9th Aug - We caught a ferry from Dover in the UK, for mainland Europe. We arrived on the other side of the road in France and after a few mis-directions we made our way to our accommodation in Normandy.
10th Aug - After enjoying some croissants for breakfast we decided to head for some water and sun at Trouville on the Northern coast, where we decided it was time for crepes. We wandered through the town, took in a local game of boules, had some gelato & relaxed on the beach.
11th Aug - After a morning walk in the French country side we headed to the area of Normandy, famous for the d-day landings on 6th June 1944 as part of the second world war. We visited Omaha beach, the bloodiest of all the landing beaches, with intense fighting between coalition and Nazi forces. It was pretty amazing to see pictures from the time and the flotilla required for the landing.We also visited Le Huc where 250 American Rangers landed at the base of a rock cliff headland in an attempt to take out artillery to make it easier for the d-day landing, which they did despite only 90 of them living to tell the story.
12th Aug - We left early in the morning and headed to Versailles Palace, luckily we were warned of the queues to expect and were just early enough to miss most of it. What an amazing place it is, it definitely deserves it's rating as one of the grandest palace's in the world, with gold lined gates, several palaces inside the palace, gardens stretching for kilometers and its own English village (can you believe the Queen was so bored with her royal life that she decided to build her own countryside village to pretend to be a normal person - no wonder there was a revolution with all this exorbitant spending!!). It was definitely our favourite palace so far.
13th Aug - We left Normandy and headed north-west to Brittany. On the way we stopped for lunch at the famous Mont St Michel. A cathedral built around a thousand years ago, on an island in the middle of the mouth of a river, with a man made causeway to it, best to look at the pictures. We then headed to Perros Guirec in Brittany, to stay with Richard and Martine the parents of Jay, who stayed with us for about 6 months in Australia.
14th Aug - Spent the morning walking around the local markets buying fresh food for the next few days. Then went for an afternoon walk along the coast of Perros Guirec, jumping in, through & over rocks, before ending up at a beautiful castle on its own island, it looked like it was straight from a fairy tale.
15th Aug - Spent the day out on Richard's yacht sailing around the 7 islands, bizarre that there is actually only 5, apparently something was lost from the Gaelic to French translation. We also did a bit of fishing and caught 9 mackerels.
16th Aug - We walked down to the harbor and checked out the festival of the sea and later that night checked out the Gaelic/French rock band.
17th Aug - Went for another walk down to our fairy tale castle, before enjoying another of Martine's fine feeds. In the afternoon we headed to Pointe Debihit for a walk whilst taking in the sunset.
18th Aug - Spent the morning walking along the coast and checking out a quaint local village. We then took a drive along the coast, found a house wedged between two rocks, went for a swim at the beach and finished the day with crepes and cider.
19th Aug - Drove to Paris. We had a great laugh catching up with Jay for lunch. We then headed to the Eiffel tower, where we decided it would be a great idea to walk up, despite there being a lift, 600 stairs and a temperature of over 37 degrees. We then headed right up to the top via a lift, the only way you can go the rest of the way. We then enjoyed the amazing view from the top with a glass of champagne. We spent the night watching the sunset over the Eiffel Tower and its lights come on. We then headed for dinner (mmm… loving French food), before catching a glimpse of the Arch de Triumph at night and a quick walk down the Champs de Elyses.After then realising the time and the distance from our hotel we hired a bike and rode back to our hotel.
20th Aug - We started the day in typical French style with a few patisseries, from (what Elise labels the best cake shop in the world) Le Duree on the Champs de Elyses. We then walked up to the Arch de Triumph, an amazing site, so much bigger then I had imagined, although I have to say it looks much better at night than during the day. We then did a bit of shopping down the Champs de Elyses on the way to Louvre. We spent the afternoon strolling through the Louvre, we checked out the amazing medieval basement, foundations of the Louvre when it was a castle, Napoleon's apartment and saw many of the paintings and sculptures that the Louvre is famous for including the Venus de Milo, Victory of Samothrace and of course the Mona Lisa.
We then spent the early evening doing it Parisian style, sitting in a café on the side of the road (with a glass of your chosen alcohol in hand), people watching. We then again battled the traffic of Paris, riding a bike back to our hotel. We then dressed up, (well as much we can) and headed out for a nice dinner in St Marais, which is known as the 'gay' area of Paris. And did it live up to the stereotype, beautiful little streets, cute little boutique shops and full of little cafes and restaurants, this would definitely be the area of Paris we would live in. Oh and Meeks finally had her first escargot & crème brule in France.
21st Aug - We again fitted into the Parisian stereotype this morning, enjoying coffee & croissants as we people watched from our local café. We then headed off to Northern Paris and went to catch a glimpse of the Moulin Rouge, well what an area of town this is? It is wall to wall, strippers, topless bars & sex shops, one sex shop was 5 stories!
We then headed up to the Basilique Du Sacre Coeur, a massive church built by two wealthy catholic's on a hill over-looking Paris, a stunning church. We then went to get another religious fix and checked out the Notre-Dame. A massive church on an island in the middle of the Seine, the building originally commenced in 1163, however took another 170yrs to complete. We then had lunch exploring the Latin quarter, cute little winding coble stoned alleyways with all sorts of little shops. In the afternoon we explored the Galleries Lafayette, where Meeks got herself a bit of Paris memorabilia, a Skalli of Paris watch. We again did our best to look like locals and finished the afternoon off people watching at a local café. We meet up for dinner with Richard, Marteine & Nicholas where they took us to Ili St Louis and we had dinner in cave below ground, quite unique. We then chilled the night away at an underground jazz bar, originally built as a wine celler, during the second world war these became the place for all the French to party. Due to Nazi constraints, music and frivolity was not allowed, so they just did it below ground out of the sights and sound of the Nazi gaurds.