French Fridays – What I Did on my Summer Vacation


(Caramel beurre salé and mango gelato – Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy)

One of the biggest lies about San Diego is that it is 75°F (24°C) at all times. Even I am guilty of spreading this rumor from time to time. I am here to tell you that this is decidedly not true. Granted, after living in Boston for 7 years, I do know real cold. Yet, it has been amazing how quickly my blood thinned and how often I find myself shivering (it has dropped close to freezing at night lately). I am blaming the persistent chill almost entirely on shoddy apartment construction, apparently built on that 75°F (24°C) promise. My unit will stay comfortably cool in the summer without any direct sunlight, single-paned windows and little to no insulation, but right now the visible crack above my front door and the miniature wall heater are not helping things at all.

mt st michel crepe

(Salmon, chive and crème fraîche crêpe – Mont Saint Michel, Normandy)

I know that from those of you in the path of Nor’easters and ice storms I will get no sympathy. So, instead of complaining to my friends on the East Coast or in Paris (to which I can only imagine hearing mocking laughter in response), I just cuddle up under an oversize fuzzy blanket with a mug of steaming tea and flip through photos of my summer vacation in Normandy.

normandy beach

Not known for being especially warm, my road trip through Normandy this past July took place during one of the first truly hot weeks of the summer. Temperatures soared into the upper 90s (°F, 32°C) and then sun felt unrelenting. Tonight I look back at my sunburn wistfully, in complete denial that, at the time, I would have given a lot for even the hint of a cool breeze.

Here are some of my favorite shots from our sightseeing.

Mont Saint Michel: 

mt st michel

(Approaching from the east)

mt st michel up close

(Taking it all in from close up) 

mt st michel prayer garden 2

(Uneven pillars surrounding the prayer garden)

 mt st michel prayer garden

(The main cathedral looming over the prayer garden)

 mt st michel ramparts

(Looking west, down the fortress walls and across the English Channel)

D-Day Beaches, Memorial and American Cemetery:

fallen soldier

(Memorial to the fallen)

normandy beach landing map

(Schematic map of the Normandy beach landings during the D-Day attacks)

lily pond memorial

(Lily pond and memorial complex at the entrance to the American cemetery)

half staff

(Permanently at half-staff)

unknown soldier

(An unknown soldier)


(For as far as the eye can see)


(Respect for all that fought and died)


(First landing beach and memorial)

long range cannon

(German long range cannons – aimed at targets 20km away, at sea)


(Bunkers, built at the tops of beachside cliffs, pock-marked with cannon-fire)


(Today, a beach like any other)


One response to “French Fridays – What I Did on my Summer Vacation

  1. Pingback: Weekly Travel Theme – Peaceful | Researching San Diego

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