France
Bayeux

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57 travelers at this place

  • Day7

    Goodbye, Grand Britannia!

    June 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Alarm rudely going off too early, but necessary to make our 8:30am train from Saint Pancras. Though we were nearly entirely packed and I thought we had lots of time, we still ended up scrambling at the end. Grabbed an Uber to navigate us through early rush hour traffic.

    Wound through ticketing, security, exit control, and French customs. We had only a few minutes before boarding - glad I didn't go for my normal 'by the skin of our teeth' routine or it would have been really stressful!

    Left precisely on time for an uneventful trip to Paris in only about two hours. I'd forgotten how much my ears popped going through the Chunnel.

    Then it hits me...we left our iPad at our flat in London! :-( I text with our Airbnb hostess. The cleaners found it. She is willing to mail it to us. I do some Google searches and find a post office near our flat in Paris that she can send it General Delivery...fingers crossed!

    Paris was a sweltering 95 degrees by the time we arrived. We were greeted by college kids giving out free mini cans of alcohol-free, yet ice cold Heineken. Yes, please! Decided not to mess with Metro to transfer from Gare du Nord to Saint Lazare with the heat and all of our gear, relying on another Uber instead. Enjoyed gelato at the other train station, with plenty of time to loiter around before our platform number is posted.

    Upon boarding, we had the amusement of figuring out seats that were non-consecutive, appearing to have little rhyme or reason. Our seats, next to one another were 21, 23, 24 & 28, with 22, 25, 27, and 30 across from us. Then we sat. And sat. The conductor came on and made an announcement. In French only. The kind English women next to us translated that we would be delayed while they cleared a person off the track. Huh?!? A while later, another announcement. I look over and the ladies said another 15 minutes. We're now 30 minutes behind schedule. Not that we have to be anywhere by a particular time, but it's hot, despite the AC. After an HOUR beyond our scheduled departure time, we are finally off to Caen. Having managed only six hours sleep last night, I snooze on the trip over.

    Arrived at our stop and disembark to find another French city in the grips of the European heatwave. Fortunately, the rental agency is immediately across the street from the train station. Easy to get our car, but it is cooler on the street than it is in the rental office. Armed with a confusing little map, we attempt to navigate the two blocks to find the car park (along with other lost rental company souls with inadequate maps of their own). We have a white, manual transmission, diesel Jeep something or other. At this point, I don't care, as long as there is AC...

    Easy 45-minute drive to the adorable town of Bayeux - where Jessica and I stayed 22 years prior when backpacking through Europe. It has definitely grown up and seems more cosmopolitan, despite Wikipedia saying the population is essentily unchanged for 40 years.

    We find our flat - very different, but equally charming from our London one. Light and airy, with great cross ventilation, overlooking tennis courts. Fortunately, it is cooling off and tolerable now.

    Tom, Rowan, and I walk half a mile to the grocery store to stretch our legs after sitting all day, while Logan tried to work out a tech issue on his phone and the wifi in the flat. SO different than the British groceries. Trying to decipher signs in French and navigate aisles was challenging (how come Europeans don't refrigerate their eggs??) Eventually, we had provisions for an easy dinner, breakfast, drinks, etc. and back we went.

    Dinner, shower off the sweat, and then off to sleep, which was difficult, having lost an hour on the time zone change.
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  • Day2

    Bayeux

    August 7, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Bayeux is a really beautiful little town with a marvellous cathedral that used to display the tapestry once a year. So much history associated with this place - it was a joy to walk around

  • Day2

    Day 2 - Carentan to Bayeux, 40 miles

    April 17, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    After a great French breakfast in the B&B (I'm going to eat a lot of croissants, ham and cheese on this trip!) it was an early start in glorious sunshine to head round the Normandy coast visiting the historic sites from World War 2 and the D-Day landings. The highlight (not really the right word but I'm sure you know what I mean) was the American War Cemetry where over 9,000 soldiers are buried. Incredibly moving place and somewhere that really makes you realise how lucky we are.

    For anyone who has not been the Normandy coast is stunning. Omaha beach has to be one of the most incredible beaches I've ever seen. Goes on for miles with prefect flat sand. Crazy to think what happened there a little over 70 years ago.

    Today wasn't really about the riding or weather or anything else so after a very moving day I headed to Bayeux which turns out to be a beautiful small place with a large cathedral in the centre. Accommodation was in a lovely old house right in the centre of town. After heading out for a burger and a pint and turning down the advances of Nancy a 50 year old American tour guide it was time for bed.
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  • Day18

    Pontorson to Mont st Michel rtn. 21 km

    September 22, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    ...if you haven't yet been to Le Mont Saint Michel. C'est magnifique!

    Quite mind-boggling how they managed to build a whole little town on a piece of granite in the middle of the bay. Monks on top in the abbey, then the knights, then workers and pilgrims on the bottom. And they did a good job because the mont was never conquered during the 100 years war, despite a 30 year siege!

