Monday, May 30, 2016

Normandy & Mont St. Michel

For Spring Break we had planned to go to a Eurocamp outside of Paris, and visit Disneyland for a couple of days.  Kind of last minute, we decided to leave a few days earlier and hit up Normandy as well.  We figured, we would be halfway there anyways so we might as well.  Nathan had done a ton of reading about D-Day and WWII in general prior to the trip, so it was really cool for him to see it all brought to life.  I really enjoyed it to, and it was nice to have Nathan explain and narrate everything for me.  The kids were good sports.  We kept reminding them that their fun was still coming the next week at Disneyland.  

The first day we spent most of our time in the car.  It's a 7-8 hr trip with kids.  As we were about to arrive at our hotel, we made a short detour at the Caen War Memorial Museum.  It was interesting, but in the end, we decided it wasn't worth the money or time we spent.  There were better things to see in Normandy.  Violet did really love the statue out front, though ;).  

The next day, Saturday, we decided to drive another 1.5 hrs to Mont St. Michel.  That drive turned into about 3 hours thanks to traffic, but it was worth it.  Mont St. Michel is basically a little village and cathedral on an island.  Back in the day, people used to pilgrimage to it (which was rather risky, as there was no bridge and the tides were very erratic.  If you were caught out on the sand around the castle when the tides came in, it would be dangerous for sure.  Now they have a bridge that shuttles people back and forth from the parking lot.  Despite the rain we had that day, the kids did awesome. We walked a lot, climbed a lot of stairs, and explored a lot of ground.  Definitely one of the coolest cathedrals/places we've seen here in Europe.  On our way home from the island, we stopped at Pont Du Hoc.  This place had a lot of war history and the ground was still covered in craters from where bombs had landed.  Now very beautiful and covered by grass, the kids loved running around and up and down the craters. There were also remains of German bunkers all over the place.  Unfortunately, my kids seem to hurt themselves every five minutes.  So by the end, both girls were 'wounded' and I was pushing a stroller full of crying children back to the car while Nate finished exploring and reading signs.  

Our last day, Sunday, we spent visiting Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery there.  Again, not super exciting for the kids, so I let Nate soak things in in the museum and walked around outside with the kids most of the time.  It was freezing outside, so no one was super excited about it.  When we finished there, Nathan took us to a beach that he had discovered that was completely covered with large seashells.  The kids thought that it was so cool, and collected a large bag full of shells to take home.  We then piled back into the car and made the 4 hour drive back towards Paris and to our Eurocamp.  

Nathan went for a run along the beach one can still see the trenches

Mont St. Michel off in the distance

Isla looked up at this window and yelled, "Mickey Mouse!"

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