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Fantastic FranceAuthor: Susan L.
Date of Trip: October 2009
We returned about a week ago from probably our best trip ever - a river cruise (about 110 passengers) from Paris north to Honfleur on the Seine river. We had been to Paris about 5 years ago but we went a couple of days early on our own and then boarded the boat there where we stayed in Paris a couple more days. We had a fantastic trip to France and I even brought home a "French" cold which started the day before we flew home.
Our hotel, Hotel du Quai Voltaire right on the Seine across from the Louvre Museum, was so central to everything and we walked, walked, walked - 8 miles the day we arrived (we always convert to time zone where we are immediately). We were fortunate to get reservations before we left US at Les Bouquinistes, a Guy Savoy restaurant/bistro. It was fabulous and also steak frites at Relais De L'Entrecote at 15 rue marbeuf which was an amazing experience - wonderful steak with a special green sauce.
We had breakfast at Cafe de Flore which many years ago the famous intellectual crowd frequented. We walked through the Tuileries Garden on our way to stroll the Champs Elysees and see the Arc de Triomphe. The smallish towns along the way were great as were Rouen and Honfleur, both a little larger. Rouen is where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We visited Giverny and Monet's house there as well as the little village where Van Gogh lived near the end of his life and where he is also buried alongside his brother Theo.
From beautiful Honfleur, our last stop before returning to Paris, we visited the D-Day beaches which was quite a moving experience. They planned a short ceremony for us at the American cemetery and gave us each a long-stemmed rose to place on any gravesite we chose. There was a handful of veterans with our group so it was extra special for them. We visited the German gunnery sites and walked all around them - only a couple now intact - an eerie feeling. I walked down under one of them to the area called their dormitory where they either slept and/or stored munitions. Then on our way back to Paris we stopped for a couple of hours in Caen at the Peace Museum - an amazing place where we could easily have spent a couple of days.
Our trip was a fascinating exploration of a beautiful country.
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