Proud Normandy and the start of Paris

Trip Start May 22, 2011
Trip End Jun 03, 2011

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After a delightful breakfast of homemade French croissants and crepes at our B&B, we scurried to town to try to find a replacement Normandy tour. With a blessing from above, not only did we find a replacement, but we were able to get a private tour because another group had cancelled.  So it was just Madison, myself, and a young, handsome Frenchman named John.

The tour lasted nearly four hours, with stops at Arromanches, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, Pont du Hoche, and Utah Beach, with John retelling the minute details of the events leading up to and including June 6, 1944.  But the highlight of the tour was the hour stop at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. Amazing!  This place made you so proud to be an American!  First, it rivals Arlington National Cemetery in its sacredness, with white marble crosses for the 9,387 soldiers who willingly laid down their lives, along with the marbled wall inscriptions of each soldier's name whose body could not be found, the memorial monument overlooking the reflecting pond, and its beauty bordering the English Channel.  Secondly, it is actual U.S. territory, meticulously manicured and maintained by the U.S.  John told us there is always something "green" in the landscape ~ no dormant plants in winter, to represent continuing freedom that was given.  There is also a Visitor Center which tells the story in English, with French subtitles – it is U.S. land, after all.  I was especially impressed with the looped reading of every soldier’s name who is buried there.  This memorial is truly a diamond to be discovered in an out-of-the way place.

We caught the high speed rail train back to Paris in the afternoon.  Walking to our hotel, we noticed a large group of young girls standing behind a rope line at the entrance to our hotel, the 5-star Park Hyatt Vendome.  We were told they were waiting for an appearance of a celebrity, although discretion prohibited the staff from saying who, that is also staying in our hotel.  In the early evening as we were going out, we walked in the opposite direction as we first came in and saw that a movie is being shot right next door!  A sports car was poised on the sidewalk to represent a car crash.  I’m speculating that the actor(s) are staying in our hotel.

After gaulking at the movie scene we walked to The Louvre, which has discount tickets and stays open late on Wednesday nights.  Mobs of visitors all wanted to see the same thing, The Mona Lisa, which I was surprised they allowed flash photographs made of her.  The Louvre is really overwhelming, so many “masterpieces” to see ~ literally thousands of paintings, thousands of sculptures, hundreds of “home décor” as Madison says (vases, platters, figurines, etc.), and a reset of Napoleon’s apartment rooms, including the dining table for 50!  After nearly three hours we decided we had had enough culture, especially after seeing so many naked men and women in paintings and sculptures!

Whew, what a long day, and we walked 16 miles.  We took in so much history, both ancient and contemporary.  But, we knew history would be a large part of this trip (probably why Major, Bradley, and Todd had no desire to join us!).  Thank you, Lord, for giving us the opportunity to see your great hand in masterpieces and the work you performed in World War II.
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Janice on

So glad you got to do the Normandy tour. I heard that Obama was in London on Tuesday and in Paris yesterday. Is he following you? LOL Maybe you'll be in the movie. Sounds like you're gaving a wonderful time.

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