We left on a non-stop flight from Dallas to Paris on a Sunday, so we arrived on a Monday morning. We immediately headed to Normandy from the airport. Along the way, we stoped in Rouen for lunch...the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Rouen's Notre-Dame Cathedral has the highest spire in France and is the subject of one of Monet's most famous paintings. Although they were doing restoration work on it while we were there, it's still stunning.
Then we made our way to our hotel, Château La Chenevière, which was located in a small town on the coast called Port-en-Bessin. We chose this hotel primarily for its proximity to the D-Day beaches, museums, and memorials. It's grounds are beautiful as you can see below, however, I wouldn't recommend staying there because the staff/service was lacking.
The next morning we drove to Mont Saint Michel. Luckily the weather was gorgeous (this is definitely a place you wouldn't want to be if it's rainy or cold). Although it was very tourist-y, I'm glad we went and saw this amazing structure and learned about its history.
As with most old buildings, there were some jaw dropping architectural elements...this domed ceiling was a favorite of mine.
That evening on our way home, we went to Utah Beach and spent a little time at the museum there, which is built around a German bunker.
On our final day in Normandy, we went to Sainte-Mère-Eglise to go to the Airborne Museum, which was really cool because you got to see examples of the original aircraft used like the Waco Glider below.
We also went to the Normandy American Cemetery which sits above Omaha Beach. The staggering number of headstones provides a solemn illustration of the great sacrifice our country made for freedom. I loved that all of the graves face west towards America. It's a remarkable spot that should be on everyone's list of places to see before you die.
We decided to take the scenic route to Versailles, so we drove up along the coast to Deauville where we had heard there was a casino (which ended up being a huge bust...was old, small, dirty, and no card tables were open). The little seaside villages definitely had an English touch to them and I wasn't as fond of the architecture. I'm glad we took a gander though, because now my curiosity has been satisfied and I know that the southern coast of France is my preference for beach vacations.
We arrived at Versailles that evening where we stayed at my favorite hotel of the trip, the Trianon Palace.
I definitely want to go back and stay there for a few more nights...one was not enough! It was a grand hotel that has recently been acquired by the Waldorf Astoria Collection, so it's been updated to the highest standards and the service was impeccable. Our room was huge and had the most amazing bathroom (with heated tile floors). As you'll see from the obscene amount of photos, I was completely obsessed.
The checkerboard floor is a cream-colored marble paired with black. It's much more subtle than the stark white that seems to be used most often.
This room (Gordon Ramsey's restaurant) is one of my all-time favorites.
The mirrored piece in the corner was the mini bar. I love how the old molding and fireplace blends with the new trendier decor.
The best tile design ever! I love the mix.
I want every window in my house to be just like this one :)
One last shot of the entry...sigh.