#8: Normandy and Paris

Mont Saint-Michel, France.
Mont Saint-Michel, France. Photo: J. Chung

For years I had longed to visit Mont Saint-Michel, the Gothic-style Benedictine abbey that stands out approximately one kilometre from the northwest coast of France. I finally got the chance when I rented a house in Normandy with my friend Laurie.

We flew to Paris, rented a car and drove to our house in Lonlay d’Abbaye, near Domfront.

Normandy

House in Domfort, France.
House in Domfort, France. Photo: J. Chung
Canadian War Cemetrary in Beny-Sur-Mer, France.
Canadian War Cemetrary in Beny-Sur-Mer, France. Photo: J. Chung
Arromanches-les-Bains, France.
Arromanches-les-Bains, France. Photo: J. Chung

During our 2 week trip, we visited:

  • the beaches of Normandy, where World War II was fought. It was quite moving to visit the museums and learn about the war.
    • Arromanches
    • Juno Beach
    • Beny-Sur-Mer (Canadian Cemetery)
    • Bayeux and Caen war museums
    • Alencon (D Day celebration)

      Honfleur Normandy France
      Honfleur Normandy France
  • other sites in Normandy including:
    • Bagnoles sur ‘Orne (very pretty town) for dinner
    • Honfleur
    • Bayeux tapestries
    • Bayeux Notre Dame Cathedral
    • drive to Mont St. Michel via St. Hilaire
      • crazy busy due to market day
      • took a tour of the abbey with a tour guide
      • had the famous omelette at Mere Poulard

Cheese and Brandy

Normandy is also known for cheese: Camembert. Pont L’eveque, Livarot, Neuchatel. Some are very strong and some just melt in your mouth. We stopped at Le President to sample these four cheeses.

Normandy Cheese.
Normandy Cheese. Photo: J. Chung

Besides cheese, however, Normandy is known for Calvados (apple brandy) and I have developed a strong liking for Pommeau, which is a combination of apple juice and Clavados. It makes a great apératif.

Back To Paris

On our way back to Paris, we stopped in Chartres and spent the night in Versailles.

Back in Paris:

  • we did a lot of walking to Canal Saint Martin, the Louvre Museum, Luxembourg Gardens
  • had a great dinner at Guy Savoy’s restaurant by the Seine River called, “Les Bouquinistes” (the restaurant is still in operation). Address: 53, quai des Grands Augustins
    • Dinner consisted of a cucumber and feta salad, duck with apples, Burgundy wine, and chocolate mousse with mint sorbet

Trip #8 To France_ Normandy, Chartres, and Paris

2 Comments

    1. Assuming you’ve never been to Normandy, one of the highlights is visiting the D-Day beaches and the museums. If that’s the case, I’d say a base in Caen or Bayeux would be good. I stayed in Dormfort, south of Caen and although it was a great town, we found ourselves driving a lot, particularly north (towards Caen). Mont Saint-Michel is definitely worth a visit if you are close enough. If, on the other hand, you’re going to be staying in the eastern part of Normandy, Honfleur would be great (although it can be very busy—lots of tourists). If you wanted to do more of the Cider route, there are many lovely towns like Pont-Audemer. Check out the itinerary #31 to get a list of some of the towns I visited on my last trip in Normandy (eastern section). It’s a pretty big area and to do the whole section, west to east would cover too much ground. I’d suggest just doing the western side or the eastern side.

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