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  • The Baguette
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.

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August 16 2010 2 16 /08 /August /2010 18:15

La voie de la Liberté est une voie commémorant la victoire des Alliés et la libération de la France, de la Belgique et du Luxembourg pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Sainte-Mère-Église, La voie de la LibertéElle est matérialisée par une série de bornes kilométriques le long du réseau routier entre Sainte-Mère-Église (borne 0) et Utah Beach (borne 00) en Basse-Normandie et Bastogne dans la province belge du Luxembourg, marquant l'itinéraire suivi par la 3e armée américaine commandée par le général Patton.

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July 20 2010 3 20 /07 /July /2010 08:46

185b Château fort de PirouPirou’s fortified castle is in fact a motte castrale (or castle mound) erected on an island and surrounded by ramparts preventing any possible extension.  The castle’s architecture is similar to Crusader architecture with alternating turrets and guerites.  Construction dates from the 11th to 14th century.  The current moat was surrounded by two further moats which no longer exist.  185c Château fort de Pirou186 Château fort de Pirou187b Château fort de PirouIn order to enter the castle, five defensive gates need to be crossed.  After being received at the fourth gate, visitors walked a relatively long walk around the castle and through the fifth gate before reaching the basse-cour, or lower courtyard.  170 Château fort de Pirou171 Portes défensives, Château fort de Pirou176 Cinquème porte, Château fort de Pirou176c Reception, Château fort de PirouThe lower courtyard is bordered to the left by the outbuildings.  These include the bakery dating back to the late 18th century, the cider press building, then Saint Laurent’s chapel, followed by a vast hall referred to as the salle des plaids and finally, on the way back, the wagon shed and the domestic servants’ living quarters.  180c Bakery, Château fort de Pirou183 Bakery, Château fort de Pirou184a Cider Press, Château fort de PirouThe chapel was rebuilt in 1649 by Louise du Bois, the Marchioness of Pirou, shortly after the death of her husband Charles du Bois.  188b Chapelle St-Laurent, Château fort de Pirou191 Chapelle St-Laurent, Château fort de Pirou188c Salle des Plaids, Château fort de PirouInside, the chapel is furnished with various statues in terracotta and polychrome wood.  Behind the 15th century altar is a painting of the Last Supper from the Italian school dating from the late 16th century.  On either side are the statues of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Laurent (both from the 15th century).  Adjacent to the chapel is the salle des plaids which was originally the justice room within which Pirou’s lords dealt with disputes and received taxes.  The room was transformed into a stable in the 17th century and later into a cowshed.  Today the room has been totally restored and now houses the Pirou tapestry.  Access to the castle is via a two-arched stone bridge crossing the narrowest stretch of the moat.  213a Old Lodge, Château fort de Pirou213 Old Lodge, Château fort de Pirou197 New Lodge, Château fort de Pirou198 Square Tower, Château fort de Pirou205 Turret, Château fort de Pirou220 Château fort de PirouVisitors then arrive in the castle’s interior courtyard, where they can distinguish two remaining and distinct lodges, built against the castle walls.  One of them, the old lodge, to the east was built under Henry IV.  The second building, the new lodge to the south, was built in 1708.  There are exceptional views of Pirou’s dunes near the sea from the wall-walk accessed by climbing a flight of stairs against the eastern wall.204 Turret, Château fort de Pirou  202a Ramparts, Château fort de PirouThe wall-walk also provides visitors better views of the lower courtyard and its outbuildings.202b Ramparts, Château fort de Pirou 

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May 22 2010 7 22 /05 /May /2010 13:22

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 013This year commemorates the 66th year since the Normandy Landings on the 6th of June 1944, D-Day.  Thousands of men and women gave their lives in the liberation of Northern France.  Their graves are the permanent and visible symbol of their heroic devotion and their sacrifice in the common cause of humanity.

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 001American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 002American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-2If you have never visited the cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, my first article can be found by clicking HERE. 

