Normandy beaches

Friday 23/11/12
Pont–Audemer to Arromanches

As dusk fell on Thursday we found a riverside parking spot in the pretty town of Pont-Audemer. History boards tell of its industry, wealth and regional importance. Sea water meets fresh water at this point in the river but it is no longer navigable and a large hydro generator buzzes away constantly. The town is criss-crossed by little canals and waterways – like a mini Venice. At 6pm the town is lively and full of people, by 9pm it’s deserted. Cue an early night.....
Dave's suggestion that we have early starts didn’t last long and by the time we get ourselves up and out of the van the town is in full swing again with market stalls lining the main street selling all kinds of colourful food and plants. After buying some fresh bread and croissants for breakfast we set off for Honfleur, a very picturesque harbour town. 

Following the road north west we head for the Normandy D-Day landing beaches. Arromanches is famous for the British built Mulberry harbour - an artificial prefabricated port the size of Dover which was towed in sections across the English Channel.  The town hosts a museum dedicated to the history of the area with military craft dotted around the town. Today little remains the harbour wall but enough is visible out at sea to appreciate the massive scale of the operation involved in the 1944 D-Day landings. Bi-lingual plaques detail some of the history including one which says that the floating harbours were inspired by Winston Churchill (although others also lay claim to the idea) and he also realised that an anchoring system was needed to secure them and commissioned Beckett to devise one. Two harbours were built, one at Omaha and one at Arromanches but following a massive storm in June 1944 the poorly secured American harbour at Omaha broke up, was irreparable and construction ceased. The British harbour was designed to last 3 months but saw heavy use for over 8 months.

Arromanches & remains of the harbour wall sections


  1. Exciting start! Do you have heating in the van ? I'm worried you are going to be cold.

  2. Yes we have all mod cons, gas heater, hot water, inverters etc. It's due to get very cold in about a week but we should be in our little studio apartment by then. Got plenty of warm clothes & bedding and my snuggly blanket. Enjoying the last of the french autumn here in the Loire Valley.