3 Girls in France trip report

Old Jul 9th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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3 Girls in France trip report

We had a great trip to France! I will warn you now, this will be long

This was myself, DD (16) and my mother, who has never been overseas until this trip. DD and I have been to France before, but I took a French for Travelers course this time in preparation. Very glad I did as it helped a lot.

We live in OR and grandma is in CA, so DD and I started our trip early and drove down to CA. Our flight was out of SFO, so it worked out well.

We spent a day there before our flight out on Sunday, June 24th. DD went shooting with Grandad and Grandma and I did some last minute shopping. Of course I found a pair of shoes that I had to take on the trip with me, lol! They were the Naot Ashley's, in black, and ooohhhhhh so comfy! Turned out to be perfect for the trip. We also spent the day figuring out our packing. We always do carryon only, but my bag was 3 cm too big for Air Frances dimensions, so to be safe we ended up all buying new bags. We bought the 21" rolling bags by Rick Steves (LOL!) which turned out to be perfect for us, and they were only $116 at the AAA store. The bags weigh 7 pound each, and Air France's carryon weight limit is 12 kg, so we were able to make it all work.

So, packing....DD and I did fine. Grandma needed a lot of help. She was fine with regular clothes and shoes, so I figured she could pack the suitcase by herself and I went to deal with mine. I came back to her to find her bag bulging. I asked her what in the world she added. This is where I realized I had my work cut out for me, lol! She had all her vitamins...all in the original containers, which were pretty much Costco sized, and she had her terry cloth full length bathrobe. She quickly saw how handy ziploc baggies can be, but it took a few hours of convincing her the bathrobe should stay home. In the end, we got all our bags packed, not bulging at all, and all under the 12 kg limit.

Grandma had arranged for a driver to take us to SFO. Great way to start the trip.

I booked our tickets directly with Delta, but the flight was operated by Air France. They have 1 nonstop flight each day between SFO and CDG, and that was our flight. Got to the check in counter, and AF had no record of us. They were very nice though and did their checking with Delta and we were good to go.

Grandma decides she wants to exchange money at the airport. She could not understand the clerk, and the clerk wasn't getting what grandma wanted. So we haven't even left SFO yet and I am playing translator, lol!

The flight was pretty uneventful. Packed plane, as to be expected. I was seated in an exit row, window seat, but next to two very large people. So I did not get all of my seat. So for the entire night I was crammed into the window. Oh well...that's the way it goes sometimes.

Arrived in Paris around 11:30am on Monday. We got off the plane on the tarmac and had to take a bus to the terminal. DD and I got off before grandma did, so we waited for her. That is until some official wouldn't let us. He tried to make us get on the bus, but we explained that we could not leave grandma. He didn't care and made us go. So grandma got left behind for now. We arrive at the terminal, and wait right there for her. Til yet another official makes us continue. So we find an out of the way area to wait. By the time she arrives, she was starting to panic. But after we are all together, we navigate everything just fine, and grab a cab to our hotel.

Day 1 in Paris

We arrive at the Hotel Muguet in the 7th. Our rooms are not quite ready, so we leave our bags and head out. Stopped at La Terrasse for lunch. It was ok, not great, but fine for our circumstances. I did have fun using my new language skills. The waiter was great and helped me to pronounce a few things in a very helpful way, so that was a good start for us.

Stopped at a pharmacie and DD bought some lotion. Turned out to love the stuff and we bought a bunch more to bring home.

Back to the hotel and got checked in. We were on the top floor, the 6th, and grandma had a room with a great view of Invalides while our room had a great view of the Eiffel Tower. We did pay more for the view rooms, but it was worth it. Grandma had two twins in her room, while we had a king bed as well as a daybed. The lift only goes to the 5th floor, so we took one flight of steps to our room. The steps were a very narrow, almost spiral staircase, so if someone is handicapped, they should request to not be on the 6th floor. Again, a good reason to travel light with luggage too.

The rooms were spotless, and very well maintained to the point of looking brand new. Grandmas room had a regular shower while ours had the bathtub with half a glass wall for the shower.

