For two weeks before this trip we’ve been relaxing in Madrid after our many weeks of travel before, but this past weekend we took a trip to France. Also, I’m writing this post today in regards to Independence Day. Happy July 4th everyone.
During our time in France we checked out Paris, Normandy, and Versailles. I’ve been to Paris once before, but the trip to Normandy was the reason I decided to go in the first place.
Normandy was the site of the end of World War II, specifically Omaha Beach where US troops landed on D-Day. I’ve loved history since high school, but I’ve always found World War II interesting. It’s more than just the wars that were fought, but how the past influences the present and how leaders rise and fall.
On the Friday, we traveled to Caen (pronounced Khan) France, just shy of 2 hours northwest of Paris. Normandy is the region just north of Caen where D-Day began. We booked an exclusive tour of the museum in Caen and the various landing sites around Omaha Beach at Normandy. It was, by far, my favorite part of the entire trip. You could see history first hand at the beaches. You could see the abandoned and destroyed bunkers where German soldiers once defended the coast. You could see the mounds created by air raids and naval bombing on the cliffs and imagine what it must have been like on that faithful day.
We also visited the American Memorial at Normandy where the soldiers that died at that beach are still buried today. The land has been donated to the United States, so for just a moment, we had stepped foot on american soil. The Memorial was a touching tribute to those who had fought for our Freedom.
Along with history that comes with Normandy, the beauty of northern France cannot be forgotten, from the rolling hills to the wide open plains. The entire french countryside stands in stark contrast to the horrors of the war just a couple miles away. I definitely plan on returning to France again sometime in the future, not for Paris, but for the picturesque villages in northern France.