THE NORMANDY AND WESTERN FRONT SERIES, DAY 3&4
MONT SAINT MICHEL – BAYEUX – SAINTE MERE EGLISE – OMAHA – BAYEUX
The best steak & omelette in the world in the same day. Getting up early has many benefits and I love to have a little more space at the tourist traps when possible. But this was more obvious at Mont Saint Michel that most other places.
TIME IT RIGHT AND YOU COULD HAVE THE ISLAND PRETTY MUCH TO YOURSELF
The streets of Mont Saint Michel during the morning are a stark contrast to what you see later. To call it a tourist hotspot is an understatement afterall it is France’s 2nd most visited tourist destination after Paris!! Luckily as the tide was still low, we took a walk around the island – and seen a grand total of 3 people. This is compared to my friends experience who ended up stranded on the island due to the high tide when they set out to leave.
WHERE IS BAYEUX?
THE WORLDS BEST OMELETTE
Apart from its unique position and character, the island is also famous for its omelette, and known by many as the world’s best. Obviously hearing that we had to put it to the test and took a trip to La MèrePoulard, a restaurant where it all began and previously visited by many presidents, prime ministers and royalty! If it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for us.
The recipe, developed by Anne Poulard in the late 1800s came about mainly due to the affect the changing tides had on visitors. And as the island became surrounded by water, it was hard to forecast how many visitors would be remain. The ease of making this omelette with its accessible ingredients, gave Anne an answer for this preparation headache.
DAY 3 DAILY INFO….
- HOTEL – Domaine de Bayeux 8/10
- RESTAURANT – La Rapiére 9/10
- ATTRACTIONS –
Mont Saint Michel
Bayeux War Cemetery
Museum of the Battle of Normandy
DAY 4 DAILY INFO….
- HOTEL – Domaine de Bayeux 8/10
- RESTAURANT – Le Pommier 5/10, overcooked steak but free cheese board
- ATTRACTIONS –
Saint Mere Eglise
Airborne Museum 9/10
Azeville Battery 7.5/10
Crisbecq Battery 8/10
Utah Landing Museum 8/10
La Cambe German War Cemetery 7.5/10
Point du Hoc 8/10
Omelettes are no fun and I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting much, in fact none of us were but it was without doubt the best omelette I’ve had and so much so I’m shocked that it hasn’t made its way around the world. Don’t be put off by the portion sizes, most of it has been whipped to an inch of its life and contains mostly air. We ordered one between us but should have had one each!
DAILY TRAVEL STATS….
- Steps – 16,500 & 8,300
- Miles covered – 157.2 miles
BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY
After a quick morning walk around Mont Saint Michel we headed to Bayeux and visited the first of several war cemeteries. I have been told many times about the atmosphere of these places and it doesn’t take long for the emotion to kick in.
It’s one thing to walk into a cemetery like this and another to actively visualise the number of lives lost, the age of these soldiers and the countless friends and family affected. How so many lives could be taken before they had even had a chance to live. Not many of us could ever repay that…
MUSEUM OF THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY
Just across the road from the cemetery is the museum and well worth a visit. This will give you the complete story of D Day rather than specific battles which other museums tend to focus on. A good way to start a trip around Normandy.
If you grew up in the UKs education system then you’ll for sure have heard of the Bayeux Tapestry. In short (😏) it’s a 70m cloth reel showcasing the Norman Conquest of England which culminates with the infamous Battle of Hastings. It’s incredible to see this thing after hearing my history teacher (sorry Mr Reynolds) rant on about it during every class. Well worth checking this out.
MONT SAINT MICHEL FACTS – BOX:
- Construction of the Abbey at Mont Saint Michel started in 708 AD and was built over 1300 years.
- The Bishop Aubert of Avranches was visited in his dreams by Archangel Michel. He was then told instructed to build a church on the island at the mouth of the Couesnon River.
- The high tidal waves and strong fortifications made it impossible for the island to fall to the English.
- The abbey underwent a change of use during the 1800s when there were very few monks left. At a time it was used to store political prisoners and after a campaign the prison was closed and island saved from ruin.
THE BEST STEAK IN THE WORLD
I used to be a fillet steak fiend and actually still am but found out that a steak made at home is often as good if not better than one ordered in a fine ass restaurant. So rather than ordering something that’s relatively simple to cook I made the recent decision to keep it off my plate.
That was until I went to La Rapiére and it just ‘spoke to me’ from the menu 🤣. Asking the chef, ‘chicken or beef’, he couldn’t have been more decisive if he tried and it was everything and more that I wanted from a steak. Tender and full of flavour beyond any other steak I’ve tried, thank you La Rapiéire!
DAY 4, SAINT MERE EGLISE
On the eve of June 6th 1944, Parachuters from the American 101stAirborne had the task of capturing the town of Saint Mere Eglise and its surrounding infrastructure. Unfortunately, the landing for John Steele, didn’t go to plan and his parachute ended up getting caught on the ridge of the church. He played dead to no avail and was cut down and detained by German troops. Fortunately he managed to flee just a few days later.
On the church tower where he was caught by the spire remains an effigy in honour of him and the other soldiers who landed than morning, many of who lost their lives.
Just across the road is the American made Airborne Museum and it’s fantastic!! It takes you through the story from the Airborne division, from everything such as the info on the parachutes and gliders used, to an insane immersive walk, through the inside of a plane flying over the chaos of Normandy. This part in particular was a highlight!
AZEVILLE & CRISBECG BATTERIES
These are two of the countless batteries found around Normandy which were part of Hitlers famous Atlantic Wall – a defence system erected on the shores of Western Europe to deter an invasion.
Azeville was unique in that it had hundreds of meters of underground tunnels which connect each of the pillboxes. This is unlike any other gun emplacement open to tourists. Crisbecq, although still impressive had a network of trenches, rather than tunnels.
UTAH LANDING MUSEUM
This Museum, in the shape of a German pillbox is built over the remains of the German W5 strong point. It’s huge, it offers over 3,000m2 of museum space and covers a broad range of stories about World War 2. Like a lot of museums, it also showcases vehicles and instruments used during the war.
LA CAMBE GERMAN WAR CEMETERY
Getting to La Cambe the first thing I noticed was that it couldn’t be any more different to the cemeteries of the Allies. Sometimes when we talk about the German soldiers we forget that they were doing what they were told was the right thing and many gave their lives in the process. It was a good a place as any to remember the victims who fought the wrong battle.
There is also a small museum which details the lives of some who rest here. Some were just normal boys others well well suited to the Nazi regime. Such as Adolf Diekmann who ordered the massacre of 642 innocent civilians.
POINT DU HOC
Point Du Hoc was another strategic gun emplacement for the Germans as it looked onto both Utah and Omaha beaches. To ensure the success of the D Day landings the Allies felt it imperative that it be neutralised, otherwise the landing crafts and support boats face an indefensible blitz.
Unfortunately, the American’s aerial bombardment was unsuccessful and the task was left to the infantry. With its precarious location atop a cliff the American troops scaled the embankment while under heavy fire and took control within a few hours.
It’s a nice walk, even with the wind! You will see from the end point how effective this location would be and also has a small museum with a short movie with a backstory.
- HIGHLIGHT – The steak for sure!
- LOWLIGHT – The other steak for sure!
These few days alone are worth a trip on their own, from visiting Mont Saint Michel to Bayeux to Utah beach, yet we are only just scratching the surface!
I find that it’s virtually impossible to enjoy a beach here in Normandy!! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
- Have you been to Utah or any of the landing beaches?
- Is there anything else you would do?
- What was your favourite museum?
Let me know in the comments below . . .