Blogs from Lower Normandy, France, Europe

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Europe » France » Lower Normandy July 13th 2019

We began our day at 5:00 a.m. in order to get a taxi that would take us to a meeting point near the Arc de Triomphe for our Normandy Excursion. What we thought would thought would be a small group of eight soon looked like 20 or more, but we soon found out there were only 8 people on each individual tour. Luckily, we were among the first there, so were assigned to the first tour out. Our guide, Tej, was knowledgeable and friendly, and provided excellent narrative as we left the bustling Paris for more rural Normandy. He has lived in Thailand and Colombia, in addition to being a hang-glider and father of twins. He once biked a continuious journey across continents that took 5-1/2 years to complete and is fluent in at least four ... read more
German bunker
American Cemetery - Normandy
American Cemetery - Normandy

Europe » France » Lower Normandy June 24th 2019

Our second full day in Normandy was spent visiting several of the D-Day sites. This was, of course, made more special by the fact that this was the 75th Anniversary of the landing on the beaches. When I was in Normandy over a decade ago, I visited the American Cemetery, but had not gone to any of the other sites. The best way to visit these places is by car; public transport keeps your time schedule too limited and most of the tours are rather expensive and give you very limited time at each place. We began at the Omaha Beach Memorial. Above the beach stands a monument to the US Infantry while down on the beach itself is the sculpture Les Braves, honoring the hope of changing the future, the call to stand against inhumanity, ... read more
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Mont Saint-Michel June 21st 2019

Our Grand Tour continued from Germany into France with a very early morning train. Things were going quite well until our first of three trains was delayed by about 40 minutes, causing us to miss our connecting train to Paris. A word of warning to anyone traveling by the Deutsche Bahn: delays and late trains have become more and more frequent over the last few months. Allow for disruptions to your journey! Thankfully, we were able to be rebooked onto the next train - though there were no seats - and made our connecting train in Paris which took us out to Caen in Normandy. The next morning, Dad and I went to pick up our rental car and begin our first day trip to the Abbey on Mont Saint-Michel. This island fortress is a UNESCO ... read more
Mont Saint-Michel
View upwards on the terraces
On the terrace

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Cherbourg June 6th 2019

Last evening we dined with our friends Chris and John at Barfleur. They have been touring - we were on the same ferry out by chance ! A good evening. Met up with a large American group from Brooklyn - the father (94) was 19 on D Day and was on the landing craft. Today we spent the day at St Vaast la Hogue with John and Chris, weather warm and sunny, an excellent lunch and lots of chats. They gave Gill a beautiful hand painted card (by John) of an Avocet, such a lovely touch ! Back to Anse du Brick, packing up, tomorrow we are booked on the ferry leaving at 3.30 pm. We’ve enjoyed the trip so much but it will be good to be back and catch up with family and friends ... read more
Ile de Tatihou
On our walk
Decorated roundabout

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Lisieux June 6th 2019

We had a really good peaceful night on the Aire at Dives sur Mer. Lots of motorhomes but not a sound other than the birds and the river Excellent value for 6€ (and that was only for filling up with water - actual overnight was free! First stop today, Super U for a list of things we'd run out of, and some main-meal ingredients to last us til we cross the water (after which we'll be at Tony's brother Andy's for a couple of nights). By the time we came out of there it was lunchtime, so since there was no café or bistro we snacked in the van, then headed to Lisieux to fill up the LPG at LeClerc's. Very confusing, as the whole car park/fuel area seems to be "protected" by 2.7m height barriers, ... read more

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Cherbourg June 5th 2019

On site, heard aircraft over head! Hercules and Osprey from the USAF. We decided to nip over to the airport near us to see if there were any more aircraft over for the D Day celebrations. Yes ! 2 Spitfires and a Dakota ! Great to see !! Went round to the airport proper where the C130s were and one of the aircrew gave us a badge. Spoke to one of the 67 SOS airborne division as he was preparing for his drop over St Germain.... read more
C47 Dakota at Maupertus
Two Spitfires
Dakota

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Dives-sur-Mer June 5th 2019

Reasonable night's sleep, but of course this IS a picnic area by a fairly busy road - one which never really fell silent. A bit more coming and going during the morning, but by lunchtime the place was starting to fill up with people from all over Europe. We spotted number plates from UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Czech Rep, and Poland. First, a random Spitfire went through its paces.Then, a display by French paras, jumping with WW2 round 'chutes from several squadrons of aeroplanes. Some that looked like C130 Hercules, others (I think) C160 Transall. Plus the odd Dakota to whet our appetites for later.Bit of a delay after these warm-up acts (which the Brits and French will doubtless both blame each other for), so the main event was much nearer 19.00 ... read more
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Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Cherbourg June 4th 2019

So we said au revoir to Antony and Jolande after being shown around their half built new home. Next stop Le Mans. But incurred a problem with the Kia - loss of power whilst on the autoroute. Rescued by autoroute recovery. Caravan attached and finally ended up at the Kia garage in Vizeron - and after a few hours problem solved. The nearest campsite was at Salbris where we had the unfortunate incident of being robbed three years ago ! Anyway, beautiful evening. We now have to travel over 300 miles to get to L’anse du Brick near Cherbourg. So up early, arriving safely at 3.45 pm. Last stop as on Friday we head home. Lots of traffic about due to D Day 75 anniversary on June 6.... read more
All set to go to Kia at Vierzon
View from our pitch at Salbris
One friend

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 » Mont Saint-Michel June 4th 2019

Tuesday 4th June Having received advice from the host at my gîte last night, I decided to get an early start to visit Mont St Michel before the crowds – and what good advice it turned out to be! I headed off at about 7.30am and arrived at the parking lot at Mont St Michel about an hour later. I was just in time to catch a shuttle bus immediately, and having arrived at Mont St Michel, had time for photography and a leisurely walk up the back way (avoiding all the shops) to the abbey just before it opened. Consequently I was only in a bunch of about 30 or 40 people going through the abbey. I hired an audio guide gadget, which was great as it explained the history and architecture. Mont St Michel ... read more
View of Dinan Port from the Viaduct
Le Menhir du Champ Dolent
Dinan




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