Monday, 30 July 2012

Normandy 2012: the holiday post

I love France and it is no surprise to find us holidaying in Normandy this year. The gite that we booked was part of a farm, which was a new thing for us - we had Sweetie the donkey in the field next to us and were able to obtain milk straight from the farm each evening. Here is my holiday journal.
The gite - for details of hiring see end of post
Sunday 22nd July 2012
We headed out to the beach at St Pair sur Mer on the west coast of Normandy, (the Michelin guide said it had golden sand). The sand was golden, but it was part sand, part shoal, and the sea was beautifully shallow. There is also an open swimming pool filled with sea water when the tide has gone out far enough. 

St Pair sur Mer
The little town was buzzing with activity, and we had to queue to enter the boulangerie for our filled baguette lunch.

Monday 23rd July 2012
Another hot day. Went to a local reservoir in the morning called Dathee, where we hired pedaloes. There were no other people on the lake, so it was a really peaceful setting. After returning to the gite for lunch, we visited the forest at St Sever Calvados, first to an arboretum, which was a little neglected, and on to a smaller lake.
Albert and his friend, Dathee
Tuesday 24th July 2012
An early start to our trip to Mont St Michel. It is a tourist hot spot in the summer and can be almost unbearable when it is hot. The previous time we had visited, we only had Albert and he was still in a pushchair! The parking is now a long way from the actual island and it is a long hot walk (I would advise anyone to catch one of the free buses, which we should have done!). 
Mont St Michel - this photo was taken on the walk from the car park - I told you it was far!
It is a spectacular place to visit though, and is great fun wandering through the alleyways and up and down the stairs and in and out of the nooks and crannies, seeking any small patch of shade. We found a tiny little bar selling hot dogs for lunch. Although Mont St Michel is an old site, it has it's own post office and atm machines! As we were leaving, I told my husband that next time we go, we will stay overnight in one of the hotels there.

We drove via St Hilaire Harcouet to Mortain where there are a couple of waterfalls to visit.
 
Wednesday 25th July 2012
We visited one of our favourite places, Arromanches les Bains which has the famous floating harbour from World War II. It is a buzzing seaside town with many tourists, especially Americans because of the WWII connection. Unfortunately for us, the tide was completely up to the sea wall, so after playing mini golf we popped over to the beach at Courseulles sur Mer (Juno Beach).


Thursday 26th July 2012
On a mission to find the toy shop chain, Joue Club and the sports shop, Decathlon today for some holiday purchases. We found the nearest Joue Club in our nearest town, Vire - they are typically large out of town stores with masses of toys - heaven for children (and adults). We tried to like Vire, but even the castle ruin was unattractive. The Decathlon was in the neighbouring town of Flers, which also had a castle. So we had a little look around that before going to Decathlon for a Rip-Stik!

Friday 27th July 2012
Our final whole day in France. As the day started a little overcast, we went to the zoo at Champrepus. A lovely little zoo with all the usual animals. The children, big and small, loved it.

In the evening, we had a tour of the farm by Mme Lelouvier and her English daughter in law, Janine. It was fascinating - from the newly born calf, to baby ducklings, to the family graveyard. Later still we were invited for an aperitif with them. We started with Cassis with homemade cider, then onto Pommeau and then to Calvados. Wow!

If you would like to rent the gite at Landelles et Coupigny, you can do so through Brittany Ferries. We have been to Normandy many times, but this is a very special gite.

Love Mrs Jones x

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