My first visit to France was 1998 with my family. We were coincidentally there when they won the World Cup. Good memories.
However, my favorite memory of France is visiting the Normandy WW2 sites with 2 friends in 2014.
We drove from Germany through Paris to Caen. Interestingly, we had a hotel booked out near some of the sites, outside of town. When we showed up, the place was a ghost town. All locked up, no one answered the phone…nothing. I sent a really nasty complaint to hotels.com and we went back into the city to find something else.
We had come for 1 reason and 1 reason alone: WW2 history. We stopped into the tourist center and signed up for a tour the next day. Meeting place for the tour: the WW2 museum.
Our tour guide was super nice and really insightful.
Stop 1 – Pointe du Hoc: US Army Rangers secure overlook point to prevent heavy fire on landing crafts.
Stop 2 – Site of the 1st cemetery for the dead Americans
Stop 3 – Omaha Beach: Establish and maintain foothold then fight uphill under heavy fire (see machine gun bunker hidden in the hillside)
Not sure if this was allowed, but I took some sand from the beach and divided it among my dad and his brothers, since their father fought in WW2 as an infantryman.
Stop 4 – Cemetery
Stop 5 – The Atlantic Wall: The necessity of early landings by gliders to prevent a rain of death onto the landing craft
With views like these, it seems so peaceful…
The tour ended back at the museum, which is quite good.
Back in Caen, we got dinner at Le Dolly’s. I had cheesecake (mmmm) and one of the best burgers of my life. Serves meat but worth visiting!
Caen seems like a decent city, but you wonder if it would really be on the map without the massive history that unfolded nearby on D-Day. It definitely wouldn’t have this many tourists.
We waved at the Eiffel Tower as we drove back to Germany on Sunday afternoon. It was a whirlwind weekend, but it was a great one.
This entry was posted in Europe, france, normandy