In this village, an American paratrooper got caught in the church tower during the night of 6 June 1944, marking the beginning of D-Day.
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The small village of Sainte Mère Eglise is known for being the first Cotentin commune liberated by American paratroopers. It was here that the Battle of Normandy began and is one of the most significant places in the entire area of the Allied landings.

Things to do at Sainte Mère Eglise

The image of John Steele, the American parachutist who got his parachute caught on the church tower during his jump on the night of 6 June 1944, has gone around the world and become a symbol not only of D-Day but also of the town of Sainte Mère Eglise.

But Sainte Mère Eglise is also a small Norman village full of charm, hiding a beautiful built heritage, consisting of old houses and farms dating back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, manors, fountains and wash houses. It also offers the pleasure of discovering the market of local products and handicrafts held every Tuesday in July.


1Rue Koenig, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église, Francia

On the night of 5-6 June 1944, several dozen American paratroopers were dropped over Sainte Mère Eglise. Private John Steel hung for two hours in the church tower before being taken prisoner by the Germans. However, he managed to escape back to England.

The story was narrated in the famous film The Longest Day and today the parachutist’s dummy watches over Sainte Mere Eglise from the top of the church, as an everlasting reminder of this crucial moment in history. The stained glass windows of the church are also dedicated to American paratroopers.

Airborne Museum

214 Rue Eisenhower, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église, Francia

The Airborne Museum is dedicated to the American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Terminal 0 marks the starting point of the Route de la Liberté and the route followed by General Patton’s 3rd Army to Bastogne in Belgium.

The museum houses an important collection of uniforms, weapons and other war relics. Visitors can see at close quarters the weapons used by American airborne units during the Second World War. The collection houses the famous Douglas C-47 troop transport aircraft (also known as the Skytrain) and a Waco glider, the only one of its kind in France. Since its opening in 1964, veterans have unceasingly donated wartime objects related to their individual experiences and have thus endowed the museum with a deeply moving human approach.

In June 2014, an extension to the museum opened its doors. The modern set design in a special area of the museum allows visitors to share and experience the feelings of those American paratroopers as if, for example, they were flying over the English Channel, squeezed inside the cabin of a C-47 aircraft.

Voie de la Liberté

3Voie de la Liberté, Sainte-Mère-Église, Francia

At the gates of the village, the Voie de la Liberté begins, the historical path marked by white military stones that follows the march of General Patton’s Third Army: it was created in 1946 as a tribute to the sacrifices of the men of the 3rd Army who had come to liberate Europe. The terminals of km 0 and 00 of this trail are located at Sainte-Mère-Eglise and Utah Beach.

This historical trail commemorates not only the Liberation of France, but also that of Belgium and Luxembourg during the Second World War. In fact, it is called Voie Patton by some, after the general at the head of the American 3rd Army who led Operation Cobra: he not only dealt with the breakthrough in Normandy, but completed his advance in May 1945 in Czechoslovakia at the crossroads with the vanguard of Soviet troops.

The stones marking the route are decorated with the flame of the Statue of Liberty.

Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin Regional Nature Park

4Maison du Parc, 3 Village des Ponts Douve, 50500 Carentan-les-Marais, Francia

If, on the other hand, you love nature and want to spend a few hours admiring it, the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin Regional Nature Park, a true natural paradise, begins just south of the town.

A thousand landscapes make up this little corner of Normandy. Between marshes, groves, ponds and heaths, the flora and fauna develop and diversify to the delight of nature lovers: an area with 4,600 kilometres of hiking trails . You can choose from 18 interpretive trails that can also be explored by bicycle, on horseback, on a donkey and even in a canoe.


In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

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Where is located Sainte-Mère-Église

Sainte Mere Eglise is a commune in the north-western French department of Manche, surrounded by the Cotentin marshes.

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