This past weekend, I was given the amazing opportunity to go to Normandy on an ISA excursion. I did not know much about Normandy before this trip except that D-Day occurred there; however, I was excited to explore the northern part of France. In the end, I fell in love with the beautiful, old cities of Saint Malo and Mont Saint Michel, and I hope to return in the future. Here are a few suggestions in case you decide to visit this beautiful region:
Visit the World War Two Museum
On the first day of the excursion, we visited the Caen War Memorial Museum. It was an amazing exhibit that spiraled from the ground floor to underneath the museum. The exhibit started at the very beginning of the Second World War and transported you to Europe in the 1940’s, explaining how the war started and how it progressed to the Holocaust. It also displayed interesting cultural information such as music and fashion of the time. The end of the exhibit explained how the war was ended including an exhibit entirely dedicated to D-Day. It was both a fascinating and emotional exhibit, and I highly recommend adding it to your Normandy Bucket List.
Stand on the D-Day Beaches
We also had the amazing experience of walking along Omaha Beach where the troops landed during the war. It was very shocking at first because it now looks like any other beach with snack shacks and beach clubs and kayak rentals. One can hardly tell that part of a war was fought there. However, it was incredible to be able to stand on the beach and remember the sacrifice of so many soldiers all those years ago.
Walk the Ramparts of Saint Malo
Saturday night we stayed in the historical center of Saint Malo. It was a small town that was surrounded completely by walls. One is able to take a short flight of stairs to the top of the ramparts and walk around the town from above. The view of the ocean from atop the wall is incredible as well!
Visit Mont St. Michel and the Abbey
Finally, on Sunday we visited the amazing city of Mont Saint Michel. Built on an island, it is only accessible by foot during low tide. Watching over the city from atop the hill is a beautiful abbey. The journey to the top is long and difficult, but it is definitely worth it to be able to see the town and the ocean from above. The abbey itself is beautiful too, both inside and out. Because we visited Mont Saint Michel on a Sunday, we had the pleasure of sitting through the beginning of a service as well.
Although my time in Normandy was short, it was one of my favorite places that I have visited during my time in France so far. I strongly encourage you to take some time to visit this incredible place if you are ever given the chance.
The world awaits…discover it.