August 18, 2014

Normandy History And Restoration

Cathedral de Coutances

Cathedral de Coutances

On Friday I went to the cathedral in Coutances with a friend who is not only an architect, he is currently in charge of all the momuments historiques in the entire Auvergne region. Spending the day with him is like having a history, art and architecture professor at your disposal and I was more than happy to visit as many cathedrals, churches, abbeys and châteaux as he wanted.

We arrived under beautiful blue skies and thanked Mother Nature for giving us the chance to enjoy a day free of the drizzle and gray skies that decided to take their holidays in Normandy this August.
We walked around the exterior, snapping photos and admiring the Romanesque/Norman/Gothic facade. In the square in front of the cathedral we came across a series of photographs depicting the bombardment and destruction of Coutances during World War II. Seventy years ago, the exact place where we were standing was a giant pile of destroyed homes, businesses turned to rubble and pieces of the cathedral.
It was a sobering moment.

Never Forget

After the war the cathedral was painstakingly restored by Yves-Marie Froidevaux.
When you step inside and your eyes are drawn up to the light, the stained glass windows and the central dome, the amount of care that was given to bring it back to its former glory is unmistakable.

Looking Up

Cathedrale de Coutances

Cathedrale de Coutances

I'm sure that those poignant photographs will be stored away at the end of 2014, the year of the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the year when Normandy remembers its liberation by the allied forces. I can only hope that in the years ahead, when visitors come to experience this beautiful, delicious region, they will have read not only about Mont Saint Michel, Impressionism, Calvados and the cheese, but about the restoration of places like the cathedral of Coutances, the history and impact of the war, and will remember the atrocities that the French people suffered under the Nazi regime, so that it never happens again.

Cathedrale de Coutances



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7 comments:

Jenny P said...

What an inspiring post. I'm always interested to see the history of a city or town come to life. You did this so well with just a few photos. Brilliant.

Kurt M. V. Rich said...

Normandy is a tribute to mankind's resiliency. It's easy to say never again, then look at the destruction being wrought on religious and historical sites in Palestine, Syria, Iraq and afghanistan. It's easy to utter "Niemals" or "Ne jamais." Given the path of history, I'm not overly optimistic. We can, instead, pray for miracles.

Mardi Michels said...

Gorgeous photos Jennifer. What a sobering post too - being in France this summer and seeing all the reminders of the war was definitely food for thought. Lest we forget indeed....

Linda said...

Beautiful photos and post. Greetings from Montreal, Canada.

Wendl said...

Wow, what a fascinating day for you. I love the photos. We were watching a movie about D-day, and it talked about Bayeux. You are lucky to be living where there is so much history. Of course, not all that history is pleasant. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Greco said...

Jenny
Thank you!

Kurt
I don't believe in prayer, however I do try to stay positive about the future of humanity. Though it isn't easy sometimes.

Mardi
Merci. History can be very sobering! I just hope they continue teaching the young people...

Jennifer Greco said...

Linda
Bonjour and merci!

Wendl
You're welcome! Did you see Band of Brothers?
Come to Normandy and I'll show you around. :) xx