We like to take at least one “big trip” each year and last year it was two weeks in France split between Normandy and Paris. Monica had visited Paris several times, but this would be a first for me and neither of us had been to Normandy. We did a lot of research in creating our itinerary and had the help of Chantal Littleton, an outstanding travel planner suggested by our friends Rod and Pat Cochran. After some clarifications on what we wanted to see and how we wanted to experience the country, Chantal created a schedule that met our wishes. We decided to go at a leisurely pace and experience the places more deeply. That was a great decision.
Though France is a popular destination, feedback is decidedly mixed and travelers’ opinions vary. People tend to love the sights, but comments about the people often terms like rude, haughty, and aloof. We experienced none of that and can say without reservation that our trip to France was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken and we were treated with kindness and helpfulness in every location we visited.
Our first few nights were spent near Bayeux, not far from the D-Day beaches. It is a beautiful city that was spared from the bombings during the invasion. As our guide walked us along the narrow streets and the old homes explaining the history of the city, we were taken in by the beauty of flower boxes in nearly every window. At the end of the day, the lady who selected our guides and arranged our transportation invited us to her home for tea and cookies. It is one of the oldest structures in the city and featured a watchtower complete with a very narrow winding stairway, quarters for the guards, and slits for bowmen. The hospitality we were shown more than made up for the less than desirable weather.