I really didn’t take that many photos here- it was a lot to take in. We took a tour of the WWII sites because that’s all my dad wanted to do in Europe.
We used the company called Bayeux Shuttle. They were honestly incredible! The location for the meeting point was very easy to find and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
Our tour guide was incredible. He said he was new to the job, but you wouldn’t be able to tell, and he obviously loved what he was doing. If I can appreciate one thing about people or a business, it’s their passion. He definitely had that.
We went to all major American sector memorial points in Normandy. Very surreal and full of history and special stories of soldiers. It gave me such a new understanding and perspective. At one point during the day we were at Utah Beach and there was a tour of old WWII Veterans passing through, some on walkers and some on wheelchairs. They were wanting to stop and tell stories and shake hands with us. Somehow a simple, “thank you for your service,” just didn’t cut it. I had no words and was in awe that these were the very men who had landed on that beach some decades earlier.
They were real life superheroes. I was starstruck.
Overall 5-Star rating for the Bayeux Shuttle Company. Bravo!
Our hotel in Bayeux was Chateau du Bellefontaine. Seriously gorgeous, it was a real chateau. (Below are some photos I pulled from their website.)
Upon arrival from Paris into Bayeux, we were a bit disoriented, as expected. However, being with entirely different personality types, the way we all wanted to problem solve was dramatically different. My dad takes off on his own adventure (with my only map) to find the hotel.
I stay with my mom and suitcases waiting at a gas station. Someone eventually pulls in to fill up their tank, and I slowly approach them and ask in my strange never-spoken-French accent, “Parlez-vous Anglais?”
Indeed he did! He was at first sarcastic and witty and a bit charming, for an old kook. He called our hotel’s front desk and had a conversation in French with the employee for us to try and explain where we were. I thought the conversation would be brief, but here I was standing and waiting while he was on the phone. His voice gradually became louder and louder, while I, not understanding even 50% of the French language, knew he was not having a nice little chat.
Suddenly, he yells out, “She hung up on me!”
Oh my goodness… what have I just gotten myself into? This man proceeded to tell me about how the employee was an idiot and how angry he was. I sweetly interrupted, “Oh, I’m sorry… Do you know the number to call a taxi?”
“I think you should let me pump my gas now.”
Ooops.. *awkwardly walks back over to mom.
Then, out of nowhere, a car comes squealing into the parking lot right in front of me. Who could it possibly be?
None other than the employee of the hotel.
So thoughtful. And here she is, saving the day! Only, the man had not left yet. He stayed there to yell at her some more. I was mortified.
He finally drives away, shouting French expletives and using dramatic hand gestures. In silence now, this poor woman and I stare at each other. From the depths of my memory, I say, “Je suis désolé.”
I am so sorry.
She nods, gives me a little corner-of-the-mouth smile, and we pack our big American selves into her personal French clown car.
She drives us right the door of our room, apparently they had been waiting for us, and who do we see walking on the dirt path?
“Oh hey, there’s dad.”
Mamma mia, welcome to France? Uggh so not smooth. So not my style.
But then after that wonderful first impression, I quickly became best friends with the other employee of the Chateau, GianCarlo. I obviously struggle to communicate in French and he tells me that he’s not from France. I ask where he’s from and he tells me.. wait for it.. ITALY! Hallelujah, there is a God!
Then I continue to talk with him in Italian. I tell him I’ve been living in Rome for the past year and we instantly become absolute best friends. From that moment on, I was treated like a queen, free drinks on him and anything I could think of to ask for. While FaceTiming my friend in the States he would sneak in the back to photobomb and say hello. Jokes and fun memories, it was actually a really sad goodbye.
I’ll be back, GianCarlo. You just wait.