|03-25-2012, 04:58 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Howell, MI
Channel Islands, Paris, & DLP (FINAL UPDATE)
1st Update: Post 24
2nd Update: Post 39
3rd Update: Post 42
4th Update: Post 63
5th Update: Post 89
6th Update: Post 97
7th Update: Post 107
8th Update: Post 112
9th Update: Post 121 The end of DLP
10th Update: Post 127 Eiffel Tower
11th Update: Post 131 Versailles (THE END!)
The cast of characters: myself and DW
Destination: Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Sark) via Paris
Day 0-1: Fly from DTW-CDG via Montreal, drive to Bayeux, FR
Day 2: From Bayeux to St Malo via beaches of Normandy
Day 3: Ferry to Guernsey (post 24)
Day 4: Sark
Day 5: Guernsey (post 39)
Day 6: Ferry to Jersey
Day 7: Jersey (Post 42 & 56, & 63)
Day 8: Ferry to St Malo, drive to Paris (Post 67)
Day 9: Paris: Louvre (Post 76), Notre Dame (Post 77), Arc de Triomphe (Post 79), Pont Alexander & Jimmy Buffett (Post 89)
Day 10: DLP (Post 97+, 107+, 112+, 121+), Eiffel Tower (Post 127+)
Day 11: Château de Versailles (Post 131+++)
This was a vacation built around a family reunion on Jersey, frequent flyer miles on Delta, and ferry schedules between the islands. Special trip for me since it’s the first time anyone in my family has been to the Channel Islands since my Great Grandfather left Guernsey for the US in April 1912. I can trace my lineage in the islands back just over 1000 years to the late 900s. The Channel Islands, for those who don’t know, are a series of islands in the English Channel. Separated into the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, they’re the last remnants of the Duchy of Normandy. They’re considered British Crown Dependencies and not part of the UK, and thus they have no loyalty to the British Parliament, only to the queen, who is referred to as “The Duke of Normandy, the Queen”. They’re self-governed, sovereign, with their own money and passports.
On to the trip….
This was a frequent flier mile voyage as mentioned, so we took the most efficient route from DTW to CDG, which was via Montreal. Landing in Montreal, it’s clear you’re not in Kansas anymore! French dominates the signs, followed by English. It’s not a large airport, but it seems as though our gate was as far from civilization as possible. A quick pass in & out of immigration, and we were chillin in the 1st class lounge.
The overnight trip to CDG on Air France was uneventful, if too short to allow for sufficient sleep. I was surprised to find the seats and service both lower on the satisfaction scale than the Delta flight on the way home.
We landed in Paris in the late morning on Sunday, managed to find our rental car, and headed for the hills (quite literally, France is a more rolling countryside than I might have expected).
Concorde on display? Yup, we’re in Paris
On to our first destination: Bayeux
Bayeux, France. We selected it as a stopping point purely out of it’s convenient location and some online reviews we found. As it turns out, Bayeux is the closest city to the D-Day beaches that survived the war largely intact. Seems as though the resistance was able to get the message out that there was nothing of military significance in the city. We arrived on a rainy afternoon and checked into our B&B where the owner spoke no English at all, and made no attempt at holding back on her French. It was quite amusing and charming, and despite my lack of being able to speak any meaningful French, I understood what she was saying.
Our hotel in Bayeux. We had the room on the upper right.
Bayeux is also home to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bayeux. It’s older than, and nearly as large as the much more famous Notre-Dame de Paris. We wandered into the Cathedral that evening after having dinner at one of the few restaurant’s that were open on Sunday (Pizza & wine!). It was us and another couple in this massive space. The cathedral is absolutely magnificent in its size, architecture, detail, and the sheer presence of the structure.
From our room:
DW in front of the doors for scale
Last edited by D C; 04-14-2012 at 02:19 AM.
|03-25-2012, 05:02 AM||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Howell, MI
With a day to kill before needing to be at the ferry terminal in St Malo, we headed up to the beaches of Normandy on Monday. First stop was Arromanches. It’s the site where the British forces built Mulberry B harbor to support the invasion of France. Many of the remnants of the harbor remain, and they have a great museum in the town.
