Rouen to Operation GOODWOOD
Leaving Patrick and the brewery, we headed down into Rouen itself for a look around as we’d been through it on a number of occasions without taking any time out for a good sightseeing.
So having parked up without too much navigation of Rouen’s one-way system required, we took to our feet for a plod around.
Fortunately, Rouen was not as extensively remodelled by the RAF during the war and so many of it’s medieval streets and buildings still exist allowing one to appreciate what Caen might have looked like before war visited.
We first visited the Place du 19 Avril 1944… it wasn’t until later (when in the Cathedral) that we found out that this was the date that a Lancaster dropped some bombs on the Cathedral doing some serious damage.
A traditional sight in France (at least as we are led to believe) are accordion players on the side of the street, ‘though until this year, we’ve not seen any… there must have been a convention running, or something, as we saw 3 during our visit. In the background of the photograph, you’ll also see something else that seems to be well represented in Rouen – ladies underwear shops! In fact, they only seem to be outnumbered by the number of tour parties getting in the way!
The next “touristy” bit was slightly gruesome… the site where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake by the English!
Le Chateau du Robert le Diable
At first, we thought that we were facing another “Spinal Tap” moment (you may recall our trip to the Menhir near Caen) as the first “ruin” that we saw was not particularly impressive – certainly not as a Chateau, but then we noticed another sign, went round the corner & there it was…
Unfortunately, the Chateau wasn’t open, so
having had a good look round the outside (which was still pretty impressive), we went back to the first monument which we discovered was a war memorial to the Franco-Prussian, First and Second World Wars…
Cagny & Operation GOODWOOD
e then headed off on the motorway towards Caen, stopping off to have a look over part of the Operation GOODWOOD battlefield & the village of Cagny which was approximately half way through the advannce & the site for the famous (or infamous, or even non-existent!) 88mm guns taken over by Hans von Luck!
In the Mairie there’s a small plaque commemorating the Guards Armoured Division that fought here during the operation. The impact of the fighting can still be seen on the church that
stands next to the mairie. Opposite the Mairie on the green is an information board which explains & illustrates both Operation GOODWOOD & its impact on Cagny.
As you drive along the main road towards Caen from Cagny, you’re going across the line of advance for Operation GOODWOOD, with the British start lines to your right & the objective of Bourguébus Ridge to your left… whilst a dominating feature when you’re on it, I’ve always found it difficult to discern the ridgeline from the Allied lines…
From here, it was but a small trip to Mondeville & our hotel for the evening which (rather conveniently!!) backed onto our second Trois Brasseurs brewpub of the holiday!