The Beauty, The Battle & Bayeux


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Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Bayeux
September 16th 2009
Published: September 16th 2009
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The Serenity is Captured.The Serenity is Captured.The Serenity is Captured.

Monet's front Porch
Leaving Paris was not easy, but nonetheless part of the plan. We had entered this marvelous city under the cover of clouds and rain and would leave it the same way.

Fortunately for us all the days in between were warm and sunny. Our last hotel was directly across from the train station that would deliver us to our next destination. We boarded the nearly empty train which left promptly on time and deposited us in Evereux only one hour later. From there we rented a car and began the next chapter of our journey….to Giverny; for the home and gardens of Monet and then to Bayeux, near the area where the D-Day assault began.

Giverny was a delight to say the least. Our one night stay there found us in a beautiful bed and breakfast where the hosts showed us to our room on the third floor. The inn was on several wonderful acres that were home to unusual occupants. Their property housed ducks, kangaroos, ostriches, llamas, and pigs. We were happy to learn later that these animals were pets and would not end up on the menu.

We toured the home of Monet and his gardens,
Are you an artist?Are you an artist?Are you an artist?

Does this scene make you want to paint?
which were luxuriously decorated with wonderful flora. We were pleased to find that the gardens and lily ponds we still in bloom this time of year. Many copies of his works were in the house. We were somewhat surprised that many of the works he had collected in his home were of Japanese artists from many centuries past. We wandered through this historic village and were enchanted by the surroundings. We stopped by the local church and saw Monet’s grave.

Back at the inn, we were served an excellent dinner outside in the company of Connie and Mary Jean, who were taking a side trip after having spent a few days in Paris after attending a wedding in England. We found them to be excellent dinner companions during a meal that found us enjoying Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon.. Several hours of good conversation later we retired to our room and enjoyed the delicious serenity the countryside has to offer.

The next morning we breakfasted with all the guests of the inn and then proceeded to make our way to Bayeux. Navigating the French roads proved to more challenging than originally thought as we have not learned
Monet's Lily PondMonet's Lily PondMonet's Lily Pond

Was this the inspiration?
how to read all of their directional signs. We had the option of a GPS device, but had passed. A GPS unit would have allowed us to arrive much sooner to Bayeux, but then again we would have missed the lovely town of Liseux. We stopped for a nice lunch where the waiter turned out to be our personal French instructor. We enjoyed him immensely. Before leaving Liseux we went through the Basilica that was built to celebrate a local Saint named Theresa. We were taken by the size and grandeur of this building which was built from 1929 to 1937.

We next became temporarily lost in Caen, which is just to the east of our destination. We took time to enjoy take a quick peak at a cathedral and a fort. After a stop at the local tourism office and were on our way. After negotiating the tiny one way streets of Bayeux, we arrived at our hotel, which turned out to be a fine respite for the next four days. If you head to Bayeux we highly recommend staying at Hotel Argouges.

Bayeux is a lovely town, beautiful French architecture and flower boxes in most
Giverny- our B&BGiverny- our B&BGiverny- our B&B

Moulin De Chennevieres-- we recommend staying here.
windows.
We spent a couple of days walking the streets, exploring the shops, and sitting in pubs watching everyone walk by. It has a cute little tourist train that drove around the streets of the city. It looked pretty hokey but we decided to ride it anyway and had a big time. Each town, village and city has as a center piece a square with a cathedral. The one in Bayeux is lovely. The exterior is currently under restoration. The inside was charming.


An hour and a half drive to the southwest allowed us to explore the famous Mont St. Michele and its breath taking environs. For many centuries it has been an abbey, a church, a fort, a jail and a monastery. And now it is a very popular tourist destination in northwest France. We were lucky enough to arrive on Sunday morning and attended a portion of the mass in the cathedral. The service was in Latin and the nuns sang lovely; you might say it was angelic. The acoustics in this building are amazing. From the top of the monastery you can see for miles, this is a photographer’s dream. When the tides are low it allows you to hike out to a nearby island. We’re certain it is a great view. We saw several groups having a picnic out there. Mont St. Michele is well worth the drive in the country.
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Angeline, who arranged our trip, mentioned the Battlebus tour in Bayeux to us before we left town. Since Dave is a WWII buff he wanted to absorb as much history as he could while we were near the beaches of Normandy. We must admit that we were a little hesitant to sign up for a formal “bus” tour. Our fears were quickly relieved. If you get to Bayeux, the Battlebus tour is a must!!! Please request Dale as your guide and you will have a phenomenal day.

Dale is an amazing guide and most of all a “storyteller”. You are captivated from the first story and it does not end until 9 hours later when the tour ends. MJ had concerns about the trip as she is not a WWII history buff. Dale kept our attention the entire day. He interwove facts and figures with personal stories. He showed pictures of specific men who had participated in the war and
The American GraveyardThe American GraveyardThe American Graveyard

Many young men lost their lives fighting for world freedom.
told their stories. Dale tells stories so that your emotions are involved. You feel as if you are there at the battle. His knowledge of this war was amazing and he knew which parts to share. We have now walked the beaches of Utah beach, Omaha Beach and been to the American cemetery. We started our day in Angoville-Au- Plain in a small church that was turned into a battle aid station during the war. Dale told the stories of Robert Wright and Kenneth Moore and of the bravery and hard work that these men displayed in keeping the young men alive until a doctor arrived.

The towns and villages in this region remain quite grateful of their liberation from the Nazis in 1944. Many have spent their own money for memorials and each year on June 6th there are remembrances, parades and celebrations in many towns. For those of you who believe that the French do not like Americans, you need to visit this area where they are appreciative of the efforts of Americans, Brits, Canadians, and other British Commonwealth nations who gave their lives so that they might be freed from over four years of Nazi occupation.
Downtown BayeuxDowntown BayeuxDowntown Bayeux

A cute french town.


We absolutely enjoyed this part of France and its graceful beauty. The scenery and history combined to make our stay a most pleasant one.

But now…..on to Belgium for beer and mussels!



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Our B& B in GivernyOur B& B in Giverny
Our B& B in Giverny

A peacful setting
Giverny, FranceGiverny, France
Giverny, France

Village streets
A French HomeA French Home
A French Home

Loved and well cared for over the centuries.
Back yard at B&BBack yard at B&B
Back yard at B&B

Giverny, France
Farm animalsFarm animals
Farm animals

At our B&B in Giverny
The basilica at LiseuxThe basilica at Liseux
The basilica at Liseux

Very ornate cathedral built in honor of St. Therese, a local saint.
Cathedral in CaenCathedral in Caen
Cathedral in Caen

Every city, town and village has a place of worship. The bigger the town, the bigger the cathdral....


16th September 2009

It was a pleasure!
MJ and Dave - It was a pleasure to meet up with you in Giverny! I'm glad to read about your travels beyond Giverny. Thanks for sharing with Connie and I in that beautiful slice of heaven in Giverny!!!
26th March 2010

Normandy
Hiya! I was there in Nov/Dec 2008 and it was decidedly grayer but just as pretty... Looks like I'll be pulling out of SYR in late April for a long drive... Hope you are well. M-
28th March 2010

Good hearing from you
Hi Mel, I've wondered what you were up to and where your travels have taken you. We continue to travel -- we are going to Italy in September.

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