By Motorhome to France, Spain & Portugal - 2014 travel blog

Main Street

Burnt Out House & Car

The Church


Memorial Plaque

Snowdrop Woods

After the hilarity of last night it was back to Earth with a bump this morning. We moved Elsie, the motorhome to the car park at the memorial centre, a monument to the martyrs of Oradour. In June 1944 a unit of the German Waffen SS troops surrounded the old town of Oradour, rounded up all the men, women & children & simply slaughtered them without any justification whatsoever. Then they set fire to the buildings & tried to burn all the bodies before burying them in a mass grave. Some women & children were trapped in the church & the troops tried to burn them out & then tried to blow up the church & destroy the evidence.

In all it is believed that 642 people died that afternoon, 197 men, 240 women & 205 children.

They destroyed or burnt 328 buildings after looting them. It was a terrible massacre & General DeGaulle ordered that it remain as it was on that day as a reminder of the atrocities committed in the war. The empty shell of the building with it's smoke blackened, collapsed walls & rusting remains of the cars, bicycles & other machinery is very moving & not unlike, in atmosphere, the Auschwitz concentration camp that we visited last year. An air of desolation, silence & reverence hangs over the remains of the many buildings.

A very moving visit & we returned to Elsie feeling pretty somber as we left the village behind drove North again.

The weather brightened & our spirits rose with it. We came across several groups of men in fluorescent jackets, mostly accompanied by little white vans. We'd seen one such group yesterday & one of the men had a curly French horn hanging round his neck so I assumed that they were fox hunting. As we passed one group this morning they waved us to slow down & pointed into the adjoining fields where we could see some dogs running along the hedgerows. Didn't see any horses, just the men, their white vans & the dogs. We just got past the dogs & I was speeding up again when big black boar ran across the road about 100 yards in front of us. I presume that this was what they were all hunting. The boar disappeared into the undergrowth & hopefully the dogs never found it. Judging by the number of hunting groups we passed along the way this morning it is a popular pastime in this part of France.

We stopped at a camp just outside Tours called La Ville aux Dames which sounded nice, to me anyway. We had a late Sunday fry up before going for a walk in the nearby woods by the side of the flooded Loire river. The whole place was carpeted with snowdrops, never seen so many before. We met a man there as we were searching for a geocaches & we got talking to him & explained what geocaching was. It turned out that he worked for the local TV company & thought that geocaching would be an interesting feature for their viewers so he asked us to meet up with one of his colleagues in Tours tomorrow morning to record a piece. We were intending to look for a couple of caches on our way through Tours anyway so we arranged to meet up with his colleague by one of the bridges there.

Mileage to date - 4250

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