The city of Caen pulls out all the stops for D-Day

As the Normandy region prepares to celebrate the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the city of Caen unveils its memorial arsenal and is prepared for the expected wave of tourists.

Veterans, heads of state, politicians, associations: everyone will be on deck for D-Day, the whole region is ready to do its duty of commemoration. Although the city was 80% destroyed by Allied bombing, Caen has no symptoms of a short or selective memory. The city will remember its martyrdom but also its reconstruction: its dark days had a bright future.

 

From June 6th, 44 ....

 

The landing on the beaches of Calvados and Manche has just taken place. The next objective of the allies is to capture Caen, a strategic city then occupied by the Germans. The 716th Infantry Division and its armored asset Panzerdivision hold the city in a vice grip. The British face German resistance around Colleville-sur-Orne and try to destroy the bridges in vain. The shelling first hit the Saint-Jean, Saint-Julien and Saint-Louis districts. The allies continue their assaults all night and hundreds of civilians die on this fateful day where the city remains under the Nazi banner. Thousands of Caen residents are fleeing or taking refuge in high schools and 87 resistance fighters are executed in the Caen prison. A week after D-Day, the fire station, the bell tower of St. Peter's Church and 20,000 inhabitants survive in an agonizing city.

 

... to July 19, 44

 

It will take more than a month for the allies to take the city in flames. Operations Epson, Charwood, Goodwood are a desolation for the city that is crumbling under the bombs, tanks and cannons. At the height of the battle, July 7th, 7000 tons of bombs fall in one hour. The outcome is disastrous: 2000 inhabitants were killed, 75% of the city is destroyed. A six-week battle that leaves the city gutted and decimates the ranks of the Anglo-Canadian forces.

 

Customized commemorations

 

Then the city of Caen will be on all fronts to celebrate its history and its rebirth for peace. An 18-minute sound and light show on the facade of City Hall and a striking exhibition in the downtown streets will showcase the before and after appearance of the disfigured city. Ceremonies will pay tribute to soldiers and civilians and a celebration of the liberation of the city, in two stages, left bank and right bank, will host balls. The gardens will become memorials offering flowers against the war. And ships of the Royal Navy will hoist flag.

The city of Caen, a must summertime stop, will be a stronghold of the festivities.

 

The housing solution in Caen

Smartappart opens its second residence hotel in Caen.

Starting in late May, its extremely centrally located furnished apartments, close to the landing beaches, will welcome you for your tourist or business trips. Studio, deluxe studio, and one-bedroom apartments are an economical alternative to hotels.

 

Related reading:

- You were born on D-Day in Normandy? Your testimony is precious

- D-Day 75th Anniversary: Taxi Charity for Military Veterans to Carry British Veterans

- The Ouest-France newspaper mobilizes for D-Day with its series "War in the eyes of the Normans"

 

Photo credit: Flick R / by PhotosNormandie

Aerial view of Caen being bombarded - June 6, 1944

4 - 17/05/2019