The spot where the abbey was built is really cool. I saw it in pictures for the first time, and I told myself I had to see it with my own eyes. When I actually visited the reality far exceeded any photo I had seen before. It was a magical place indeed. As you go through the door you enter the Middle Ages. Don't miss it for the world!
The beach you disembark on is Omaha Beach in Normandy (France). Setting foot on the red sand on the beach, I was thrilled. To know that where my feet trod, many soldiers had lost their lives, wow...... I went to visit the American Cemetery, still in Normandy. Here there are 9,000 graves of American soldiers, Jews ...it was very emotional. Above all because of the impressive number of small white crosses.
The image sails crossing the sand , towing a small kind of tractor seemed like an unusual image. Later I found out that on the Normandy beach, they practice this sport that consists of traversing a sand using a kind of wind powered tricycle.
An overwhelming museum that objectively traces the experiences that led to World War II. The museum itself is divided into several exhibitions with the main exhibit being the most impressive and longest of all. A must for World War II enthusiasts, or for those ve want to learn from our past to avoid repeating the same mistakes for a better future.
The city of Caen is a destination rich in culture and history. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this town, especially the beautiful views from different parts of the city. Caen was founded around the eleventh century and since then has played an important role in many wars, battles and conflicts, like the Hundred Years War, during which the city was invaded by the British and occupied for 33 years. During this time the University was founded. Equally or even more notable was the impact of the Second World War. The Normandy landings took place a few kilometers from the city. The city suffered bombings which killed thousands of civilians and destructed 80% of the town. The reconstruction was slow but well planned, which resulted in an attractive and practical lay-out, with wide avenues, lots of light and properly prepared for the technological advances of later years. It was decided to make use of a calcareous stone extracted from quarries near Caen, which gave a uniform and pleasant feel and also serves as a regional symbol (it can be likened to the use of Salamanca's "Villamayor Stone"). Caen offers a wide range of cultural highlights like theater, concerts and museums. Bycicles provide the easiest mode of transport within the city. The tram is also very convenient, offering a good view at the same time.
This is a place where some famous people have been and have become popular. The Deauville Beach has beautiful coloured umbrellas planted there as if waiting for the start of a festival of movie stars. It's great to lie down and relax, feeling like a star!
This majestic castle is in the center of Caen, built on a hill with a great wall that surrounds it, wood initially, but eventually changed to a more durable and effective material, the "stone Caen ". The castle dates back to the Middle Ages, in the eleventh century. Within the walled area there are several other buildings and monuments of the castle. Today we find a large almost square tower of which little is left (much of which was destroyed during the French Industrial Revolution), the Normandy Museum (formerly the home of the governor), the Museum of Fine Arts, the Church of St Georges, "L'Échiquier de Normandie" is now a permanent exhibition hall, and finally a garden in which are still cultivated many vegetables and fruits that formerly served as sustenance for the inhabitants of the castle. In addition to these main elements, the entrances to the castle are also interesting. There are two entrances, the "Porte des Champs" and "Porte Saint-Pierre", the first is the door that replaces the old "north gate" that was destroyed. The "Porte Saint-Pierre" is a secondary door for the comings and goings from the village (then a town), both are equally spectacular, one for its size and the other for its mechanisms and views toward the center of Caen. The entrance to the castle grounds is free, though you are forced to pay in the museums. The remains of the tower necessitate the hire of a qualified guide. Renovations are occurring so check before you go, so as not to be disappointed.
As part of our trip traveling around France, we stopped at a place that was very picturesque, although I do not know if it was really a true reflection of what went on there. For those who like history, you can find the name of this site and find out why it's famous. It is also easy to take aerial photographs, even at the time, so you can get an idea of how the whole area was.
Like most markets in France, Caen markets surprise us by the large number and variety of products. In this city the markets are fairly distributed over the city, and there is one that is huge but others are distributed at various points. In general it is not open every day (except Sunday where many vendors are working), but each day is reserved for a particular area. In markets there are often vendors selling pottery or other crafts, as well as fast food outlets, the latter continually move from one region to another, so I would recommend ordering a local delicacy, as andwich (or whatever) typical of the region, in Caen order a Andouille sandwich a much sought-after ingredient that you want to try again. A market that impressed me was the Place Courtonne, which is open daily and specializes in vegetables and fruits, it is surprising to see such a variety of potatoes or apples. A visit is recommended either to enjoy the local cuisine or to learn more about customs and habits of the inhabitants of Caen. To learn more you can visit the website of the city of Caen which has information on times and locations.
