Un peu d’air frais – Short break in Normandie

Last week-end, encouraged by the very nice weather forecast, we decided to jump in the car and explore a bit in the North of France. With no prior bookings we decided to head to Deauville and Mont Saint-Michel for a short break.

We were initially set for Le Havre to watch the big ships sail into port. As we arrived there, the rain started to fall and ruined our plans for a short stop and lunch. Despite warnings from booking.com and Agoda that the town is fully booked, we decided to continue to Deauville in search for accommodation. 

Deauville is a little town on the North-Western coast of France, regarded as the “queen of the Norman beaches” and one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in all the region. It is also the closest seaside retreat when driving from Paris. All this to say that, for the first time, we found the warnings of the accommodation sites to be totally accurate: there was no chance for us to find a room within such short notice. This charming little resort was packed with tourists.

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After spending a couple of hours in the city, disappointed and tired, we continued towards Caen, the capital of the Basse-Normandie region, to finally find a hotel for the night. 

The next day we had the chance to explore a bit the city center, with the Castle of Caen built in the middle ages by William the Conqueror and the Church of Saint-Pierre. 

Around lunch time we arrive at our designated destination: the Mont Saint-Michel, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. An important stronghold during the Hundred Years War, Mont Saint-Michel is a miniature city on a tidal island. At high tide, it is quite an impressive view, as the castle seems to have risen from the waters. 

As we arrived at Mont Saint-Michel we left the car in the designated parking area (for which we paid 6 Euro for about 4 hours) and then continued to the free shuttles. Everything was flawlessly organized to get tourists as comfortably and fast as possible to and from the castle. 

The interior is packed with little souvenir shops and restaurants. So much so that it becomes a bit annoying after a while. If you get a chance, buy your water before entering the site. This was probably the most expensive water I bought outside a restaurant (4 Euro per 1l bottle).

All in all, it is a great way to spend an afternoon in a medieval stronghold, with plenty or opportunities to walk around its narrow streets, on the ramparts or relax in the gardens. It seemed to be particularly popular with families with kids.

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