Water under the bridge; why I loved France.

By Neil

It’s been just over a month since we landed in France and traveled from Paris down into Brittany. The whole experience was too brief, but so memorable, that I felt compelled to write another post.

Paris was marvelous, there is no other word I can think of to describe it. The architecture, the friendly people, the waking up each morning thinking, ” Wow, I’m actually in Paris”, the shockingly high price of food, the meanderings along the Seine, under and over bridges,


watching Pippa and Rowan negotiating the wall climbing equipment, it was all simply marvelous. Paris gave us the opportunity to check off items on our tourist bucket list, but also introduced us to some wonderful people, like the Pipers who helped Rowan get his, sadly out of tune, bagpipes back in order.  Paris was eye opening and made me really look at what I was experiencing.  I found traveling through the Normandy countryside to Caen and later down into Brittany truly moving. This is simply a beautiful place, heartbreakingly beautiful.

Looking at scenery that I would describe as bucolic, it is hard to imagine that this same scenery was fought over and witnessed horrendous carnage in both World Wars. Today the scars of those conflicts are largely invisible and the land looks invitingly peaceful. The reminders, however, were there again as we pulled into Caen and then later when we visited Juno Beach. Perhaps I’m too much the historian, but I found myself stopping at times to try and comprehend that monumental events in human, twentieth century history, took place where I was standing. In the end I gave up; France is layered with history that shaped not only the country, but the world as we know it. The opprtunity to visit this remarkable country was a gift I will never forget.

St Malo

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