After getting settled in, we decided to venture out and take an open bus tour. The L'Open Tour had a stop not far from our hotel, so we opted for that one. Bought out ticket from the driver, got our headphones and headed upstairs and found seats. DD and I realize at this point that Grandma is tired as she keeps nodding off. Oh well, she can grab a catnap on the bus! After the catnap, she spots a creperie, so we hop off and head there. Banana and nutella....yum! We wander a bit, then decide we should find the bus and continue on. We end up going to the Louvre stop and wait for a long time. Lots of people are waiting for it also, and a few locals stop and talk to us and comment that it is odd that a bus has not come by. The weather is turning at this point, and the wind is whipping and big black clouds are overhead. Just as we almost give up, the bus arrives. Literally as we hop on, the clouds open up and the rain dumps. So everyone from uptop comes down for shelter, so everyone is packed in like sardines.

We just deal with it and figure we won't see the sights, but will just ride it back to the stop near our hotel. Wrong. At 8pm the bus stops, and makes everyone get out. Apparently they do not finish out the route when it hits 8pm. There were a few locals on the bus who explained that this was normal, that at 8 they are done regardless of where they are. Interesting, lol! So we get let out on the Champs Elysees, but we don't even know we are on that street as we were so packed in we couldn't see anything. And the raining is coming down hard, and sideways. DD and I just kind of laughed and figured it was funny, til grandma said she needed a bathroom. I spot a kiosk with two young men in it, and ask them. They were great and one of them took us to an underground parking garage and showed us where to find one. After that I asked the garage employee where to find a taxi. Again, he went out of his way and locked up his office and took us out and walked us to one. So into the cab and back to the Muguet we went.

After drying off we were on our search for dinner. But we were not very hungry after having the crepe. So we went to a brasserie, La Source (on the corner of rue Grenelle and Place Salvadore Allende), and just had apple tarts and wine. We sat in a cozy corner and watched the rain. Beautiful.

Back at our hotel we watched the Eiffel Tower light up, and at the top of the hour we watched it sparkle for 10 minutes. Perfect!!! Grandma came to our room to watch, then back in her room we could see Invalides slowly light up for the evening as well.

mms is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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Good start. I'm surprised you did so much stuff the first day with grandma.
kerouac is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Great start. How old is Grandma? We had a similar experience on L'OpenTour bus when our bus driver stopped and left the bus to go in an internet cafe for about 15 minute. Luckily for us he did come back and we didn't have to leave the bus.
happytotravel is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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more please...
lucygirl is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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You watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle... perfection

More sil vous pait !
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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mms, I have never been to Paris in the summer. How comfortable were you walking around every day?

Were all the shops mobbed because of the sales?

I have to send this to my friend who told me about the Brittanique, she will be pleased
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 04:38 PM
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mms, looking forward to the next episode.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 05:49 PM
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what an eventful 1st day. I cracked up out loud over the bathrobe. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Day 2

After being awake for way too long, it finally hit us and we slept in today. When we finally got moving, our first stop was the nearby boulangerie. Grandma had not had any coffee yet, and I found out quickly here that coffee must be in her system before we start each day. I go in and get croissants for the 3 of us, but mom is upset and doesn't understand that we cannot get coffee here or that there is no place to sit down to eat. Out on the sidewalk, a meltdown begins. I calmly try to explain that things are not like at home here and she needs to adapt. I tell her we are off to find coffee now, and things will get better. So off to the Rue Cler we go. We eat our croissants along the way, which helps all of our moods. We find a cafe that looks perfect. Cafe Verganno (but my receipt says Delizius, at 40 rue Cler), and the lady there made fantastic cafe au laits! We stood at the bar, which was another initiation for grandma. I think she might be trusting that I know what I am doing at this point. She has coffee and things are improving at lightening speed.

We stroll the Rue Cler, and grandma spots a store that looks like fun. DD ends up with a cute pair of ballet flats, that were ridiculously cheap as well as head bands and earrings. We continue strolling for an hour or two, then decide we want real food and it is lunchtime so we hit the Cafe Roussillion ( corner of rue cler and rue de grenelle). Grandma had the salmon and DD and I had the duck. Very good! More cafe au lait to help wake us up too. Lunch was only 48 euro for the 3 of us. While sitting there, we watching a lady walk her big Golden Retriever, who stopped to pee on a bicycle that was leaning against a pole. So that gave us a giggle.

