Tag Archives: France

Jack on Normandy

Now I know you are all thinking the same thing; “Jack this delayed blogging was kind of funny the first time but now you’re pushing it”. And yes I am. But to be fair I’m in Paris, so be happy I’m not talking about Paris. Normandy was nice. That’s it, blog is over…………… well there were cats too…

Just kidding here it goes. We drove from Brittany to Caument L’Evente. This beautiful little town wasn’t beautiful. I actually think my parents went out of the way to find the only town in Normandy where every one wants to get rid of tourists (especially Bretons).

There was one bed and breakfast. I’ll give you a hint that’s where we stayed. They were really nice. The lady running the place also had three cats. My favorite was this old one that had one expression. Give me food or die!!!!

One of the three cats at the cool B&B
One of the three cats at the cool B&B

Then the second last day I was on Instagram and the cat said, “you will be a pillow”. So I was a cat pillow. It also ran away from Joe; so massive plus there.

The first day we went to Juno beach. The Juno beach exhibit is completely staffed by Canadians. I had honestly forgotten how much I loved Canadians. They are so friendly, and it’s not just because I’m Canadian there were staff everywhere else no one was as friendly as the nice lady from Ontario who gave me candy to say this. After that we went to Omaha. Which is what is what you see in movies. Unless there climbing hills then it’s the rangers. This is because: ‘Merica. Omaha was much bigger with twice as many troops landing there than Juno.

The D Day Beaches in Normandy
The D Day Beaches in Normandy

They have a massive graveyard of over nine thousand troops buried there.

A portion of the American Cemetery, Normandy
A portion of the American Cemetery, Normandy

The last day we went to Bayeux. They have a massive tapestry that’s 70 meters long. It had to wrap a corner of a massive hall. It was made in medieval times right after William the Conquerer took over England. Some history buffs may say: “but Jack he was originally William the Bastard”. And I say to you, yes (it is my favorite name for him, but oh well) but this is after he took over England making, him the Conquerer. Then we went to a WWII museum that took a look at the strategy of the taking of France from Nazi Germany and the equipment. They had tanks!!!

Then we left for Paris, the city of single 13 year olds and pizza (there is no truer love).

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Brittany

Southern Breton coast
Southern Breton coast

Dan and I have travelled through a lot of France, but we’ve really fallen for Brittany (and we didn’t really see the main “tourist” sites). If people outside of France know Brittany, it may be for Brest or the St. Malo area. We stayed in southern Brittany, and toured around the coastal areas and the gorgeous old villages. The area has an interesting history, and is simply beautiful.

Our hosts told us some spots to explore, which meant we ended up hiking a trail that priests used to hide out during the French Revolution (the hidey hole is still there in the forest), and exploring a fort occupied by Germans in the Second World War. The fort now houses two museums, one on the French East India Company, and one on Maritime history.

Fort at L'Orient, occupied by Germany in WWII
Fort at L’Orient, occupied by Germany in WWII
Looking out from the fort walls.
Looking out from the fort walls.

The villages along the sea felt very Celtic, and the road signs in the area are in both French and Breton, which looks like Welsh to us. It was an intriguing area, and we would love to come back. Three nights just isn’t enough time to explore it all.

Our visit to the area was certainly enhanced by our B&B experience. We stayed at a place called Talvern, and our host Patrick first had a career as a chef in Paris before buying and renovating one of the outbuildings of a castle. We ate each night at his table d’hôte, and had incredible food and wine. Local food and cider, excellent wine…. maybe that’s why we loved it so much!

Here are some other assorted pictures from Brittany. It was hard to pick favourites, as there were so many gorgeous ones!

Joe and I pose in front of the "heart rock" on the Quiberon peninsula
Joe and I pose in front of the “heart rock” on the Quiberon peninsula
Southern Breton coast
Southern Breton coast
Joe is getting into making movies
Joe is getting into making movies
Jack's photo of Joe - Jack is starting to take some excellent shots.
Jack’s photo of Joe – Jack is starting to take some excellent shots.
Seaside chapel, southern Brittany
Seaside chapel, southern Brittany
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Jack the climber 

So many Chateaux!

Hill view of Langeais
Hill view of Langeais

Lately it has been far more difficult to find time to post blogs. We’ve been extensively sightseeing, and I’ve also been working on manuscripts. So I’ve completely missed reporting on our time in both Austria and Germany. To sum up: wonderful.

Now we’ve moved on to France. We picked up a car in Munich, and drove it here. We will have the car for two weeks, as we explore the Loire Valley (last week), Brittany (where we are currently) and Normany (our next stop). I thoroughly enjoyed legally driving very, very fast, particularly in Germany…

The picture above is the town of Langeais, on the Loire River. We spent a week based there and exploring the area. We explored Cheverny, Chamborg, Clos du Luce, and other wonderful castles and chateaux. It is hard to choose just a few pictures, as there are so many beautiful places here.

Cheverney
Cheverney

Jack was in his historical glory, and we realized just how much he knows, as he taught us facts we didn’t know about some of the locations we visited. While visiting one of the oldest castles in the area, which has been turned into sort of an medieval interactive location, Jack and Joe got to try on chain mail, see a trebuchet fire a water ball at the castle, and learn sword fighting techniques. (Actually, I think Jack used some of his karate skills, which surprised and winded the sword instructor…)

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One of my favourite places in this area, although it is hard to choose, was Clos du Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci lived for the last few years of his life. They have turned the park behind the chateau into a working demonstration area for many of his inventions/machines. The kids really enjoyed trying them out, and it’s a beautiful park as well.

Dan and I enjoyed the best meal of our lives in Langeais on my birthday. We just turned our choices for food and wine pairings to the chef. Escargot risotto with peas, goose, chicken live pate… five courses of delicious!

We are in Brittany now. Although only a few hours away, it’s a very different vibe here, and not only because it has turned rainy and cool. The seaside/marina feeling is very different. More on that in the next post…