The Travel Breakdown: Study Abroad in Paris; Normandy, Brittany, St. Malo, Omaha Beach

Monday, March 24, 2014

For days 19-21, my study abroad group and I went on an excursion to Normandy and Brittany. This was an optional excursion, and was an additional $300 to go on. This weekend was DEFINITELY worth the money though! This was easily my absolute favorite part of the whole experience.

On day 19, we all loaded up on nice charter busses and headed to Brittany. On the way, we stopped at Mont St. Michel. This place is magical. It's kind of hard to explain but it's close to the coast. When the tides come in at certain times during the year, the whole city and monastery (which sits on a mountain) is surrounded by water. This makes is kind of an island...kind of not. Look up information on this area if you're interested because it's a little difficult for me to explain. Anyways, we walked around the quant little city, which has only one main path up the mountain to the monastery on top. Once we got to the monastery at the top of Mont St. Michel, we got a tour. The inside was obviously magnificent, and the views were to die for!

The view walking up to Mont St. Michel
The monastery at the top of Mont St. Michel
You can see how the ocean in the background! During certain times of the year, Mont St. Michel is surrounded by water!
The garden in the center of the monastery
Michael and I by the courtyard of the monastery
After our tour and lunch, we hopped back into the tour bus and arrive at our destination in St. Malo. St Malo is a really neat area because the whole city is surrounded in castle walls. It's literally an area frozen in history and has a ton of character. If you can make the trip out here, definitely try! It's such a fun little beach city and it was really refreshing to get outside of the busy city.
The sunset at St. Malo

The view while walking around the walls of St. Malo. The ocean here was is so beautiful! You can see they built a pool into the ocean in the background, complete with a diving board! 

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Walking along the walls surrounding the city on our first day in St. Malo.




The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france
You can see how St. Malo is truly a "beach city". 
On day 20 of my study abroad experience, we got an official tour of St. Malo in the morning. We then got into our charter busses and visited the city of Dinan. This place literally looks like the city from The Beauty and the Beast. We walked around this city for a bit, got lunch, and headed back to St. Malo. This day was also Michael's 21st birthday, so I ran out to a local bakery and bought him a cake. We then got a HUGE group of us together and went out to dinner. We at a place called Cafe Simon, and got a preset meal. Preset meals are really popular in France, and they'll give you an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert for a set price.. you just have to pick from options they provide. There's usually 3-4 options for each course. I tried duck for the first time, which was really good! I liked this place because it was a fair price and good food. They also brought us complimentary macaroons :) To end the night, we all walked along the beach and watched as the tide came in.
The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france
Some of my fav girls on the trip! :) Had a blast with these ladies. The picture is really grainy because it was actually pitch dark when we took this picture....we just held really still and had a long shutter speed :) haha

The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france
Michael and Eric decided to jump in! haha

The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france
Our group at Cafe Simon for Michael's 21st birthday in St. Malo

The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france
He couldn't resist. Haha. You can kind of see my dinner, which was duck!

Day 21 of my study abroad in Paris was the last day of the excursion. We got on our charter bus and visited Omaha Beach on the way back. This was really fun for me because I'm a huge history buff. We got to see where the landing of D-Day was and saw all the war memorials. I took some sand back to the United States with me from Omaha Beach! They also a store where they sold vintage war memorabilia. I found a gun clip holder with a soldier's name on it so I bought it for about 30 euros and brought that back as well for my dad. He loved it :)

The beauty breakdown st. malo normandy brittany study abroad in paris france omaha beach
Michael and I walking along Omaha Beach... We were looking for neat looking rocks and shells to take home with us as souvenirs!

Literally, this excursion was the highlight of my trip. Everything we did was incredible, and I would really like to visit again one day. So much history and it's really nice to see another side of France.

Would you ever visit these places?

Read my next post on Petanque (a French game), La Galeries Lafayette (HUGE department store), and Saint-Chappelle.

xoxo, Morgan