After a week in Brittany and two days in Normandy visiting the D-Day landing beaches, museums and Bayeux, we decided to visit Pegasus Bridge on our way back to the ferry port in Caen, and dropped in at Madame Gondree's cafe. And we were so glad we did! This is such a special place and an important part of our history. My father, a Para, had visited some 20 years earlier. The cafe itself has almost stood still in time and contains interesting memorabilia on the walls, one of which is a moving poem by a girl whose Para father did not return from the war. We bought a card and posted it in the English letter box in the cafe and enjoyed the home made soups and coffees, but best of all was our chat with Madame Gondree, who oozes charisma and most importantly brings her family and the Para history to life. To be told that we were sitting at the table where her mother had had to serve the German soldiers and the difficult time her family and other people in the village had had during the war was very moving. Her father spoke English and was able to help Major Howard after their landing and the cafe was soon turned into a hospital to treat the injured soldiers. Madame Gondree also told us about the old roads leading to the chateau and village and the modern changes to the bridge and the other side of the canal, which had been much wilder before. We walked across the bridge and took in the views and saw the swamps near the canal and imagined the gliders coming in from across the sea. Sadly we ran out of time to visit the local cemetery and visit Lieutenant Brotheridge's grave and memorial. We'll be back soon I am sure.
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