    We wondered how they got all the equipment and materials up here until we came to 'le roue grand' Six prisoners would walk inside this big wheel and supplies got hoisted up by a pulley. I wouldn't have minded a ride up that way...the old stairs got pretty steep near the top 😄.

    We arrived at the abbey just as mass was beginning and were treated to the nuns' angelic singing - wonderful. Intricate architecture and amazing engineering at every turn. Although they're set up to handle 3 million tourists a year with a dyke walkway and bridge, some still make the traditional pilgrim's trek across the flats at low tide.

    Over the years the bay began to silt up from human interference, so they quite recently installed a dam at the mouth of the river. They release the dammed water regularly to help flush the sediments out to sea, thus keeping Le Mont an island!

    Capped the evening with the local Normandie brandy (made from apples) - called Calvados. En Sante!
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  • Day19

    Friday... must be Bayeux

    September 23, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    A little train trip north, putting bicycles on and off with ease, and we're in the cute town of Bayeux near the D-day beaches.

    You know you're in tourist zone when everyone's French accent is as bad as yours. Quite a difference from the little French villages we've been in so far.

    Home of the Bayeux tapestry. Another incredible feat. Almost 70 m long chronicling the battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror became King of England. Daryl remembers learning in school that Harold (who broke his oath to William and crowned himself king) got an arrow in the eye. Sweet justice. Because of that lesson Daryl has never appointed himself King of Englsnd. 👑

    Walk of the town also on the agenda. The cathedral here is amazing. Ok...it's not on a granite island... but it's right up there with Mont St Michel and Chartres. Who knew we'd still be impressed with cathedrals 2-1/2 weeks in?
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  • Day430

    Day 431: Normandy & Bayeux

    April 21, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    More driving today! First stop was at the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, which are all along the coast of northern France. Although there's several of them, we stopped at Omaha Beach which was the most notorious - the one featured in the opening of Saving Private Ryan (though that was filmed in Ireland). There's a couple of nice memorials, but otherwise not much to see. Plenty of Americans around though, and lots of American flags too.

    Next stop was the town of Bayeux just nearby, home to the eponymous Bayeux Tapestry. This is the world's most famous tapestry, which ironically enough isn't a tapestry at all - it's an embroidery. It tells the full story of William the Conqueror's invasion of England in 1066, from the death of Edward the Confessor, right through the Battle of Hastings and William's eventual crowning. It's a fantastic source for medieval historians since it was done basically straight after the battle. Very artistic too, though you have to remember it is a piece of Norman propaganda and may not tell the full story! Interesting to see that Mont Saint MIchel makes an appearance as well!

    The whole thing is actually huge - it's only 50cm or so tall, but it runs for about 70 metres in length and takes about 20 minutes to see fully. You get an audio guide and walk slowly alongside it, listening to the commentary which was very well done. I quite enjoyed it!

    Since it was a warm sunny day and Schnitzel obviously couldn't come in the museum with us, we did it turn about so I had lunch while Shandos visited, and then vice-versa. Apparently we sat in almost exactly the same spot without realising! Schnitzel must've been very confused.

    Back in the car, where we drove a couple of hours east along the coastline to the city of Le Havre. This is a World Heritage town but one with a twist - it's listed for post-war urban architecture which is quite unusual. Will be checking that out tomorrow, but for tonight it's staying in and getting comfortable in another bachelor pad apartment!
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  • Day8

    Memorial de Caen

    September 4, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Sunday morning we walk uphill to the Memorial de Caen, which was imagined by the Mayor of Caen and built in 1988 on the site of a German bunker. It's extraordinary and we spend the entire day there. Beautifully designed and executed to tell the story of Western Europe from the end of the first world war in 1918 through and including the German occupation of France and continuing on through the Cold War. It is also a plea for peace. It leads us to much discussion throughout the day. It's both exhausting and impossible to forget. We stagger home overwhelmed by the images and the feelings they provoke. It's Sunday so almost all serious restaurants are closed. We share a beer or two at a local pub filled with locals. The vast is managed by a Brit from Oxford!! It's becoming very evident that France and England are deeply intertwined still as they have been since the time of the Vikings.Read more

  • Day8

    Local Color

    September 4, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Caen was bombed by the allies on June 7th. More than 20,000 citizens died as the allied troops chased the Germans toward the eastern frontier. Much has been rebuilt, so the streets are now a mix of old and new.Read more

  • Day10

    Bayeau

    September 6, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We arrived in Bayeau on Monday. It's closer to the beaches than Caen and will be our home for two nights. The hotel Villa Lara is lovely, right in the center of a very old village. The 11c Abbeye dee Bayeau is gorgeous and the few streets in town are charming. Bayeau was NOT bombed in the Allied assault in June since it contained no German troops or weapons. They consider themselves very lucky. Our guide says that the rest of the Norman peninsula was so heavily bombed that there were no leaves on the trees and no birds. It was silent after the trips moved eastward pursuing the tattered Nazi soldiers. She was born after the so has never seen a time when the trees did not have leaves. As with everyone we've met, the gratitude of the French people to the allied countries of the US, Canada and Britain is enormous.Read more

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Bayeux

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