02.05.2014 - 10.05.2014 14 °C
So far, our time in France has been a mixture of history, war, culture, fashion and chateaus. Our last 9 days sure has been varied.
With the western front behind us, we headed to Amien for an uneventful overnight stay. However, things soon livened up the next morning when a Frenchman reversed into the front of our car. Luckily there was no major damage, but we had to question how this could have happened given we had driven through crazy Italy without incident and then be hit in an empty carpark in France!!!! After dealing with the at fault Frenchman we headed to Rouen.
We didn’t know much about Rouen, but it is quite significant to the French given it is where Joan of Arc was killed, the exact location is marked with a small memorial. Her tomb is located within the church. After a few hours looking around Rouen, we headed to Caen, our base to explore to Normandy region.
Normandy is an apple growing region and is famous for its cider. The beaches are another drawcard, in particular the beaches of the D-Day landings which to this day retain the names given to them by the Allied forces, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
Remnants of the war are still visible at the beach and there are a number museums dedicated to the landings.
The American war cemetery is a beautiful tribute to those that perished during the operation.
Our last day at Caen was spent first at the local market and then off to a number of picturesque villages filled with restaurants, specialty shops, tourists and locals.
After Caen we headed to Granville. From Granville we were able to visit Mont St Michel, a monastery built entirely on a granite rock, surrounded by the sea. The monastery can be seen from many kilometres away.
After a quick look around the village, we headed up to the abbey and were fortunate enough to see part of a religious service complete with singing nuns. It sounded amazing.
Granville is also the birthplace of Christian Dior, finally something right up my alley. His childhood home sits on top of a cliff with beautiful ocean views, surrounded by immaculate gardens. Inside was a museum showcasing photographs of models wearing his designs, together with actual garments. I was in heaven and even though they tried the boys couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Unfortunately I had to walk away without a souvenir.
Our next stop was the Loire Valley, the home of France’s famous chateaus. We picked two of the biggest names to visit, Château de Chenonceau which was immaculate and Chateau de Chambord which was nowhere near as impressive, mainly due to its poor condition and lack of gardens.
With elaborately decorated rooms and vast gardens it was an interesting glimpse into what life would have been like for the privileged back in the day.
Unfortunately the weather hasn’t been great whilst we’ve been in France. We’ve had enough of the cold weather, its definitely time for some sun. South of France – here we come.