The journey home begins.
Before we leave Île d’Oléron I donate our dodgy beach chairs to a family behind us with kids saying ‘seulement pour les enfants sur le plage’. As we leave we notice the kids are already sitting on them! Beach chairs are back on the shopping list.
We are heading east towards Oradour-sur-Glane, through the Cognac region where there are vines everywhere. We’d never heard of the place ahead of our trip but we met some Brits who told us to visit if we were in the area.
We are staying in the local Aire for free. It’s huge, overlooking the Sports center but exposed. It’s going to be another hot one.
Sandwiches for lunch sitting on the edge of a picnic bench clinging on to a bit of shade and then we are off out. It’s about a 25min walk uphill of course in the scorching heat of the afternoon.
The memorial starts with a museum which we visit. This gives the history of what happened in the village on the 10th June 1944, four days after D-day, alongside the history of both the rise of Nazism in Germany and WWII in France. An eye opener to me at least about Vichy France.
Out of the museum and into the original village. It’s basically a permanent memorial, unchanged since it was destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. 643 of its inhabitants were massacred by a Waffen-SS unit. Only six people survived. The houses and businesses are shells as the whole village was burnt down after the atrocities.
We walk back into the new village, rebuilt alongside the original after the war. A quick visit to the church and then onto the main street where we buy bread and have a beer.
Back at the van it’s a little cooler so we sit outside where T does a bit of stargazing before bed.