The Falaise Gap
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
13Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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In Chambois we checked out a memorial that the Americans had erected to recognize their part in the battle, which was next to this 'watch tower’ or ‘keep’, which caught our attention (apparently 12th century). After that we headed slightly north-east on the D16. This area was lush and green, with hills and valleys, and apple orchards that must be used to make Calvados. It was so quiet and peaceful; it was hard to imagine the misery that it once saw.
The Museum is dedicated to the Battle of the Falaise Gap, and the Memorial on site is to commemorate the actions of a Polish Division that defended Hill 262. What is interesting about the museum is that it is built into the ground on Hill 262, and includes a panoramic viewing area of the actual Gap (or Pocket, as it is also referred)
What we wanted to do next was find the Tiger Tank that is located in Vimoutiers. It is parked along side of the road in a small park setting, and all we knew it was in Vimoutiers! It couldn’t be that hard to find! From the museum, we head slightly north-east again, not sure what route we took, but it was more lush greenery all around. It took some driving and turning around before we finally saw it! Although it is in rough condition, it was really impressive in size and I could imagine being scared to death to see it coming with its 88 gun. This tank is obviously a very popular site to see, if doing the Falaise Gap circuit. The park also had some picnic tables which we took advantage of to have our picnic, splitting a Croque Monsieur and Ham Crepe, a normandy tarte, some cheese and red wine.
We still had plenty of time left in the day, so now we shifted gears to take in some local culture, not connected with WWII
Afterward, back in Falaise, we went to see William the Conqueror’s Chateau de Falaise and look around the town more. We went on the tour of the Chateau, which had gone through a recent renovation. We found it to be almost too refurbished, and did not enjoy the tour of the Chateau very much – maybe all we were thinking of was Mont St. Michel! But, it was still interesting to see and learn about more about the time period. Near the Chateau was an impressive statue of William the Conqueror (Falaise is his birthplace) and Eglise de la Trinite, which was very gothic looking, to my eye. We took a quick look around, but by this time we were getting tired and the day was getting on, and we still had one more important stop to make in Cintheaux before returning to Caen.
Finding the entrance to the CWGC in Cintheaux was a bit tricky, having to get off the N158 and through some back road around Gaumesnil to find the entrance. The day was getting a bit grey, but still a very soft, warm breeze
After Cintheaux, we decided we wanted something cheap and easy for supper, so picked up McDonalds (there was one located beside the hotel) and ate in our room. John was working on reservations at a hotel in the Arras area (had wifi at the hotel), which we were headed for the next morning. We took the rest of the evening to get organized and get focused for the WWI leg of the trip.