Blogs from Caen, Lower Normandy, France, Europe

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Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen June 4th 2019

Another peaceful night's sleep, with birds that awoke at a sensible hour too! The more we looked at the maps last night, and the info about the Dakota drop, the more convinced we became that we needed to be further South, nearer to Sanneville, if we wanted to see anything. So this morning, after a quick cup of tea and a wash, we headed for a picnic area right next to the drop zone shwnnon the website. Called at Hérouvillette aire again, hoping to fill up with water, but like the one we'd spent the night on, the borne needed jetons (metal tokens) which could only be bought from certain shops IN OTHER VILLAGES! One day all aires will have bornes which take plastic - but for the moment we'll just have to use our water ... read more

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen July 8th 2017

First stop is to sort out our tickets for the train to Caen. Much quicker and easier than we thought after fighting the internet earlier. Then off to visit the Catacombs. This time we had prepaid, fast track tickets which only involved a 30 minute wait rather than 4 hours. The Catacombs are the underground ossuary of Paris and has the remains of more than 6,000,000 people artfully arranged in layers of fibulars and skulls. This was founded in 1774 after a series of cave-ins and remains from cemeteries were transferred between 1786 and 1788. More were transferred later. This has been a tourist attraction since 1874. From here, we headed off to see Notre Dame. This is a beautiful gothic cathedral. Again a queue to get in but it moved quickly. During the French Revolution ... read more
Notre Dame
Pantheon

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen July 8th 2017

Caen is very different from Paris. Less hustle and bustle, everyone is really nice. First stop this morning was the laundrette. Easy, cheap and fast. While we waited had a coffee at the coffee shop next door. Asked for a latte and cappuccino- got one black coffee and one topped with sweetened whipped cream. Caen is a port city in the Normandy region. The Chateau de Caen is across the road from the laundrette and was built by William the Conqeror around 1060 prior to his invasion of England. He also built 2 great abbeys (men's abbey and women's abbey) which gave birth to the city of Caen and was the heart of the "Norman Empire" The chateau was destroyed in the French Revolution and then by the bombing in WWII. The remains of William's original ... read more
Street markets Caen
Caen marina

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen June 6th 2016

Today was spent more in the Utah Beach and airborne operations area. Today is the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landings, and the entire area buzzed with the activities of tourists, re-enactments, and a few surviving veterans. As opposed to the charnel house that was Omaha Beach, Utah Beach was much more easily assaulted. In the assault at Omaha, there were scenes such as that when Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division (a Virginia National Guard company) came ashore and within minutes had suffered 96% casualties.(The city of Bedford VA, home of many of these soldiers, now is the site of the US National D-Day Memorial - Bedford lost 22 young men in that first day of action on the continent, proportionally higher than any other community in the USA for the duration ... read more
Utah Beach
Higgins boat
Mannequin of John Steele hanging from church gargoyle in Sainte-Mere Eglise

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen June 5th 2016

On June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious invasion of all time landed on the Normandy coast. The landings, codenamed Operation Neptune (as part of the larger operation to liberate France known as Operation Overlord), involved some 7000 ships, landed some 150,000 men (roughly half American and half from Commonwealth countries) with their immediate supplies, and included air cover by thousands of Allied fighters and bombers plus the transport aircraft that carried the paratroopers (the invasion was immediately preceded by the drop of the British 6th Airborne Division and the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions). By the end of the day, the Germans had suffered about 1000 casualties, while the Allies had suffered about 10,000 casualties, 4, 414 confirmed dead. The only woman to land on D-Day was Martha Gellhorn, a celebrated war journalist and at ... read more
Ox and Bucks veteran at Pegasus Bridge
Pegasus Bridge
Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen March 29th 2016

Billets achetés le 12 mars pour un départ le 29... Cette année on part pour le Vietnam! Voyage un peu à préparé à l'arrache ou pas beaucoup préparé mais c'est bien aussi comme ça! on est en train de préparer les sacs à dos, le matériel électronique, on a des photocopies de tous les documents nécessaires. bref c'est chaud! Départ demain de Roissy pour Ho-Chi-Minh-Ville avec escale de 3h à Dubaï sur Emirates. Sac à dos quasi terminés...toujours au dernier moment 😉 Depart prévu 13h00 de Saint André pour Mareuil Lès Meaux pour déposer Jango chez son tonton et sa tata et surtout sa cousine Jenka puis bus de Meaux vers aéroport Charles de Gaulle. Envol prévu à 21h50!... read more

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen May 23rd 2015

Friday 22 May 2015 Seventy-one years ago the Allied armies were preparing to land at the Normandy beaches only a few kilometres from where we are staying. It is hard to believe the turmoil that would be unleashed on such beautiful countryside. Today the weather is fine, the fields have been planted in summer crops of grain, corn and broad beans. They look lush and sway in the light breeze. We wondered if this is how it would have looked all those years ago. Our destination today is the Caen Memorial Museum. We were greeted by a larger than life American sailor embracing a local girl, a sign of happiness and relief perhaps. Inside a very large bunker -like building we are greeted by a light welcoming feeling. Without any questions being asked we are charged ... read more
Lion sur Mer, Sword Beach
Arromanches
American Military Cemetery, Omaha Beach

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen October 4th 2014

Normandy France from 27 Sept to 1 Oct We arrived at the Paris Nord train station and after ferreting the info on where our car hire place was, we found it and all was ready for us. With 2 GPSs (one built in the car and ours), Tom drove out of Paris. It certainly reminded us that we did the right thing last time we were in Paris, last year with Kerrie & Gemma, when we left our motor home in Versailles. It was bumper to bumper for 45 minutes. You have to make sure you drive confidently and while in Paris do what Parisians do, and that is, don't hesitate. We arrived at our hotel in Pontoise which was 30 kms out of Paris and on the way to our first tourist stop - Rouen ... read more
Normandy Memorial Museum Bayeux France (4)
Normandy Memorial Museum Bayeux France (5)
Omaha Beaches Normandy France - Vierville-sur-Mer - American memorials (18)

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen February 25th 2014

Le départ approche, la tension monte, les filles dorment mal la nuit... En gros le stress est là... Vivement le départ que toute cette tension retombe!! Cela fait 3 mois qu'on prépare ce voyage, la 1ere semaine est calée : Samedi 1er et dimanche 2 mars : Kuala Lumpur, histoire de se mettre un peu dans le bain puis dimanche soir on prend l'avion direction Langkawi une ile au nord ouest de la malaisie, où nous passerons la nuit. Lundi matin, speedboat direction Koh Lipe, une petite ile thailandaise ou nous resterons jusqu'au jeudi 6 mars : Farniente, Snorkeling et plongée... Puis jeudi, retour sur Langkawi pour la journée et le soir avion pour Penang. Nous y passerons au moins 2 jours. Il est ensuite prévu un passage par les Cameron Highlands et Taman Negara ... read more

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Caen November 21st 2013

I'm writing this post really late... several months after having been there, so I'll probably have forgotten a few details. I think my best contribution with this post are the photos that I took and edited. I didn't have the best weather during my short stay in Caen, so I didn’t really get to do all that I wanted there. Besides, I wasn't able to find a car to rent and moving around in public transport between villages is pretty difficult, especially if you're on a time frame. So, first tip: if you've been planning to get here for a while and really want to get the most out of your stay, rent a car or book tours way in advance. While I was there I decided to do the “Band of Brothers tour” (based on ... read more
German Battery, Langues-sur-Mer
American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer
Pointe du Hoc




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