Remnants of the floating bridge from shore to the dock where supplies were unloaded onto trucks
From Arromanches, we headed West, stopping at some of the remaining German gun casemates. The small towns along the way were great. Just like you see in the movies (or in any of the WWII oriented video games).
This one had seen better days (clearly took a direct hit)
Looking toward the channel from atop a casemate:
Looking toward Pointe du Hoc. Not exactly a welcoming shoreline
Next, we headed to the American Cemetery at Normandy. If this site doesn’t make you emotional, I don’t know what will. 9,387 gravesites of WWII servicemen, precisely arranged markers. In every direction, you see these perfectly aligned rows of white marble crosses (and the occasional star of David). But as you look farther away, they blend together to where the manicured grass fades away and the horizon becomes white from the markers. Sobering... emotional....
I learned here how readily identifiable we are as Americans when overseas. They have a very nice museum at the monument. To enter, you go through your typical airport-style security screening. The post is manned by the French military. The soldier giving directions would switch between giving instructions in French and English depending on who he was addressing….without needing to be spoken to in order to know which language. I asked him about it. “You can just tell”.
|03-25-2012, 05:04 AM||#3|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Howell, MI
It was getting late in the afternoon, or we would have spent more time there. Amazing site.Then came Pointe du Hoc where the US Army Rangers scaled a cliff on D-Day to take out some German artillery. The battle is depicted partly in the movie “The Longest Day”. Amazing landscape that had the crap bombed out of it during the war.
The cliffs that the Rangers scaled on D-Day (can you imagine what those young men must have been thinking when they found out where they had to go?)
Pointe du Hoc (“slight” bomb damage)
What used to be a gun casemate. The i-beams in the concrete are over a foot high and spaced just over a foot apart.
Off to St Malo for our ferry the next day. We hadn’t eaten much since breakfast, were running late, so we stopped for dinner at the first place we found:
That was one GOOD Big Mac! Threw the employees for a loop when, before ordering, I told them (in rather good French) that I don’t speak French and asked if they spoke English. The girls behind the counter had “Oh crap, we never have to use English, that’s just for school” looks on their faces. We got through the language barrier though. LOL
Swung by Mont St Michel on the way. A monastery site for ~1200 years, it sits atop a rocky island, just off the French coast in lower Normandy. We didn’t have time to do more than a drive-by and nighttime photo-op. But it’s one of the most visited sites in France.
Mont St Michel
Pulled into St Malo around 11PM after several adventures with the French road system. Silly we were to think we could get there as long as we knew the names of the roads to take. We later found out the French road system. They love roundabouts and signs, but seem to have a disdain for signs with street names. Instead their signs have the names of PLACES. The secret, we found, is to know what cities you want to go to, or if you want to go somewhere else. You’ll approach a roundabout and you’ll see signs and arrows. Caen this way, Paris that way. Well crap, what if I don’t want to go to either of those. Simple! Look for the sign that says AUTRE DIRECTIONS. Literally translated as “other directions” it simply means “anywhere else”. I don’t want Paris, don’t want Caen, I want to go SOMEWHERE ELSE! Positively bizarre, but it does work once you figure it out.
We spent a short night in St Malo, a walled port city on the North coast if Brittany. Had to catch an early ferry the next morning, or we could have seen more of the city.
From the ferry the next morning
Next up, off to the islands!
|03-25-2012, 10:28 AM||#6|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Staten Island, NY
Really enjoying your photos - great trip!
January 2013 - SSR (DD Checking in CP)
May 2013 - OKW F&G (DD extending CP - visiting & help her move)
July 2013 - Disney Fantasy - Western & OKW (DD checking out of CP)
October 2013 - BCV F&W
DVC Home Resorts - OKW & BCV
DCL cruises - '01 Eastern, '03 Western, '05 West Coast and '07 11 N. Med. Cruise.
WDW Resorts - POR, CBR, OKW, BCV, AKV, BWV, VWL, VB & HH, SSR
|03-25-2012, 11:41 AM||#7|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New Jersey
Wow, always enjoy the international trip reports immensely. Thanks so much for taking the time, looking forward to more.
|03-25-2012, 01:03 PM||#8|
Join Date: Jul 2011
Going to see the beaches of Normandy has been on my bucket list for quite some time, thanks very much for taking the time to post your report and those pictures.
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