Our trip to Normandy:
On one of our trips to Paris we decided to take a train to Normandy. What an amazing place to see. We really didn’t know much about Normandy with the exception of course of “D-Day”. We were pretty much ill-prepared for the impact it left upon us.
The day was beautiful. The sun was shining brightly in the sky. It was a bit cold and windy but given the fact that we were right on the very edge of the English Channel I guess that could be expected. If you stood quietly and closed your eyes you could almost hear the battle that took place so long ago in the winds that swirled around you. Visiting the battle areas left us with a somewhat somber feeling. However, it was a great, once in a lifetime experience that I was thankful for.
Rarely do we ever join tour groups but for this occasion we decided to book a tour. The tour was through Viator Tours and I highly recommend it should you get the opportunity to visit Normandy. Advice: Book ahead! Our tour guide was a pretty French girl that spoke English quite well with a thick French accent. We learned a lot from her. Probably little things that aren’t found in books about Normandy.
La Cambe German war cemetery:
La Cambe German war cemetery is the resting place for over 200 unknown German soldiers and 89 identified ones that are buried together in a mass grave in the center of the cemetery. Currently there are 21,222 German soldiers buried there. Our tour guide had told us that soon after WWII the Germans wanted more land for their soldiers to be buried but the French refused to give up any of their land. Can you blame them?
Something else we learned that day was that when the German military arrived they forced the local French men to build there “pillboxes” and anything else they needed for the upcoming battle. The Germans gave the French all the blueprints to make these but little did the Germans know that the French handed over this vital information to the allies….
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (St. Laurent Cemetery):
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is located on a bluff that has a beautiful position overlooking Omaha Beach. This cemetery consumes 172 acres and contains the remains of 9,387 men. Most of these men were killed during Normandy’s invasion.
The cemetery is managed by our government. France granted us this piece of land free of charge and taxes. I’m going to assume this to be a gesture of “thanks” from the French.
The Battle Grounds:
While exploring around the area we noticed in store fronts that there are still signs that say “We welcome our liberators”. Amazing to see from an event that happened so long ago. Well, I should correct myself and say “World changing event”! We helped restore their faith I presume. Very powerful.
While there in the area we roamed the town of Bayeux. Very pretty but what isn’t in France? Seriously! Everything screamed FRANCE! (Well, I suppose it was because we were in France but you know what I mean…it was like flipping through postcards.)
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the info. I highly recommend visiting here if you ever get the opportunity. It’s a huge slice of history and beauty!
If you have visited here let me know what you liked most….I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. The residents in this town don’t know English too well so before visiting I would either a.) brush up on your French OR b.) get ready to play charades. (Hey, is THAT a French word? Hmmmm)