My husband and son are both fascinated by the World Wars and can often be found watching documentaries on the subject and with Kian studying the facts behind WW2 for his history GCSE I decided to surprise them with a visit to Normandy in France.
We are sailing via Condor Ferries from Poole, making a stop in Guernsey before heading to St Malo and then have a two-hour drive to Eco Gites of Lenault which will be our base for exploring for a week.
I last visited Normandy many years ago whilst still at school, so it is a long time since I last visited France and I have to admit that my French is a little rusty these days. Much of our week will be taken up with visiting the many memorials, museums and cemeteries that remember the brave soldiers who fought in this area in WWII after the D-Day Landings of June 6th 1944 however this holiday is not just for Hubby and Kian, we have the younger ones to consider too.
One of my clearest memories of my visit to the area was exploring La Mont St Michel, which is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks and is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The Abbey and Monastery sit on top of an island just 600 metres from land which is only made accessible at low tide and it is the one place that I want to visit this holiday, plus they have the Reptilarium in Mont-Saint Michel, a farm with the most amazing array of reptiles: iguanas, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, tortoises and alligators which the kids will love.`
Isaac is learning all about William the Conqueror at school at the moment, so another place we would like to take them is the Bayeux Tapestry Museum to see the 229 feet long, 19 inches high tapestry which tells the story of the Battle of Hastings. There are plenty of fun things to do in Bayeux with kids.
Following on from this theme Festyland is a thematic amusement park that brings the times of William the Conqueror to the present day. Kids will have lots of fun interacting with Vikings and pirates in more than 30 attractions designed for the whole family.
There are far too many museums related to WW2 for us to visit in our week-long visit, however top of the kids must visit list is the Normandy Tank Museum, the biggest museum in Normandy and the only place in France where you can ride in a tank! Hubby and Kian are both very keen on visiting the Overlord Museum which is dedicated to June 6th 1944 and the Battle of Normandy. The museum boasts a unique and exceptional collection of over ten thousand objects and documents found on Norman soil, carefully gathered over more than 40 years by a first-hand witness of the conflict.
Top of their list though is the Pegasus Bridge Memorial and Normandy Beaches.
Living on the Jurassic coast, we love our visits to interesting beaches and I would love to see Falais de Etretat which is best known for its cliffs, including three natural arches, similar to our very own Durdle Door and the pointed “needle”.
I have a feeling our week is not going to be long enough for all we want to see, but we will give it a good try!
Have you visited Normandy – where do you recommend we visit?