I was asked by former colleagues at school to accompany them on their annual trip to Normandy, the main purpose of which was to immerse the pupils in the French language and French Culture. Amongst other things, they were encouraged to order things in French at the market in Trouville Sur Mer and goats’cheeses from a nearby farm. The children were also taken to see the Bayeux Tapestry and on a visit to Paris. I was particularly interested in the sites relating to the D-Day Invasion of 6th June 1944 and to the subsequent Battle for Normandy.
The biggest attraction at Trouville Market was the stall selling ‘Fondantes Aux Pommes’, which are a local delicacy and yes indeed, I can recommend them.
The Bayeux Tapestry and its associated museum was a great highlight for me:-
The invasion beaches and their associated cemeteries were of course awe-inspiring. The first place we saw was Arromanches, next to the British invasion beach known as Gold Beach. Sections of the Mulberry Harbour are still visible in the bay.
Later that day, we visited the American Cemetery at Colville Sur Mer:-
It contains 9,378 burials and commemorates 1,557 soldiers with no known grave.
Next came Omaha Beach and the striking sculpture called ‘The Braves’:-
At the end of our stay we returned to Bayeux in order to view the British Military Cemetery. It contains 4,144 graves, 338 of which are unidentified. Next to it is the Bayeux Memorial which commemorates 1,800 soldiers who have no known grave.
I encouraged the children to interact with the cemetery – to view the register and visitors’ book and to find the graves of people in whom they were interested. They responded very well and could well have stayed in the cemetery much longer.
Close to the Cemetery, there is a museum with a collection of allied tanks and German guns:-
On this occasion, I played a minor role in an extremely valuable and memorable trip, but enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the children about the Battle for Normandy and the commemoration of fallen soldiers.
Perhaps you have been thinking of taking a trip to Normandy, possibly in order to follow in the footsteps of a family member. I can arrange a tour for you and act as your guide. Have a look at my Battlefield Guiding page and/or get in touch with me here.
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