12 Jour – Mont Saint-Michel & D-Day Memorials

4 Jul

On the Fourth of July, we woke early to beat the crowds and experience Mont Saint-Michel during the daytime. We hiked up the grand staircase of the Abbey, beating the tour groups, and took the self-guided audio tour of this magnificent abbey. We learned about the architecture and history of the structure, as well as daily life at the Abbey.

After our tour, we walked the same cobbled streets we walked the night before, but shoulder-to-shoulder with crowds of tourists. As we said yesterday, be certain to visit late at night to appreciate the beauty in relative solitude.

We lunched in a small cafe on the upper level, with views of the channel and the mainland. Joan had mussels; Jeff had Perrier.

Jeff says: “I was hit with something that disagreed with my stomach. I’m guessing (just a hunch) that it might have been the raw ground beef I had for lunch the day before. I didn’t eat well until dinner.”

With bittersweet sorrow, we left Mont Saint-Michel and headed for the site of the D-Day landings in Normandy. We visited the American Memorial Cemetery. The displays at the visitor center were informative and very moving. It was a somber, but fitting way to spend our Fourth of July in France — remembering the sacrifices of our servicemen and women.

The drive back to Paris seemed much longer than the drive out. Avis closed at 10pm, but we didn’t make it back to the city until 10:10. On the positive side, we did get to drive around the Arc du Triomphe. Jeff did an amazing job navigating the crazy traffic — not an easy task.

Jeff adds: “The GPS unit was a lifesaver. Don’t leave Paris without it!”

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