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-3American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-4American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-1Also, there is a new Visitor's Center which welcomes you and tells the story of the 9,387 Americans buried in the 176 acre cemetery.  The new Visitor's Center also provides an unbiased retrospective of one of the greatest military achievements of all time.  The "Hall of Sacrifice" is quite memorable. 

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 006American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 005American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer007American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 008American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 009American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 010American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 016American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 016aAmerican Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 017American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 017bAfterward, walk through the cemetery remembering to maintain silence and respect.  Walk down to Omaha Beach, see the graves, say a prayer and remember these brave men and women who helped to free the world from Nazi oppression.

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 019

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 024American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 021American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 025

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 026

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March 18 2010 5 18 /03 /March /2010 09:28

006 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊTI’ve not posted anything new in a while because I’ve been suffering from a cold.  However, yesterday I felt quite convalesced and decided to take a short trip to Bayeux.  On the way, I stopped in Cerisy-la-Forêt and some other places which you will see in future blog posts.  The day was simply beautiful with temperatures soaring to 18 degrees – certainly fine weather for Spring.

 

011 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊTThe abbey at Cerisy is a remarkable example of Norman Romanesque architecture.  The earliest mention of this abbey dates back to the 6th century when Christianity was beginning to spread throughout Gaul.  Around 510 Vigor, a missionary from Bessin had a monastery built at Cerisy and dedicated it to St-Peter and St-Paul.  In 1032 Robert I of Normandy, the father of William the Conqueror, founded a new monastery which he dedicated to Vigor, former bishop of Bayeux.

012 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊTThe nave, now reduced to only three bays of the original seven, is remarkable for its height.  The great arches are topped by a gallery; semicircular arches frame the clerestory windows. 


Outside near the entrance are parts of the 13th century nave giving some idea of its original length.  Walk around the church via the path around the small lake to the east and admire the chevet with its tiered effect formed by the apse, the choir and the belfry.

013 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊT014 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊTThe 13th century outbuildings were bought by the nation during the French Revolution.  They were then quarried for other building purposes or to pave streets.  What’s left is now an archeological museum containing pieces of statues as well as 14th and 15th century decorative floor tiles.
001 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊT003 L’ABBAYE SAINT-VIGOR DE CERISY-LA FORÊT

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January 18 2010 2 18 /01 /January /2010 10:55

095omahacemetery
Just outside the small town of Colleville-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach, the American War Cemetery and Memorial contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead.  Unable to be located and/or identified, the names of 1,557 soldiers who lost their lives during the Normandy Invasion are inscribed on the walls of a semicircular garden just behind the memorial.

092omahabeach 

The eastern portion of the memorial garden consists of a colonnade with a loggia at each end containing maps of military operations.  On the north wall is a large map entitled “Military Operations in Western Europe” that records the progress of the military operations in northwest Europe, from the landings in Normandy to the end of the war.  The maps in each loggia were designed by Robert Foster of New York and executed by Maurice Schmit of Paris.  The American Battle Monuments Commission furnished the data for the maps. 

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At the center of the garden is a 22-foot bronze statue, “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves,” sculpted by Donald De Lue of Leonardo, New Jersey.  The Battaglia Foundry in Milan, Italy cast the statue.

085omahacemetery 

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In the middle of the cemetery is the memorial chapel constructed from Vaurion limestone, granite, Pyrenees Grand Antique marble, and an impressive ceiling designed and executed by Leon Kroll of New York.  The colorful mosaic symbolizes America blessing sons as they depart by sea and air to fight for freedom and a grateful France bestowing a laurel wreath upon American Dead who gave their lives to liberate Europe.

099omahachapel
098omahachapel
Behind the chapel at the western end of the cemetery are statues representing the United States and France.  Architects for the cemetery’s memorial features were Harbeson, Hough, Livingston and Larson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The landscape architect was Marley Stevenson.

