Normandy is a fabulous place to visit not just because of it being in France but because of the huge amount of history you can learn about there. During our last trip to France we stayed for couple days in the city of Bayeux.
After reading many reviews I chose the Aggarthi B & B or here as our home for the stay. When we arrived off the train in Bayeux we had just completed a long journey (12h 35m flight travel time from US and another 2 hours by train). I am not sure if any cabs were waiting but for some reason we decided to walk to the bed and breakfast with our backpacks. We were both tired and both cranky. Carlos was especially tired since he has a hard time sleeping on flights. I had a badly designed map and we headed down what we thought was the right direction. We ended up getting confused and going the wrong way. After stopping to rest for a little bit we headed off to finally find our B & B. The owners greeted us and we knew we had found the right place.
Our room was in a building separate to the main building and contained 2-3 rooms and a small kitchen. I believe every room was an ensuite. Our room was on the bottom floor and had doors that opened into the courtyard. We would open it occasionally for the fresh air but kept it closed mostly because of privacy and security concerns.
Onsite was two dogs (one named Sushi), cats, and some bunnies who kept the grass cut and maintained (see below).
Sushi was adorable
We enjoyed waking to breakfast in the courtyard where we fought honey bees for our food (they are harmless so we were ok). Over breakfast conversation we talked to some German tourists about history and WWII. They felt the need to apologize for Germany during the war. We told them that was way in the past and does not reflect on Germans now.
Later on in the day we walked over to Bayeux Cathedral to admire to stained glass windows and inside the church.
We enjoyed medieval style buildings.
Buildings with pigeon nests.
The cathedral was luminous for a night light show.
The next day we took a D-Day tour with Victory Tours. This Dutch expatriate loved the area and history so much that he decide to stay and start a tour company.
We started our tour with a visit to the Mulberry Harbor which was created at Omaha Beach and Arromanches in Normandy. We saw pictures of how it looked when it was constructed. This harbor was developed by the British to assist with unloading cargo during WWII.
We saw some guns used in battle.
Where the Americans were to take the Germans during D-Day.
Our tour guide told us to take back a rock from this beach to remember the occasion.
US WW2 Cemetery at Colleville
We had a solemn visit to the cemetery that honors American troops who died in Europe during World War II.
We visited Pointe du Hoc where 2nd. Rangers Battalion scaled the cliffs.
Church that was used by army medics as an aide station. There are now stained glass windows to commemorate the 101st Airborne division who treated both American and German soldiers here.
This stained glass window honors the paratroopers.
After the visit to the medic church we stopped in the town of Sainte-Mère-Église. We were there during market day. We had some time to walk around and see the produce at the market.
By the market in Sainte-Mère-Église
lies the church of the paratrooper. There were many casualties in this town for the paratroopers who landed here early on around D-day. Many were shot down in air or caught hanging on trees. The church here memorializes those whose live were lost. There is even a “paratrooper” hanging from the church today.
We heard stories about the war on our tour. One was story about two soldiers, one American and one German. One spared the others life while he was retreating from battle. Somehow they found each other many years later in France and were thankful. A story like this paints a human picture on what was a horrific war that many lives were sacrificed for.
Coincidently it is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and this paratrooper is going to parachute back into Normandy, well because he still can. He is a 93-year old vet of D-Day.
Later we had dinner at this restaurant call La Rapiere, which I thought had a real funny name. Turns out I guess it means sword in French. Nothing much exciting there.
The last day we visited the Bayeux tapestry
(no pictures). It was my second visit there (I came once before during a tour in 1995) but it is still amazing the second time around. It tells the story of the Battle of Hastings from the Norman point of view. The events leading up to battle are woven in detail. While it is not certain when this woven cloth (not actually a tapestry), 70 meters long, was made, it is assumed it was made around 1070. The cloth today is in a museum and an audio guide takes you through each section. It is like a history lesson of the Norman conquest of England…in pictures.
I highly suggest Normandy be added to your next French adventure. There aren’t many areas that can rival the rich history you will find here – and the views of the coast aren’t bad as well.