France Adventure, Part 3 – By Jodi

9-18-08

This is our free day. We take our time getting ready and eating breakfast round the large table with 3 other French couples, not understanding a word they said, but fun anyway.

Longes Sur Mer German Battery gun

Longes Sur Mer German Battery

We head out to the town of Longes Sur Mer to visit the German battery high above the beaches on the cliffs. The four concrete gun buildings were set in a semi circle for the maximum shooting range. This is the only German battery with the guns still intact, one bombed to bits on the ground. Ahead of the 4 guns was a concrete lookout at the edge of the cliff to give the gunners instructions where to fire along Utah and Omaha beaches.

After roaming the battery, we drive over to Arromanches, a small village atop the beach cliff overlooking Gold Beach where the British landed. After Gold beach was secured from the Germans, the allies towed in the mulberries to create an artificial harbor to bring in further supplies and men.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral

We then drove in to the town of Bayeux, with the town walking tour map in hand. As we started the walk, we noticed several good restaurants and decided to eat lunch at a creperie. We had ham, mushroom and cheese stuffed galettes, similar to a buckwheat pancake/crepe, very good. We continued with the walking tour which highlighted the 11th century Bayeux Cathedral. The cathedral was much bigger and more ornate than we anticipated for the town size of Bayeux. The walking tour also passed by the main shopping area, Town Park, and some very old residential areas with wood timbered houses.

Time for an ice cream cone, and as we savior the delicious cream we notice It tastes so different than ice cream in the US. The cows must feed on excellent grasses.

We decide to go back to the Pointe du Hoc from our BattleBus tour from yesterday. Terry felt rushed only given a half hour to see all the area and wanted to investigate more of the buildings. We took the scenic coast road through several small villages and very narrow roads, nearly missing corners of homes as you pass by.  We walked around the very cold and windy Point du Hoc, Terry took tons of photos and made sure he saw every little nook and cranny of bombed bits of twisted metal and concrete. (SEE PART 2 FOR THE COMPLETE PHOTOS I TOOK DURING THE 2 DAYS OF EXPLORING Pointe du Hoc)

Driving back to the B&B, we notice that all the small towns look alike. Every home, building, and wall is built with the identical centuries old white stone, and no other decorations of color on the house itself. The color comes from the gardens and flowers. The Norman’s are simple people who seam to shun physical wealth and are perfectly happy with their spartan lifestyles. In fact, our tour guide Allan explained that when the Germans took over all the beachside homes along Omaha, blowing some up for artillery sighting, the Norman’s welcomed it. Seems wealthy Parisians as vacation homes owned the beachfront homes.

Exhausted but happy with our days so far, tomorrow will be another long, good day.

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