Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mont Saint Michel, Last day of the trip!

When we left Omaha beach, we were in a pretty big hurry. It was already 6:00pm and we had to be at our BandB by 8. It is normally an hour and a half drive between the two places (Normandy and Mont Saint Michel) BUT our GPS wanted us to drive on a nonexistent road AND we discovered that the ac adaptor was broken and our GPS was going to die before we made it to our destination. Joy of Joys. Always an adventure! We made sure we were on the right road, and then turned of the GPS until we got closer. And, we made it safe and sound.

Our BandB in Mont Saint Michel was fantastic. I wish that we had spent 2 days there instead of just one. Big bed, big bathroom, lovely surroundings, and a great breakfast included. All very rare in France for the 70 euros that we spent. They also recommended two restaurants for us to try. We went to both. I would recommend both of them to you, too! The food in the north of France is much heavier, full of creams and butter and potatoes. Yum. Not something I could eat every day... but after all that walking in Paris.... I think we deserved some cream and butter and potatoes!

After a good night's rest in that big, king-sized bed and breakfast, we headed off to tour the Monastery. And, you know how I said Paris was cold?? Well, this was even colder.. I layered every piece of clothing that I had left in the suitcase and added my bright yellow raincoat on top. Still cold, but not quite as much. Be prepared if you visit! Bring pants. :-) The monastery was nice. I think we were both a little disappointed, just because all of the original tapestries, paintings, etc, etc, are gone. It is a beautiful building with very gray walls. 

A few of my favorite pictures!

Just lovely isn't it? 

After Dinner picture taking

The night before, the water was into the grass that  you see there. When we were leaving the next morning, people were parking here. The tides here come in at a rate of 18 feet/second. 

The View from the Top. :-) Look at the line of people waiting to come in!

Monday, August 30, 2010


After spending Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday running around Paris and Versailles at full speed John and I were very very thankful for a couple of days at a slower pace. We had scheduled to rent a car Thursday morning in Paris and, after John turned a 10 minute walk to the rental place into a walk, subway ride, more walking, and then a subway ride BACK to where we started, we were on our way to Arromanches and the D-Day beaches. (I have been told that I am always to be in charge of map handling now. Probably a good choice.) 

The drive to Arromanches was so beautiful, just like every drive that we have taken in France. Amazingly, as soon as you leave Paris, it turns to farmland. Beautiful, old farms with beautiful, fat, black and white cows and golden hay bales. I am always shocked at how different France is from one region to the next and this was veeery different from the palm trees and beaches of the South of France.

Arromanches is a tiny town that served as the Ground Zero during the D-Day landings. Now, it is a very touristy little place that I really wouldn't mind living in... for a few months a year... before it got really cold in the winter. It's just too cute. John and I hiked up to the cliffs the American troops came up, went back down, drove to the German bunkers, and then went to the American Cemetery and Museum. We really didn't have as much time as we would have liked but we had to head off to our next destination. Really, the whole area is just so lovely that it is hard to remember what happened there not so long ago.   

A view down the main street in Arromanches.

We walked to the farthest cliff you can see. Fantastic.

The leftovers from the man-made bridge are very visible still.
 See? It's just gorgeous.

Some of the best weather that we had on this trip. It didn't last. 
 German gun bunkers. There are 4 of these and each one still has an intact gun. They were part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall defense and could shoot 12 miles into the sea accurately.

Wheat fields as far as the eye can see. Isn't that a country song?? hum... Garth Brooks maybe.. 

Omaha beach

Memorial  at the American Cemetery. This land has been given to the US by France. So, technically, we were on US soil. 

More than 9,000 people are buried here. Almost all are from the D-day landings and following military operations.

Omaha beach again.
Have a wonderful Monday everyone! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Few More Parisian Memories

Our last 2 days in Paris were not actually spent in Paris and I'll be telling you all about them next week. So, since it is Friday, I thought I would wrap up our trip with a few pictures of us, talk about a few more places we went, and a few of the things that we ate while there. John and I had a wonderful, very busy, very full trip to Paris. We came home exhausted and needed another vacation. (Which is always the case with us it seems.) It was a long week. 

These are the last 2 pictures of Notre Dame, I promise! I took a lot of pictures of it... sorry.. 

Lovely view for dinner isn't it?
This place serves, supposedly, the best ice cream in Paris. John and I, being quite the ice cream connoisseurs, had to try it. (I have converted him to the dark side. mwahaha)
Our consensus- It is goooood. John tried vanilla and chocolate because, as he said, they are the best flavors to test with. I had salted caramel because..... it was what I wanted. 

 At the Army Museum. It sounds much cooler in French- Musée de l'Armée. Lots of armor and swords and pictures of Napoleon. We had fun with the cannons. 

Us at the top of the Arc De Triumph. See how the Eiffel Tower is sooo much taller than everything else?

