Sunday dawned clear and sunny, if not exactly warm. Time to get some air. We set out to walk on the beach, but the tide was out, so we went to a village we have loved since first setting foot in this area, Regneville-sur-Mer. There used to be a deepwater harbour, but over the centuries the sea has receded. After the Norman Conquest, the Bishop of Coutances used the port to go backwards and forwards each month to Britain to oversee the Domesday survey. He couldn’t do that now.
The village is a bit tumbled down, but starting to come up again, with new houses in the back lanes, and huge efforts by the Commune to tidy it up. The top of the church steeple was a casualty of the US and British bombing in June 1944, and they have left the flat top as a memorial.
A nearby bridge, le Pont de la Roque, was the target of unsuccessful bombing raids by Flying Fortresses for some time, in order to cut the supply route towards the D-Day beaches in 1944. Eventually, one night, a couple of RAF Mosquitoes were sent in at low level, and the result was an immediate success. The bridge has also been left as a memorial. When we first came to France traffic crossed the Sienne (NOT Seine) on a Bailey bridge, but there’s been a ‘proper’ bridge alongside the ruin for a long time now.
Pont de la Roque
A delightful meandering walk took us past the remains of the castle, partially demolished during the Hundred Years War and the nearby Four à Chaux de Rey – a huge limekiln, where demonstrations and exhibitions are put on in the Summer.
How did they hang that gate – we’d never seen a built-in stone hinge before.
There are some very quirky houses, particularly with those typical French mansard roofs, and a house I have always longed to see inside: we expect to see Monsieur Hulot emerge and do battle with the gates. (too vivid an imagination!)
We walked the length of the harbour, by which time the tide was even further out – this coast has one of the highest rise and fall of tides in Europe.
Superb blue sky charmed us all the way, and we were reluctant to leave, but hungry wurgles reminded us of lunchtime, and we drove home full of environment. We had surely picked the right time to go – it is now wet and gloomy again.