After lunch we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. But before we arrive, grandma spots a store she must go in. Descamps. She finds a turquoise terry cloth bathrobe that is calling her name. She is in absolute heaven, lol! After our packing discussion about her robe, how could I say no? This is the day before the sales begin, so the store gives her the sale price...30% off. Grandma leaves with the huge robe (very bulky) and is grinning from ear to ear. That only lasts a minute til we find another store that catches her eye. I don't know the name of this place, but it was only a door or two away. She found an inexpensive red purse that was also calling her name. So coffee, a new bathrobe, and a new purse made grandma one happy traveler

With bags in tow, we finally arrive at the Eiffel Tower. Always an amazing sight. DD brought along the SLR camera with black and white film, and I had the digital. So we took pics while grandma took it all in. The lines to go up were very long, so we didn't even attempt it. We would go later.

Off to the Trocadero we went. On our way, we were stopped by a lady and her daughters. They asked me in French if I spoke English. Made my day, lol! It was nice to be able to help a fellow traveler since we have needed help at times too. After chatting with them, we headed over to the Arc de Triumphe. We bought tickets, but mom was having a problem with one of her feet, so we took the handicapped elevator. They were very nice about it. Stopped in the gift store there and bought some metro map tea towels before heading up the last stairs to the very top. Fabulous views!

Then time to stroll the Champs Elysees. It was a beautiful afternoon, so we stopped at a cafe and had more cafe au lait and lemon tarts. This was at Brioche Doree, and for the 3 of us it was 17 euros. We sat outside and people watched.

We spot the Lacoste store, which DD loves, so go check that out. It was roasting inside, which was probably good in that she shopped pretty fast. She ended up with a casual fabric purse.

After that we hit Grand Optical for eyeglasses. Both DD and grandma wear glasses, so I just wandered. DD found frames she loved, by Chanel, so that was one of her splurges. We did not have the prescription done there, so just brought the frames home. They did the detax paperwork for us.

By now it was getting late, so we grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel. We either walked or took cabs most of the trip because grandma was not too keen on the metro. We did get her on it once, but that was later in the trip and once was enough for her.

Back in our neighborhood, we hit the pharmcies and stores for shaving cream. Ever since we arrived, we had been on the hunt for this as we didn't bring ours. Every pharmacie or store we passed, we had to go in and check. Nope. Never found it for women. So finally DD and I agree that we will buy mens, but a sensative skin formula so we don't smell too masculine, lol! We also buy a couple tubes of Voltarene gel (basically advil gel) to bring home.

Back to the Muguet to relax for a bit before venturing out for dinner. Our rooms were so relaxing, and of course the views helped. Since we were out all day, we did not have any dinner reservations. Not good. Every place we tried was full, til finally we snagged a table at Le Maupertu (94 bd de la Tour Maubourg). Excellent dinner! I am as far from a Foodie as one can get, but the sign on the door said it was Zagat rated. So maybe that means something to some of you. Anyway, we each had the 3 course meal, shared a bottle of wine and had coffee. Tab came to 118 euros.

Back to the hotel for the night. Once again, we enjoyed our views, and looked forward to watching the Eiffel Tower put on it's show.

None of us slept well that night though. We realize we had way too much coffee today, lol!
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Grandma sounds so cute! You are so lucky to be able to travel with your Mom. Your report made me cry because, it made me miss my Mom. My Mom used to travel with all of her vitamins from Costo also.

Do you have a picture of Grandma with her robe and red purse?

Thanks mms for a wonderful report.

cafegoddess is online now  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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Day 3

We slept in a bit and had breakfast at the hotel this morning. The usual continental stuff. The breakfast room is under a glass roof, so lots of light but the decor was a bit cold for me. Minor stuff though.

