Tag Archives: battlefield

Normandy North and Cap de Hague

Rambling up to the northwest of Normandy a few days ago — another area with World War II bunkers still embedded into the hillsides — we drove to the historic Cap de Hague and could see some of the Channel Islands (British territory) off on the left through the haze. This particular part of Normandy has seen battles and shipwrecks over the centuries that included the 1689 Battle of Barfleur and the more recent Battle of Cherbourg during World War II.

Point of the Cap de Hague in far Northwest Normandy, France

Leaving the car with an apple in one one hand and two cameras slung over my shoulders, I walked out to the furthest point where a small lighthouse sat guard in the choppy waters beyond and a war memorial from World War I faced the sea with its inscription on the waterfront side.

But to see an equally beautiful view, I simply had to swing around and look behind me. The tiny-tiny town of Goury with its gray stone buildings and stone-bordered fields rose behind me.

We walked the short distance into the wee village and discovered a small and lovely harbour with bright coloured boats bobbing in the dark blue water.

Deep blue Goury harbour in far northwestern Normandy at the Cap de Hague

I simply had to include the photo below of the ‘Bored Parisienne’ because she made me laugh so much. They arrived in a black Audi that bore a tiny Paris dealer sticker and a license plate ending in 75 indicating that they had driven north from Paris and they parked a few spots away from us in the parking lot for ‘les visiteurs.’ As she swished out of the car with her coat swirling around her legs and flounced down to the water’s edge at the harbour, her husband darted about with his camera taking photo after photo of the pretty boats. The woman who had emerged from the black car was impatiently stomping back and forth in her leather pumps and could not have looked more bored if she had tried. She finally stood on the boat ramp with one hand on her hip, gazing back and forth, but her face was totally devoid of any signs of interest — a stark contrast to her eager-beaver photo-snapping husband.

The bored Parisienne woman on the launch ramp in Goury


Just love those little slices of life!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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16 Years And Counting in St. Lo

It was a gray and gloomy day — and it wasn’t exactly the usual way to spend a 16th wedding anniversary. But it seemed just right by our standards.

We began our day at the Prefecture in St. Lo to get the last of the paperwork done for registering our van in France. This has all been quite a complicated process requiring visits to rather a lot of government offices, but that’s a post for another day. We spent about 45 minutes waiting for our number to be called and then we were back out on the street about 10 minutes later.

Prefecture in St. Lo where we went to register our van

St. Lo is one of the many towns or villages that was almost entirely destroyed by bombs during World War II, so very few of the buildings in the town appear to be of any real age. Planted right in the middle of the municipal parking lot is a particularly ugly (in my personal opinion!) viewing tower that can be climbed for a view over the town.

Observation tower in the central parking lot in St. Lo, Normandy, France

The center part of the town is almost completely comprised of squarish or rectangular concrete buildings that are rather devoid of charm. Fortunately there are still some buildings with a bit of extra ornamentation.

Government office building in St. Lo, Normandy, France

According to the Wikipedia entry for St. Lo, the Notre Dame church seen in the photo below was one of the only buildings left standing after the Allied bombing.

Notre Dame church in St. Lo, Normandy, France

The old tower in the fortified wall is another survivor.

Tower in the ancient fortified wall of St. Lo, Normandy, France

And the remnants of this bombed out building facade have been rededicated as a memorial for the Jews in the area who were persecuted or killed.

Memorial to the local population of persecuted or killed Jews in St. Lo, Normandy, France

We had a lovely plat du jour luncheon of salmon lasagna, salad, wine, and expresso and then walked through the town for awhile.

Mark enjoying a plat du jour luncheon in St. Lo, Normandy, France

It’s been a strange experience to live in a place that has seen so much military action. And as we walk through each reconstructed town, it’s hard to imagine that places like St. Lo and Villers Bocage were 99% flattened by the aerial bombing.

Mark looking at the architecture of St. Lo, Normandy, France

Below are some random photos from our day out. Come back soon for more visits to World War II locations here in Normandy.

Brocante Collections poster for a vintage goods show in St. Lo, Normandy, France


Poster for a lecture on the natural beauty of New Zealand in a window in St. Lo, Normandy, France


Distance signs to various global locations in St. Lo, Normandy, France


©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.