Trip Report Normandy and Paris
On this trip report Letitia tells us about her first trip to France and outside of the USA. She was part of a big group who came to France to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Their group stayed in Granville as their home-base and went around to visit different places around Normandy.
Places mentioned on the show: Sainte-Mère-Église, Granville, Mont-Saint-Michel, Omaha Beach, American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer
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Trip Report Normandy and Paris
To visit the Mont-Saint-Michel, Letitia and her group were dropped off near the access road and walked a short way (visitors cannot drive any closer) and they were given a specific amount of time before they had to be back in the bus. As a result she didn’t have the time to walk all the way to the Abbey. Keep in mind that it takes a long time to get to the top on a crowded day! But she will visit again in October, she will take the time then.
Food at the Mont-Saint-Michel
There are many local specialties you can enjoy at the Mont-Saint-Michel. One is the Moules à la Crême and the other the Omelettes. The Moules à la Crême are served in a special pot with bread and a side of fries. It is absolutely delicious and very filling. Another specialty are the omelets which are wonderful but often serve undercooked with runny egg (omelette baveuse) and can be a bit much even for Annie who is French. See the French Tip of the Week below on how to ask for a well-cooked omelet.
Omaha Beach and American Cemetery
Letitia participated in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and really enjoyed it. She reports seeing more American flags in Normandy than she has ever seen anywhere she’s lived!
There are three French villages along “Omaha Beach”: Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer (where daily remembrances are held), Colleville-sur-Mer (where the American Cemetery is) and Vierville-sur-Mer.
Letitia was also very impressed by the American Cemetery, she wasn’t sure which one she visited. It could have been Colleville-sur-Mer or Saint James. Annie also recommends visiting the German Cemetary in Normandy, it is also a sobering experience.
Visit to Paris
Letitia walked a lot in Paris, she wasn’t sure she was brave enough to use the Métro, but she walked everywhere. She visited the Louvre, Notre Dame, played boules (or pétanque) with a friendly French person at the Jardin des Tuilleries, took a ride on the Bateaux Mouches. In the Louvre it is vital to pick a piece or two that you want to see and just go for those. Letitia wanted to see the renovated appartments of Napoleon III and her niece wanted to see the Mona Lisa, so they did both and tried not to get to get too distracted along the way. Use the website for the Louvre to help you narrow down what you’d like to see. She also enjoyed the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero even though they couldn’t go up the tower as a large group due to renovations and doing it individually would have taken too long.
Food Letitia Enjoyed in Paris
Croque Monsieur, crême brulée, crêpes, café crême. Here are the different types of coffee you will commonly find in France:
- Café: this is about 1/4 cup or less of espresso and is served with one stick of granulated sugar.
- Café Américain: this is an espresso with hot water added to it. It’s possibly 1/2 cup, but no more. Also served with one sugar.
- Café crême: one espresso with a couple of tablespoons of frothed milk, served with one sugar.
- Café au lait: one shot of espresso served with 1/2 cup of warm milk and one sugar. This is probably the closest thing to a Late you will find in France, but much smaller.
- Noisette: one shot of espresso with a tiny bit of cold milk, served with one sugar. It is called “noisette” because of the hazelnut color.
Why It Is Best to “Do” France on Your Own
Letitia visited in a big group which was probably best because she was coming to the 70th Anniversary of D-Day which was mobbed and very hard to do any other way. But, if you listen to her story she missed out on a lot of things due to group constraints. Not enough time to walk to the Abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel, not enough time to go up the Eiffel Tower, the group went to Bayeux but there wasn’t enough time to see the tapestry. She will have a chance to go back and do those things, but it’s a shame she couldn’t the first time around even though she wanted to.
[1:00:15] French Tip of the Week
Sometimes French restaurants serve omelets undercooked. This is especially true in Normandy where they think that’s how it’s supposed to be done. I totally object to that notion, so I will tell you how to ask for your omelet to be fully cooked. You could say “je veux mon omelette bien cuite” or “je n’aime pas l’omelette baveuse”.