Anyone who has explored the beautiful back roads of Normandy will understand why Hitler’s tanks struggled there.
The roads and lanes of this historic area of north-west France are generally pencil-thin; more suited to bicycles than anything else; and bordered by tall, dense and tangled hedgerows.
As you pass through towns, the roads can sometimes be so narrow it feels almost possible to reach out and touch the buildings on either side.
Partly shaped by modern warfare, some of Normandy seem monotonously flat, with huge swathes of agricultural and grazing land, broken by church steeples rising above towns and villages.
As the centenary of the end of World War I approaches, we’ve reflected on our sweep through Normandy’s beaches, bunkers and cemeteries.
It was a stunning Spring day and the fields of yellow rapeseed, apple orchards and dairying land were a far cry from the region’s past military role.
Driving from Paris, we stopped first at Armien to check out the city’s famous cathedral, sitting on a ridge overlooking the mighty River Somme.
Built between 1220 and about 1270, the Gothic Cathedral is said to be the 19th largest church in the world.
From Armien, we pushed through the Normandy countryside to the cities of Caen and Rouen, before hitting the famous sands of Omaha Beach.
Caen has a popular museum dedicated to the World War II D-Day landings, while Rouen boasts prominent quays on the river Seine, an historic city centre, and magnificent gothic cathedral.
At Omaha Beach, we visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial high on a clifffront facing the British channel.