Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Grand Afternoon Out

Well today we were going to have an assault on the final patch of brambles but the horrible mizzle has put paid to that.  I think we are having the tail end of the hurricane from Bermuda.

The weekend was a lovely sunny one, and we finally managed to get a trip in to some of the local sites with our neighbours Nelly and Rollande, who split their time between here and Paris. Their house is Rollande's family home, and they spent four years renovating it after he inherited it from his parents.    They don't speak English, so a pair of Brit neighbours with dodgy French can't be the easiest to be friends with but they seem to have taken us completely under their wing.   Rollande and his family lived in our house during the war, when the Germans took over his and it became a hospital for German soldiers, so I think that they are just pleased that someone has taken the house on, to love it and restore it.

Here at Le Meslier we are about 800 feet above sea level, so we are privileged with some stunning views and Nelly and Rollande have been trying to take us to some of the local beauty spots for a couple of weeks, but really needed a clear day.  Sunday was that day.  It started dull and there were some spots of rain in the morning but Rollande was convinced that it would clear up and he was right.

We started at La Grande Cascade, in the neighbouring town of Mortain and walked down the valley to La Petite Cascade at the bottom.  You cannot see any of this from the road, and if it wasn't for the brown tourist signs we wouldn't have know they were there.

The start of  La Grande Cascade

There are no barriers here....Health and Safety
would have a field day!

This is the Laundry where the local women
used to wash the clothes
Bottom of La Grande Cascade, a short walk
on the flat now before the next decent.
The start of La Petite Cascade

Just to the right, this chap wants the quick way
down.  Rather him than me!

Pretty blurred but this tower of granite
stands independently and once had granite
steps going around.

It is all very tranquil at the moment, but I can imagine that in the summer it is heaving with tourists.

The next stop was La Petite Chapelle.  Again, about 800 feet or so above sea level, this was a very strategic point during the war.  The Battle of Normandy, took place here between 6-13 August 1944. The Germans defended this position but helped by the Resistance, it was liberated by the Americans but with massive losses.

La Petite Chappelle.
These are young trees as during the war the
area the woodland was cleared to aid the Germans

Hill 314.
Very important, whoever controlled this hill,
controlled the valley.

This tell the story better than I ever could.

"In hommage to the soldiers of the 35th Infantry Division
'Santa Fe', which from the 10th to 13th August 1944
 managed to free the survivors of the 'lost batallion'
at the cost of heavy losses.
Memorial to the American Fallen

The viewing point here has amazing panoramic views, and on a clear day it is possible to see Mont St Michel, about 40km, in the distance.

Max with Nelly and Rollande at the viewing point.

Trust me, that very tiny smudgy triangle in the distance...
is Mont St Michel!

Hill 314 from the other side

A glorious afternoon was finished off in typical French style with a glass of chilled pear cider.

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