Anyway, we had a tour arranged today of the Roland Garros facility where the French Open takes place. DD is a tennis player and really wanted to bring her racquet and play during vacation. So during my internet searches for that, I came upon this facility and the tour. So while she never got to play tennis in Paris, this was a good second! We took a cab from the hotel, and the driver got a bit lost. This is not the usual tourist sight, so he had to get his map out. Nice gentleman, and he felt bad that he got lost, but it was fine as we arrived in time. There is only 1 English tour each day and it starts at 11am. We pay for the tour and the museum and get a family discount. We check out the museum before the tour begins. The tour was led by a Frenchman, who was around 20 years old and had a great way of relating stories about the players and the history. On the tour we went in the locker room, passed through an area where the players sign a wall with their autograph, see the interview room where the winners press conferences are held, and get to actually go down to center court. We did see a few players playing on other courts there, and saw where the girls dorms are. Young girls (age 13-16) are groomed here and this is where they go to school. They play tennis for 6 hours each and every day. The tour lasts an hour and was excellent!

After the tour we hit the gift shop. Of course DD had to buy the French Open t-shirts for herself and a few fellow teammates, as well as her high school coach and her private coach. All sorts of fun tennis stuff, so we had to practice some restraint here.

When we finished it was time for lunch, so we just walked and found a place. Murat (1 bd murat) had some nice outdoor seating so we opted for that. A bit expensive for what it was. It was quite obvious we were the only tourists here. The rest were businessmen in suits, and older women doing lunch with their lady friends. Two ladies next to us had what I assume was steak tartare...definitely NOT appetizing in our eyes. We just have sandwiches and cafe au laits and the bill comes to 69 euros. The taxi station is across the street, so we grab a cab and head out for some shopping.

This is the first day of the sales, so we knew the shops would be busy, but we had hoped with it being the afternoon some of it would lessen. Nope. First stop was Longchamp. Mobbed!!! I love small handbags, and found a perfect one. DD found a midsize bag, and I told her before we left home that she could buy one really nice bag, and this turned out to be the one. Navy blue, and a style that is not sold in the US. The bag was almost 50% off. The store does the detax paperwork for us as well. Grandma spies a red bag, and decides she needs it, until she checks the price...even on sale it was 4500 euros! So needless to say that bag stayed at the store.

Wandered a few more stores on the street, then headed back to the hotel.

We had dinner reservations tonight at Altitude 95 at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate grandma's 65th birthday. We dressed up for this, which made it even more special for her. The restaurant has 2 seatings each night, 7pm and 9pm. We had the 7pm reservation. We arrive and go to the small kiosk, away from the ticket booths, and this is where we purchase our elevator tickets. This booth is only for people with reservations. They check your name, you buy the tickets, then you go to a separate line near the main elevator. We get priority over the other people in line and go up on the next available elevator. Very easy. We arrive about 15 minutes before our reservation, so hit the gift store. We buy a few postcards, quickly write them out, then go across to the post office to mail them. The post office closes at 7, so we needed to do this before dinner. Items mailed from here get a special Eiffel Tower stamp, so that is why we did this.

Off to the restaurant. We have a table by a window with a beautiful view towards the Trocadero. When our family was in Paris several years ago, we also had dinner here and it was fine, not great, but not bad. This time dinner was actually very good! We started with kir champagnes, and DD had lemonade. We did laugh as the brand of that was called Pschitt. We had the 3 course dinner, and a bottle of wine. Total tab was 190 euros. Great service, great food, and grandma said it was the best birthday!

In the restroom after dinner, a lady who was seated near us said she heard us talking to the waiter. She heard we were from OR and said she was from WA. Turns out she lives in the town adjacent to where we used to live up there. So small world.

After dinner we head back to the hotel and just enjoy everything lit up for the night.
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Day 4

We wake up early today and head back over to the Rue Cler for Cafe Verganno. Grandma is really wanting an omelet, and I told her chances were slim. Who would have guessed that this place had one?! She was in heaven...the excellent cafe au lait once again by the lady who takes great care in each one she makes, and it definitely showed. Some oj and an omelet and we were set. The cafe had an wall of items you could purchase, so I bought a few things of the coffee for DH.

