The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

13 months ago

Autumn 2022

Discover Aix, the ‘Little Paris’ of Provence, the historic region of Beaune, a land of wine and castles. Beautiful Bordeaux and Normandy. The stork villages of Alsace and the pickled-in-the-past, post-card pretty perched town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert. Breath-taking Lavender fields in Provence, castles in the air in Dordogne. Exquisite Villefranche-sur-Mer and Nice. Discover what’s new, the best tours, recipes, a language lesson, practical guides and much, much more…

tears by the television

tears by the television coverage of the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. A month later, he slipped quietly away aged 90, perhaps to meet up with some of those who never caught the troop carrier home. For many years, families of Allied soldiers have been able to visit memorials, museums and beaches on the Normandy coastline in the footsteps of relatives who fought for freedom in Europe. But only now is there a memorial to the British soldiers who didn’t return from the conflict, a spot where relatives can see the names of lost family members inscribed for posterity. The campaign for the British Normandy Memorial began in 2015 when D-Day veteran George Batts, formerly of the Royal Engineers, pointed out to BBC broadcaster Nicholas Witchell that no national memorial in Normandy recorded the names of all those under British command who had died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy. As a result, the Normandy Memorial Trust was established and the project began to move forward. In March 2017, the British government pledged £20 million towards the construction of the Memorial on farmland overlooking the shoreline codenamed Gold Beach. The site was formally inaugurated on 6 June 2019 in the presence of then British Prime Minster Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, and construction work began soon afterwards. Despite delays due to the Covid pandemic, the Memorial was officially opened by video link by HRH The Prince of Wales on 6 June 2021. Carved on 160 stone columns are the names of 22,442 individuals – British personnel and other nationalities serving British units – whose lives were lost in the Normandy campaign. Also included are members of the RAF who supported the mission, and secret agents and Special Forces personnel working behind enemy lines. Names are listed in chronological order of death, day-by-day, and grouped by branches of the armed forces. This huge undertaking was greatly aided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and supplemented by other military institutions and individuals. But you don’t need a family connection to enjoy a visit to this special place which is easily reached by car, midway between Bayeux and Caen. Buses also run from both towns, except on Sundays, stopping outside the Memorial gate. Admission is free with just a 3€ parking charge that goes towards the upkeep of the site. Visitors will find toilets at the entrance and a picnic area near the car park, but no visitor centre, no shop, no guides, and no cafe. Nothing that detracts from the tranquillity and beauty of the site. If you need snacks, the village shops are just five minutes’ walk away. Access to the Memorial is via a level gravel path, suitable for wheelchairs and walking aids – expect an 8-10 minute walk from the car park. Along the way, stone information panels are carved with the story of the D-Day landings, English on one side, French on the other. As the Memorial came into view, my first thought was ‘Stonehenge beside the sea’, its uniform stone columns topped with a lattice of timber. The full beauty of the design doesn’t hit you until you get close and can see the layout, a rectangle criss-crossed by paths in the shape of a Union Jack, which flies on a tall flagpole at the centre beside the French tricolore. 46 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 47