Yesterday was such a beautiful day that I decided to go hiking. Looked online for a destination and decided on a short ramble in and around the small town of Fresville. My first stop was the Eglise Saint-Martin with its 12th century Romanesque nave. The choir and transept are gothic and date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The bell tower was built in the 14th century. Outside, along the apsidal wall is a bas-relief entitled La Charité de Saint-Martin. Upon entering, one first sees the baptismal font to the right and then, looking up, admires the beautiful wood ceiling and its crossbeams. Just above the modern main altar is a “poutre de gloire” or rood beam from the 18th century with a 17th century crucifixion. The secondary chapel to the left is dedicated to Saint-Sebastien. The high altar from the 18th century has four columns separating the two statues of Saint-Sulpice and Saint-John the Baptist from a niche which holds a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To the right is another transept chapel dedicated to the Virgin. The aisle has two beautiful stained glass windows from the glassmakers at La Maison Bazin-Latteux de Mesnil-Saint-Firmin in the Oise. These date from 1877 and were donated to the church by members of the parish. In the Middle Ages, most abbeys and bishoprics had not one church but many associated sanctuaries, serving distinct purposes. In the Cotentin, this phenomenon is well illustrated by two religious buildings barely ten meters apart in Fresville. Just next to the church of Saint-Martin is the Chapelle Sainte-Sulpice from the 16th century. It was not open when I was there so I have no idea what it looks like inside. The area around Fresville is dotted with several old manor houses and large stone farm buildings—many of which have been restored and are privately owned or rented out as bed and breakfasts or holiday getaways. This one is a private residence called the Manoir de Tamerville. Across the street is another beautiful home called Le Hesnay. Perhaps the grandest of them all is the Manoir de Grainville which is now a chambre d’hôtes. The walk takes you through fields of corn, grain and grasses as well as many cow pastures all located within the low-lying marshlands known as the marais. Also along the road is a small memorial to the men of the 505th US Parachute Infantry Regiment who were gunned down by Nazi soldiers during the D-Day landings. The ashes of one of the soldiers, William H. Tucker are placed here. He passed away in 2008. These trees make up the allée des saules which is a dirt road lined with old willows. A short distance off the path lays the river Merderet which winds through the countryside. The hiking details don't tell you about some of the other things to see in the area. For example, it was by chance that I could see the Manoir de Vauville while hiking--unfortunately, the path does not take you near it. So I decided to visit using my car. It too is a bed and breakfast catering to people visiting Utah Beach or Sainte-Mère-Église. The hiking tour eventually brings you back into the town. You can find details HERE.
These are just some more photos of the lovely stone houses in and around Fresville. Many of them were adorned with US and French flags--just a way of showing you how much French people respect the sacrifice of the American soldiers who fought in Normandy.