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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Our Normandy adventure begins: Two battles decades apart: Bénouville and Caen

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

We were so excited to depart to France, the first time we have ever taken Bolan abroad, this is really why we bought him. We decided to get the overnight ferry which after doing ferries to France, this is the most inspired way to travel; get on board, have supper, go to bed, wake up in France! It definitely takes the burden of 'travel' out of the day especially if only a short drive the other side.

It did not take long for us to reach our campsite. We stayed at a campsite called Camping Sous les Etoiles in St Martin Des Besaces. Its a lovely small campsite, with a bar and restaurant area, with games room so very family friendly and gave children and adults independence alike. It was the owners 60th the day we arrived and the local butcher was putting on a fabulous steak night. What a treat and was a really good atmosphere. We instantly knew we were going to have a wonderful stay here. We woke up the next day deciding to see two things that we've both wanted to see. First up was travelling to Benouville to go the Pegusus Bridge Museum. The Benouville Bridge was a key location for British forces to capture to prevent German armour crossing to prevent them attacking the Eastern flank of Sword Beach. The success of the mission helped with the liberation of Normandy, and its so humbling to see flags of British soldiers faces and names on every streetlamp on all the roads surrounding this area. The success of this mission renamed the bridge 'Pegasus Bridge' and there is a museum nearby that tells you more about the history of this key event in World War II history. The museum is fascinating and makes you proud that our 'lads' helped make history in this place. Even more interesting was learning about 'Bailey Bridges' and their ease of constructing, deconstructing and transporting as a key initiative in the war efforts.

After a lovely lunch, on route home we decided to stop in Bayeux. I have always wanted to see the tapestry so wanted to make a point of popping in as we were passing. Unfortunately you cannot take photos, but it is still fascinating to see an old preserved piece such as this with such history attached to it, I even remember learning about it at school. I was also very impressed with Bayeux itself, a beautiful and very clean city, lots of great shops and eateries. It is a shame it was just a fleeting visit. That night we headed back to the campsite and, as the name suggests, sat under the stars and watched the meteor shower that was on display that night, that felt special indeed.

The next day we decided to head to Caen for Sunday lunch and mosey around William conquerers castle. The latter was a bit disappointing as it was like a building site inside, so much work is being done and it ruined the views, I'm sure when the work is done it will be worth visiting again. I can't complain too hard though as it was free to enter.

However the place we chose for lunch was so lovely, great ambience, great menu and compared to the UK, great prices! The restaurant was called L'Insolite and each course was brilliantly executed. I chose escargot to start, primarily to dare my children to eat them, these however came in an edible shell, then immediately regretted sharing as we both found them delicious - youngest balked obviously. I then had a wonderful Sea Bream dish with a Chorizo crumb on a pearl barley risotto. We decided not to have pudding and head back to camp for a bit of a book read and a chill. Perfect Sunday action.

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