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“Very Sobering” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge
Avenue du Major Howard, 14860 Ranville, France
02-31-78-19-44
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Private Tour: Normandy Landing Beaches...
Ranked #3 of 3 Attractions in Ranville
Type: Bridges, Historic Sites, Landmarks
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Attraction details
Owner description: A recreation of the original bridge captured by the British from the Nazis towards the end of World War II, located on the grounds of the Pegasus Memorial.
Sherborne, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Very Sobering”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Very interesting museum, a very humbling and solemn reminder of so much given by service men from all over the world. A great tribute to all that never made it home.

Visited October 2012
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
545 reviews 545 reviews
204 attraction reviews
Reviews in 148 cities Reviews in 148 cities
244 helpful votes 244 helpful votes
“A moving experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

The bridge is not the original one from June 6, 1944 (that is located nearby at the museum), but it is still something to walk across the river, unlike the British paratroopers who landed nearby who had to run. The bridge is featured in the movie, "The Longest Day" and it was filmed here on location. You will not believe how close the glider came to their objective, this in a day without GPS or smartphones.

You should really take a walk across the bridge.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washago, Ontario
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“We loved the Gondree Cafe experience...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

As a visiting Canadian and friends of a 90 year old member of the liberating force that night the cafe and Pegasus Memorial near Ranville (plus the Ranville Cemetery) was an emotional experience. My wife and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary at Madame Gondree's cafe. The food was great and Madame Gondree charming... an absolute delight. She takes no nonsense from those who are not respectful and who take pictures inside her cafe but her warmth for our friend whom she remembered well and toward us was lovely. Her family's history at that site is of legend. Ask a member of or historian of Brit 6th Airborne or Canada's One Can Para unit and you'll understand her family's sacrifice and her appreciation for the British and Canadian liberators.

Visited September 2012
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Guernsey, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Pegasus Bridge - What should I see ?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

For those unfamiliar with the Pegasus Bridge story it is part of the great British airborne landings on the night before D Day. Pegasus is the most famous as it was the site of the 'coup de main' party to grab the bridges crossing the Orne river and canal and deny the Germans the chance to interfere with the landings on the morning of 6th June. To do the Major John Howard and a reinforced company of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry landed just after midnight in six gliders and stormed the bridges, with daring speed and panache and held onto them, against heavy odds and snipers, until relieved. So what of this famous story can be seen today, and if you have a short time like a couple of hours what can you do ?

The answer is in four simple steps, each will give you part of the Pegasus story. This comprises of visits to the gliders landing grounds, Pegasus Bridge cafe, the museum and Benouville church.

Firstly on arrival a the small town of Benouville try and park to the west of the bridges so you can approach on foot (its easier said than done, but worth the effort). If you de-bus and walk on the south side of the road heading eastwards towards the great bridge itself you will find the last building before the bridge is Pegasus Bridge Cafe.

Still retained in its original wartime condition, bar the bits and bobs hanging on the wall that have been left by returning soldiers, this tiny cafe is a time capsule in itself open from April until late September it is run by the truly wonderful Madame Gondree. As a four year old she was held in her mother's arms as the british broke through the dining room windows to make them the first family liberated in France. Here is a great chance to take a coffee or have a light lunch or snack and soak yourself in the history all around you. Don't take pictures inside the cafe though as that is not appreciated, if you are going to buy a guidebook - then do it here. This little privately owned cafe struggles each year to keep its doors open to welcome the public and the shrinking band of veterans that make the return each year.

After your refreshments (and staying on the south footpath) cross the bridge, the tired original was replaced in 1993 by the current sympathetic larger replacement. On the other side you will find three markers in the long grass near the bridge together with a bust of John Howard on a plinth. The markers represent the landing places of each of the first gliders touching down at 12.16 on 6th June 1944. You will be astounded how close they landed in the dark (Leigh Mallory, head of the airforces on DDay, said it was the most remarkable piece of flying in the whole war).

If you turn to look back at the bridge now you will get the exact view the British troops had that night nearly 70 years ago.

When you have had a little time to take in this quiet spot, disturbed only by the road traffic, make your way back to the road and opposite you will see the new airborne museum.

Created by the veterans association in 2000 it was opened by their Col in Chief (Price Charles) and depicts the story of the bridge, the airborne troops and the battle of that area - with very many original artifacts from the time. In its garden at the rear is a replica Horsa Glider (similar to those used on the night so many years before) and next to it sits, resplendent, the original tired bridge having been moved only a matter of yards from its original site. You can even walk over the bridge and observe some of the shell and bullet holes which bear silent witness to the bitter fighting that night. The museum will take you an hour to do it justice and you would be forgiven for thinking that you have now seen the Pegasus story, however there is - if you have time - one last thing to see.

If you cross back over the bridge using the north footpath you will come to the tow path on the west bank of the canal, walk up here for about seven minutes and you will observe the spire of a church on your left hand side. You'll shortly come to a path that will lead you west, away from the tow path and up a gentle slope towards Benoville Church, here lies the last part of the Pegasus story.

Amongst the grave stones, towards the back of the cemetery and near the large tombs of Madame Gonree's parents lie a row on English gravestones with the names and numbers and regiments of those who fell taking and defending the bridge, including the medic and the padre of the unit. Most people miss this little place, an few brave englishmen is a small french grave yard - not part of the well know military cemeteries dotted along the Norman coast line.

Probably one of the most well know British military stories of D Day still holds a few surprises even for the most robust historian.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Poingnant reminder”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

We especially liked the small cafe by the bridge, which has become almost a shrine to the surviving men who took the bridge and also the men who still fight for us today. It is run by the little girl who was liberated all those years ago ( now a very well preserved old lady) who serves lovely home made meals and speaks impeccable English.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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