We are back from the beautiful North West of France after 24 hours of driving all the way from the South and back. It was a long and tiresome journey especially with a one year old, yet the drive was well worth it as the beauty of France was on full display the whole way. I am always in awe how such a small country can have such a diverse landscape. Normandy felt like it was in a completely different hemisphere compared to Cannes and the South. The North is so rugged, flat, and grey. We were so lucky with gorgeous weather the entire trip, as it is known for its constant rain, especially in Autumn. I loved this part of France so much and am thrilled to share my travel diary. If you have never been to Normandy it definitely needs to be added to your travel list right now.
Ever since I moved to France almost four years ago, I have been told countless times that I need to go to Normandy. It seems to have a huge fan club among everyone who has been lucky enough to make the trip there. Since the first time I was told to go I have been admiring the region from a distance, hoping one day to make the long trip out there. So when our good friends Anne-Sophie and Loïc invited us to their wedding in her native Normandy, we knew now was our time to check that travel box off. My older sister Alex who I've mentioned a few times now is a wedding and family photographer, was hired by Anne-Sophie and Loïc to capture their wedding. We were so happy she could come all the way from Toronto and join us on our road trip.
Since Normandy is so far from Cannes we decided to split our drive to the North and stopped in gorgeous Beaune. Beaune is located in Burgundy which is famous for its wine, so I was one happy mama. I love red wine more than life and any excuse to stop halfway to Normandy to drink it, is fine by me. Since we only had half a day there we wanted to see as much as we could. We walked around the entire fort which was a lot smaller than I thought, so it took us less than an hour. We ended our walk at the Hospices de Beaune where we got to see those gorgeous tiled roofs up close. After our walk we were feeling a little parched and decided to go into a restaurant for an aperitif. There we enjoyed a bottle of local wine and cheese, as you do when in France. I booked us in the Hotel Anthanor which was perfect for one night. It was in the center of all of the action, so we didn't have to drive anywhere in our short stay.
From Beaune we left bright and early and began our 6 hour journey to Courcy, Normandy. Courcy is a tiny farming village with not a whole lot to do, but was so close to the wedding Château so it was perfect. We rented a lovely little house on a large farm property with tons of animals. Oslo was in heaven with the donkey, horse, chickens, and geese running around. At this age he is starting to have a huge interest in animals, he was so content to spend time just watching and engaging with them.
We spent our first day just enjoying the beautiful property and relaxed as much as we could after the long drive. It was so nice to just explore the local area on foot and see what life was like in such a small town.
We had a free day before the wedding so it was a no brainer that we would go to see my dream destination, Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel is the reason I wanted to visit Normandy for so long. For years I have seen photos of it and has it always takenaw my breath away. James had never been before either so even though it was almost a two hour drive, we decided it was well worth the journey.
These photos can't begin to do any justice for the spectacular beauty of Mont Saint-Michel. As we drove down the rode leading up to the Mont we could see it in the distance, and even though it is miles away it is already completely breathtaking. We arrived when the tide was low and I wished we could have stayed longer into the evening to capture the tide racing in and enveloping the island. October was a great time to go as it was much less touristy, but it is such a huge attraction so there were still many other people. The abbey, which is the castle like building at the top, was the most impressive feature. We climbed what felt like a million stairs leading up to the top of the abbey and were greeted by a gorgeous view of the surrounding land and ocean.
We let Oslo crawl around a little bit inside because the car ride was so long, and he loved it! He frantically crawled to each column and stood up, so proud of himself. He loved to look out at the view as well. I am always impressed with how intrigued he is when we take him to beautoful places. I really think this baby was born to travel.
We left the Mont late afternoon and on the way home we decided to stop in Beuvron-en-Auge, a charming village which is known for being one of France's most beautiful towns. We ate dinner at Colomb'Auge Crêperie which I couldn't recommend enough. Famous for their sweet and savoury crêpes we had one of each and washed it all down with some local apple cider. I would go all the way back to Normandy just for their caramel apple crêpe topped with ice cream again. It was too good!
Saturday was the day we were all waiting for, the wedding! This was my first French wedding and I was thrilled that it was going to held at a traditional Château. The ceremony was at a little village church and after that we all headed to the stunning Château de Canon. In true French fashion we arrived to champagne and incredible hors d'oeuvres. It was warm enough to enjoy cocktail hour outside just as the sun was setting. The dinner was held inside the Château and after our delicious meal we all danced the night away until 5am! I couldn't believe it until I checked the time. We had so much fun and Oslo was a dream, sleeping the night away in a quiet room off of the dining room.
The wedding was such a special day and it was amazing to be in the presence of so much love. Félicitations Anne-Sophie et Loïc! We are so happy for you!
In France usually the day after the wedding the new bride and groom host a brunch for all of the guests. So on Sunday feeling very tired and a tad hungover we returned back to the Château de Canon to relive the fun of the night before. I was so happy we could go back because this time we had an opportunity to explore the grounds and we discovered a secret garden. This garden was my version of heaven. I was surprised to see there were still flowers blooming in October, each plant and flower was bursting with colour. Of course we had to have an impromptu photoshoot to capture all of the beauty there.
After that lovely brunch we had to unfortunately leave and head back to the South. We wished we could have stayed even longer, but the memories and moments we had in Normandy were incredible. This is a place I now hold in my heart and I've already told James we need to go back asap. Until next time Normandy!