Back to the hotel and we check out. We are heading over to Normandy today, so ask the hotel to call a cab. For some reason the cab doesn't show. So we walk to the taxi stand which is only a few blocks away, and for some odd reason taxis were not coming. Long line of people waiting, and the locals said this was abnormal for no taxis to arrive. We start to panic as our train leaves in an hour. Finally a taxi arrives, and we have the driver go to the hotel so we can grab our luggage and off to St. Lazare we go.

The whole train thing had me nervous. When we came a few years ago, we just could not figure the system out. So I had bad flashbacks of this happening. But my French class that I took helped as I at least understood our tickets. I bought our tickets on the SCNF website 90 days out and got the PREMS fares. What a steal those are! We went from Paris to Bayeux, direct, for 15 euro per person, and 20 euro per person for the return portion.

So we arrive at the station, head up the escalator and I immediately go to the welcome desk and ask for help. Throughout the trip I was enjoying actually speaking the language, but this time I was just plain thankful to understand it and have a simple conversation. So the lady tells me the platform has not been announced yet, but that it will be between 24 and 27. So we head out that direction. As soon as get near the area, it is shown on the screen as being 23, so we head there. With the PREMS tickets I printed them out at home, so didn't have to stand in the line to validate them. We walked the platform, found the car that I thought was right, but double checked when I saw a conductor. Yes, I had the right car, whew!!! Got on and our seats were in the first compartment. The train leaves at 10:45am.

This is one of the times that I am happy that we travel light. But with purchases, we have expanded one bag, but still that isn't bad. Except grandmas is also hauling that turquoise robe in its shopping bag, lol!

We settle in and enjoy the ride. We do notice that the sky is getting dark clouds that look like they have no intention of going away.

We arrive into Bayeux at 12:46 and find it is a tiny little station. Kind of cute actually, but really nice in that it is super easy to nagivate. We head upstairs to the ground floor and catch a cab. We did not realize just how close our hotel was, otherwise we would have just walked.

The Hotel Churchill was our base for our time here. Grandmas room is teeny tiny, but clean and well kept. Our room was very long...an odd shape, but again very clean and well kept. Grandma once again had a regular stall shower, and we had the bathtub with the half wall. We look out our bathroom window to the front of the hotel, which was very pretty. Looking out our other window though...wow!!! We see various buildings that are hard to describe, but you feel like they have existed for thousands of years. Just past those though are the cathedral and we have a full view of it!

After we quickly get settled, we head out the back of the hotel to a main street in town, Rue St Jean, and go find lunch. I can't remember the name of the place, but we had sandwiches, Pschitt lemonade and cafe au laits. Lunch came to 20 euros.

Then we walked back to the train station. I bought tickets there to head over to Caen to the Memorial. Three round trip tickets were 32 euros. The train takes only about 15 minutes. From the station in Caen, we grabbed a cab. Our family had been to the Memorial, and found it extremely moving, so I looked forward to it on this trip. Well, this was not moms thing. I was a bit annoyed, but bit my tongue and so we did not stay all that long. We quickly visited some exhibits, saw a movie, and then headed back to the train station. Back in Bayeux we walked back to our hotel. Very short walk, but very interesting to see all the buildings, etc.

Before we left for Caen, I asked the hotel to recommend a place for dinner. They were so good and asked what type of food and setting we wanted and so recommended a place that was a good fit. We very much appreciated that extra effort. So they made a reservation for us then.

After we arrived back at the hotel, we checked out the boutique at the hotel. Lots of nice stuff. A lot of Hediard items, various calvados, and misc gifts. I bought two leather wallet vallets for DH and DS. DH says it looks like a large ashtray, lol! But he likes it and it will keep his wallet, keys, cell phone, etc all together and not scratch his nightstand. We also buy various Hediard chocolates. YUM!!!

Time for dinner, so we head over to La Fringale which is just out the back door of the hotel on that Rue St Jean, just a few doors down. Loved this place!!! We had kirs (with pear juice) once again to start, and the tomato motzarella starter was exceptionally good. Grandma had the trout, DD had turkey with some sauce, and I had the best scallops I have ever had. After dinner Grandma had a Grand Marnier, I tried Calvados (way too strong for me!) and DD had lemon sorbet with vodka. That was really good...we kept stealing from her. Our waiter was very animated, and very nice. He spoke a bit with me which let me practice my French.

