La Petite Chapelle Saint-Michel…perched high on a rocky spur near the town of Mortain in Normandy. What makes this little chapel so special and worth a visit?
- Once you’ve walked along the peaceful path, enclosed in some leggy trees (good for hide and seek), you reach the small chapel and from it you have panoramic views across Normandy and over to Brittany.
- Yes, on a clear day you look right up the straight road to the coast and to the magical silhouette of the Mont St. Michel.
- Inside there are some lovely stain glass windows…including one of Saint Michel.
- The chapel is a good place to stop and remember that it was on this site in August 1944 that a fierce battle was fought between the Germans and Americans (the 30th Infantry Division who were heavily outnumbered). After six nights, the Americans won.
- The battle of Mortain marked a key failure of the Germans to counter the American breakout, consequent to Operation Cobra.
- Author J.D. Salinger, then a member of the 4th Infantry Division, is believed to have been at the battle of Mortain as his unit was briefly attached to the 30th Infantry Division. Perhaps the themes of alienation and rebellion of Catcher in the Rye…were inspired by this? But perhaps not…another excuse to re-read it I think…and another good literary link (Salut!)
More reading…via the 30th Infantry…