The American Cemetary at Colleville-sur-Mer

On the Normandy Beaches

Anthony Bourdain:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

On the Normandy Beaches

The American Cemetary at Colleville-sur-Mer

The Normandy Beaches are a full size open air museum

The Normandy beaches stretches from Utah Beach in the west to Sword Beach in the east.

Everywhere you’ll find a WWII monument, a museum, a cemetary or some other kind of remains of the D-Day invasion. All designated to the memory of and a tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the British, Canadian and American soldiers who fought here more than seventy years ago.

A Normandy Beach Landing Monument
A Normandy Beach Landing Monument

Together with troops from several other countries like Poland, Denmark and Norway they carried out the largest military operation in the history of warfare. Beginning at the crack of dawn on July the 4th 1944, they gained a foothold and from then on the Nazi regimes of Europe were doomed.

The march on Berlin had begun and though it would take almost a whole year before the germans finally surrendered, the importance of the Normandy invasion can hardly be overestimated 

Saint Marie du Mont souvenir shop complete with a John Steele doll
Saint Marie du Mont souvenir shop complete with a John Steele doll

Though the Allied invasion of Normandy took place several generations ago, Normandy’s inhabitants uphold the memory of what happened and the sacrifices of the servicemen who fought here. Actually it seems like D-Day tourism is the main means of livlihood in these parts. Everywhere you can buy memorabilia and souvenirs.

The Normandy sites are spread along 75 miles of coastline,

As you travel the narrow lanes of this still-rural area, you’ll get a taste of the boldness, complexity, and hardship of the Allied undertaking. The Germans had flooded the marshes and many paratroopers even drowned on landing there. One of them, John Steele, even got stuck in the bell tower of the church in Ste Mere Eglise.

A Paratrooper John Steele Doll hanging in the Bell Tower in Ste Mere Eglise
A Paratrooper John Steele Doll hanging in the Bell Tower in Ste Mere Eglise

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