Saturday, December 3, 2016

Normandy, France via Paris and Honfleur Days One through three

     As a history buff, particularly of military history, I have always had a fascination with the events surrounding Operation Neptune, the Normandy landings which were the beginning of Operation Overlord, the invasion of, and battle for Normandy. Going there has always been on my bucket list.  This October, I finally had the opportunity to go and see some of the historical sites myself.  I had the further honor of going with my son, Joseph, who is an active duty Naval officer and Naval Aviator.  He came to Atlanta from Washington, D.C. where he is 
currently stationed.  I met him at the airport on Saturday, Oct 22 where we were able to get on the 3:30 pm departure to Paris (CDG).  After arriving early Sunday morning in CDG, we took the train into Paris and walked to our accommodations.  We spent Sunday and Monday in Paris, taking in the sites, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and thoroughly enjoying the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of France with its collections of weapons and uniforms tracing French military conflicts, plus Napoleon's gilded tomb.  This is an amazing museum.  I have never seen so many suits of armor in all sizes, shapes, and designs.  It is truly worth a visit.
Suits of Armor on display at the  Musée de l'Armée

On Tuesday we rented a car and set off for Normandy. It's an easy two-hour drive on limited access highways with tolls.  Our first stop was Honfleur,  a small town in northern France's Lower Normandy region, sited on the estuary where the Seine river meets the English Channel. Its Vieux-Bassin (old harbor), lined with 16th- to 18th-century townhouses, has been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son Eugène Boudin. Nearby Saint Catherine's Church is a vaulted wooden structure erected by shipbuilders beginning in the mid-1400s. We were able to find a place with a balcony overlooking the old harbor using Air B&B.  This is the eastern part of the Normandy battlefront and Honfluer was untouched by the conflict.  It is almost like being in a Monet painting, the town is so picturesque.  We spent the night there enjoying the sights, and a delicious meal ( I had sole Meuniere) before setting out the next day.  We drove along the coast and avoided the highway, enjoying the beautiful Normandy countryside aglow in all of its Autumn glory.                                                                       
Enjoying Cidre 

Le Vieux-Bassin in Honfleur
Our balcony view

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