Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beautiful Normandy

After Giverny we headed for one of my all-time favorite spots, Normandy. This visit was my fourth to the historic region and every time I seem to learn more. This trip I told Kirk I thought I could spend a week just in the heart of Normandy and never get bored. We bought a grocery store picnic dinner and checked into La Ferme du Pressoire, our hotel on a working farm right next to the town of Bayeux.
La Ferme du Pressoire could not have been a more ideal spot for us. We had hoped to stay at Chateau de Lignerolles where we had stayed six years earlier, but they were all booked up. So now we have two first class spots to recommend. At La Ferme du Pressoire we stayed in an old farmhouse built in 1787 and miraculously spared the bombings of WWII. Their family room was very large and spacious for our motley crew.
Plus to our delight and the glee of Connor, there were goats, roosters, cows, and even a brand new colt born the day before trotting around and nursing in the pasture. Too cool! What a show!
Our hostess, Odile, went over and above to be sure we had everything we could ever need. There was a charming family dining room we used for our picnic and Odile provided us with homemade cider, a specialty made on the farm and the perfect touch to our meal. Breakfast was the same incredible hospitality with more food than we could possibly ever eat. I especially loved the “croissant loaf” and the homemade omelet with chives. Yum, yum. Just what I needed to jumpstart a busy day!
We headed out and did a grand tour of the WWII D-Day Landing beach sites. Starting with Saint Mere D’Eglise, followed by Utah Beach, Pointe Du Hoc, the American Cemetery, and Arromanches.
The entire area is so moving. To think what happened so successfully there 65 years ago! The region is brimming with American pride and gratitude. It is difficult to take it all in. But such a special, special place.

The thousands of craters remaining at Pointe Du Hoc really bring alive all that happened and the impact of the “debarquement.” How odd to see the kids run and play today where many brave men fought and died.
At the American Cemetery we were able to take in the new accompanying museum about the D-Day landings. I am not usually a huge museum buff, but this one is so well “curated” (is that word?) and has the perfect amount of information to bring it all alive, without being too much to overwhelm.
Unfortunately Connor was getting cranky when we made it to the cemetery and was focused on pushing her own stroller – very slowly! So we crept along at Connor-speed and didn’t get to go too far into the grounds. The emotional impact was definitely there nonetheless! Normandy is a peaceful landscape today with echoes of the past fury. This fourth visit put so much together for me and may have been the very best. The opportunity to share it with the three people I love most in the world was a wonderful treat.

1 comment:

Ali Meyer said...

It was fun to see, not only your WWII Normandy pictures, but your Giverny photos as well! My parents, husband and I all went to Normandy at the end of Feb and had a great time and luckily good weather for that time of year! Though, I'd like to go back in the Spring or Summer sometime as everythings looks so much 'greener'. We went to the same WWII sites that you went to, plus Longues Battery. All the places were very touching and hard to believe that so many men gave their live. Also I loved the B&B's you recommended, so we will have to head down there again to just to try them out! We stayed in an old Farmhouse near Bayeux which used to be a former Abbey. They also made their own apple juice, cider and calvados along with jam, so we bought a little bit of everything from them. We also stayed at another farmhouse near Mont St Michel which was pretty nice. Next time we head to Normandy, we hope to check out Giverny, but didn't think Feb was a good time to see the beauty of this area.