Stately Normandy

Our next stop was a hamlet called Loumel near Pontorson in Normandy. Our hosts, English couple Julia and Carl welcomed us to their farm cottage, which was built in the 1600s, and we spent three enjoyable nights with them, their dog Nana and cats Lou and Mel, as well as seven ducks. We dined with our hosts on two evenings and enjoyed their company as well as tasty home cooked food.

Mont St Michel is an icon in France and we headed there first up. The crowning glory of this island,  which is joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land at low tide, is an enormous 10th Century abbey and we climbed hundreds of steps it seemed to reach the top and then work our way back down, one room at a time. Magnificent structure. The narrow lanes beneath the abbey are home to restaurants and tourist shops and of course, we stopped for lunch.

The next day we drove to Bayeux and saw the magnificent Bayeux Tapestry which is almost 70 metres long and details the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the major players Harold and William (the Conquerer). Neither of us knew very much about this period of history and we found the audio tour fascinating. The tapestry has survived, almost intact, for nine centuries.

Afterwards we drove to the city of Caen and spent the entire afternoon in the Museum of Peace, which is dedicated with great care and detail the period from World War I through to the D-Day Landing and also the war with Japan. The photographs, film footage and written commentary were quite graphic, and moving. Many elderly people were visibly shaken by what they were seeing. We could have spent much more time.

The countryside in Normandy is green and lush with rolling hills. Just beautiful.