Monday, May 16, 2011

France 1988 - entries 20-21

Thursday, September 8

A fun breakfast with toast and coffee. Another gorgeous day! Many happy au revoirs to Joselyn and Marcel and we are off to Omaha Beach, etc… The first stop is Pont du Hoc, the steep cliff where our rangers climbed the face with grappling hooks, losing 135 of the 225. It took 48 hours to rescue the position and was the bloodiest offense in that offenseive. We saw the cement bunkers and gigantic depressions from bombs and went into the gun emplacements. Then on to the cemetery at Normandy. It is magnificent and a fitting and beautiful memorial for our soldiers. It is a sad place, but you can feel the love in the caring and the lovely, intimate, little chapel. There is something special in its placement just off the beach from th Normandy landing, with the blue Atlantic behind the white marble crosses. We drove on to see some German bunkers still in place between Utah beach and Aramanches and in Aramanche, we visited the Museum and saw the remains of Port Winston still in the water. This is primarily a British museum as it is the Gold beachcad but the building of Port Winston was very interesting. On to Deauville, a magnificent beach resort – tres beautiful. Then Hon Fleurs for the night. Pretty town. Beautiful day, warm, high 70’s.

Friday, September 9

Today we go back to Paris. The trip has been delightful although much faster than John and I usually like to travel. We are sorry not to have spent time at Deauville and Hon Fleurs. To see a town you need a day at least. Our Hotel Mercurie was very nice and breakfast was a bit more interesting. The French put very little emphasis on petit dejeuner. It consists of bread and croissants and coffee or tea. We drove to Rouen to see the Cathedral and arrived with 45 min before the usual lunch closing at 12. That is a custom. Hard to adjust to – everything closes from 12 to 2:30 or 3:30. The cathedral is magnificent and the destruction from WWII is almost completely reconstructed. They have lost windows that will never be replaced probably. Little was left without damage, but restoration was completed in 1987. It is smaller than Notre Dame of Paris or Chartre. We drove on to Giverny as our friends hadn’t seen Monte’s home and garden. John and I explored around town and enjoyed a rest while they visited. I bought a wonderful child’s book about Monet. We drove into Paris about 5 – madness. Our new hotel is on Isle St. Louis and called Hotel de Jeu de Paume. It is lovely and much nicer than La Bourdounais, but streets are so narrow you can’t stop your car – all old cobblestones.

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