Celebrating Liberty in Caen

9th March 2018

With D-Day commemorations done for the day, Caen came alive on 6th June 2014 as the city came together to celebrate the liberty and freedom of peacetime.

My D-Day in Caen was drawing to an end. From journeying in from Ouistreham Port to walking tours and watching the commemoration ceremony, it had been a long day.

At times during the day, the tone was sombre and reflective, and rightly so. The gravity of the D-Day campaign had not been forgotten but by night Caen came alive to celebrate liberation.

The Caen Canal in 2014

Views along the Caen Canal at sunset from where the ex-Royal Navy boars were docked during the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorative week.

Celebrating the victory and freedom

Bars, restaurants, shops and houses on every thoroughfare were draped in the red, white, and blue of the victorious nations. With all respect paid to those who fought and died in 1944, Caen was ready to enjoy that hard fought freedom.

Live music blasted out from every nightspot. Old time swing and jazz numbers by the likes of Glen Miller echoed through the streets. Contemporary bands lent their own unique takes to the old favourites. A one-off D-Day beer had been brewed and was being served to locals, tourists and veterans in bars across the city.

Here’s to the Rifles

With many people reminiscing about the role of the Royal Ulster Rifles, I had chosen an Irish bar as my home from home. O’Donnell’s Irish Pub on Quai Vendeuvre had wholly embraced 1944.

Veterans of the Royal Navy

Three Royal Navy veterans reminisce about the Normandy campaign 70 years before in Caen.

The staff had dressed in khaki uniform with slick 40s hair to go with their usual slick and friendly service. A D-Day Quintet played out the big band hits of the era and the dancefloor filled.

Veterans from the Marines, currently serving paratroopers, tourists, families, locals, and history bloggers together. A group united and enjoying the peaceful times we live in.

Cheers Caen.

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