23 September 2014

The Past and the Present: Normandie Life

I snapped a little shot on my phone of the main street of our downtown area. I think it actually gets more charming as you move in a little further towards the church ... but I have been so touched by all of the flag buntings that I see flying on houses and at the entry to this marketplace. Did you notice the nationalities? With the 70 year anniversary of World War II this last summer, there are tributes everywhere.

Our little town here was hit by bombs so severely that 90% of the town was destroyed as the Allied Forces were forced to attack the German occupation. The photos I've seen are so sobering. And certainly, I think of my own Grandfather Stone and his experience.

I had my first language exchange/chat yesterday with a French woman, as we both want to work on our language skills with a native speaker. (Incidentally, her English is far better than my French and she is very patient!) She was surprised to hear that often, Americans think the French don't like us.

Pourquoi? She asked, surprised. She proceeded to talk about Americans as the friends of the French and told me a few stories of her family during the war. This is Normandy. And these events were not that long ago.

Many of the buildings had to be rebuilt from the ground up, some restored expertly, and others have been fabulously patched and mortared back together. We love to drive around and point out buildings that show new and creative stonework that managed to salvage original structures.

But even though the events of the past are not at all forgotten, a resiliency and pride are notable. To see flowers blooming and a monument erected at the spot the tanks first rolled through ... Wow.

We have yet to get to the D-day beaches. Have any of you been? Any tips or things we should definitely do or see? If you have never been, like me, what would you be most curious about?


  1. How heartbreaking yet beautiful. I'm glad that you're learning French with someone learning to speak English. Very neat!

  2. I guess I would want to know exactly where they landed - unless it was the whole length of the beach. I would also want to see the crosses, so many of them in that cemetery.

  3. I enjoyed the photos so much- your little town is sooooo cute and beautiful and I really want to see it for myself!! ;)