Over the weekend, I encountered a couple who was thinking of taking a trip to Normandy next year. I immediately started providing my unsolicited travel advice, since I used to live there. But before I had gotten very far, they interrupted me and said, “No no–we don’t have time for all of that. We just want to see Omaha Beach, then leave to see Germany.”
To which I can only reply: don’t do that.
There’s a lot to see in this world, I know that. And I know that living in Saint-Lô, I had way more time to travel around Normandy than the average visitor. I would spend days on end in one little town, just soaking it in. I’ve since moved back to America, making my European excursions few and far between. Yet I still make it a point to travel at least twice a year, and when I do, I opt for the slow-soak version, rather than the get-it-all-in-while-we’re-here turbo-charged trip.
I took the above photo in Honfleur on a random weekday in 2007. Honfleur is a gorgeous little town on the bank of the Seine. If you don’t have a car, it’s not the easiest to get to–I took a train to Caen, and then switched to a bus–but it’s so worth it. I spent the entire day wandering the little streets, eating at a cafe on the harbor, watching the boats float in the water, then as the sun began to set, I got back on the bus and went back to Saint-Lô.
If you ever find yourself in Normandy, do yourself a favor and spend more than a day there. Spend a week, a month, a year if you can. There is so much beauty in that little corner of the world.