Day 4 – 12 Apr

Day 4 of the Liberty Road. We rode through the following cities and towns along the Liberty Road:

  • Étampes liberated on 22 August 1944
  • Fontainebleau liberated on 23 August 1944
  • Épernay liberated on 28 August 1944
  • Reims liberated on 30 August 1944
  • Valmy liberated on 30 August 1944
Les Fresques de Bel Air

Welcome to Bel Air! No, this isn’t some Richy-Rich residential neighborhood near Beverly Hills, California. This place is much more interesting.

These post-war government housing buildings have been transformed…

In 2008, city-endorsed artists transformed these apartment buildings into something unique…

…and exciting!

Each of the separate buildings have a theme.

The Labyrinth of the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Chartres.

The colors of the building complimented well with the surrounding, well-kept, landscape.

The stain-glass windows of a church were represented on the sunrise side of this building:

Hanging put with the local baker! For anyone who loves murals and street art, the Fresques de Bel Air is a excellent stop.

In the afternoon we arrived at the Château de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France.

Château de Fontainebleau

This palatial estate stated as a royal hunting lodge in the Roman times.

Statues reminiscent of that era provide a reminder of its past.

There was a large amount of construction going on. I imagine it must be a never-ending process when you own a French castle.

Inside the garden area, named The Garden of Diana, is a unique fountain…

…of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. This is a replica since the original was moved to the Louvre Museum in Paris in the 1600s. However, it’s not necessarily the Roman goddess that makes this fountain unique – it’s the…

…the peeing hunting dogs that surround the statue! Their somber faces would indicate they aren’t too pleased to be permanently mid-pee.

Although, we didn’t have time to walk through the rest of the palace, we did enjoy walking around the buildings and park areas…

…where swans swam along the green-algae filled pond.

It was a nice sunny day and the sounds of kids laughing and playing could be heard nearby. The Château de Fontainebleau was definitely worth the stop.

Liberty Road

The ride continued on with these roadside borns marking the way, nearly every kilometer.

We took a break to get some pictures of us and the mules passing by the borns.

I was surprised to see a windmill that would be perfect sitting in the plains of the western United States.

Passing by small French town with majestic central churches.

What is this? A French school, named after an American President, with a unique WW2 history.

Lycee Roosevelt

The flags of the UK, USA, France, and the Soviet Union fly to remind everyone of the historic event that occurred here in the early morning of May 7th…

…where German delegation, led by Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, the representative of Admiral Karl Donitz (successor to Adolf Hitler), signed the document on behalf of the German High Command, effectively signaling his country’s unconditional surrender and ending the war in Europe.

The letters above the school entrance read “It is here that on 7 May 1945, was signed the act that ended the Second World War in Europe.”

A small museum occupies a room explaining the historic event that occurred here in at 2:41 AM, May 7th, 1945.

Celebrating the end of WWII was a fitting way to end our 4th day of the Liberty Road.

More tomorrow on Day 5

2 Comments on “La voie de la Liberté (Liberty Road) – France

  1. Who was the General that returned to France many years later. Was asked to see his passport? And replied that the last time he was in France there was NO!
    FRENCHMAN TO BE FOUND?

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