Together with its gardens, the Château de Versailles is one of the most famous monuments of world heritage. The buildings trace the architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries and comprise: the Royal Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapel, the Royal Opera and the Museum of the History of France. The Park is decorated with statues, fountains, water parterres and outstanding buildings such as the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, the Temple de l'Amour and the Hamlet of Queen Marie-Antoinette. After the restitution of the royal gate and the complete restoration of the Petit Trianon, the Royal Opera opened its doors in 2009 after two years of renovation works: it now welcomes the public with an exceptional programme. Since October 2010, the King's table is once again in the antechamber of the Grand Couvert which has been fully restored and is now reopen to the public. It recreates the dinnertime atmosphere in which King Louis XIV's would eat in public with his family every night at 10pm with each dinner lasting 45 minutes! The Château de Versailles has a new welcome and information area for the public, where all entrance tickets have been grouped together (the 'billet château', one-day pass, and guided visits are sold here). This area is located in the first building (aile des Ministres sud) located on the ramp on the left after passing the main gate.
The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances. The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.
Claude Monet lived from 1883 to 1926, almost forty-three years, in his house in Giverny. Passionate about gardening as well as colors, he designed his garden of flowers and his garden as genuine works. Walking through the garden and the house, visitors always feel the atmosphere of the master of Impressionism and marvel at the composition of flowers and the water lilies that have been his most inspiring sources of inspiration.
"The true home of kings, the house of all centuries" are the words Napoleon used to describe a mix of classical Renaissance style the royal castle of Fontainebleau, located next to the centre of Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne), some sixty miles towards the south-east of Paris. Unesco declared the castle a World Heritage site in 1981. The famous horse-shoe shaped staircase, an iconic feature of the palace, is a work added during the reign of King Louis XIII, based on a Renaissance model. The improvements to the palace have been made continuously throughout the centuries (eight to be precise). In the 16th Century, Francis the first turned it into a masterpiece of architecture and decoration. As a result one can witness his personal gallery, the Trinity church and the bathroom, all sublime in their stylishness. Further still are the two boudoirs of Marie-Antoinette that Louis XVI offered to his wife. With over 1500 examples, this place houses one of the most important collections of old furniture in France, as well as an excellent collection of paintings. Within the parks and gardens, spread out over a 130 hectare plot, each sovereign has left his mark: a carp pond here, an ornamental statue of Diana there, not forgetting the Grand Parterre de le Nôtre and Le Vau, the biggest flowerbeds in Europe.
Once the stomping grounds for the French kings, the Loire Valley is lined with impressive castles that draw thousands of tourists every summer (though autumn in the Loire is really spectacular). But with so many castles (or should we say châteaux) to choose from, you may be wondering which ones are must-sees and which ones you can bypass in favor of wine tasting for the afternoon at one of the many vineyards in the Loire or picnicking along the banks of the river.
Normandy—shaped roughly like a jigsaw puzzle piece—sprawls across France’s northwestern corner. Due to its geographic position, this region is blessed with a stunning natural beauty that once inspired Maupassant and Monet. Little wonder today's sightseers pack into colorful Rouen, seaside Honfleur, and magnificent Mont-St-Michel. Happily, it is easy to escape all those travelers. Simply lose yourself along the spectacular cliff-lined coast or in the green spaces inland, where the closest thing to a crowd is a farmer with his herd of brown-and-white cows. Whatever road you turn down, the region is sure to enchant.
Omaha Beach was the most intensely fought after beach on D-Day on June 6th 1944. Omaha Beach was six miles wide – the largest of all the five beaches. The whole of the beach at Omaha was overlooked by cliffs which made attacking the area very difficult. The Americans were given the task of doing just this. The Germans had built formidable defences around Omaha. Rommel had built many of his ‘dragon’s teeth’ on the beach which were designed to take out the base of landing craft – and for good measure, the ‘teeth’ were also mined. Heavily fortified ‘resistance nests’ had been built on top of the cliffs and most German positions were connected by a system of trenches to allow for better movement of personnel. Gun emplacements had been designed to cover the beach.