28 June 2010

France Part 2: Caen, Angers, Normandy, Loire Valley, etc

As promised, the rest of the trip to France.  I already have so much I want to say about Cambridge, but that will have to hold off until I finish this!

Wednesday night:
My Dad and I spent the night in Caen, since it was close to where we were going the next day.  We walked around the town for a bit...it's weird to see my name on so many store fronts! Like really weird.

Thursday started out amazingly.  We visited one of the D-Day beaches early in the morning, and we were the only ones there.  After some time there, we payed our respects at the American Cemetery.  I wasn't expecting to get emotional like everyone else says they do, so I really surprised myself when I noticed that my eyes were welling up.  I think it's a site that everyone needs to visit.

Afterwards we visited the Bayeux Tapestry.  It was really interesting to see it in its entirety and up close.  There are so many details that I had never noticed before... The town itself is super quaint, too.

Mont St. Michel was our next visit.  I was so excited to see that it looks exactly like pictures I've seen!  I wish we'd been able to see it surrounded by water, although that would have meant would wouldn't have been able to reach it.  My only dislike was that all the shops at the bottom made me feel like I was in Disney World.

A few hours-long drive took us to Angers, where we spent the night and also ate delicious Italian food.  My Dad spent several months of his mission here.  At one point we passed a plaque that mentioned a Camille, and my Dad said that that may have been the inspiration for my name.  Subconsciously.

We got to visit some really awesome chateaus in the Loire Valley.  First we saw Chenanceau, which is built over a river!  The building was smaller, but still very beautiful.  One of the best features of the property was this hedge maze.  I totally smoked my Dad.

Chambord is my Dad's favorite; it has this really cool double-helix staircase, inspired by a sketch from Leonardo da Vinci.  I always got super lost in any given apartment suite, but the place is undeniably awesome!  My only suggestion would be to improve the front lawn- such a property deserves to have a beautiful garden or the likes.

The day ended with a visit to Chartres, the first place to use the innovative flying buttresses (important for many architectural reasons).  It's also being restored, and the stained glass will look beautiful when it's done!

After a lovely night in a splendid hotel in Versailles, we spent our last morning in France in Paris again.  I tell you, nothing beats eating a breakfast of hot chocolate, a croissant, and orange juice while watching the artists get ready for the day on Montmartre.  That was so good.  As was driving in circles around the Arc de Triomphe.

J'adore la France. A la prochaine.

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