France
Normandy

Here you’ll find travel reports about Normandy. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

207 travelers at this place:

  • Day135

    St Michael's Mount

    October 19, 2017 in France

    This morning we walked about 6kms from Penzance to St Michael's Mount, a small tidal island in Mount's Bay. The island is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. It started out as a reasonable-looking day and progressively deteriorated into a windy rainy one. By the time we walked back across the causeway anything not covered by our raincoats was drenched! We dragged our dripping bodies into a warm dry restaurant and filled our stomachs - always a good solution. It was a great walk a fun as well!Read more

  • Day3

    Warmer in Honfleur

    May 17 in France

    190 miles today. It started really cold so we wrapped up and left the hood down Mandy looked... well wrapped up!. Lots of motorcyclists passed us on their way to Le Mans for the motto GP - we will be passing Le Mans tomorrow. We crossed the Seine on a lovely bridge at La Havre then dropped down into Honfleur - a warm sunny and stunningly pretty town. Thanks Gay and Christine for recommending it! On our walk we came across a barge being painted blue. Take a look at the photo of the man working on it.
    Honfleur is quite touristy but not too busy... We found an interesting large wooden church....I've never seen such a big wooden structure.
    Stopping for a beer we met a group of English cyclists from the BASCC they have ridden 171 miles in 4 days so far this week and are having a great time. They are all either in or retired from the army. Hope you make it home safely guys!
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  • Day4

    Alencon

    May 18 in France

    Changed plans for today as everything booked up by motorcycle fans coming to the Le Mans GP.
    Before we left Honfleur we had a last walk down to the harbour to eat Pain au Chocolat and drink our 4.80 euro a cup coffees! So it was at 11am before we set off to fill up with petrol where we met a group of English classic car owners. We were charged over £130 to fill up the tank at the automatic pump then some time next week we will get a refund of the difference between what it actually cost and £130 which I think is a rip off. I hear Asda UK are going to try the idea 😀
    Now we are in Alencon 85 miles from last nights stop. The centre of town is quite pretty but we found nearly everywhere closes early on a Friday which is weird. However we did find a nice market and a really good Algerian restaurant where we had a great meal.
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  • Day44

    We were lucky to see a Flowers of Memory ceremony in which French children were putting flowers on the specific graves of servicemen they’d “adopted”. Our national anthem was played on bells—we’d never heard it that way before and it was very moving! The atrocities the French suffered are still remembered, as well as their gratitude to the Allies for their freedom.

    The children also visited a site where the cemetery overlooks a D-Day Landing area at the base of the hill.Read more

  • Day4

    Normandy

    June 16 in France

    We had breakfast at McDonald’s today. As sad as that sounds, it was interesting to see America’s version vs France’s. They really don’t like ice here. They think it’s a rip off because you get less drink, but we also have bigger cups and free refills. So I’ll let you decide which deal is better.

    We headed to Normandy which was a short drive from the hotel. We went through the Bunkers, saw the mortar holes, and went to the memorial and cemetery. I didn’t have the opportunity to learn the depth of what happened there in school, so it was harder for me to grasp the insanity of it all than for my family. It was a great experience however to be able to see where such an important part of history took place.

    Afterwards, we went to Sainte-Mère-Église (that’s French for “the church where this guy named John Steele’s parachute caught on a spire and he had to hang there for two hours playing dead so the Germans wouldn’t shoot him”) and did touristy things and ate a light snack. That snack was a waffle topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and ice cream. Their whipped cream is called chantilly and is the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Cool Whip could never.

    Now we’re eating dinner at another place on Main St. in Bayeux. I had spaghetti. It was pretty good but the diabetes waffle filled me up so I didn’t eat much. We’re going to bed early tonight because we’ll be leaving early in the morning for La Mont Ste Michele.
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  • Day4

