Hello friends, today I am sharing with you what I got up to on my exciting week-long holiday and longed-for visit to my mum and stepdad, who live in Normandy, France. This is a trip I have had to cancel and change over three times now, due to France’s Covid restrictions, but finally in the second week of the school’s summer break I was able to go.
I drove straight from ‘The Manor’ in Kent (post) to Portsmouth, where I got on an overnight ferry to Caen and was picked up by mum, stepdad and the family poodle, Teddy the next morning. Over the week we planned a mixture of sightseeing days and quieter days, so we could spend some much-needed quality time together. Here are some of the places I got to visit:
D-Day Beaches – Part I
On my very first day, having arrived in Caen at the very early time of 06:45 (UK: 05:45), we set off for a sedate drive along the Normandy coast. Taking in the beauty of the vast, open coastline, as well as the poignant history. Our journey took us past the three beaches, codenamed: Sword, Gold and Juno, where British and Canadian troops landed as part of the D-Day Landings in WWII. We stopped off to visit the British Normandy Memorial, near the village of Vur-ser-Mer, and for a closer look at the striking remains of the Mulberry Floating Docks, in the seaside town of Arromanches-les-Bains.
Later the same day, we stopped off in the historical, picture-perfect Bayeux, the medieval town centre of which has cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and the towering, Norman-Gothic Cathedral Notre-Dame. It is also the home to the famed 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the infamous Norman invasion of England in 1066. After a spot of lunch, we had time to leisurely enjoy the town, cathedral, shops and see the tapestry, before heading to my family’s home.
Mont St Michel
Then on Thursday, we got up early to drive to the UNESCO world heritage site of Mont St Michel: a rocky tidal island, topped by a gravity-defying Benedictine abbey and place I was most excited to visit. We arrived by late morning, parked, and set off on foot across the bay to the island on an impressive boardwalk. Once on the island, we squeezed our way through the narrow streets and heaving crowds to a small bistro for lunch, before making the ascent up to the abbey to explore its labyrinthine structure and find out its fascinating history.
D-Day Beaches – Part II
Finally, on my penultimate day, we headed up the coast again to have lunch, take a dip in the sea, and take in more of the beautiful views and poignant history. This included seeing the two beaches, codenamed: Omaha and Utah, where American (plus I learnt some French) troops landed as part of the D-Day Landings in WWII. This included a stop off at the Utah Beach Memorial.
Wow, all in all, what an amazing trip to a beautiful and historically important part of the world, and to top it off spent time with loved ones and were truly blessed with fabulous weather too. I can’t wait to visit again, especially now I have got over the nerves and got the hang of the ferry.
Have you ever been to Normandy? Have you ever visited the D-Day Beaches, Bayeux or Mont St Michel? Please let me know in the comments below. I love to chat!