Blogs from Upper Normandy, France, Europe


Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Jumieges August 1st 2019

Doug was barely 19 when he landed on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944 - D-Day. Hazel was 16. Doug had been training in England for the previous few years along with the ever increasing numbers of allied troops prepping for the inevitable invasion of France. No one except the top brass knew when or where. Doug ended up stationed in Bournemouth. Life in Bournemouth - as in all of Britain and most of the world - was not easy during the war - food, clothing and essentials were rationed / families torn apart - Hazel spent many hours in long queues hoping that 1) there was something left and 2 ) that it was something her family needed - bombing raids had started in September 1940 and while London was the target of most raids ... read more
At the garden fence.

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Rouen June 29th 2019

On the way to Rouen we discussed what year we were there before. Had to be a few years back. A good run again with a few coffee stops for nature calls. We arrived late afternoon in Rouen and of course at the wrong place. We finished up in the middle of town at a bus station blocking traffic. LIz went to ask and found straight away a person that spoke English. When Liz was back she could explain where I had to go next. We5 had to turn than follow the Seine and we would find it. He said look for a big building. We found it and could park the car underneath. Quickly installed there was time to go out and see what there was to eat. The receptionist told us about some restaurants ... read more

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Giverny June 17th 2019

Today we arranged for a private tour of Claude Monet's former house and gardens in the village of Giverny, located about 50 miles northwest of Paris. Our driver for the day, Philippe Coste, an associate of Serge Molho whom we'd met two years ago, picked us up from our apartment at 9 AM. After some traffic congestion leaving Paris, we reached the former home and gardens of Claude Monet (1840-1926), the revered painter and founder of the French Impressionist movement, around 10:30. Once we left the Paris metropolitan area behind, the drive through green countryside and small villages was very scenic. When we arrived at the Fondation Monet, operated by a private, non-profit organization, the ticket line stretched for 150 feet! So we stood in line for about 45 minutes before gaining entrance, but the wait ... read more
Claude Monet's garden
Water lily pond
Claude Monet's garden

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Montivilliers June 8th 2019

Combining these two days, as we spent Friday on the campsite, mostly watching "Storm Miguel" out of the van windows, as it continued its exploits of Thursday night. Sad news from home, that three lifeboatmen had been killed on a shout for a fishing boat in trouble with the storm. Apparently the lifeboat (the old one I think) capsized. No mileage, and no exciting activities. Slept well both nights, except for the noisy weather! But Saturday has been much more interesting, as we've headed closer to Le Havre. Lots of evidence of damage to trees etc, as we headed first to Honfleur and later to Fécamp, just to look around. Sadly neither place is brilliant for motorhomers nowadays - both have large Aires, but not conveniently placed for short daytime visits, and we're barred from parking ... read more

Europe » France » Upper Normandy May 27th 2019

How did I get in to this? In 40 days, my wife, Susan and I will leave for an entire year of travel. We’ve always done some amount through all the years of working, raising kids, paying bills, coaching sports and trying to find a few extra dollars to spend on a get-away. None were very long, what with the demands of work. Now that we are retired, we’ve taken progressively longer trips. Our last, to Croatia and Italy, lasted six weeks. Towards the end Susan asked me, “Are you ready to come home?” “Yeah,” I said. “Not me,” was her response. She delighted in the sights, food, people and blessed relief from our country’s internal turmoil. After our return, Susan was on the phone with our daughter, Erin. She was facing the coming year without ... read more

Europe » France » Upper Normandy May 6th 2018

Wednesday, 25 April – ANZAC Day Centenary Dawn Service, Villers-Brettoneaux 1am is a horrible time to get up, but it was a necessary evil to make the dawn service. It was the big Centenary celebration – the 2nd biggest Aussie pilgrimage behind Gallipoli – and we’d been told that security would be tight and that if we aren’t in and seated by 4.45am, we would miss out. By 1.20am we were hooting along tiny French lanes to our parking area, followed by a pleasant 1.7km walk to the memorial site. All you could see on the road was silent pilgrims making their way to the hill. The fields surrounding the monument lay cold and silent in darkness, hoarding their secrets and bodies from the past. Security was tight but we were seated by 2.45am. Thankfully, the ... read more
We laid flowers
The walk back to our car after the service
The view from the Australian War Memorial tower

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Dieppe April 16th 2018

Wednesday 11th April We left home on Tuesday and stayed overnight at the Horsley campsite. It is described as being set around a lake but in reality it is more like a large pond. The amount of rain however meant that each pitch was a small lake in itself. We arrived late afternoon and this combined with the miserable weather meant we didn't venture out to explore the area. We left the next morning in thick fog. As we got closer to the south coast, the fog cleared and the sun came out. We stopped off in Brighton for a walk and lunch on the beach before heading on to our campsite at Seaford. Brighton was busy with holiday makers and french students. We first stayed at the Buckle caravan site at Seaford in 2013. I ... read more
the Avenue Verte
Honfleur harbour
The wooden bell tower of St Catherine's

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Neufchâtel-en-Bray April 15th 2018

It was the day before our trip and it was my last day at work. There is always an air of expectation as I count down the last minutes to leaving the UK. I wonder what I have forgotten to pack or that something will go wrong. I did the last minute shopping, said our goodbyes to family and thought so many things to do and think about. I wonder what the traffic will be like tomorrow as we drive down the M1 and the M25. Will we get a good run at the tunnel? I never sleep well . There are always too many things on my mind. Eventually after much tossing and turning I see the cold grey morning light filtering in through the windows. As I open the curtains I see rain. It ... read more
a misty view across from the campsite
The river that runs by the campsite St Claire
The countryside around Neufchatel en Bray

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Giverny August 14th 2017

When planning a trip to see the house and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny, it is definitely best to buy the 10.50€ tickets online a day or more ahead of time. You can print them yourself, or if you don't have a printer available like us, you can pick them up at any fnac outlet. With advance tickets you can ignore the 1 to 2 hour lineup and walk straight in through the Advance Ticket and Group Entry. You can reach Giverny from Paris by train for 14.70€ from the Gare St Lazare station. We rode on the 8:19AM train, choosing forward-facing seats upstairs on the right side for the best views, arriving in Vernon at 9:05. Right outside the station door you will have various shuttle se... read more

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Dieppe June 4th 2017

A few years ago Dax and I went to a town in the South of France called Dax, just because of its name and because we thought it would be fun for Dax to have a photo with the town's name sign (I mean, every reason for traveling is good, right?) That photo became popular among our FB friends and one day, one of our closest friends told us that there is a town in France called Dieppe, which is interesting as his surname is Dieppa so we said 'let's go there so you can also have a photo of your name-town'... and so we did! Taking advantage of yet another bank holiday in UK, we left on Saturday morning and came back on Monday afternoon. Due to this bank holiday, the channel tunnel was quite ... read more
Dax in Dax
Dieppa in Dieppe
Normandy lanscapes

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