Normandy – Disneyland – Brittany

Normandy – Disneyland – Brittany

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Day 1: Paris

The first day was mainly to travel from home to our first stop in Paris. 
We left really early in the morning to be at Dover at least 1 hours before the departure time ( It took us around 4 hours to arrive at Dover with some traffic and at least a toilet pit stop!) 
The checks were quite quick, they stopped our van and checked inside but it was really fast). The travel from Dover to Calais lasts 1.5 hours more or less and on the ferry you can sit in the café, have a drink and chill for that time. There was a small play area in which our daughter played for a little while and also a magician show which entertained all the children for almost 45 minutes and we had lunch as well so the time went pretty quickly.
We arrived at Calais after lunch (remember they are +1 GMT) and we decided to drive straight to the camping [Camping International de Jablines].
We choose it because it’s very close to Disneyland and there is also a very cheap shuttle that takes you straight there and leaves almost every hour.
It took us around 3 hours to arrive and by then it was dinner time, so we checked in (the staff that work in the reception speak both french and english!), we had something to eat and we went for a little walk around the camping.
It’s safe to say that at this point we were quite tired and excited about Disneyland the next day so we went to sleep.

Our spot for the night

Camping L' international de Jablines

Day 2: Disneyland Paris

We woke up really early and we walked to the shuttle (It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the camping to the bus stop).
At the reception the day before they gave us the timetable for the shuttle so we took one of the first ones in the morning to have as much time as possible at Disneyland. The bus is cash only and it costs 4 euros A/R per person. It takes 20 minutes to arrive at Disneyland Paris. 
When we arrived we were really excited (it was our first time) and everything was magical! There were a lot of people and the queue was quite long but it didn’t take much to enter (you can use your phone with the QR code, it’s not necessary to print the ticket). The park was immense and there were a lot of attractions. It was the end of August so there is no need to say that the waiting time for every attraction was a lot!
We were welcomed by Mickey Mouse on the balcony and we decided to go straight to try the rides. It was very hot and the queues were long so by 6 o’clock we were knackered and we didn’t manage to see all the park which is really huge.
We had our face painted and a lovely, fresh, massive ice cream for snack and then we went to wait for the shuttle to go back to the camping.
Here, we showered, had some dinner and chilled watching a movie.

Day 3: Dieppe and Étretat

The camping was only 1h away with train from the centre of Paris but we went back to the coast instead and enjoyed the sea and the sun.

We wanted to stop at Rouen but we had to change our plans but we couldn’t go there because of a low emission zone, so we ended up having a quick pit stop at Dieppe (eating a crepe and an ice cream on the beach) and then we headed to Étretat to see the beautiful Falaise d’Aval.

We then moved to a stunning spot close to Le Havre in which we parked offgrid and enjoyed dinner with an amazing sea-at-the-sunset view.

Our spot for the night

Octeville-sur-Mer (49.5571, 0.0915)

Day 4: Omaha Beach

After having a quick breakfast we decided to move toward Omaha Beach. From Le Havre to Omaha Beach is a 1.40h journey and we decided to stop for lunch at the beautiful city of Caen.

We parked next to a boulangerie and we enjoyed a Nutella crepe for morning snack and a delicious filled baguette for lunch. Caen is a big town and we didn’t have the chance to see it all, but we managed to see St.Peter’s Catholic Church, the Abbeye-aux-Hommes with a beautiful garden in the front. Caen also has a beautiful castle that is free and a Memorial which is a museum dedicated to the history of the 20th century and commemorates the World War II and the Battle for Caen.

After lunch we went to Omaha Beach and our first stop was the Memorial Museum. The ticket costs €7.50 for adults and €4.50 for children 7-15 and children under 7 are free. It takes about an hour to visit and there is a huge collection of uniforms, vehicles, weapons and personal objects of soldiers and the D-Day.

Our next step was the beach were there is a sculpture called “Les Braves” and it’s dedicated to all the American soldiers that died. From where we parked we went for a very long walk and we saw one of the old bunker a monument dedicated to the Native Americans that fought on the D-Day.

Very close to Omaha Beach there is also the Normandy American Cemetery which is also free. This cemetery is built on a battlefield and overlooks Omaha Beach. It is very big and consists in a inside museum with historical facts and memories of people that fought in the D-day and an outside part with a cemetery which is beautiful and touching and has more than 9000 headstones.

We ended our day parking our van in a free car park on Omaha Beach were we could stay overnight and we enjoyed a dinner in a close restaurant.

Our spot for the night

Omaha Beach (49.3797, -0.9040)

Day 5: Mont Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo

We didn’t want to stop our road trip in Normandy so we decided to expand it to Brittany as well. We moved towards Saint-Malo and during the journey we stopped close to Mont Saint-Michel.

This is a tidal island, nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is only a few hundred meters from land, so during low tides it’s possible to visit it and the beautiful Abbey. The visitor car park is quite far away but there are shuttle bus that take you straight on to the island. It is also possible to walk to the island or book a special horse-drawn carriage. the parking is quite expensive in high season (between €17 and €25) and the ticket for Mont Saint-Michel is €11 per person, so because it was raining and the weather was miserable we decided not to go on the island. After a quick lunch with chips and hot dog we moved in the direction of Saint-Malo which is about 40 minutes away from Mont Saint-Michel. Saint-Malo was very busy, and it wasn’t easy to find parking for a van because a lot of car park close to the city centre had a 1.9m height limit, but we found it. Saint-Malo is beautiful and worth a visit! It has wonderful sandy beaches and an interesting old town city centre. This is filled with restaurants and all kind of shop and it’s very nice to explore and have a look around. It is also surrounded by walkable walls, The Ramparts, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the beaches and the harbour and the city centre

Saint-Malo is also famous because it was the town of corsairs and because of its incredible tides, that are some of the largest on the world.

At the end of our visit we decided not to spend the night in Saint-Malo but we found a beautiful offgrid countryside spot at Cancale.

Our spot for the night

Cancale (48.6591, -1.8652)

Day 6: Deauville

It was almost the end of our journey so we needed to start heading back to Calais in order to be there the day after. We decided to drive quite a lot and we stopped at Deauville for the day, it took us about 3 hours to reach the town and it was lunch time, so we found a boulangerie in the centre and we found a bench in a nice spot to eat what we bought.

After lunch we had a nice walk on the promenade and because the weather was getting sunnier we decided to spend the Afternoon on the beach playing with sand and water. When the clouds were beginning to become very dark grey we decided we had enough and we moved to our location for the night. We found a car park at Criel-sur-Mer just in front of the seaside and we enjoyed the sunset view before watching a movie and going to sleep.

Our spot for the night

Criel-sur-Mer (50.0322, 1.3095)

Day 7: Home

Last day of our road trip we woke up with a beautiful sun and we decided that we were going to have breakfast on the go because we still had 2 hours to reach Calais before our ferry and we didn’t know how bad the traffic was going to be.

Luckily all the road were quite free and it didn’t take as long as we thought, so we arrived way before the time of departure so kindly the staff gave us the possibility to take the ferry an hour before.

Unfortunately the queue at the passports check was very long and very slow, so that meant that we lost our ferry and we ended up taking one an hour after our original one!

We arrived at Dover around 5 o’clock and we went straight home with a “pit stop” for dinner in one of the services along the motorway. 
We arrived home late, very tired but full of beautiful memories that will stay with us for a very long time.

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