France a little bit of countryside, coastline, city, and magic!!

Chenonceau

The Countryside

Our first day in France, we got off the airplane and went straight to the Enterprise desk to pick up our car rental – yay! It was awesome getting to explore France by car because we probably got to see so much more than if we had taken a train. Once we finally made it out of the crazy Paris traffic, we headed to Tours. The next morning we spent exploring Chateau Chenonceau – an incredible chateau that spans the width of the River Cher.

Normandy

The Coastline

The sunrise view from our Air B&B in Cæn, which was in the Normandy region of France.
Memorial and sculpture at Omaha Beach.
We drove further north along the coast to Point du Hoc, where we learned a lot about the U.S. Army Rangers and a little about A&M's own Commander James Earl Rudder. It was so shocking, yet so impressive to see the large pits in the ground from the bombings and what had remained of the batteries.
We ended our day at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. It was surreal being surrounded by all of the memorial stones each engraved with the names and hometowns of the soldiers.

Mont St. Michel

The Coastline

Mont St. Michel was founded as the site of an Abbey in the center of the ocean. Pilgrimages could only happen certain times a year due to the nature of the tides rising and falling. Now, there is road access to the island, and visitors may stay in hotels all across the island. The abbey still remains in the heart of the island above the other structures. Photo credit to Thomas Langford for the last one!
Notre Dame

Paris

The City: Day One

We left out Air B&B in Cæn early Tuesday morning to meet our classmates in Paris for the week. Our first day in Paris we went on an awesome city tour!

The City: Day Two

Wednesday, we took the train to Versailles. We explored the palace in the morning, had a wine and cheese tasting lunch, then explored the grounds in the afternoon. The grounds were seriously so expansive, it would have taken us days to see everything. In the evening, we got to see a really cool art exhibit set up near the Eiffel Tower, and then went up into the Eiffel Tower at night!

The City: Day Three

Thursday morning we toured Le Louvre – home of the Mona Lisa. In the afternoon, we were given the option of free time or to go on a tour of Mont Martre – a hill top neighborhood identified by the Sacré Cœur, but known for its rich artist history and, of course, Le Moulin Rouge.

The City: Day Four

Our last official day in Paris, we toured the Rive Gauche district along the Seine's south bank. This district is renowned for its sustainable urban planning. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to collect our bags and say our goodbyes... because me and two friends were staying in Paris longer to go to Disneyland Paris!! Before we left for the land of magic, though, we visited the Catacombs. While impressive, creepy, and everything I had thought they would be, I still couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed. I sure am glad I got to see them though!

Disneyland Paris

The Magic!

OH MY GOSH IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVERYWHERE!!! We rode ride after ride, walked through every store, saw a parade, and the fireworks show! It was truly a magical day, and I can't believe that I have been lucky enough to visit Disneyland twice in one year! Even though Disneyland Paris was small, it still packed all of the magic you would expect from Disney.

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