Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paris to Bayeux

Wednesday, May 9th: At 8pm, we left our busy schedule in Paris on the train north to a small town in Normandy called Bayeux. We arrived after 11pm and walked a half mile from the train station in a light mist to our hotel-Hotel de la Rein Mathilde. In the center of this small town stood an enormous, beautifully lit and almost out-of-place cathedral. After the giddy high of Paris, with the crowds, bustle and old-time royal oppulance, NOrmandy was a welcome yet somber change of pace. Early Thursday morning we set out on a tour of WWII sites. The liberation of France by the Alies is an integral part of the identity of the Normans, just like dairy products such as Canembert cheese, sparkling hard apple cider and Calvados, a liquor that will burn all the way down. We saw Utah beach (a success marred by 80% casualties in the first and second waves to land), a German cemetery, the American cemetery and memorial, and the town of St Mere Eglise (featured prominently in the 1960s movie The Longest Day because of its prominence in the actual invasion).

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