Towards the end of July, both of my parents came to visit me and do some traveling around Europe. We started in London, came back to Lille for the weekend before driving to Normandy for a few days, where we left the car and finally trained it to Paris. My dad then left from Paris to go back to the states, and my mom came back to Lille with me and stayed for almost a month. Although none of the places we visited were new destinations for me, I did get to do a lot of new things in each city, which was a huge plus! Even better, it meant a lot for me to be able to show my parents my life France, and why I love it here so much.
1st Stop- London:
My dad especially is a huge Beatles fan, so the first thing we did together was a walking tour of Beatles’s sites: recording studios, concert locations, and of course the infamous Abbey Road. We also got to check out some new neighborhoods, including SoHo.
My parents on Abbey Road
My two English friends, Matt and Jo, took my parents and me out for a drink in Camden Town, which is very “punk London.” The funky building decorations and awesome markets were so unique– I had never been to this part of the city before and I highly recommend it!
Tower of London
This was the first time I had ever been to the Tower of London, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! There is so much British history to learn, and the Tower of London is a great place to start. Even better, Guillaume le Conquerant (William the Conqueror)’s second castle is in Caen, Normandy!
My favorite pastime in London is to walk the south bank, from Tower Bridge all the way to Parliament. There is always something to look at!
“Look, a clock!”
Churchill’s War Room
By far the coolest thing I have done in London thus far is visit Winston Churchill’s War Room, where headquarters from WWII are located. It is just incredible and I learned so much regarding Churchill and Roosevelt’s relationship.
The War Room isn’t far from here!
2nd Stop- Lille:
From London, my parents came via train to spend a few days at my house here in Lille. We spent the weekend shopping on Rue de Béthune, indulging in Welsh and Belgian beer, and wandering the free zoo.
3rd Stop- Normandy:
Come Sunday, the three of us picked up our car and headed west. This was my third trip to Normandy this year, counting Christmas and our epic road trip this past March. My parents stayed with my host family via their AirBnb Apartment for 4 days, which was wonderful. They were great hosts and it meant so much that my parents could experience what I experienced during my first long stint in France.
On the first day, it rained the entire car ride to Caen, but thankfully we stopped in Honfleur just as the sun came out.
Saint Mere Eglise:
The main reasons we were in Caen were to see the D-Day sights. One new location which I have never visited was Saint Mere Eglise, where the paratroopers first landed on D-Day. The most famous paratrooper is probably John Steele, whose parachute got caught on the spire of the church during the landing. Steele laid limp for over two hours of battle before the Germans took him prisoner.
Omaha Beach, American Cemetery, and Point du Hoc:
I’ve been here several times before, but there is always something new and to discover!
On the way back to Caen, we stopped in the town of Bayeux.
On our last day in Caen, I jetted off to visit my friend Mary, who lives a bit out in the countryside. The two of us enjoyed a lovely afternoon working in her garden, admiring abandoned abbeys, and taking hikes in Suisse Normandie with her dog!
Then, it was time to say “Au Revoir!” to the Famille d’Accueil
4th Stop- Paris:
Fat Tire Bike Tour:
My family has always enjoyed riding bikes, so the three of us signed up for a 3-hour bike tour of the City of Lights. It was a fun, new, unique way to see one of my favorite cities. We even discovered new areas of familiar arrondissements!
My favorite area of Paris
My dad being a huge music fan, we couldn’t stop in Paris without paying respect to Jim Morrison! On a side note, Paris has really done wonders in cleaning up and protecting Oscar Wilde’s tombstone! Look at the difference from 2010 until 2014!
It was a FANTASTIC ten days; we did a lot and I got to spend quality time with my parents, who got to see which parts of France are nearest and dearest to my heart. I think that was the best part of all.