Yesterday after Mass, I went to visit the old windmill in Fierville-les-Mines called Le Moulin à vent du Cotentin. Built in 1744, it is seven meters tall with a pivoting roof depending on which way the wind blows. It is one of the few mills in France that is still in operation and the only one in the Cotentin area, which during the 18th century had nearly 80 such mills in operation. In those days, the mill was primarily used to make flour for bread and to grind grains to feed farm animals. Sadly, the industrial revolution brought about the decline of old windmills in the Cotentin. This particular mill was abandoned in 1848 and over the years lost its roof, wooden sails and its interior mechanisms. Only the stone tower was left standing. In 1944, it was occupied by the Germans who covered it with a concrete slab and used it as an observation post. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the local mayor, Maurice Gallet, against all odds, began renovating the mill. He was supported by the community of Portbail and provided with money by the Department, Region and State. Extensive work was undertaken and carried out by the company Croix d'Angers and inaugurated in 1997. Since 2005 it has been operated by the Côte des Isles, a community formed when the communes of Portbail and Barneville-Carteret became one. Due to its tourist vocation, it receives an average of 10,000 visitors per year, including 2,000 schools (80 percent of which come from the department of La Manche). As of 2011, it is the only windmill in the Cotentin open to the public still in operation. A 30 to 40 minute guided tour costs 4€. Nearby is a barn with a thatched roof that serves as a boutique selling local products as well as a showroom and museum for visitors. Just beside the windmill is the old miller’s house (with a thatched roof), which was also restored and made into a restaurant (La crêperie du Moulin). My friend and I had a meal from the special chef’s menu which only cost 19,50€. I had the Beignet de Camembert, Magret de canard with sauce à l'orange and crème brûlée for dessert. My friend had the Cassolette de la mer, Filet de perche sauce à l’aneth and aumônière normande for dessert. Together we had two bowls of apple cider. It was all very delicious. Before lunch we were treated to an unexpected performance of Morris dancing by two troupes visiting from the UK. They wore colorful costumes with bells on their calves and frolicked about with sticks and white handkerchiefs. One group, the Windsor Morris is the longest established women’s Morris team in Berkshire. The other group called themselves the Berkshire Bedlam and were made up of men wearing red, white and blue. All of the dancing was supported with music from accordions, drums and tambourines.