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Normandy

Mont St Michel
  Mont-St-Michel – The setting for Mont-St-Michel couldn't be more spectacular - a medieval abbey rooted in a pile of rock, soaring above the tides of the Bay of Mont-St.-Michel. In the 8th century, the Archangel Michael appeared before the Bishop of Avranches, who founded a monastery on the spot. The monastery became an abbey, and people were so inspired, they just kept adding to it for eight hundred years. Mont-St-Michel is magical.
    Tip: In high season, go early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, to avoid the crowds.
    D-Day Beaches – You too can storm the beaches where the Allies landed on June 6, 1944 with a staggering amount of men and equipment. Today, these beaches are a quiet testament to the losses of war, despite victory.
      On the bluffs, you can see German gun emplacements, still aimed across the Channel. There are a number of war museums in the area, including the Musee du Debarquement in Arromanches and the Caen Memorial, a museum for peace (Un Musee pour la Paix). Buy a self-guided map to follow the sites and Battle of Normandy in detail.
    Musee Memorial De La Bataille de Normandie, BayeuxCommemorating another battle, in 1944, is the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum. Tanks out front and plenty of WWII weaponry inside. Across the road from the museum is the British War Cemetery.
    Bayeux Tapestry (Bayeux) – The Bayeux tapestry (embroidery on linen) is like one big, beautifully executed comic strip, with a great story line. See how Harold (contender for the English throne), sets out for France, gets blown ashore, then gets taken prisoner. Harold is ransomed to William, the Duke of Normandy. William takes Harold to his castle, then promises him his daughter in marriage. William asks Harold to help him fight his enemy Conan, the Duke of Brittany. They fight Conan at Mont St. Michel, their horses sinking in the mud. William defeats Conan and knights Harold, then Harold swears loyalty to William. Harold returns to England, King Edward dies, and Harold is crowned King of England. William gets wind of this, and gets his boats ready to invade England. William lands and with his cavalry, heads for Hastings. Before the battle, William has a big feast. The Normans on horseback advance into battle. They meet up with Harold's army on foot. The battle is spectacular, guys wielding swords and axes, other guys dropping like flies with arrows in their chests. Harold's brothers die, Harold dies and William wins the Battle of Hastings and the throne of England. The needlework is exquisite.

Rouen

      Rouen Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre Dame) – It's well worth a stop in Rouen to see the cathedral. This gorgeous Gothic cathedral might look familiar, Claude Monet painted bunches of paintings of the west facade at different times of day. (Don't miss the light show at night, images from Monet's paintings are projected onto the cathedral).

Inside the cathedral, look for the tomb of Richard the Lionheart (actually, it's just his heart that's buried here, Richard the Lionheart's body is buried at Fontevraud Abbey in the Loire).
    Walk through the medieval town – Walk through pedestrian streets in Old Rouen (the half timbered houses have been beautifully restored), down rue du Gros Horloge. Check out the gilded Gros-Horloge clock, go behind the scenes to see the clock mechanism, and climb up the belfry tower for panoramic views.
      Le Petit Train – If you have little kids, ride the "little train" through the old streets. Pick up the tram at the square in front of the Cathedral, the train makes a 45 minute loop, April to October.
      Place du Vieux Marche – In the Place du Vieux Marche, a cross marks the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. For scenes of the life of Joan of Arc, visit the waxwork museum, Musee Jeanne d'Arc.
kids books normandy france
     
D-Day Landings normandy france world war ii kids books  
D-Day Landings
Richard Platt

Before you visit the D-day beaches, kids can read for themselves about the Allied invasion – secret preparations and designing special landing craft, first wave of paratroopers, bombers and battleships, landing troops and tanks on the beaches, attacking the German defenses, victory for the Allies and liberation of Normandy. (Easy reader)

 

     
What Was D-Day?
Patricia Brennan Demuth, David Kenyon

Illustrated history of D-Day, the turning point in World War II, when Allied soldiers landed by air and sea in stormy weather at five different Normandy beaches. Plus fascinating facts, such as a list of paratrooper gear, "swimming tanks" that sank, 13,000 bombs that all missed the target, scaling cliffs with bayonets. (Chapter book)

 

 
what was d-day?
(More children's books on other France pages)
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