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Not trying to stir up envy but…

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We're just back from a lovely stroll and lunch in the sunshine on the beach at Ouistreham Riva Bella. Our first summer day out, and fingers crossed it won't be the last.

As and when "normal service is resumed" and Normandie once again delights to welcome day-trippers and weekend breakers, can I share with you our latest discovery. Coquillages & Co is the archetypal beach bar, Norman style. [Nothing like the high-priced Mediterranean rip-off places]. A warm welcome and cold beer combined with a simple menu.

It's a few minutes walk to the west of the Free French memorial, past the casino and hotels. Look for the Poste de Secours and you've found it.

When we are all finally liberated from confinement, curfew and quarantine, if anyone fancies a beachfront beer or two, this would be an ideal rendezvous. And the view just happens to include some of our favourite ships!

Following the boardwalk back to the town centre brings reminders that this is not simply a holiday resort; this is Sword beach, where British, Canadian and French troops gave their lives to liberate Europe from hatred and terror. Those remembered on the beachfront signs include members of the Kieffer Commando, the elite French force of French volunteers who were among the first to fight their way ashore. Among them was Jean Létang, killed when a bullet hit grenades on his belt. He was just 23.


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