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Kavey's Normandy Trip Report/ Diary May 2001

Kavey's Normandy Trip Report/ Diary May 2001

May 31st, 2001, 10:42 AM
  #21  
Art
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Hi Kavey, coming from a different background than us folks across the pond. Did you visit any cemeteries in Normandy and if so were you affected by them?

 
May 31st, 2001, 12:14 PM
  #22  
Thyra
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Kavey did you mean to write that your Birthday is Sept 30TH???? If so... we share a b-day!!!!
 
May 31st, 2001, 01:30 PM
  #23  
Kavey
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Hi Folks

Art, I thought a lot about whether I wanted to visit the cemeteries and DDay landing sites, particularly as so many American visitors to Normandy list this as a key element of their visit. After thought I decided not. History was my subject at school, college and university, and I am talking 20th century history at that, so the whole of WWII has always been of great interest to me. However, I didnt feel a need to see the beaches themselves nor the cemeteries. In some sense this may because I did such a lot of reading on the subject and have a good knowledge of the geography and land appearance in Northern France that I have always been able to see the war events in my minds eye anyway.

Also I think for Americans, visiting the war memorials gives them a way of connecting to the past, and to history, which may be more difficult at home in such a young country. I dont know, maybe this is why?

Also, I know I can and will go back, it is very easy, close by and inexpensive for me to do so, so I havent dismissed the sites/ sights we missed.

Thyra, yes I am a 30th September, and I will be 30 this year.

Also my sister shares the same birthday but is exactly 3 years and 5 minutes younger than me.
 
May 31st, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #24  
Linda
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I need some expert advice. We have to choose between Rouen and Honfleur/Deauville. We prefer visiting quaint, charming villages instead of touring museums, castles etc. Thanks!
 
May 31st, 2001, 06:04 PM
  #25  
mast
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Hi Kavey!
We plan to visit Normandy in December. We will be renting a car in Paris and hope to cover Rouen, Honfleur, Bayeux and Mont St Michel within 5 days. How is the road condition and is it safe to drive when it gets dark? Is the road sign clear and easy to find direction? Which map were you using?
Initially we intend to save 3 days for Lyon but do you think it is better to allocate another 3 days for Normandy? What are the towns that we should visit?
lastly, do you have any idea are all these towns/cities still 'alive' in December? And is the weather bearable?
Many thanks!

mast
 
Jun 1st, 2001, 01:42 AM
  #26  
Kavey
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Hi Linda,

Personally the thought of Deauville didn't appeal, as from what we could gather it is a more modernised seaside resort with casinos etc... As for Rouen and Honfleur we loved both. Rouen is a lovely town and has some beautiful architecture but we only spent about 2-3 hours here, including lunch. As we, like you, are not overly fussed about visiting museums etc, we felt this was plenty to take in the ambience of the town.
Honfleur I absolutely loved. It is stunning to look at, and even though this does mean that it gets a lot of visitors, this somehow doesnt detract at all. Infact it gives it a liveliness and bustle which is also attractive. It is jam packed with little nooks and crannies and you walk around each corner to another pretty scene. The buildings both around the harbour and elsewhere in the town are beautiful. I hope my description in ther report above brings a little of that home to you. ALso it is easy to spend time here, you can stroll around for ages, popping in and out of little shops selling local produce, you can sit in cafes or on the harbour side watching life go by, you can enjoy a short boat trip out of the harbour (which is fun just to see the huge lock working, as well as to see the big bridge over the estuary) and you can also take short and inexpensive horse buggy rides around the town. We arrived at 4.30 on afternoon, spent this evening, and the whole of the next day there quite happily before leaving the morning after that. (2 nights).
If you have only one day and your tastes are like mine, I can certainly recommend Honfleur, if you have 2 days, then I would also pick for you Rouen and les Andelys, home of Chateau Gaillard. This chateau is in ruins, it isnt a case of a dry tour round decorated rooms in a stately mansion...

Hi Mast,

Driving in Normandy is a pleasure and a doddle, we found the roads very empty and well signposted. We used a well detailed road atlas (the A3 size ones with ringbinder spine and lots of detail). I would recommend a new one as ours is 1997 and there are quite a few new motorways since then which are shown as planned routes on my old copy. Ruth had a smaller and slightly less details A4 road atlas which wasnt quite as good). The junctions are uncomplicated, the roads well surfaced, and as long as your headlamps work and you have OK night vision I cant see any problem driving in the dark.

Unfortunately I dont know Lyon myself so I cant comment on whether you should change the itinerary form that perspective but 5 days in Normandy is plenty for one visit, you can always return to it another time. Have a read through my report above to see if the places we visited would appeal to you. I would add Mont St Michel, which we left for our next visit, and also think about whether you want to include Bayeux, Caen and some of the WW2 sites depending on your interests. I personally found that those guidebook which had good and plentiful photographs alongside the text were the most useful to me in deciding where to visit. One warning, dont underestimate the distances involved. Motorway driving is pretty fast but even using the wide and open N and D routes is a little slower, as the speed is slightly less and they take more meandering routes.

I have no information about weather and whether things are open in December, I am sorry, but I believe there are a number of official websites for Normandy tourism, these might offer advice on seasons, if not you can find the address for the tourist board for the area and write to them.

Kavey
 
Jun 1st, 2001, 01:48 PM
  #27  
Diane
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Kavey, thanks for posting in such useful detail. Normandy is definitely on my to-go-to list -- have always wanted to visit the D-Day sites, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the cathedral at Rouen.

But...I don't really know what most of Normandy looks like. Do the renowned hedgerows divide green fields, or more the golden sort? Is the land rolling or flat?
 
Jun 1st, 2001, 02:05 PM
  #28  
Kavey
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Diane

I can't say I noticed any hedgerows dividing the fields like we get in the UK, but even in the UK these are in decline as newer and larger combine harvesters lead to larger fields...

The landscape was incredibly lush and green... As you look out into it it seems incredibly flat and yet as you drive around you realise you are constantly climbing up and down hills... At this time of year I particularly enjoyed the rippling fields of pale green wheat, you know the type where the wind makes it look like green water being whipped around?

Kavey
 
Jun 29th, 2001, 03:12 AM
  #29  
s.fowler
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A classic trip report -- and a reminder to Kavey to send some pictures!
 
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:11 AM
  #30  
Inky
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Oh Sally for goodness sake get a life, stop all that dry hand washing and sycophantic behaviour, I expect more from you than that.
 
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:33 AM
  #31  
s.fowler
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Oh Inky -- it's so nice to be appreciated
 
Jun 29th, 2001, 06:15 AM
  #32  
Ess
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Sally, I'm so glad you topped this. I missed reading it as I was away when it was posted.

Kavey, great trip report! We were in France from May 26 - Jun 2nd. My lord, was it hot! But we had a wonderful time. Drove all around eating and drinking like there was no tomorrow.
 
Jul 3rd, 2001, 01:21 PM
  #33  
s.fowler
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Topping because it's a good read
 
Jul 4th, 2001, 12:59 PM
  #34  
Kavey
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Haven't forgotten about the pictures as some came out particularly well but my scanner is ruining them and I havent the skills in PaintShop Pro to correct the colours so I have to wait until I can find a friend to scan them in for me...

But I honestly havent forgotten

PS Thanks for the compliment...

Kavey
 
Jul 14th, 2001, 04:03 PM
  #35  
Kavey
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Thanks to the wonderful Sally Fowler, some photographs to illustrate this trip are now available to view at

http://geocities.com/dhfsbf/fodorite/pictures.htm

Thanks Sally!

/<avey
 

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