Day 4 - Le Debarquement. Quineville to Ste-Mere Eglise, a distance of approximately 18 kilometers.
Today’s ride was cut short by a combination of laziness and bad weather. My wife and I opted to sleep in and take the van from St-Vaast to Quineville, the first stop of the day. At Quineville, we visited an interesting museum that depicted life in occupied France during World War II. After visiting the museum, we saddled up and road to Ste-Mere Eglise, the site of the airborne landings by the 82d and 101st Airborne.
The above photo depicts a famous incident involving paratrooper John Steele of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82d Airborne, whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church. He could only observe the fighting going on below and hung there limply for several hours pretending to be dead, before he was taken prisoner. This scene would later be made famous in the movie, The Longest Day, starring John Wayne as the commander of the 505th.
En route to Ste-Mere Eglise, we ran into some heavy weather along the coast and it began to really pour. Fortunately, things improved once we turned inland. At Ste-Mere Eglise, we stopped to eat and dry off.
Then it was on to the Airborne Museum where we saw lots of military equipment, including one of the original WACO gliders used by the airborne troops in the D Day landings. Then it was on to the church and some of the rest of the town.
Since we had all been soaked from the rain and our feet were cold and wet, we all opted to take the van to Utah Beach., the site of the U.S. Army 7th Corps landings.
After Utah Beach, we were driven to our next hotel, a wonderful chateau on the outskirts of Bayeux for showers, a much needed change of clothes, and in my case, lots of Calvados.