Dives-sur-Mer Things to Do
This building, also known as the Lieutenance from the days in the 19th C, when it served as the Gendarmarie, has undergone many changes since it passed into private hands in the 1920s.
It is now a commercial building with shops and once had a restaurant. But as a listed historic building it is protected from any development that would substantially change its appearance.
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Another thing to look out for on the Heritage self guided walking tour around the old town. To follow the whole route is about 3km. An English language Print out is available from the Syndicat d 'Initiative
A particular style of architectecture developed and became very fashionable all along the Normandy coast, specially in the area that we now associate with the D-Day Landings. Even if you have yet to make your first visit to Normandy if you have seen WW2 films or documentaires about the Landings you will recognise the style at once - tall, gabled, timbered effects - some artistic flourishes and embellishments.
They looked grand, middle class places only well off people could afford. Many became hotels and lodging houses as working people took advantage of the railways and they too wanted a holiday at the sea side.
Les Bossettes is in a way a microcosm of that era, Built in 1903 and originally known as Villa Rottenburg after its German owner it has now been turned into apartments for holiday makers - like you or me.
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This church, originally founded in the 11th century, was for some time a centre of Christian Pilgrimage.
The story goes that some fisherman found in their nets a wooden statue of Christ without the Cross.
An ubeliever amongst them hit out at the figure with an axe below the knee - from which blood immediately gushed forth.
Three years later a Cross was washed up by the sea that exactly fitted the figure of Christ - thus creating a relic for pilgrims and leading to the establishment of the Church.
It was subsequently enlarged thanks to the patronage of William the Conqueror but
Pilgrimages ceased after the relic was destroyed in a fire. However the stained windows of the church retell the legend started by the fishemen.
I had visited the church previosly when restoration work was underway - further restoration is again to be undertaken.
Above the porch is plaque bearing the names of the 476 sailors and archers who accompanied William on his momentous journey in 1066. This was placed there in 1862 but the names are too high and too small to be seen clearly. However I have seen a facsimile of the entries and it was interesting to trace the origins of many now familiar English names.
On a literary note the church is said to be the model for the church at Balbec in the novel "A La Recherché de Temps Perdu" by Marcel Proust, who wrote part of the book while staying at an hotel in nearby Cabourg.
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