Head west on N13, pause in the town of Carentan to admire its modern marina and the mighty octagonal spire of the Église Notre-Dame, then continue northwest to Sainte-Mère Église. At 2:30 am on June 6, 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division was dropped over Ste-Mère, heralding the start of D-Day operations. After securing their position at Ste-Mère, U.S. forces pushed north, then west, cutting off the Cotentin Peninsula on June 18 and taking Cherbourg on June 26.
German defenses proved fiercer farther south, and St-Lô was not liberated until July 19. Ste-Mère's symbolic importance as the first French village to be liberated from the Nazis is commemorated by the Borne 0 (Zero) outside the town hall—a large dome milestone marking the start of the Voie de la Liberté (Freedom Way), charting the Allies' progress across France.
Saint-Mère Eglise, 50480, France