The church of Saint Peter has been a place of prayer in the city since the 11th Century, which is also the date that the castle was built, situated on a hill overlooking the city. Today, the oldest remains of the church date back to the 13th Century. Expansion work took place during the 16th Century, but the place has managed to retain a certain architectural harmony. The 14th Century façade features a giant pink stained glass window, and the bell tower, which was destroyed during bombing in the Second World War, was rebuilt in the same style that it previously had. The rest features a flamboyant style. Inside, the nave and arcades, which were also destroyed, were renovated during the 1950s. The center features Gothic arches, and it was completed in the mid-16th Century in a Renaissance style. The whole building was built in Caen stone, a gray stone that is found on most of the walls of the old houses in the center, and has a reputation for being very durable, and at the same time, easy to shape, to make statues and church decorations.
Bayeux Cathedral is one of the most impressive expressions of Gothic and French Romanesque architecture. It is situated in the center of the village, and you have to walk quite a bit to get there, because there is no public parking next to it. I recommend that you take a guided tour. It is definitely worth it if you truly want to learn about and enjoy all its treasures, such as the room where the famous Bayeux Tapestry was made, its splendid windows, or imposing facade. Everything makes it worth it.
I have just fulfilled a dream which was to learn about this magical place which more than met my expectations. I must emphasise that it is essential to go off season and midweek, although there have been lots of Japanese tourists during my journey through Brittany and Normandy. Something unique which I recommend walking along, of course when the tide is low, toward this mountain. Warning signs of death, loss due to fog, quicksand, drowning, etc etc are lavished on the outskirts of this site, so contacting Jacky Gromberg is a good choice, as she is a guide who can provide you with information of all sorts, and will lead you along the best and safest route since the tides play tricks on a regular basis on those who aren't cautious enough. This place is a centre of pilgrimage, and going into these gray misty marshes is something magical. In good weather the trip can be done barefoot without problems, but now it's best to equip yourself with good rubber boots and a raincoat. You will be able to start from the same mountain, or from Courtils La Roche Thorin (12km in about 4 hours) or from Genets Bec-d'Andaine (14 km in about 6 hours travelling). The insurance is 10 € and the required reservation can be made on 0683297810. The routes from April to October vary so check schedules on the web.
We step on American soil, and there is nobody like them to honor their dead. The silence and recollection is as thunderous as the thousands of headstones neatly aligned and maintained. The landscape is very well cared for, and you can learn about the evolution of the Normandy Landings from the permanent exhibition there. A must visit.
Arromanches is a coastal village in Lower Normandy France, about 25 kilometers from Caen, which was the geographical center of the Normandy landings during WWII. The village is tiny (about 500 people), and is still "dead" during the winter. They have 2 types of tourists, French tourists who come to the coast to spend the summer and tourists who base their visit to get to know the Normandy landings. In the summer it is overflowing with tourism, accommodation and services. In winter many of the restaurants and hotels are closed, and there is only a souvenir shop and a bar.If you really care about history, I'm sure to get close to the beach and see the scene with the big floating ports will give you goosebumps. Although the remains of the port that made the Allies are few, and somewhat damaged, it is hard to imagine how they were 60 years ago. Despite the small size of the town it has 2 museums, which are dedicated to the Normandy landings. One large format screens movies about the war and the landing, and the other is more interactive pieces on display, history and computers. The tour can be extended in time and space, as you want. It all depends on what you want to walk on the beach, climbing hills and cliffs that at the end of the beach, etc.. Arromanches is also a good place to start visiting other peoples who lived near the Normandy landings.
The Eglise St. Pierre was built in the 11th century, but over the centuries it has undergone various renovations. It is on the main road down a little ways from the abbey, and it boasts the interesting fact that its apse was built on Cemetery Street. The furniture in the church comes from the abbey, and there's a small chapel to venerate St Michel, as above (in the abbey) nothing remains.
Coutances is a village quite far away from any big city. It is about 15 kilometers from the coast, in the lower part of Normandy, France. Its population is about 10,000 inhabitants, and is known for its huge cathedral and Jazz Festival "Jazz sous les pommiers" (Jazz under the apple). The village is on a hill. At the top is the cathedral, with great views from the tower since just below the hill flows a river. In World War II Coutances was destroyed and some 300 civilians died (in the attack where napalm was used). Reconstruction (directed by the same architect who built Saint-Malo) was based on the old village, the only modern concessions to facilitate the lives of their inhabitants. The jazz festival held every year attracts many fans and invites famous musicians a boost to the local economy, which relies almost solely on agriculture and a little on tourism. The Cathedral is Gothic and C12th century. It is about 90 meters high and has been extended several times, due to the increasing number of pilgrims who visit. Of special interest are its stained glass windows and the great altar, one of the largest in France. Coutances has a train station for trains going south (Brittany) and to the north of Normandy.