Monday, April 4, 2016

A Drive up the Normandy Coast

Today we set out on a driving tour of the coast, with the intention of going to Honfleur.  Dave had recommended it in a comment and he was spot on about what a cool town it is.  However, this is Normandy, so there was one more memorial to visit first.
We went to see the Pegasus bridge.  I will now cut and paste from a wiki on the subject, so you will know its importance to the war effort.
Also known as the Bénouville Bridge after the neighbouring village, it was, with the nearby Ranville Bridge over the river Orne, a major objective of the British airborne troops during Operation Deadstick, part of Operation Tonga in the opening minutes of the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War. A unit of Glider infantry of the British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard, was to land, take the bridges intact and hold them until relieved. The successful taking of the bridges played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the Normandy invasion.
This is the actual bridge.  It was old, and needed replacing so it was moved to the museum grounds.  I would have liked to have seen that.

This is how the 6th Airborne arrived on scene.  They came on Horsa gliders.  They're wood skinned and sink like a rock. After the glider landed, they pulled the tail off to deplane men and machinery.  None survive, they were all destroyed or sold after the war.  Wikipedia says that some were bought and converted to travel trailers and vacation cottages.  This is a full sized replica.

Here is an interior shot.  Gliders were used because parachuting was still not a precision method of delivering men or machines.  After WWII the technology improved, and gliders were no longer required.

The museum is very well done.  We particularly enjoyed reading about the Canadian and the British soldiers.  They have a lot of personal items that they've collected over time.  It's very worth going to if you are in the area.

Then it was on to Honfleur.  Since we've been driving up and down the autoroutes in Normandy, we decided to take the D roads and see some villages and stuff.  This is the first thing we saw in Dives sur Mer.  Look at this!

That's a little tile detail from the roof.  This is one of those structures that's so big it's hard to photograph.  Just an amazing house.

Then it was down to the marina where we saw this.  That is a 5th wheel from the US, towed by a Mack truck.  Please notice, also, that there is a boat trailer behind the 5th wheel.  I would like to see that traversing a tiny D road.

This is what you see in Europe.  There are a lot of them on the road already.   There will be more in the summer.

There are many boats and many vacation condos and apartments in Dives sur Mere.

I think this is Houlgate.  It's another beach front town with fabulous buildings.

Look at the roof line on the building in the middle of the photo.  There was a lot of that architecture.

And then there is the round building.

There is the tall half timber.

It's hard to see, but you get a feeling for how built up this part of the coast line is.  People like the beach.

More amazing roof lines.

An old church somewhere.

Finally we reached Honfleur.  It's still a working port, which we like to see.

There is also tourism.  The carousel was running, despite the fact that the wind was howling and it was cold.

Look at this.  Is this cool or what?  Honfleur dates back to 1027.  There is a wiki about it, with more history.  See the brightly colored canopies?  Each one is a restaurant with out door seating.  French people enjoy dining al fresco.  All of these restaurants had some form of heat for their patrons.

Who can identify this car?  We didn't get a look at the badging in the back.

City hall.

This is a D road we took leaving Honfleur.  Jim got to drive today, and he spent quite some time with the passenger side tires off the road.

So, this concludes our sojourn in Normandy.  Tomorrow we will make the hair raising drive back to Orly to return the rental car.  Then we will return to our hotel room in Paris.  We're both wishing we had booked more time here, it's been a good stay.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful shots from this auto tour! The 5th wheel ensemble is CRAZY! What were they thinking???????