Saturday July 29th, Sainte-Mere-Eglise

Drove through the rather pretty town of Port-Bail

Yuk….woke to a drizzly misty rain this morning that just carried on and on. Coats on to empty tanks. No point moping around so headed off firstly to St-Lo with a stop for supplies and fuel then out towards the coast with a lunch stop at Lessay and thankfully the rain had stopped and even saw some blue sky and sun. The land is very lush and green, with a lot of dairy farms. We parked at an Aire in Lessay and wandered into the centre of town after lunch, a very pretty place, lots of gardens, even a wedding going on at the Mayor’s Office. The main feature of the town is the 11th century abbey which is surrounded by very nice gardens.
Lessay, with the Abbey in the background.

So love ivy clad brick buildings.

Tree lined drive to the entrance of the Abbey.

Continued up the coast to Barneville-Carteret, a very interesting landscape with lots of market gardening. Couldn’t get over the huge areas of carrots being grown in what appeared to be very sandy soil. Our meandering drive then took us east to Valognes and down the highway to Sainte-Mere-Eglise.
This is in the heart of the Normandy Landings by the American forces. Camping in a very nice area just outside town with plenty of open grassy spaces. The local policeman came around checking if we had paid our €8 fee and got chatting with him. He had a little English and when I asked if it was going to rain again, he said “maybe, but you are in Normandy, that is why we are so green”
Wandered into town and soon learnt the story about what happened here on D-Day, June 6, 1944 when the American paratroopers liberated the town in preparation for the landing at Omaha Beach. A paratrooper by the name of John Steele got caught up in the church steeple, and today they have a replica of him and his parachute hanging from the towner. My history of the war is not that good, but somehow being here makes it all seem so real and really fascinates me. The town is full of souvenir shops with war memorabilia, and lots of American flags.
Ste-Mere-Eglise - celebrating their liberation by the Americans
on D-Day.

The replica of John Steel, with his
parachute that got caught in the tower.