103omahacemetery

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January 10 2010 1 10 /01 /January /2010 12:37

006ChateauThuryHarcourt
In 1635 Odet d'Harcourt built on the site of a medieval château.  In 1714 and 1723 it was enlarged and came to be known as the “château of 264 windows”. It was enlarged in 1714 and 1723.  Louis XVI briefly stayed here in June of 1785 when he made the trip to Cherbourg to inaugurate the new port.

007ChateauThuryHarcourt
During World War II, nearly 75% of the down was destroyed by Allied bombs but the château escaped damage.  It was with fierce fighting against the British 59th Division in August of 1944 that the Germans left town and set fire to the château.  Sadly, the fire destroyed many public archives for Normandy including a library of 15,000 volumes, hundreds of family records and works of art of great sentimental and historical value.
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January 7 2010 5 07 /01 /January /2010 07:51

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December 16 2009 4 16 /12 /December /2009 15:37

st lo
In the 6th century the Gaulish town of Briovère (meaning "Bridge on the Vire River") took the name of its lord, the Bishop of Coutances.  In 1944 it acquired the sad title of Capital of Ruins – it was the administrative center (préfecture) of La Manche; on July 19th, the day the town was liberated, only the battered towers of the collegiate church and a few houses in the suburbs remained standing.  Since then St-Lô has recovered to become a modern city, proud of its ancient heritage.

st lo  St-Lô, a vital communications center, was destined to play a strategic role in the Battle of Normandy.  Owing to its position at a crossroads, the town underwent heavy bombing from June 6th aimed at dispersing the enemy forces.  The battle for St-Lô began early in July in the middle of the War of the Hedgerows to capture the Lessay-St-Lô road, the base for Operation Cobra. 

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st loThe town, which was the center of German resistance, fell on July 19th.  A monument, erected in memory of Major Thomas D. Howie of the American Army, recalls a moving episode in the town’s liberation.  Major Howie had wanted to be one of the first to enter St-Lô but he was killed on the 18th of July; in order to fulfill his wish, the first Allied troops to enter St-Lô carried his coffin in with them and sat it down in the ruins of the belfry of Sainte-Croix church.  A week later, after an unprecedented aerial bombardment, the German front broke in the west and the Avranches Breakthrough was launched.

st lo  From the ruins, a new town has arisen, planned so that one can now clearly see the outline of the rocky spur, ringed by ramparts and towers that have become landmarks of the city.  The oldest district, the Enclos, in the upper part of the town includes the Préfecture and administrative buildings, which make an interesting post-war architectural group.  I had to go to the Préfecture office today to renew my carte-de-sejour.  The weather was bright and sunny but ever so cold!  The temperature was -7°C !!! 
st loSaint-Lô also has remains of its medieval line of walls and towers. They include: Tour des Beaux Regards ("Tower of Beautiful Glances"), commanding the steepest part of the spur of the town (with an amazing view of the Vire Valley and the bocage),
st lo
st lo
and the Tour de la Poudrière ("Tower of the Gunpowder Store"), the last relic of the old citadel.

st lo 

Opposite the Place du Général-de-Gaulle is the former prison porch, now a memorial to Resistance fighters and the victims of Nazism.

st lo  The west front of Église Notre-Dame (13th – 17th century) and the two towers have been shored up but otherwise left as they were in 1944 as a witness to the ferocity of the bombardment.  The church was partially restored after the war with the facade rebuilt as a plain green schist wall.

st lo
st lo
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December 9 2009 4 09 /12 /December /2009 10:32
In the heart of the Siene valley, l'abbaye d'Hambye is, after the Mont-Saint-Michel (only 45mins away), the most complete medieval monastery in Normandy. This Benedictine Abbey was built during the 12th and 13th Centuries. The community disappeared in the 18th Century and the church was sold and partially demolished.

The majestic ruins dominate the ensemble. The monastic buildings that have been preserved, and patiently restored, include the scriptorium, the 13th Century chapter house, the sacristy, and the parlor (with 13th Century frescos). The monastery still has its gatehouse, kitchen and a group of agricultural buildings.
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October 27 2009 3 27 /10 /October /2009 16:59
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