6-day trip to France – Normandy
Visiting Sainte- Mère -Eglise, Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Langues, Arrohanches, Calvados, Bayeux, Honfleur, Le Havre, Eteretat, Fecamp, Rouen, Giverny.
D-Day places, Ste-Mére-Eglise, Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Langues and Arrohances
Early in the morning , with a quite autumn weather (7/8 degrees of temperature) , we left Brittany to cross the lower Normandy and get to the places made famous by the American landing, the famous D-Day.
The first town we visited is Sainte-Mère-Eglise, a town made famous by the movie “The Longest Day ” both because it was the first to be liberated but especially for the scene of the American paratrooper whose parachute was caught on the spire of the bell-tower; the man is still represented with a puppet .
We went on until we reached the coast with the places made famous by the Allied landing:
– Utah Beach, where we visited a museum and a monument, as well as several remnants of war;
– Omaha Beach, a place with an American cemetery with so many white crosses that make it, even if beautiful in its perfection , a place of infinite sadness;
– Langues, with many bunkers within which there are giant cannons , some completely destroyed and others undamaged;
– Arrohanches, with the museum and the model of the artificial harbor Mulberry B., prefabricated in England and transported here. In the sea you can still see several half-sunken crop ends.
Bayeux and “Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde”
Bayeux is one of the most beautiful towns in Calvados. It was lucky, despite its proximity to the beaches of the Allied landings and the numerous air raids , not to be involved in the war destructions. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame is one of the most beautiful churches of Normandy. It has a very nice tower which dates back to the fifteenth century.
On the right of the Cathedral, there is the Museum of ” Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde ” which hosts a 70-meter long and 50-cm high tapestry. This tapestry is divided into 58 scenes, individually numbered, which represent the conquest of England by William the Conqueror; the work is enriched with a series of curious details .
Honfleur is a splendid little town of lower Normandy. It has a beautiful harbour situated on the estuary of the Seine. And this port, whose name is ” Vieux Bassin ” , has been made famous in the world because, over the centuries, has been represented by numerous painters.
After crossing the “Pont du Normandie” and getting through Le Havre, we arrived, rewarded by a beautiful sunny day, to Etretat. We visited both the cliff on the right and the one on the left. The physical effort was remarkable but it was worth because we got to see what the Impressionist painters made famous in the world with their paintings.
Before we visited the white cliff of Aval, then that of Amont.
We also visited the city center with numerous ancient buildings of great beauty.
Passing Etretat, thanks to a panoramic road which runs over the cliff and offers wonderful inner views of rich pastures alternating with thick forests, we arrived to Fecamp.
Rouen, the city where Joan of Arc was burned alive
The city of Rouen is famous not only for the Cathedral of Notre-Dame which is one of the most beautiful churches in France, but also for being the city where Joan of Arc was burned alive. It offers the possibility to see entire neighborhoods with many beautiful half-timbered houses as well as several buildings in wonderful Art Nouveau style.
Giverny, garden and outdoor studio of Claude Monet
After leaving Rouen and before flying back to Italy via Paris, we went to visit the outdoor studio of Claude Monet. I am referring to the garden in Giverny that inspired him so intensely and for many years.
We could really feel the emotions already felt admiring the paintings of Monet.