    D-Day

    June 16 in France

    This will probably be my favorite day. We are going to the beaches of Normandy, D-Day memorial and the American cemetary.
    But first, we stop for breakfast. It's McDonalds for convenience sake. We got our first look st the kiosks that will put teenage kids out of work in a few years. The problem is, they reduced the counter help and the ones preparing the food.
    We stopped first at the batteries in Lounges-sur-Mur. The 155mm guns had a range of12 miles and wreaked havoc on ships off of Omaha and Gold beaches. June 6, 1944 was their last day of operation since the British obtained the surrender of the guns the morning of June 7th.
    Next we went to, in my estimation, the most significant place in history, short of of Calvary. The American Cemetary and memorial overlooking Omaha beach. It was such a moving experience to stand on the same soil where so many men made the ultimate sacrifice. I was disappointed to find out that we were not able to go down to Omaha beach itself. I overheard that the steps have been closed off for about two years.
    The memorial itself was great. So many informative videos, timelines, and stories of different people.
    And the cemetery itself made it all worth the trip. I can't express it in words.
    We then headed to the village of Sainte-Mere-Eglise. Hours before the main invasion on D-Day, over 13K paratroopers dropped in behind enemy lines. Many were dropped away from their intended drop zones and some of them were in Sainte-Mere-Eglise. German troops were waiting for them and many were killed before they ever hit the ground. One was John Steele, who's parachute was caught on the balusters of the church in the middle of the square. He hung there for several hours pretending to be dead. The church has a mannequin hanging from a parachute to assimilate what it was like.
    The stained glass in the church pays homage to the events of D-Day and to the paratroopers that helped liberate them from Nazi occupation. One of the windows shows Mary surrounded by paratroopers.
    The town itself is more commercialized than what we have seen so far. Lots of little shops selling military memorabilia.
    For lunch, I went into a patisserie and bought a baggett and butter and washed it down with
    water. Kroger's deli doesn't have anything on this place.
    Our last stop of the day was at Pointe du Hoc. A German battery built on high cliffs south of Omaha beach. It is most impressive because it has been more preserved than other sites. The craters from bombs dropped by planes and shells from battleships are deep and to numerous to count. You can tell where some of the heavily fortified bunkers had direct hits and huge blocks of concrete weighing tons were strewn about. It just happened that the battleship USS Texas participated in that attack. The USS Texas currently sits in a Houston ship channel next to the San Jacinto monument, which we visited with the kids and my sister several years ago.
    We had dinner in Bayeux again. I had a pizza. I'm getting better at ordering in French. It is here I am reminded of Europe's aversion to ice. I just don't get it.
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  • Day47

    This Benedictine Abbey is dedicated to St Michael, the archangel. It is an island, connected to the land when the tide is out. It was a Sunday, so lots international bus tours and other people were visiting the area. They get many more during the middle of the tourist season. We used the Park & Ride system and the shuttle dropped us off pretty close. We walked up through the village of hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops that have been there since pilgrims started coming. About 26 people live on the island, running the businesses. Great views from on high.Read more

  • Day5

    Mont-St-Michele

    June 17 in France

    Mont-St-Michele is going to be a great place to visit, but it will be even better because both of my kids will be with me for father's day for the first time in 4 years. Michelle and I always enjoy that, regardless of what day it is.
    Abbie got me a watch with a picture of the two of us after our sky diving event. She also had the back engraved with "You Are My Sunshine," our song together. Adam sent something to the house but it arrived the day after we left so father's day is going to stretch out for me.
    Mont-Saint-Michel is an Abbey built on a massive rock island just off of the coast into the English channel. Construction began in the early 10th century if not before. Some say it originated in the 1st century. By the 15th century, the Abbey and surrounding village had taken up every inch of the island.
    After the French revolution, when the religious community was dissolved, the Mont was used as a prison and it easily thwarted several military attacks, and once look at it, you can easily see why.
    It is the most amazing man made thing I have ever seen. This scene is the kind of place that theme. parks try to mimic. The main path up today is modern with restaurants and retail, but I can imagine how that same market place must have looked in past centuries.
    The walk to the top was quite physical, but well worth it. If Michelle and I are ever fortunate enough to return here, we will spend the night in one of the hotels beneath the Abbey so that we can experience it without the crowds. That would be my one complaint. The tour buses are flowing through here, but with good reason. If you stay overnight, after the busses leave, you are still able to tour the place, minus the Abbey, with more solitude. I will end this note like I started it. It was amazing.
    I'm amazed at how this edifice was made with no modern equipment. One of the coolest things about this place is the contraption that was built to move food and supplies up to the prisoners. It was basically a hamster wheel that people would walk in, and a mixture of wheels and pulleys would move a giant sled up and down the side of the Abbey wall.
    We left here in the late afternoon and drove several hours to a town called Amboise a little south of Paris. It seems every little town in France is just as cute as can be. We're checked into the Novatel, which appears to be fairly new and headed out for dinner. The city center is just off the Loire river and the architecture of the old buildings here are pretty cool.
    When I picture what it is like eating in France, this is it. Small restaurants lined up along a narrow road with people eating outside in conversation. We ate at L'Ambacia and we all had fish and chips except Adam. It may be the best meal I've had yet. After we stopped in for some gelato before we headed back to the hotel for some badly needed rest.
    Tomorrow...Chateaus!
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  • Day44

    Omaha Beach, Normandy

    June 14 in France

    “No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty first.” (Quoted from the stone monument on the beach.) This D-Day Landing site is also commemorated by the metal sculpture, “The Braves”. We imagined the hardships the servicemen had landing and making it up the hill behind the beach. Overwhelming how so many lost their lives in the first 24 hours!

    We stopped in the little town, Vierville-sur-Mer, and bought apple cider and calvados, which the business owner makes himself. There were some WWII pictures on the outside walls of the shop. One was of nurses who were shipped in to care for the wounded children, something we don’t usually think about.Read more

  • Day43

    Driving North, we happened to see a sign for an American Cemetery and Memorial, so we stopped to visit it. It was beautifully landscaped, and had a lovely chapel, with maps of the battle lines inside in both French and English. It was very moving.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Normandy, Normandie, Normandia

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