Following My Father's Footsteps In A 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Martyn Goddard

We drive about 110 miles through rolling, beautiful terrain from Mortain to Nonancourt. It's 8 p.m. when we pull into the park. A sizable World War I memorial, like many we've seen, has an appended plaque listing locals who died in World War II. The river that runs behind the park becomes a canal in the village itself, which is all old-world charm and narrow streets. While we're setting up for a photo, a group of young people wanders over to check out the flashy American car. "Quelle marque est votre voiture?" one guy asks. "Cah-dee-ahk!" I reply, and he nods with approval. "Hello -- beautiful car!" says another bystander.

Dinner is in a restaurant bordering the town square and facing the church. The sanctuary doors are locked but we stand in the entryway and, for the first time, we're certain we're walking in RJD's exact footsteps.

It's nearly midnight as we approach Paris. As the A13 dumps us onto the western edge of the Peripherique, the Eiffel Tower suddenly looms large, sparkling with a million pinpoints of light, and our spirits are lifted. We've got another two hours of driving to our hotel in Lille, but this is when a grand touring coupe like the CTS-V comes through: the Recaro seats give fantastic support hour after hour, and it's always nice to have 556 hp on tap, even though the French police have become notoriously hard on speeders and we're running at only about 130 kph (80 mph).

6 September 1944: As we moved toward the Belgian border, our march was the most enthusiastically received of any, and we disposed of all the cigarettes, crackers, and what have you in our possession. Everyone in the country seemed to be lining the roads. Once in Belgium, we were set up in a huge wood in Antoing, on an estate which boasted a very old and very huge castle and fort. I met a count and countess of Belgium.

(Right: Omaha Beach memorial)

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