greentapestry : Norman Conquest

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Norman Conquest



'I had first seen it from Cancale, this fairy castle in the sea. I got an indistinct impression of it as of a gray shadow outlined against the misty sky. I saw it again from Avranches at sunset. The immense stretch of sand was red, the horizon was red, the whole boundless bay was red. The rocky castle rising out there in the distance like a weird, seignorial residence, like a dream palace, strange and beautiful-this alone remained black in the crimson light of the dying day.'

~ from The Legend of Mont St-Michel by Guy de Maupassant.

A school trip to Normandy many moons ago made a lasting impression on me and I was delighted to return a few years ago. Glorious countryside, oh so naughty but nice cuisine and such friendly natives. I am looking forward to returning soon and perhaps lingering longer.

We sailed from Poole to Cherbourg travelling generally in a southerly direction towards Brittany. We took a slight detour to visit Arromanches les Bains. This seaside resort was chosen by the allied troops in 1944 as the location of an artificial harbour which was used to keep the troops in Normandy supplied with equipment, weapons and ammunition. The shapes which rise out of the sea today, opposite Arromanches, are the actual remnants of the Mulberry Harbour.

From there we journeyed on pausing to walk along the most beautiful shell strewn beaches, park up at secluded spots to enjoy leisurely lunches and to visit small market towns en route to our main destination.

What trip to Normandy would be complete without a visit to Mont St-Michel which UNESCO designated as a World Heritage Site in 1979.

It was coming up to the middle of September but the place was heaving with tourists from all over the world. Goodness knows what it is like in the middle of summer ~

By night the crowds had thinned down considerably and strolling about was much more relaxing ~

Waking up in the morning in the shadow of the mount was quite
magical ~

Finally a flourish of flowers - just one of the lovely floral displays that we encountered as we travelled throughout Normandy ~

This is my post for this week's ABC Wednesday - nip over there now for more on the letter N.


  1. Lovely post Anna.

    I've never visited but will some day.


  2. Mont St Michel is ALWAYS packed. It is indeed best enjoyed at night when the day tourists are gone (just like any island).

  3. One more place I ought to go! Full of history and beautiful places. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Beautiful photos and I enjoyed the info also.

  5. Anna~~ I think I would need CPR if I witnessed that magnificent structure. As a phobic flyer, I enjoy posts like this. Love the flowers too.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a beatiful and full of history place. Great choice for the letter N.

  7. What a lovely place! Thanks for sharing your photos and your info. If I ever get to visit, I'll be sure to make it OFF season! :)

  8. Great post. I have to go there someday.

  9. Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  10. Brought back so many memories Anna - could almost smell the geraniums in the pots and window boxes.
    P x

  11. Ooh some more plantings Anna - thank you :)

    Looks like a lovely place for a visit.

  12. Anna,
    The photos and scenery are fantastic. I'd like to enjoy them in person one day. Happy blogging!

  13. Very interesting text and fantastic photos.

  14. I have wanted to visit Mont St Michel since I first heard about it in 9th grade French class. (Trust me, that is a long time ago!) I *have* been to its cousin, St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, but that's not quite the same. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

  15. It's been far too many years since I was there - your photos and narrative are so lovely!

  16. Oh Anna, you have just posted about the same trip I took with my husband a few years ago. It was absolutely breathtaking. We went to the beaches there and it was so chilling to be in the same place where such bloodshed occured; yet it was a beautiful sight to behold. Contradictory feelings were evoked, for sure! It is a trip everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Great photos! Ours weren't w/a digital camera so I'd have to scan them and I haven't set aside time to do ANY of that with our old photos. I know it would be a good thing to do...if I could just find the time!!

  17. An area I've always wanted to visit, particularly Brittany. Lovely post.


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- Anna.