Normandy: Exceeding all my Expectations

I just got home from a lovely weekend in Normandy with my program, so first off I’m really tired so please forgive me in advance. But, I had pretty low expectations: I figured it would be rushed visits to a million super touristy spots, bad food, bad hotel, bad weather… the whole deal. But everything was wonderful! Here’s a brief summary of the events of the past two days, photos to follow!

SATURDAY

7:00 AM Leave my house, yikes. Get on a bus bound for Normandy with a lot of other sleepy students.

11:30/12 Wake up in Bayeux, home of the famous Tapestry depicting the Normands conquering England. I listened to the French audio guide (go me!) and understood it all! My 9th grade world history teacher would be so proud of me for remembering and seeing it in person! Before we saw the tapestry, we ate lunch in small groups where we pleased. I had a crepe with lots of cheese MMM.

2 pm Leave for the American Cemetery and beaches. This was really moving– something anyone who ever has the chance to see it should go for. The lawns were so pristine, the graves so ordered and systematic; the entire place was so peaceful and serene. There were also a lot of American tour groups there. Add to that the fact that the cemetery is technically American soil that was given to our country by the French after the war, it pretty much felt like I was in 8th grade again on my class field trip to Washington DC. Except way better. We went down to the beach and in the beautiful sun all of us were so happy, just beaming to be in such a lovely place.

3:30 pm Head to the Point du Hoc memorial– similar and close by, but a very different landscape. The ground all nearby this memorial has remained untouched since the war, so it is covered in hundreds of craters from bombs going off and damaging the earth. The memorial was to honor American soldiers that had somehow scaled a nearly vertical cliff face in their ascent to aid the French. Wild.

7:30 pm Arrive at our hotel– a Best western, I might add, in a little town near Mont St Michel. We dropped our bags in our cute rooms and headed downstairs for a yummy dinner in a beautifully decorated dining room. After dinner, we walked around town a little bit, but the only thing we found by 9:30 was a kebab joint that swore they were closed. Well, too bad– we all went to bed around 10:30. Sorry I’m not sorry, I was tired.

SUNDAY

8:30 am Breakydoo! A gigantic beautiful spread of French continental breakfast. Breads, yogurts, cheeses, meats, coffees, teas, hot chocolates– goodness I was in heaven. It was nice and leisurely too! We ended up leaving the hotel around 9:30 to head to Mont St Michel, which we climbed and toured until 12 when we departed for the next stop.

1:30 pm Arrive in Saint Malo, a darling little coastal town that you would think, by the palm trees and seaside shops, that it was in the south of France. Delicious burger (sorry I’m not sorry) with friends in an open air cafe, exploring the regional specialties in all of the souvenir shops, getting ice cream and walking along the seaside ramparts taking in the view— what a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

4:40 pm Get on a TGV fast train at the Saint Malo gare bound for Paris. Sleep, take in the scenery, think about all the things that had been seen in the past two days… And arrive in Paris at 8 pm!

…I promise the pictures will come soon, but don’t you totally understand now why I’m so wiped?

ps. I have my first exam Tuesday. AHHHH!

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About nbrouder
I'm a senior at Bates College getting ready for thesis and the real world!

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