Monday, September 25, 2017

France/A Somber Day - The Normandy Beaches

The Normandy beaches were on our bucket list.
There were so many iconically beautiful things to see in France but taking a trip to see this powerful historic site was a "must do" for our little group.  
We rented a van and traveled from Rouen to Bayeux. 
This is less than a two hour drive. The highway scenery is captivating and beautiful. 
We arrived in Bayeux around lunch time. 

The houses look like fairy tale cottages. 


We ate in a charming pub which had an English rather than French flair. 
I had a tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. 
It was one of my favorite meal experiences. 
The rest of the group had hearty baguette ham and cheese sandwiches. Some also had the soup.
Bill said it was the best tomato soup he had ever eaten and I have to agree. 

After lunch we went to the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux. 
The Bayeux Tapestry is a medieval embroidery that is 231 ft. long by 19.5 inches high. 
It depicts the story of the Norman conquest at the battle of Hastings. 
I will admit at this point that I was still too jet lagged to appreciate the historical value of this artifact.
You may be smarter than I, however, and will know all about William the Conquerer. 
I do know that the tapestry was displayed every year to commemorate the anniversary and that it has survived over 9 centuries.
Because we didn't know how to speed up the headsets in the Musée de Bayeux, we were 5 minutes late for our van tour to the first Normandy beach. 

The countryside was breath taking.
Our friend, Michael did most of our amazing itinerary and set up the tour to the Omaha beaches with
Overlord Tour
Our first stop was the Longues-sur Mer Battery.

 There are still examples of the German bunkers. There were 15,000 German bunkers all along what was called the Atlantic Wall. 
The "Wall" stretched from French/Spanish border all the way to the tip of Norway. 

Our next stop was the Omaha beach where the history of D-Day was recited to us. 
I will admit that I'm not an aficionado about war so I really didn't know any of the minute details. 
Our relatively young guide was extremely knowledgable about WWII and D-Day.
He'd been a scholar of it since he was 8 years old.  
I was left with the feeling that the odds were overwhelmingly against the allied forces and that some of the occurrences seemed to have divine intervention.

It was very moving to stare out into the ocean at this spot.

Our next stop was the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

No race or religion. Men and women fighting evil together. 
National cemeteries are always extremely heart-rending.

Our final stop of the day was Pointe du Hoc. 
The landscape is the same as it was in 1944. It shows the bomb craters left by fighting. 

The monument honors the Second Armed Ranger Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. James E.  Rudder. 

Lt. Col. James E. Rudder was 16th president of the Texas A & M University. 

It was a poignant and emotional day.
There was plenty of time to reflect on God's goodness and mercy with the defeat of Hilter's regime.

Our tense emotions turned to laughter when I got locked in a French automated bathroom. 
It looked like something out of a Star Trek movie with a door that would not open.
There appeared to be a sensor that opened the door and flushed the toilet simultaneously.
I was pushing the lights on the circular sensor but nothing was happening to disengage the door.
I thought the group was pranking me and I was still too jet lagged to appreciate the humor in the situation.
I thought they were going to have to call the Gendarmerie to get me out.

Finally the door opened and I was freed from my situation.
We made our way to Courseulles -sur-Mer and ate at the Restaurant Le Cremailiere. 
I have no idea what I ordered as the seafood menu was completely in French and our waiter spoke almost no English. 
It was delicious, however.
It was a memorable second day in France. 

Please come back next week for a fall tour featuring some fabulous Texas bloggers.

Have a wonderful Monday. 


  1. We went to Normandy in 2014 a day or two after the 70th year celebration of D Day. As we drove through the villages we saw house after house flying the American flag showing their appreciation for our sacrifice in the war. After seeing those German bunkers I agree with you that divine intervention definitely played a role in our victory.

  2. Stuck in the bathroom lol. The French toilets are space age. My teens were very impressed. They were taking selfies inside and out. I know all the French just rolled their eyes at the hillbilly Americans.

  3. Having been to Omaha, Arromanches (I think -- there's another with a very close name) and the cemetery, I understand your feelings. It was perhaps my most memorable experience in many way in France and certainly an unforgettable one. Seeing your beautiful photos brings it back. Having read a good deal of WWII and seen many WWII films on this, I was in awe seeing it in person, imagining how to climb those cliffs without benefit of the steps -- while being shot at.

    I would love to one day visit the Bayeux Tapestry. What a fascinating historical "document!" Loving this series, Katie.

  4. This is a destination that my husband and I want to get to someday. Thanks for sharing at Best of the Weekend, Katie.