Sainte-Mere-Eglise, although it is not one of Normandy landing beaches, plays an essential role in the outcome of the Overlord operation. The city of Sainte-Mère-Église was one of the two main places for dropping of parachutists, having for objective to cut the German lines and to secure the ground until the arrival of troops from landing beaches.
Air forces being constituted of 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, you will find very numerous objects concerning them in museums and in various souvenir shops of these or others shops of the city. The bell tower of Sainte-Mère-Église always shows a dummy almost in its top, hung on by its parachute to the church bell tower. This dummy makes a reference to John Steele, parachutist of the D-Day remained hung on the bell tower by his parachute at the dawn of the landing on June 6th, 1944. John Steele‘s story and dummy making a reference to him at the top of the bell tower will often be the first thing looked and photographed by the visitors. Especially for people who, without being necessarily cinema enthusiasts, know and will remember themselves this event screened in: ” The longest day “.
Cult scene of this movie and of the Second World War fiction movies, John Steele, interpreted by Red Buttons, sees all his paratrooper companions be killed by the German soldiers before having been able to reach the ground. Besides the parachutist at the top of the bell tower, Sainte-Mère-Eglise offers a magnificent museum : The Airborne museum. You have to allow half a day to completely enjoy the city and parachutists’ museum.