Monday, December 5, 2016

Normandy Battle Fields- Day Three (continuation)

  After our stay in idyllic Honfleur, we headed west, driving through Deauville, hugging the coast until reaching the Orne River.  This was the western boundary of the Normandy invasion.  Following the Orne south, we came upon the Pegasus Bridge, the site of the British Airborne Glider assault that secured the eastern flank and helped to ensure that Sword Beach was not reinforced while the British, Canadians, Free French forces and others landed.  There is a great museum here and the actual bridge has been preserved as part of the exhibit (there is a new bridge over the Orne).  The bridge was renamed "Pegasus" after the British Sixth Airborne Division's patch, which depicts the winged horse of legend.  You can follow our trip by referencing the map below.  
 A glider that was used in the assault
  A model of the bridge depicting
We immediately stopped to tour the museum.  We were very excited.  Now our tour of the Normandy battle sites had officially begun!  We spent about two hours here, then proceeded to parallel Sword Beach heading towards Bayeux.  Bayeux is a town on the Aure river in Normandy, 10 kilometers from the Channel coast. Its medieval center contains cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and the towering, Norman-Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame. The famed Tapisserie de Bayeux, on display in an 18th-century seminary, is a 68 meter long, 11th-century tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman invasion of England.   We would go see that later.  We found an awesome place right in the middle of town, complete with a parking spot (very important) again, using Air B&B.  We could see the Cathedral from our window.  This would be our "Base of operations" for the next three days.
The Cathedral in Bayeux
Bayeux was untouched by the fighting during the battle of Normandy as it was not a strategic town. The towns most damaged and nearly completely destroyed were Caen on the eastern and Saint-Lo on the western edge of the Normandy Battlefront.            
View from our B&B

Image result for map of normandy beaches
Normandy coast depicting invasion beaches and strategic towns.  We started our driving tour in Honfleur, proceeded west to Utah Beach, Ste-Mere-Eglise with a side trip to Le Mont Ste Michel.


Scene from Bayeux, and the actual Pegasus Bridge that once crossed the Orne River

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