While dining, we saw another American family seated nearby. We could overhear them talking about the baseball College World Series. We HAD to eavesdrop as I graduated from OSU and knew they were in it, but we had not heard how they did. So here we are in Bayeux and from eavesdropping we hear that OSU won! Great news for these fans!

Grandma and I each had a glass of wine with dinner as well. Total tab came to 79 euros for the 3 of us. Gotta love prices like that for a great place!

After that, we were tired, so headed back to the hotel for the night. One thing I have not mentioned is that Grandma would keep falling asleep places. Not for long, but if she closed her eyes she was out for a few minutes. In cabs, on the train, just sitting. So DD and I kept giggling about it to ourselves. That night we made a bet. The next day we were doing a tour so we each took a guess at how many times she would nod off. I know...not very nice, but it was really funny. And now I knew where my brother gets it from

mms is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2007, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,929
Really loved reading your report. Took
my late mother to Europe some years back & it was she, who remembered her German, who saved the bacon a few times. My girlfriend was navigator(unfortunately not one of her finer skills) but Mom was in charge of mid-day sandwich making & refreshments that we purchased to save time during
the day.
All that shopping too; did you have to check bags on return trip?
More please?
Rhea58 is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2007, 04:50 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 461
delightful! perfect amount of detail and character insight for me!
Sounds like I'm not alone in picturing my mum as grandma! Looking forward to the next installment...
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Great report!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Day 5

We were up early today as we were taking the full day D-Day tour with Battlebus. Started with breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast room is beautiful...glass ceiling and wall, looking out to the beautiful flowers in the courtyard area. The decor is quite cheery, and the breakfast was simple but good. Cafe au lait was served, and a basked of various croissants, etc. The rest was self serve...yogurt, cereal, etc.

We head up to our rooms to grab last minute stuff for the tour and question whether to bring jackets. DD and grandma do, but I figure I will be ok in just my very lightweight, white cotton jacket (more like part of an outfit than a real jacket). Oh, and I am in capris as well. We head out of the hotel and I start to question my judgement. I really should have listened to my gut feeling. Oh well.

We walk to the end of the hotel parking lot, and that is where the Battlebus tours do their pickups/dropoffs. Our van arrives, and our guide checks off who is in his van. It is the 3 of us and a family of 4 from VA. As soon as we drive away, the big black clouds open up.

The tour was absolutely amazing! I really cannot speak highly enough about it. When our family went a few years ago, we had a private driver for a quick 1 day trip, from Paris, so I was really looking forward to hearing more. We first headed over to Sainte Mere Eglise. We saw the church where the paratroopers came down and the one landed on the church and hung from his chute on it. After seeing it in the movies, it was moving to see it in person.

Across from the church is the Airborne Museum. Small, but very interesting. The first building had all sorts of personal artifacts which really brought it all home. The other building had more mannequins in uniform and a short film.

We were very happy to be inside as the rain was coming down sideways at this point. After visiting the first building, we headed to the gift shop and bought cheap yellow ponchos. Best 3 euros ever spent, lol!

After visiting the second building, we headed to the restroom, which was attached to the gift store. Somehow, DD and I walked out without grandma. We got in the gift store, but the door was one of those that automatically opens when you are outside, but not from the inside. So we are inside, and we see grandma wandering between buildings 1, 2 and the gift store, in the bright yellow poncho, getting beat by the rain, and looking quite upset. So I send DD out the front door and around, and I stay there and we are both waving trying to catch her attention. This goes on for at least 5 minutes. By then, both DD and I are laughing (not at grandma personally, just the situation) and the clerk in the store was laughing pretty hard too. Finally she sees up and comes inside. She is NOT happy that we left her and chewed me out. I apologized, but not much else I could do. I admit, DD and I still laugh about it though.

