We started out early this morning; so early that the boulangerie down the street wasn't open yet! Luckily, this is Paris, and we went around the corner to another one. We had our morning croissants, pain au chocolat, et petits beignets. Then we got dressed and visited the grocery to pick up sandwiches for later, then hit the metro to Gare St Lazare to catch the train to Bayeux. Huge station! We totally could have gotten food there, especially since we were so early... but better safe than miss the train. I did have to pay to use the loo in the station, for the first time in three visits to France.
The train was nice - we had a family section with a table and four seats facing each other. It was about 2.5 hours to Bayeux, and there was some AC, nice windows to see the scenery, and we all rested a bit. Only bad thing was the toilet didn't have water working. Ew. When we got out, there was a public toilette, which was an experience. It's the same button to lock the door and engage the light which tells people if it's available and to flush the toilet and disenfect the toilette. It was clean and had paper, though.
We found our way into town to the village center. We saw the beautiful cathedral, which holds the Bayeux Tapestry, but we didn't get to go in. We had a bit of a wait, so we ate our lunch and tried to stay in the shade. It was HOT! Our tour guide, Charlie, picked us up and off we went. The van was really cool, and held 16 of us. We had wifi and screens to watch little clips of information about Normandy. It was about 45 minutes to our first stop, Pointe du Hoc. We got out, heard a speech from Charlie, then got to wander around. It was nice, cool, and breezy.
After Pointe du Hoc, we saw Omaha Beach, which had quite a lot of people sunbathing, playing soccer, and letting their dogs run. Charlie gave us baggies to hold some sand to take home, and we stole a couple of shells, too. Toria found a giant one. There was a neat memorial to the National Guard, with a haunting statue of a man dragging a fellow soldier off the beach. Charlie had some good stories of the confusion, etc. on D Day.
Our last stop was the American Cemetery, which is really beautiful. The foliage is so different from what we have at home in Texas. We learned that four women are buried in the cemetery, and saw one of their graves. She was named Elizabeth, and was in the Red Cross. She actually survived the war and died in a car crash two months later. We also saw the grave of a man who was killed in the Dieppe Raid in 1942. Charlie was astonished that Gabe knew what this raid was and that was why the man was buried there. He said that's the first time he has had anyone answer that.
After the cemetery, we headed back into Bayeux, where we found a nice little restaurant to have dinner. Toria got salade Nicoise, Gabe got pizza (because that is apparently what he eats in France), I got a yummy omelette, and Hedge got mussels. We had some nice wine and enjoyed watching people strolling along. Then the kids and I got ice cream; they had chocolate mint, and I had salted caramel. Yum!
We found our way back to the train station, to catch the 8:10 train back to Paris. We arrived at 10:30, then metroed acrosss town back to our apartment. We are super tired. Tomorrow we pack up and head to Belgium... just waiting to finish this, and hang up our laundry when the machine will let us have it back.