5 days in France

Just returned from a whirlwind tour of France with Phoebe in the car. I’ve wanted to visit some of the war memorials for a while now so with having some spare holiday to use we thought we have a short break. We left on Monday for Calais and then made our way up to Dunkirk (Dunkerque) so I could see where the British Expeditionary Force and French and Belgian units evacuated in May and June 1940. Due to the crappy weather it really wasn’t much to look at but at least I saw the area. I believe my grandfather came through there on D-Day+9 with his regiment before making his way north into Belgium. I’m going to find out some more history of where and when they traveled and will update once I find out. Anyway onto the rest of the tour……..

Dunkirk Beach

From Dunkirk we headed inland and made it to Montreuil-Sur-Mer which actually isn’t by the sea after all. We booked into the Coq Hotel and after looking around the town couldn’t find anywhere to eat so had to eat in the hotel. The food was good and the wine flowed very well indeed.

The next day we headed over to Rouen which took some time as we tried to avoid the motorways and examine the country roads. I must say that the traffic is nothing compared to the UK as the roads were very quiet. After finding Rouen a large busy hectic city and having a disagreement with Pheebs about we ended up in Honfleur which is a nice coastal port town. We managed to find a hotel at the top of town which was reasonable called the Hotel Bevedere so after a short break headed into town for a couple of beers and some food, although the restaurant that I chose wasn’t the best when it came to steak.

Wednesday morning we headed down the coast to visit the D-Day landing beaches which start at Ouistreham. The beaches called Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah are very pretty beaches and it’s very strange to try and imagine what when on there during the war over 60 years ago.

Omaha Beach

It all gets brought home when you visit the American War Memorial which overlooks Omaha beach with just under 10,000 war graves of the men and women who gave their lives for our way of life. Sometimes it makes you stop and think about what really important in the grand scheme of things and that perhaps we shouldn’t complain about the petty things in life.

The American War Memorial

It’s also interesting to know and recognize that the American War Memorial was used in several scenes in Saving Private Ryan. There are obviously quite a few museums in the area and although we didn’t get a chance to visit I think I’ll arrange another trip with Dad and have a look.

From the D-Day beaches we headed to Bayeux and the home of the Bayeux Tapestry but didn’t actually see the Tapestry until the next day. We managed to get into the Hotel d’Argouges which is the former mansion of the surprisingly enough d’Argouges family. We managed to get a nice room overlooking the carriage yard of this 18th century residence. We asked for recommendations for eating out and after a short walk around the town headed for the Restaurant Gastronomique – la-colline-d-enzo for dinner……and that was interesting! Pheebs ended up with what looked like cat food and I had a vegetable brulee which I quite liked. The food was more like art work and was very rich taking. After the shock of the starters we both played it safe with the cod but obviously with added flavors. The Beaujolais Villages wine went down a storm and the desert was another interesting concoction. Pheebs ordered the sorbet but although some of the flavors were fruit one was pepper flavor and didn’t taste that nice. Oh, hum the wine was very good! 🙂 hic

The next day we did visit the Tapestry and it was quite interesting to examine. Took a while to walk round the display case with an audio guide. Still quite interesting to listen to that time in history. The exhibition down stairs has models and other artifacts from the time period so is quite a good activity for an hour or so.

From there we headed to Abbeville but didn’t like the look of it (well I didn’t!) so we headed back towards the coast and found a really nice hotel in the little seaside village of Le Crotoy. The fun here was me attempting to speak French as they didn’t seem to speak much English but that’s to be expected when in France! 🙂 Managed to get a nice room and then chilled for a while before going down for a quick drink before dinner. Managed to order something for us both before going through to the dinning room. Picked something which seemed to make sense (hey everything was in French with no English translation) and waited with a nice bottle of Beaujolais Villages again which really seemed to go down like a treat. After diner we headed back into the lounge area for a quick nightcap…..although I think I had one too many as the next day I really felt it! 🙁

Once I’d managed to shake my head clear we headed back to Calias and to the supermarket to collect supplies. Once complete we headed back home on the Tunnel and managed to get home early but not with out a quick visit to Jarod’s to drop off his GPS device (which was really handy) and to pick up my new snowboard!. Man managed to do around 900 miles in those 5 days so it was finally good to have a snooze. All in all it was a good trip to make and an eye opener to what France has to offer in terms of holidays……