Visiting Sainte Mère Église #TuesdayTravels #D-Day

Tuesday Travels
After the Tapestry Museum and Bayeux Cathedral, we drove north to the charming village of Sainte Mère Église.

Sainte Mere Eglise

One of our first glimpses of Sainte Mère Église.

This town played a dramatic role in the events of June 5-7, 1944. The town had seen Allied air raids before, and a flare dropped from an airplane lit the a house in the town square on fire that night of June 5. If you’ve seen the movie, The Longest Day, you’re familiar with the story. While the townspeople fought the fire, paratroopers landed all around the town.

Most famously, one man, John Steele, drifted too close to the church and his parachute caught on the tower. For two hours, he dangled there, watching the scene below, but unable to get free. The next day, he was taken prisoner by the Germans, but later turned over to the Americans. In memory of John Steele, an effigy dressed in a paratrooper’s uniform hangs from a parachute on the church tower to this day.

church tower + parachute

Sainte Mère Église was the first town in France to be liberated, another claim to fame. World War II memorabilia and flags of the allied countries are seen everywhere in the town.

Sainte Mere Eglise

It’s also home to the Airborne Museum, which tells the story of all that happened back in June of 1944.

Airborne Museum

Rebecca and I wandered around before sitting down for a delicious lunch of savory buckwheat galettes.

Sainte Mere Eglise

More #TuesdayTravels to come next week.


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Beautiful Bayeux Tapestry & Cathedral #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travels bannerOur first stop in Bayeux was the Tapestry Museum, followed by beautiful Bayeux Cathedral.

Bayeux Tapestry MuseumI’ve heard for ages about the amazing Bayeux Tapestry, and I have to say it’s as wonderful as it’s been described. I had some misconceptions though. Since it’s referred to as a tapestry, I expected to see a large piece of needlework hanging on a wall, like the ones we saw at Chateau D’Amboise. However, the Bayeux “Tapestry” is really a very long piece of crewel embroidery that tells the story of the Norman Conquest of England. According to Wikipedia, it’s actually 240 feet long and 20 inches high. No photos were allowed in the rather dark room where the tapestry is on view, but I found a couple of pictures at Deposit Photos. You can see more photos, including closeup views, at the website of the Tapestry Museum.

The women in our tour group were riveted by what we were seeing. Many of us had done needlework ourselves, but most modern embroidery follows a pattern that has been stamped on the material. This piece of work appeared to all be done freehand. I was in awe of what those amazing women achieved. The other amazing thing is that it has survived through nine centuries and isn’t faded like many newer tapestries are.

Below you can see the invaders in their boats crossing the English Channel.

BAYEUX, FRANCE – FEB 12: Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of England in the 11th Century on February 12, 2013. This tapestry is more than 900 years old. (No property release is required.)

And here is the Battle of Hastings, as depicted in embroidery.

BAYEUX, FRANCE: Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of England in the 11th Century on February 12, 2013. This tapestry is more than 900 years old. (No property release is required.)

After viewing the tapestry, we walked a short distance to lovely Bayeux Cathedral.

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As we walked back to the bus, I was wishing we had more time to explore Bayeux, which seemed like a charming city.

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But Ste. Mere Eglise and the Normandy Landing Beaches beckoned us onward. More next week.