Sunday, 11 March 2007

FRANCE - Bay of Seine

The Bay of Seine, opposite the south coast of England, has provided us with numerous day trips. The area is full of history, attractive beaches and fishing ports. Being so close to home, we keep getting drawn back to the area as there is still so much to see.

One of our first trips to France together, we took the overnight P&O ferry to Le Havre (the route is now operated by LD Lines). Waking in France, we disembarked and started the coastal drive westward. Passing through Honfleur and Deauville to Ouistreham. From there, we visited the D-Day museum at Arromanches - Gold Beach. This museum has some very good models of the harbour constructed to assist the reclaiming of France. Film and exhibits complete the tour. Further long the coast at Colleville St Laurant, we visited the American war cemetery, a very harrowing experience. The head stones, all white marble are arranged in perfect lines and stretch into the distance almost as far as the eye can see. The grounds are meticulously maintained and being 4th July, every grave had a red rose on it.
From there, we drove south to Bayeux to see the famous tapestry. Our visit was short lived as we were pushed for time, but it is still amazing to see it up close. Its length is amazing considering the amount of work and attention to detail.
Later we stopped at St Vaast for refreshments and then our usual supermarket shopping before returning to Portsmouth via the Cherbourg ferry.

Late 2003
Another overnight ferry to Le Havre, but this time exploring the eastern side of the Bay of Seine, from Le Havre to Fecamp. The coast at this end of the bay consists of high cliffs, slowly eroded by the predominant south westerly winds. We followed the coast road down in to Fecamp and explored the port and commenced our search for a supermarket. We caught the late afternoon ferry home.

Spring 2004
With the morning ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre, we went to France on a day trip, with Jayne's parents. It was mainly a shopping trip, but we drove the coast road to Deauville where we stopped for coffee and a stroll around the town. After the supermarket excursion, we enjoyed a pleasant evening meal in Honfleur before returning to the ferry port to catch the night ferry home.

June 2004
We decided to repeat our trip from the summer before, but this time taking Rosie and Charlie with us. Our intention was to increase their awareness of the sacrifices made during the second world war. Sailing to Le Havre again, we followed the coast road again, to Benouville, to show them Pegasus Bridge. The bridge has been re sited and replaced by a modern bridge in order to preserve it.
Further along the coast, we took them to the D-Day museum at Arromanches and again to the American cemetery at Colleville St Laurant. Our next stop was a German defensive gun emplacement - Batterie de Longues. The rusty remains of several large guns and concrete emplacements, surrounded by shell marks where Allied guns had fired upon the Germans. The trip was finished with another stop at St Vaast and the supermarkets, again returning to England from Cherbourg.

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