After our first visit to the landing beaches of D-Day we were excited to be getting to what we’d come to France for this time – the history.
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We managed to get ourselves a bit lost on leaving Ouistreham which meant we were heading away from the coast and as such missed seeing Juno beach. Sometimes in order to not get ourselves too stressed we don’t go crazy trying to get back to the original route and so we just headed for our next stop which was Arromanches.
Arromanches is where a harbour was built on D-day and it allowed us to bring vehicles ashore to help with the push of forces. What I didn’t know and what was a shock to me when we arrived was that there are still remains of that harbour there to this day. When the tide is out you can walk up to some parts of it. It was a bit eerie, but it definitely reminded you of the past there and was a stark contrast to the beach we’d seen previously.
There were loads of relics around the small town too that kept Marcus and James busy by posing against and trying to identify 😉
Normandy is littered with museums and we just couldn’t do them all on our budget but we decided the Arromanches museum would be a good one and the weather wasn’t so great that day. I have to say, so much to learn in these places and the people running them are super friendly. I wish we could have afforded to see more museums. But I guess maybe we’d have suffered from too much war info 😉
There was a fab view from the top of the village and it hit me there how much of a huge undertaking D-Day was. I’d never quite realised it before.
The next day we made it to Utah beach but the weather was absolutely atrocious there and we didn’t hang around long. We also found that many of the overnight spots weren’t there any more or the rules had changed, which was a shame, but also slightly infuriating! I like to know we have a spot for the night! I guess with the 70th anniversary coming that maybe they decided it all needed to change so they weren’t overrun with motorhomes!
One place we really wanted to see was Sainte-Mère-Église which is where a parachutist from the Airborne division got caught on the church and had to hang there for quite a while pretending that he was dead. The church still has a pretend person hanging from the top 😉 We’d heard that the museum there was pretty good too.
The airborne museum has lots of great information, but I loved watching the film in it of how the town was liberated by the US soldiers. I love to hear the stories of how things happen rather than just look at the artefacts. I’d never really thought much about the French who were left waiting to be freed and how they were so surprised that those who eventually came to this spot had american accents!