So we get back to the van and head for more sights. I can't remember which of these we went to first, but we stopped in Angoville-au-Plain and visited the church that the medics used. Wow!!!!!!!! The pews still have the blood stains on them and there are marks on the walls and ceilings of where the bullets ricquecheted (sp?) off. There are stained glass windows depicting the Airborne as well as the paratroopers. The church is still in use today, and I think it would be quite moving to attend a service there. The other sight was Utah Beach. We braved the weather and walked down onto the beach. Our guide was Allan Bryson, who is an author of several D_Day books, and really has a way of telling a story. The ponchos were much needed for this portion! But DD was funny, she had her new Longchamp purse and did not want it to get wet, so she wrapped her purse in her poncho and let herself get soaked (her jacket did not have a hood). Quite a sight all day to see her carry this "package", lol!

After this we stopped for lunch at a B&B, the Ivy House. Our guide called in our sandwich orders early so everything was ready when we arrived. The owners of the B&B were very nice, and had a great setup for us. They have a small D-Day museum in the room we ate in. When the guide calls in the order, that is when they go buy the bread, so you can imagine just how fresh that was! We stay for a bit and warm up and dry off.

From there we went to La Pointe Du Hoc. Again, the rain was coming down sideways on us. But it didn't matter as the guide was so interesting and we were too engrossed in hearing the stories and facts.

After this we visited Omaha Beach. Again, we were down on the beach, and we had such a feeling of gratitude while there. I felt myself getting teary eyed over much of what we were being told. The guide mentioned that while children do play on the beach in good weather, they are taught from a young age to appreciate what they have and why they have that beach to play on.

The weather was so bad this day, but it actually added to the tour. It gave us a glimpse as to what the men dealt with, and made us appreciate it even more.

Next stop was Colleville, the American Cemetary. Truly a place every American should visit, IMO. There is a gift store there now, which was not there when we visited a few years ago. We did not go in, as we preferred to visit the actual sight. Apparently to enter it though, you go through security similar to at the airport.

By now it is late afternoon so we head back to Bayeux. Of course the weather clears up exactly as we arrive, lol!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Day 5 (continued)

Back at the hotel, we change into dry clothes and wander the street behind the hotel a bit. All sorts of shops and restaurants. There is a grocery store pretty much next door, so we pop in there for a few things. We buy a few snacks and some water and head back to our rooms and relax.

Dinner tonight is at Le Petit Bistro. I made reservations a few months ago, based on various recommendations. We got turned around while walking to it, so I had to ask two ladies for directions. Again, I was very thankful for my French class. We arrive, and it looks great. But I quickly learn that grandma is not very adventuresome in dining, lol!

We are seated, and check out the menu. By now grandma knows the French word for strawberry, and spots a starter that has that in it. But doesn't pay attention to the other stuff, lol! So she tells DD that they should get that. The waiter takes our order, and then comes out with a small plate for each of us with a special from the chef. Small white rectangle thing...no idea what it is...but grandma asks the waiter if it is cooked. Yikes! It is...and it turns out it is chicken mousse. Very good!

Then the starters arrive. Grandma and DD have no idea what is on their plate. I have smoked salmon and veggies. They each try theirs, not quite sure of what to make of it. I finally ask them if they have any idea what it is. At this point I thought they read the menu and knew what they were ordering. Nope. They had foie gras, lol! So they pretty much stopped eating, lol!

Entrees arrived, and we all had a chicken dish. Excellent! Even DD and grandma approve

We pass on dessert and just head back to the hotel and crash for the night.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,254
Oh, mms. This is so delightful!

Had to laugh at your mom's packing. When I took my parents to Switzerland a couple summers ago, I sent them a packing list with strict instructions that nothing was to be packed that wasn't on the list. Well, luckily I had them arrive in Austin the day before our long flight. Dad had packed 5 pairs of shoes and 2 suitcases, Mom had 4 coats AND a fluffy bathrobe!

Didn't you just marvel at the beaches at Normandy? It is very moving indeed.

I'll be here waiting for the next installment! Good job!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Greetings from an ex-Duck!

I'm waiting to see if Grandma and her purchases need an extra suitcase on the way home.

I'm enjoying this; planning Paris and Normandy for next May.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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A couple details about Day 5.

Lunch at the B&B was 24 euro for the 3 of us. The sandwiches were HUGE but very good. We had sodas, coffee, and bottled water to go as well, so not bad considering.

Dinner at Le Petit Bistro was 77 euro for the 3 of us. That was for kirs, wine, starters and entrees.

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