Saturday, November 6, 2010

Normandy + Paris

I haven't been in a writing mood lately but I really want to re-cap my amazing weeklong trip around Normandy with my parents.  So this post will be mostly pictures.

Sunday morning in Paris, walking to Gare du Nord

I went to Paris on Saturday for a day on my own in the city, and I stayed at a really neat hostel right at the bottom of Montmartre, with a view of the Sacré Coeur.  Met a bunch of interesting people.  A nice start to my vacation.

Sunday morning I went to CDG airport to pick up my parents!  It was so nice to see them, and I couldn't wait to show them all around France.
Fancy Starbucks salon!

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor - looks like the one-man-band is on his break

Lovers' locks on the bridge

Me with my Starbucks fix at the Louvre
We took it easy in Paris for a day before heading out on our tour of Normandy.  On Monday we went to Evreux and I showed them around my little city... and Tuesday we picked up our rental car (quite an ordeal in itself - one of those "Oh well, we're in France" moments) and set off!

Somewhere around Louviers
 Our first destination for the week was Le Mont-St.-Michel, on the border of Normandy and Brittany.
There it is!
It was beautiful.  Quite a sight to see from far away, but also amazing when you're actually on the Mont and looking around the abbey.  I wish we could have stayed overnight on the Mont because I've heard it's a whole other experience when the tour groups have left for the day...  Maybe next time.
Ma famille :)

The Cloister on the Mont

Sunrise on the Mont (careful, there's sheep!)
On Wednesday we headed to Bayeux to see the famous tapestry made in the early 11th century depicting the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  It's sooo long - about 70 meters!  I remember my high school French teacher had a paper replica of it going around the classroom (I got the same one in the museum gift shop), so I felt I needed to go see it.  I'm glad I did.

(Image from

Funny translation of the day - stupid chile! 

Then we went to the D-Day Beaches, which was one of the most eerie experiences I've ever had.  We went to Omaha Beach as well as the American Cemetery and the British Gold Beach at Arromanches-les-Bains.  It seemed fitting that we visited when the weather was cold and cloudy.  Such a powerful feeling to stand on those beaches, I can't begin to explain it...

Omaha Beach

Mom on Omaha Beach

The American Cemetery
There are more than 9,000 graves at the American Cemetery in Normandy.  The free exhibit is a really nice memorial... ("The least we could do," as my dad said.)  I wish we'd gotten more time to explore it but we got there just as they were closing.
USA Tank at Arromanches-les-Bains

Remnants of the artificial port at Gold Beach, Arromanches-les-Bains

On Thursday we went to Rouen!  The weather cleared up a little bit and we took a nice audioguided tour of the city.  There are so many churches/abbeys/cathedrals in that city that just seemed to keep popping up out of nowhere...  And of course the half-timber houses like the one in the picture above.  They almost look like they're going to fall over any minute, but I figure they've stayed like that for a few hundred years, they'll probably last a few more... hundred... :)

Neat lights at Les Enfants Terribles, where we had a great dinner in Rouen

Probably won't see this again - ABWN on a license plate
Did I mention the car we rented for the week had my initials on it?  All four?  In order?  On our car?  Weeeird.

Friday we returned the car in Evreux, hopped the train to Paris (we rode between trains!  what fun.  good thing it was only an hour) and checked into our neat little hotel called the Langlois, close to St. Lazare.  What a nice place - I would definitely stay there again!

The bathroom was just about as big as the bedroom.  I loved it!

This guy was doing amazing tricks up by the Sacré Coeur

 We walked and took the metro all around the city for the next couple days... we saw Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, Jardin des Tuileries, Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe.... it was lovely.

Mom and me

Another great restaurant!

Papa and I shared tarts at Paul Bakery - sooooo good!

Typewriter for anyone to use at Shakespeare & Co.

Disney!  On Champs Elysées!

At l'Arc.  With my new earmuffs.

France's own Statue of Liberty on the left there, along with la Tour.
What a week!  Just like that, they were gone on Sunday morning, and I was off to Montpellier with my friend Jill for another couple days of vacation.

I'm glad this weekend is giving me a couple days to recover from the amazingness of les vacances de Toussaint!  hahah.  I loved every moment.  :)


Kent said...

So wait... how did you get four initials? XD

Good stuff. I'll look through it again in greater detail tomorrow.

Sofie said...

Beautiful pictures! What I would do to travel around France in the fall/winter time. And OMG Paul!