin, which is quite warm and close, despite the cool breeze blowing through the streets.  We get some small glaces in Bayeux too.

We then head back to the Manoir.  Mike and I sit in the main house setting room for a while to read.  The couches are huge and fluffy; we sink right into them.  I’m reading Bee Season by Myla Goldberg, which I’m enjoying.

 

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