We started the day with seeing the Bayeux tapestry in the the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. The tapestry itself is nearly 70 meters long and 50 cm tall and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It is sometimes referred to as the first known comic strip, so we were of course fascinated. 😉
When you buy a ticket, you also get an audioguide, which is tells the story embroidered onto the tapestry. It is paced so, that you get enough time to listen and look and the line inches slowly forward. It took us almost an hour in the museum as there was a bit of a line in the beginning and you cannot really rush past some parts if you want to keep up with the story. The embroidery was quite amusing in places, but you had to admire all the work that went into it. Unfortunately the photography wasn’t allowed, so I borrowed a couple of pictures from the internet.
After seeing the tapestry it was time to say goodbye to Bayeux and we headed towards the British sector. We were smart enough to ask our tour guide the day before which spots he would recommend in the British and Canadian sectors and he was kind enough to give us some excellent hints. We actually ran into him and his group in a couple of locations during the day. 🙂
Our first destination was Pegasus Bridge, which was a major target for the British airborne troops during the invasion of Normandy. Originally known as the Bénouville Bridge, it was renamed Pegasus Bridge, which was taken from the shoulder emblem of a flying horse Pegasus worn by the British air forces.
The original Pegasus Bridge is now located on the territory of the Pegasus Museum. The original bridge was replaced in 1994 by a wider and stronger bridge.
You can still see bullet scratches on the bridge.
You can join a guided tour in the museum and around the Pegasus bridge and I recommend you do so. The guides were knowledgeable and told interesting stories.
After the Pegasus bridge we headed towards the Grand Bunker, which was a part of German so-called Atlantic Wall. The structure is huge, but somehow managed to not be visible from every point. It has been restored to look how it was on 6th of June 1944. It has six floors and has a lot of details. It was captured on 9th of June by Canadian and British troops. The museum was very impressive and interesting. They really put effort to capture even minor details. The only thing that could be improved are the mannequins used to portray German soldiers. 🙂
Our final D-Day destination was Juno Beach Centre, which is a Canadian WWII museum and cultural centre. There was also a museum and a guided tour of the bunker nearby.
The bunker had these holes near the door and when you threw a rock into the upper opening, it came out from the lower one. During the war if you threw a hand grenade there, your plan would definitely backfire.
After that we drive to the Airbnb cabin we had rented. The cabin itself was gorgeous and the owners had some funny-looking chickens in the yard. The cabin was secluded and very nice. The only downside was that the internet didn’t work and if you wanted to use it, you needed to get closer to the owners’ house, which wasn’t convenient.
Our ultimate goal was to visit Mont Saint-Michel and initially we wanted to stay there as well, but I’m very happy that we didn’t. We actually had a restaurant reservation in Le Relais du Roy, which was located very close to Mont Saint-Michel. We drive there, but there was a barrier, so you can’t really drive up to the Mont Saint-Michel. There is a large parking lot, where you can leave your car and there is a free bus, which keeps runnings a few stops between the parking lot and Mont Saint-Michel. Of course we had no idea of this before actually arriving there. So we drove a bit back and forth (it didn’t help that our GPS didn’t find the restaurant address at all) and then finally went to the barrier, pushed the button, and tried to explain to the person on the other end that we have a table reservation in a restaurant, which is behind the boom. That person didn’t really speak English and we needed to explain it at least twice, but after a few minutes the boom rose and we got to continue our trip. I think that if you stay in one of the hotels near Mont Saint-Michel, you can drive past the boom with less issues.
We finally found our restaurant, parked our car next to it, and had a rather lovely dinner. The restaurant was empty when we arrived around 6 p.m., but people kept arriving and waiters kept getting busier the later it got.
After dinner, we decided to see Mont Saint-Michel in the dark. First we thought we would walk, but pretty quickly we realized that it was just too far. So we took the bus, which was full even at this hour. We didn’t go in, but we took a couple of really nice photos and left the rest for the next day.