Origins of Carentan

Its history goes back to Antiquity. At first, a fortress that defended the entrance to the Cotentin marshes in Middle-Ages. The access to the city was possible through the west door coming from Saint-Come and by the east door, coming from Saint-Hilaire. The castle was situated on the actual Place du Valnoble. In 1346, Edward III of England seized the town and ordered the destruction of its fortifications.

 

Collevile American Cemetery

Situated in the little town of Collevile-sur-Mer, and inaugurated in 1956, it is the biggest cemetery dedicated to the American soldiers who died in Normandy during the battle for freedom. The thousands of white crosses, made of Carrare marble, and facing the beach where most of them dies, is probably the one place to see during your stay. It is also in this cemetery that set the opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s 1998 movie “Saving Private Ryan” (when the “old” James Ryan comes to mourn on Captain Miller’s grave).

La pointe du Hoc

Situated in Criqueville-en-Bessin, it is the top of a 30 meters high cliff which is in fact right between Utah and Omaha beach. Therefore, it was a really strategic point for the Allied forces during World War II and the shell holes in the ground bear witness to a harsh bombing.

Sainte-Mere-Eglise

One of the first French towns liberated by the Allied forces in 1944. During the night of June 5th, while residents were trying to put out the burning of a house, t he first paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division were dropped over the town. Many of them were killed by the Nazis before to touch the ground. As one of the soldier’s parachute got trapped in the church tower, a mannequin is hung there in remembrance.

Pont-canal de Carentan

Only 10 minutes away from our house by foot, it is a unique construction that sees the local highway passing under the little canal which joins Carentan harbour to the river and to the sea. Opened in 1994, it’s 615 meters long for 10 meters high, at its highest point.