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The Normandy countryside is as charming as the seaside; I stayed at the Bed and Breakfast, Le Pré aux Daims, which is only 15 minutes from Deauville, but a world away in style. It may be nice to use GPS, but some places in the countryside are not mapped out, so asking locals along the way if you are on the correct road is a very good idea. Thankfully a young man sitting at a bus stop knew the roads well enough to give directions that GPS did not know.

The one lane road to the Pré aux Daims has views like this,

 and the driveway looks like this,

 before you arrive:)

The inn is every bit as welcoming and well maintained as it looks, with chairs and tables for the included breakfast, or if you want to picnic. Since there are no restaurants are nearby, you might want to stop for a meal before you arrive or bring some provisions with you.  The innkeepers, Martine and Gilbert, speak excellent English and German, as well as their native tongue, so ask them for recommendations.

There are very happy deer on one side of the property,

 and a goat or two on the other side,

separated by fences adorned with flowers.

It was far too chilly for me to lounge in the sun, but for those who think 70F is warm, there were chairs available.

 The view from my room outside,

 and the view of the room inside, which was as spotless and comfortable as it looks.

Breakfast can be eaten inside or out. It was sunny enough to breakfast with the deer, and though some people wore only short sleeves, I needed my sweater:) A German family with a small child and a couple of French regulars were the only other guests in the 5 rooms and 1 apartment available. The rooms start at 65 Euros ($70 US), or you can rent the 60m2 apartment for 450 Euros ($500 US) for the week, all rentals come with a continental breakfast. Make sure you have enough cash to pay when you arrive because they do not accept credit cards.

Coffee or tea, or hot chocolate,  with refills (unusual in France), orange juice,

 and the selection of bread and pastries was fresh and copious.

 I opted for the bread so I could try some of their jams, which included flavors like kiwi and rhubarb:)

The deer ate plenty of freshly mowed lawn for breakfast, and like wonderful hosts, they got up to say goodbye 🙂

The Grand Hotel and Casino in Cabourg welcomes visitors, but

right next to the Grand Hotel are some grand homes for part time residents,

most of which stood empty and shuttered awaiting their residents in July and August.

Some of the shuttered homes face the beach

which is as empty as the homes in June.

 The center of town had a nice marché with clothes and trinkets for sale at very discounted prices, like 5 Euros ($6) for leather coin purses.

 If you didn’t want to shop, there were other amusements.

A little further south is Omaha Beach, with a memorial, a souvenir shop, and a theatre showing  a commemorative film. Even if you just want to stop to take a look, you will have to pay for parking which will cost 6 Euros for the day or any portion thereof, even 5 minutes!

 There was a convention of old Triumphs and motorcycles from the UK in the parking lot.

The memorial stands overlooking all the beaches with bunkers still visible in the ocean.

 Inland from the beach is the town of Bayeux.

The famous Cathedral can be seen from afar like a beacon enticing everyone to come closer. Driving into town there are wonderful buildings which have stood in place for centuries.

 The town square in front of the Cathedral is a gathering place, with cafés, shops, and a wedding!

Entering through the back of the Cathedral near the City Hall or Mairie gives visitors a glimpse of the majestic building from a rare angle. This Cathedral is as or more spectacular than Notre Dame in Paris, I stood in awe at the craftsmanship and beauty of it!

 Every angle is magnificent.

The tree in the courtyard is a reminder that no matter how people may build monuments, nature will always persevere.

Au revoir Bayeux 🙂

Honfleur has been painted by many artists over the years and once you arrive at the harbor, you immediately understand why. Today there are more British expats than artists in residence, but the charming village feel of this port remains.

 There are numerous streets stretching out from the harbor.

All the streets in the heart of the city are cobblestones, so make sure you wear the proper shoes!

 If you have a tiny car, you can drive in, but it’s a labyrinth.

The biggest wooden church in France is Sainte Catherine’s

and yes you can enter and/or attend a service.

Some buildings have the year they were built literally engraved in stone.

 City Hall is a much more modern building.

Driving along the coast, Villerville looked like a movie set, and it was!

The fictional town of “Tigreville” in the Jean Gabin and Jean Paul Belmondo film, “A Monkey in Winter“, was shot here and numerous posters, pictures, and plaques note that fact.

 Even the town church was picturesque.

 There are access points down to the coast

 and you can stroll above the surf.

This is the view of where the Seine joins the Atlantic.

 My favorite view was the path leading south 🙂

The Atlantic coast of France is best experienced in the Summer, so I went to Normandy for the first time in the middle of June; for someone who has lived in Southern California, it was still chilly 🙂 The most well known city is Deauville, where the film festival is held and rich city dwellers have Summer homes. The casino is a beautiful building on the edge of the coast.

The beach is laid out into sections with various services available along each section

including private cabanas named after famous actors and actresses, a bit like the stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

 There is a long boardwalk along the beach

 and various shelters from wind and sun on the beach itself,

 which was empty in mid June,

 as were the beachside cafes

 and Summer homes.

 Downtown Deauville was a bit more inhabited,

 and even had a small train going from the center of town to the beach.

 The center of town also had activities like shopping at high end stores,

 sleeping in the grand hotel,

 and strolling the city center park in front of Printemps department store.

Trouville is a much smaller city just north of Deauville and IMHO much more charming:)

There is a casino here but it was being renovated.

The main reason people came here was for the “Sea Cure” or as I would call it, “Fresh Air”.

If you don’t want to swim in the cold ocean, there is a heated pool.

The City Hall is as picturesque as the city itself.

Shops and restaurants line the harbor

offering seafood from Brittany and local catches like bulots (sea snails).

The beach amenities are built alongside the old bunkers from the war,

and as a symbol of how things have changed on the Normandy beaches, flowers now adorn the bunkers.

The beaches were almost empty,

as were the harbors,

but I saw Elvis hanging out:)

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