Sainte Mère Eglise
Situated on the main road between Paris and Cherbourg and only 7 miles from Utah Beach, Sainte Mere Eglise was one of the most important strategic points that had to be captured by the American Airborne troops prior to the Naval landings on June 6th, 1944. Due to bad weather conditions many paratroopers were misdropped that night and those that landed in the town centre had more to contend with. A house in the village had caught fire and the local German garrison had been turned out to watch over the French inhabitants who were putting it out. Landing in the middle of this chaos led to heavy fighting which continued until the early morning when the Germans retreated from the village. Despite repeated counter-attacks up to June 9th to try to recapture the village by the German forces they were unsuccessful and the town remained in American hands.
Today you can still see the XII century church, now a familiar symbol of D-Day as the place where one man, John Steele, was to become one of the best known figures of the invasion after he was unlucky enough to get caught with his parachute stuck over the church bell tower. You can also still see some of the bullet holes left in the local houses after the fighting and will be able to visit the Airborne Museum there, one of the best D-Day museums in Normandy.