Wednesday, September 12, 2018

5 Days in Normandy, France

J Crew Factory navy and white striped top | American Eagle high waisted tall jeggings | Sperry classic boat shoes | Baublebar gold large script monogram | Tory Burch brown leather wrap bracelet | Tiffany pearl studs | Maui Jim sunglasses

Our first stop on our trip though Normandie was to Reims, home of the champagne.

The main attraction in Reims is the gorgeous gothic cathedral. It was actually bombed during the Second World War and rebuilt. This cathedral is famous for being the spot where Clovis was baptized as well as crowning many other French kings under the name of God.
This church also has the famous smiling angel next to the door, that smiles at you as you walk in. 

This church is also famous for many beautiful stained-glass windows. Words do not describe their beauty nor do photos.

That night we went to Québec hotel in Rouen. 4/10 would recommend this hotel. This was by far the worst hotel we have stayed in so far. The rooms were tiny, the carpet was dirty, the room smelled bad and it was in a very sketchy part of town.

After sleeping few hours, I went to the cathedral in Rouen. Our tour guide informed us that Rouen is the capital of Normandie. The city was originally settled by the Romans because it is right on the Seine.
The cathedral in Rouen is the 3rd tallest cathedral in the world! It was breath-taking, as all of the churches are!

Our tour guide also showed us around the city. We got to see wooden houses, like in Burgundy, the big clock, le gros horloge, the Palais de Justice, and the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the steak.

Following that tour, we went to the Normandie Memorial and museum in Caen. This museum is on top of a German bunker, General Ritcher’s bunker from the Second World War. We went inside the bunker and it was very creepy.

Banana Republic iron free blue button down | American Eagle tall high waisted skinny jeans | J Crew Factory gold tassel earrings | Tory Burch brown leather wrap bracelet | Tory Burch cheetah Reva flats

That night we stayed in Le Lion d’Or in Bayeux, the most beautiful and spacious hotel ever, with the best shower.

The next morning, we visited the Bayeux cathedral, where we watched wedding attendees wait for the bride and groom!
We also saw the famous Tapestry of Bayeux. It is 69 meters in length and illustrates the story of Guillaume the Conqueror and his life! It is an amazing piece of history.

Another amazing part of history was D-Day during the Second World War, when American, British and Canadian armed forces stormed the beaches in Normandy to liberate France from the Germans.
Our class visited the American and Germany cemeteries. It was extremely emotional and sad regardless of which side you were on because there was so much loss of life. 

We also visited Omaha Beach and the Pointe du Hoc where we got to see the German bunkers and gun stations.

It was a very emotional day and I am so proud to be an American. All the men from WWII who lost their lives and sacrificed everything to liberate France paid the ultimate sacrifice and I will forever be thankful for their service to America and the world.

Another hour or so on the bus and we made it to the amazingly picturesque Mont Saint Michel. I could see if for miles from the road. It was so mystical and magical.

J Crew Factory bow shirt | high waisted flare jeans from French boutique | J Crew Factory black belt | Quay black cat eye sunglasses | Tory Burch double pearl stud earrings | Tory Burch black Reva flats

Sunday was our tour day of Mont Saint Michel. It is an island with a stunning Abbey in between the Normandy beaches and England. Only 19 people live on the island, and they are monks and nuns from the Benediction chapter. Saint Michel, the name of my dad, is the saint of the army.

From our very expensive hotel in the town of Mont Saint Michel, we had to take a 10-minute bus ride, or a mile and a half walk across the newly built bridge. This island didn’t used to have a bridge and could only be reached by boat or walking when the tide was low. Once the bus dropped us off it was a solid 30-minute walk uphill. Huge incline and my Tory Burch Reva flats were definitely not the proper shoe choice...

The Abbey of Saint Michel underwent a lot of transformation over the years. Originally the chapel was created by the Duke of Normandie. The chapel was built in the Roman style but over time was transformed into the gothic style. During the French Revolution, the beautiful abbey became a prison.

The abbey is built on top of a giant mountain in the water. So, there are so many steps to get up to the entrance of the abbey but also once you are inside the monastery. The chapel is built above the crypt which is next to the dining room, where all the religious men and women eat in silence. The cloisters have a beautiful view of the water and England. There is also a bible copying room.

Our next stop was Chartres on Monday, another home to another famous cathedral.
It has beautiful stained-glass windows with two bell towers; one in the gothic style and one in the Roman style.

Sunday night after dinner we went to the light show at the cathedral. All these beautiful lights and designs were projected onto the cathedral. There was music and all. It was kind of like Disney world or Saks 5th Avenue in NYC at Christmas time. 
I keep comparing the US to Europe... It is kind of a problem because I am not embracing my new life in France. I didn’t even really notice that I was making these comparisons until my French professor stopped me. Yikes! It is hard to not make comparisons, but I am going to work harder to not compare or make assumptions about life in France.

Monday morning, we had a guided tour of the cathedral. We got to see angels, Saint Elizabeth and even a demon above the door as we walked into the church.

This church is special because of the two clock towers but also the three different stained-glass roses. Henri IV was even crowned in this church.

This church also has the holy shift of the Virgin worn by pilgrims/the veil of the Virgin made out of silk from the 5th century.

I also got to see a statue of Saint Elizabeth, my namesake, visiting Mary after saint Gabriel blesses Mary with Jesus. It was very cool to see Saint Elizabeth, and I felt very special!

Seeing Saint Elizabeth was a nice way to end our trip!
Our longest trip and one of the best ones yet!
Next week, Val de Loire and PARIS!!


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