Yes, we are horrible people. We went to Paris and what did we eat? Pizza Hut. You know why? Because we haven't eaten junk like this in a year and a half. And you know what? It tasted gooooood, too. And I hate Pizza Hut. 

Oh Supreme Pizza. You were so tasty. 

From my favorite museum.  Monet's waterlilies the way he wanted them displayed. Beautiful.

I wish everyone a wonderful, restful weekend! Enjoy every minute!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

OMW edition 101

Yesterday was my 100th blog! (I didn't even realize until I was writing this one!) Can you believe it? That's quite a lot of posts, in my opinion. Ah well, I have plenty of time on my hands to write I guess! And, plenty of things to write about!

So, today, I continue with Paris! 

 This was taken in the more industrial part of Paris. It is the EDF building- Electric Department of France.

Notre Dame De Paris. This cathedral is known for its amazing architecture and the breathtaking rose windows. It was one of the first buildings in the world to use the "flying buttresses" to support the outer walls. 

Construction started in 1163 and it was not completed until 1345. The outside of the church is amazing. The detail work on the facade and the doorways is impeccable.

John and I actually made 3 trips to Notre Dame. We met our friends there on Saturday when we arrived, and we went back on Monday to see the inside. The line to go to the roof was very very long on Monday so we came back Tuesday morning- very early- to try to beat the crowd. It didn't work. The wait was even longer early in the morning. So, no flying buttresses for us! 

While we were there, (the second trip) the daily prayers service started. So, it is an active church, not just a tourist attraction. 

One of the rose windows. Here, you can kind of see how very large they are. 

Taken from the very back of the church. Amazingly large. And old. And beautiful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The City of Lights. Cold Version.

After our day in Versailles, John and I headed into Paris to stay with another friend. We dropped off our luggage at her apartment and headed off to... want to take a guess?.. Le Tour Eiffel. Lucky for us, our friend lives about 10 minutes away from the tower. Hop, skip, jump- we're there! And BAM! It's big. Bigger than I thought it would be. It "towers" (haha.. get it???) over the rest of the city. From just about anywhere in Paris, you can see the Eiffel tower. It peeks above buildings, pops out when you look down the street, and when you are way up high, you just can't miss it. When everything else is between 4 and 7 stories tall, something that is 81 stories tall tends to stick out. 

Things you should know when you visit the Eiffel Tower in August:
1) It's going to be busy. Real Busy.
2) There are two ways to get up. Stairs and Elevators.
3) The Stairs are cheap.
4) The Elevators are not. 
5) The lines for the stairs are non-existent.
6) The line for the Elevators will wrap all the way around the base of the tower. 
7) If you have a lot of money and lots of time, go for the Elevators. 
8) We have no money and no time. We took the stairs. 

Oh, and, it can be cold in Paris in August. I was not so smart and packed shorts and summer dresses. They were covered in a bright yellow Marmont raincoat the whole week. I was -that- American tourist.

It peeks.

No lines for the stairs! 

The view from the first floor

We went back to the Tour Eiffel on our last night in Paris to see the light show. It was as beautiful as the tower is tall. I don't think John was so excited about it, but once it started he understood why I had to see it. Mesmerizing. 

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

If you want to see the rest of the pictures from our trip to the Eiffel Tower, visit here (shutterfly) or here (facebook).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hameau de la Reine

The hamlet of the Queen, designed by Richard Mique for Marie Antoinette, was built in the mid 1780's. Marie needed an escape from all of the formalities of court life so she built her own small palace and this hamlet complete with working farm. Here, she and her attendants escaped their regular lives and pretended to be peasants. It had a working farmhouse, mill, and dairy. (Of course, other people did all the work.. not the Queen..) But still, it was a way for her to get away from her responsibilities and relax. Even the King couldn't come without an invitation.

Now that you know a little bit about it, I'll tell you the important stuff. It's great. This artificial town was by far my favorite stop that day in Versailles and I can see why Marie Antoinette loved it. You feel as though you are hundreds of miles away, walking through a tiny village and at any minute, there should be farmers and merchants and horse drawn carriages. It is an escape. A beautiful, quaint, perfect escape. And, if I had known what I know now- I would just skip all the other stuff and come here for a picnic.
The farmhouse

 I love this little guy. They were all so sweet. Didn't live up to their names at all. ; )

There were pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, rabbits, chickens, and cows. Now, in French!
Cochons,  ânes, chèvres, mouton, canards, lapins, poulets, et vaches!

A Vineyard
Part of the dairy

The mill

I love this picture.. that may be conceited of me.. since I took it. But I still love it. 

 Oh! I forgot.. and Swans. Cygnes in French.

 I might love this one too.. 

But I know I love this one! 
If you would like to see more of the pictures from le domaine de Marie Antoinette follow the links here (for shutterfly) and here (for facebook)
Happy Tuesday Everyone!