Caen and Bayeax, France (Normandy)

Caen and Bayeax are both little towns in Normandy, the historical region where allied troops landed on D-Day during WW2. I did some Google searching to find a good place to stay that was close to the beaches, and I stumbled upon a place in Caen that claimed to be a 10-minute walk from the beaches. Once we arrived at the hotel, located in the middle of a truck stop, we learned that we were over 30 miles away from the beaches. We did some research and found a Normandy WW2 tour leaving from Bayeax. We took the 15-minute train from Caen and upon arrival realized that we should have stayed in Bayeax. It’s a wonderful little city with a stunning cathedral, riddled with WW2 history, whereas Caen is a very boring, empty town, at least from what we could tell.

The tour we took was a powerful experience to say the least. We visited Point du Hoc, the American cemetery, Omaha Beach, and the Aramanches Beach artificial harbor. Seeing these sites made me proud, aware, sad, and happy all at the same time. I think the pictures do more justice than I ever could with words, so take a look below.

War story: The only restaurant within walking distance of our hotel was a little truck stop that only served ham and cheese sandwiches. After eating four sandwiches in less than two days, we decided we needed to find a new place to eat. We started speaking with the hotel manager who didn’t speak a word of English. He told us that McDonalds was just over some train tracks and that we could walk there. We spent about an hour trying to find a crossing, all the while being totally confused because the manager made it seem like we could just walk over the tracks. We got desperate after an hour, so Dustin began exploring in the bushes. To his surprise he stumbled upon a poisonous bush that made his legs tingle for a few days. The other three of us couldn’t help but laugh hysterically as he cursed in agony.

Learn more about my Europe trip here.