La Roche Guyon

In November 1943, Field marshal Erwin Rommel and army group B were transferred from Italy to France and established their headquarter in Chateau La Roche Guyon, about fifty kilometres northwest of Paris. The castle belonged to the Rochefoucauld family and Rommel let the family live in the castle while the headquarters were located in the basement. Rommel’s main task was to organise and coordinate the defence for the Allied invasion expected in 1944. Rommel made several visits to the coast of northern France to get an idea on the spot. Rommel was convinced that the battle would be decided on the beaches where the enemy landed. Therefore, it was of the utmost importance to strengthen the defense of the coasts in order not to allow the enemy to gain a foothold on the beaches. As late as June 5, the day before the invasion, Rommel visited the beaches. However, the weather forecast for an invasion in the next few days were bad so Rommel decided to go home to Germany to celebrate his wife’s birthday. When Rommel was informed of the invasion the next day, he returned to France. Once back, he could state that the enemy had indeed succeeded in landing and established a foothold on the beaches. On July 17, Rommel was seriously injured when his car was attacked by a plane just north of Vimoutieurs.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2017).

Address: Rue de L’audience, 95780 La Roche-Guyon.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The rooms and corridors the Germans dug out of the mountain remain and can be visited. But the information is very scant, not to say nonexistent, about the role the castle played in 1944. But the spaces and rooms are open to visitors and the connection between the castle and the beaches in Normandy are indeed interesting for people with interest in the Normandy landing.

Follow up in books: Young, Desmond: Rommel: The Desert Fox (1950).