A famous tapestry and D-Day beaches in Normandy and a strange mountain in the sea in Brittany.
This article is part of a series of 10. The 25 days long journey was on an InterRail train ticket a long time ago, in August 1991, to Germany, France and Italy. What follows are transcripts from my travel diary at the time. I have changed or added very little.
Wednesday 7.8.1991, Bayeux
We had an intention to go to Caen in Normandy, but found out that the train was continuing to Bayeux. We changed our minds and do not regret that at all. It is not easy to find a more pleasant town than this. Old stone timber-framed houses in narrow streets can hardly be described, so I just say: Top.
- FAMILY HOME. A kind of youth hostel at 71 FF a person including breakfast. Pleasant and we had a double. Nice. 54 FF for a very good 4-5 course dinner with wine. Map
We rented some rather lousy bicycles at the guest house and bicycled the ten kilometres or so down to the D-Day beaches. We ended in the small town of Port en-Bessin from where we could see the beaches of Omaha, Utah and others. Afterwards I regretted a little that we didn’t continue directly to one of them. But the back was sore enough.
Before we got on our bicycles we saw the tapestry, the famous Bayeux-tapestry depicting William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066. It was a very good museum and interesting to read and watch the story unfold.
Thursday 8.8.1991, Mont St. Michel – Dinan
We planned to go directly to Dinan at the “Gate” of Bretagne (Brittany), but decided hastily to pay a visit to Mont St. Michel. We jumped off the train and onto a waiting bus in Pontorson that brought us to the mountain.
Mont St. Michel, which originally was a monastery, then a prison and now a touristic site, is a town on a cliff in the sea. A causeway leads from the shore to the island. At high tide there is water all around the cliff, but the low tide we encountered leaves endless sandy beaches to be seen.
We managed to relieve ourselves of our backpacks near the entrance and started the walk up the narrow street to the top. On the top there is a church with 30 FF entrance fee. We could have saved the many and kept to walking around the top and the little streets.
A fantastic place. It is all too bad that we’re not here in a different season, at full moon or so, when the tide rises by 2 metres a second.
In any case, we continued by train and after a change we arrived in Dinan. We had before arriving telephoned three recommended hotels. They were all full. The same proved to be the case with two-three other hotels we found during our wandering. We got the last room in…
- HOTEL BAR RESTAURANT (?), at Rue Grande in the centre. 145 FF for a room without shower and toilet. But it was clean, big, light and with a basin. Medium good.
Dinan is like Bayeux a very well preserved town. Yes, in fact even better and with more timber framed houses. Really pleasant indeed. We walked down to the pleasant little harbour.
All chapters in this series from 1991:
(1) Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany: Here is my diary from an InterRail train journey through Sweden, Denmark and Germany, to France and Italy.
(2) Paris & Versailles: Sightseeing in Paris and a day at Versailles.
(3) Normandie and Bretagne: A famous tapestry and D-Day beaches in Normandy and a strange mountain in the sea in Brittany. (THIS ARTICLE)
(4) The Loire Valley and its palaces: Grand palaces and parks in the Loire Valley.
(5) Provence and the Cote d’Azur: The papal city of Avignon with an unfinished bridge, picturesque villages in Provence and a first look at the French Riviera.
(6) Monaco: A short stop in Monaco before continuing to Rome.
(7) Roma and the Vatican: In Italy we went to Roma (Rome), several cities in Tuscany and a final day in Venice, before returning to France. Here is first the account of the Eternal City of Rome and a visit to the Vatican.
(8) Toscana: A few hectic days in Tuscany, in the old cities of Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo and Siena.
(9) Venezia: Venice on a day trip, like many other visitors. But even a day made us realise the magic of this famed city.
(10) French Riviera: Lazy, lovely days on the Cote d’Azur… and the long way home.