I was lost........in France.
We've just returned from a week touring Normandy. Sarah did all the driving - it's safer that way.
First stop - St Malo
Overnight ferry from Portsmouth. We played house in our little cabin with shower, tea and coffee making facilities and porthole.
In the morning, bleary eyed, we drove to the nearest car park and headed for the first cafe we saw, which I suspect most English tourists do - breakfast was €38! But it was delicious and got us in the holiday mood. My continental breakfast included water melon, yoghurt, freshly squeezed orange juice, croissant and baguette. I ate all of it.
Cafe de L'Oest
I have wanted to visit St Malo for a long time, having had a brief glimpse of it 14 years ago, driving through. It was as nice as I thought it would be.
These tree trunks help to break the waves during a storm
I was so excited to be in the sunshine, on holiday and in France!
There's our Ferry going back to England, shame.
We investigated the church
Mont St Michele -
Lots of tourists. Nice to see it but too many people.
A small, pretty, peaceful place.
Chateau des Montgommery
Sarah revealed she had brought some English beer in the boot of the car! What's she like?
Bagnoles de Lorne -
Our hotel had rustic French windows (deep sigh) and our room had a balcony where we devoured sumptuous cake and I attempted to draw a lamp post
Bagnoles de l'Orne is a spa town in the Belle Epoque style. You can imagine the French bourgeoisie taking in the healing powers of the baths and parading around the lake at the centre of the town.
All the buildings had very pointy roofs - there's another one of those lamp posts
We explored the town in the evening without a heavy coat on
Château Hotel de Ville
Sarah had a nap on a bench (poor dear) whilst I ran around, excitedly taking pictures of this château
This imposing structure was built in 1929 in dedication to Saint Therese of Lisieux. It is one of the largest of the twentieth century.
A beach comber's paradise
I collect shells from every beach I visit and can often be seen, head down with bum in the air, amongst the flotsam and jetsam. I have shells from the Shetland Islands and Norway down to Spain and South Africa. I forget where half of them are from as they live jumbled up in a red spotty wooden bowl. I now have some from France too.
I adore the cafe culture - if I lived in France I would be huge!
Very grand sea front with casino.
Our hotel was opposite the Hippodrome. A small Norman version of Paris’ Vincennes, this racecourse attracts France’s best trotting horses for its famous night races.
We found this park on our 20 minute walk from the hotel to the seafront
We huddled on a bench, nibbled on hot, crispy frites and watched the sun go down
Pegasus Bridge -
The bridge you drive over is a replica but we could see the original in the museum nearby
The Pegasus Bridge and Café Gondree
(the first building in Normandy to be liberated)
D-Day landing beaches -
Looking down at the 3 mile long Mulberry harbour still in the sea
These massive sections were made in Britain, brought across the English Channel and used to unload cargo as part of the D-Day invasion
An American Jeep
The Bayeaux Tapestry was a lot longer than I imagined - 70m!
We found a little cafe (I had Croque Monsieur) opposite the Cathedral and chatted in our very bad French to the owners, who spoke no English at all but sat down next to us! We people watched together, shook our heads and tutted at the bad French drivers. I then had to translate for a Swedish couple who arrived, didn't speak a word of French and wanted something to eat! Quite proud of that......
A quiet side street
Hotel Chateau de Bellefontaine
The beautiful garden
Longues sur Mer -
This German battery, part of Hitler's 'Atlantic Wall', still has it's original four guns and is a listed historical site.
Omaha beach -
Omaha beach was the largest and most intensely fought after beach on D-Day on June 6th 1944
The allied soldiers landing on the beach were partly protected by this shingle bank
St Mere Eglise -
This tiny town is famous for an American paratrooper (Private John Steele) who during the Allied invasion, landed on the roof of this church and got shot in the foot. He played dead until finally a German Soldier helped him down. He lived until 1969 and came back to visit the town on several occasions.
A model of the soldier forever dangling from the church roof
It could be Cornwall?!
St Nicholas Church
It was one of our best holidays.
- long, empty roads
- warm weather
- friendly people
- the lightest, most beautiful cakes and pastries
- crusty baguettes with fluffy insides
We are already saving for the next tour around Brittany.....