During my most recent Facebook LIVE event, I shared that my ultimate concierge and I will soon take a trip with many of our 25 Grands because travel with grandchildren enriches them — and you — as nothing else can. This brought to mind a trip, in years past, with some of our Grands, mostly exploring Europe. How beneficial travel is for us all and what a blessing it is that I am in the position, both financially and health-wise, to travel with these Grands of mine.
Our Previous Travel With Grandchildren
I am reminded of our trip to France with our three-day adventure through Normandy with some of our ‘Grands.’
We left Paris early morning and drove to Versailles. For our grandchildren it was a lesson in French History. The Royalty of Versailles, The French Revolution, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVII, Napoleon, periods of French furniture, the gardens. The visual and educational history is fabulous.
Our next stop was Monet’s Garden that is located in Normandy. Our ‘Grands’ were captivated by the experience. Monet designed and planted his entire French garden with his famous Lily Pond. Exploring and seeing where he sat and painted, his lovely home and the story of life told by the guide made the experience very personal. Our ‘Grands’ left the gardens with a newfound knowledge of the art of painting, growing and designing a garden and a sense of the French way of life. And Monet himself!
Next On Our Trip
Our next stop was Honfleur, Normandy. It is a small picturesque village on the Seine River. The Grands loved the small bed and breakfast, walking through the village and eating in charming restaurants on the Seine. They were exposed to the ‘old Europe’ compared to the ‘young America.’
To veer off the trip for a moment, I told the Grands, “Please leave your cell phones at home and bring your iPads or laptops. We will all keep a daily journal of our experiences.”
The last night of our trip we sat together around dinner, and each of us read our entries. What a wonderful evening we shared. At dinner, I again reiterated how fortunate they were to have this opportunity to be exposed to world history and travel with their family. I stressed to them to be appreciative and grateful for all their good fortune, large and small.
“Add the word gratitude to your vocabulary, dear grandchildren of mine I repeated throughout our family trip,” I implored them.
The next day, we started our day at the Normandy Beaches. Our first stop was the Peace Museum where we learned the history of the Normandy Invasion. We saw a film and toured the Museum. A must.
The month was June, but it felt like late fall. The wind blowing off the sea set the scene. We visited the beaches. They were code-named Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Sword. It was hard to imagine our American troops disembarking into the cold sea with heavy backpacks with the Germans shooting from the cliffs.
Honoring The Fallen
We visited the large cemeteries: The American Cemetery where over 10,000 Americans are buried! The German Cemetery, 21,000 dead and the British with 4,648 of her soldiers buried along the beaches of Normandy.
We paid a visit to the American Cemetery.
I said to each of the ‘Grands’ before leaving for Europe, “Please bring a candle from home to light in honor of our soldiers who gave their lives to protect your freedom and your country, the United States of America.”
The American Cemetery is owned by the USA and contains row after row of identical white crosses and Stars of David. Everything in the cemetery was shipped into Normandy from the United States, including the grass seed, all trees, and all flowers! The Grands lit their candles and said a prayer.
The weather is not predictable. It can be cold, windy and rainy. And it was! If you travel with grandchildren here — and I hope you do — bring an umbrella and layer your clothing.
The next day was extraordinary. We saw the Bayeux Tapestry in the village of Bayeux. It has survived over nine centuries, and it is in perfect condition! It’s nothing short of miraculous. Its length of over 200 feet, the exquisite artistry, the harmony and freshness of color, and the genius of telling a story as an art form is breathtaking!
We drove on to Le Mont–Saint–Michel. It has been the destination for travelers for centuries. The small community is an island perched on a rock. We climbed to the top of the old Abbey. The medieval town is not reconstructed. In my opinion, this is another must see if you travel with grandchildren.
Our itinerary during our travel with grandchildren
Our first day: Versailles | Monet Garden | Honfleur
Day 2: Deauville |Caen/ Peace Museum | The Beaches | The Cemeteries
The third day: Bayeux – The Tapestry | Le Mont–Saint–Michel – The Cathedral | Return to Paris
My recommendation is to take a guide with you when you reach the beaches because one cannot reconstruct the history unless you are a history major!
When we arrived home, I bought two movies for the Grands who traveled with us and for those who stayed at home. The Longest Day and Private Ryan. I wrote a note with my gift.
Dear Grandchild of Mine,
God Bless America!
All my devoted love, forever.
Do something GOOD today: Share our proud American history with your children and grandchildren.
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