.All Trips / Europe / France

A visit to Normandy: exploring the D-Day beaches

D-Day Beaches 2013-001a intro

True to its history, our visit to the coast of Normandy was cool, windy and wet — but that’s how it’s been for thousands of years.  Many an armada was delayed in leaving or landing on these shores because of inclement weather, including the D-Day attack which had to be postponed one day to June 6, 1944 because of poor weather conditions.

We spent two days exploring the D-Day sites, not an exhaustive visit but enough time to gain a perspective of the region you can’t get from books or films.  Our goal was to see the different fronts of the invasion and gain a first-hand understanding of the scale of the largest naval assault in world history.  And we came …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

A visit to Normandy: Bayeux — a tapestry, cathedral and D-Day

Bayeux 2013 001 intro.  waterwheel

Bayeux is in the heart of Normandy, a town with a rich history that currently is best known for its ties with World War II.  Bayeux was the first non-coastal town liberated, one day after the D-Day invasion (“D-Day plus one”), but remarkably was spared the bomb damage which devastated so much of Europe (thanks to pleas from its clergy to the Allies).  It’s an excellent base from which to explore the D-Day beaches and other war-related sites but even without its D-Day ties, Bayeux is a worthwhile travel destination. The old town has retained an enchanting medieval character with its famous cathedral at its core; this cathedral was inaugurated by William the Conqueror himself, a native of the region, in 1077 …

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.All Trips / Europe / France

A visit to Normandy: magnificent Mont St. Michel!!

Mt. St. Michel-2013-001 intro

As we drive through the pretty farmland of Normandy, with its pleasing apple orchards and pastures dotted with sheep and dairy cows, it’s easy to forget this region’s turbulent past.   Normandy’s geography, situated on the stormy Atlantic coast not far from England, put it in the path of repeated war and conflict dating back to the days of William the Conqueror (who was born here).  More recently Normandy was the site of the largest naval invasion in history, but more about D-Day in a future post.

Today’s destination is Mont-Saint-Michel and its iconic abbey, perhaps the most photographed in the world.  As we leave the expressway we finally see the silhouette of the Mont in the distance. …

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