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Paris & HOF part 2.

Mont St Michel it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Even knowing what to expect you are awestruck. There’s no other word for it.

Practicalities: pack as lightly as possible: toiletries, change of unders and a clean top. You’ll go from the bus to a shuttle on and off the shuttle then up a cobblestone street — in a crowd. Then either up a set of stone staircases or up a spiral staircase. You’ll also take a steep staircase to bring your bags up to a holding area while the group goes on a walking tour of the cathedral. You can’t pack too lightly. Wear shoes with good treads. You will have a chance to go to the Laudes service at 6:50 am. Do it. It is incredible. 7 nuns and 4 monks singing a cappella in a cathedral with perfect acoustics as the sun rises.

Bayeux very sweet town. Eat at Le Pommier, as it gets closer to the June anniversary of D Day it will be harder to get spots for dinner. It’s worth making reservations. We heard Maison Blanche was also good. Bayeux tapestry was very interesting. I thought it would be boring and it wasn’t. My husband respectfully disagrees. If you have time to see the 12 minute moving afterwards it’s worth it.

D Day beaches. Watch The Longest Day and Band of Brothers. I didn’t understand why (in The Longest Day) the paratroopers landed in swamps your guide will explain why the Germans flooded the fields and why securing the causeways was important. Also the famous Red Buttons scene with the paratrooper hanging on the church really happened and is recreated in St Mere Eglise. Go into that church and look at the stained glass windows showing paratroopers and parachutes. And the archangel Michael in camo.
Wear sun screen. You will be right on Utah and Omaha beaches. I took some small ziplock bags and brought home some sand for a friend whose father is a D Day buff. Bring a handkerchief for the American Cemetery.

It’s impossible to take a bad picture in Monet’s Garden. We had the best meal of our trip at La Musardiere. When you come out of the Monet Gardens (you exit via the gift shop — they have lovely things) turn right (this is not the direction you came from when you entered the gardens) and walk about 2 blocks to the hotel of the same name which will be in your left. Walk up the steps and into the hotel. They have inside and outside seating. I had smoked mackerel salad, gnocchi with fresh vegetables and lemon tart. Every bite was perfect.

We arrived a few days early and did a great walking food tour with Eating Paris. We saw a part of the city we would not have visited otherwise (the 10th) had a chance to learn about French food and how to order in a restaurant. Would recommend it.

Eat the scary seafood. Don’t fuss about carbs. Walk down the street that looks interesting. Don’t feel like you “have” to do something. We didn’t go into the Louvre. I don’t regret it. We walked through the Tuileries and sat and watched kids running around.

Have a great time on this wonderful tour!!

Posted by
7630 posts

Excellent Trip Report!

I totally agree about the Longest Day and not really understanding about the swampy areas until the excellent DDay guide explained the geography and the German plan. Re-watch The Longest Day when you get back and it makes SO much more sense. Also know that in the film Richard Burton and Roddy McDowell were in Rome filming Cleopatra. They were not scheduled to be in Cleopatra scenes, heard about this film and volunteered to come be in the film for free. I think they even flew themselves to France!

I loved this tour! I learned so much and just relived it reading your Trip Report!

Thanks!

Posted by
9 posts

Hi Gretchen. Thanks so much for this trip report. I am going on this tour at the beginning of July. So excited! Quick question: I was wondering about Notre Dame. Did they add something in place of Notre Dame, or did you get more free time on that day? Thanks so much for the trip report and the tips!

Posted by
187 posts

Re Notre Dame: we did some other things of the Isle de Citie where Notre Dane is so we still went there but we broke for lunch then had time on our own.

Posted by
595 posts

I very much enjoyed your trip report - sounds like a lovely trip! This one has been on my radar (well, along with all the other France tours!) Thank you for sharing!

Posted by
7630 posts

-->Tamara, trust me on this. You and DH would love this one!

Posted by
595 posts

Thanks Pam, I am sure we would!

@diveloonie - we are doing 3 weeks in July/August to the UK and Ireland with my mom. We are looking forward to it! It will be her first time overseas and our first time renting a car in the UK, so it should be exciting. After that we are going to Turkey for 10 days in October to visit some family. That should be an adventure. How about you?