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DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Normandy Paperback – 2 Jul 2012
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Thank goodness for Top 10 guides! (Mail on Sunday)
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(Page 33 mentions the 'Cidre' Route..Brilliant..THAT is highly recommended and although I'm not a Cider drinker..this stuff is wonderful!) There are lots of pics and..oh, this little book has a nice 'feel' to it!! Pop it in your pocket and away you go!!
Easy to use, punchy, to the point, and helped me to find some very good things that suited our time and tastes.
It helped me find a few bits that weren't about the war too - but close to where we were.
The fold out map came in handy more than once as well.
I would recommend this book as a good general guide but don't use it exclusively - there are some lovely things to enjoy and see in Normandy that aren't 'Top Ten'.
This book covers, for example:
Abbaye de Jumieges
Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Rouen
Deauville and La Cote Fleurie
Fondation Claude Monet, Giverny
Top 10 Moments in History
Top 10 Areas of Natural Beauty
Top 10 Parks & Gardens
Top 10 Norman Abbeys
Top 10 Museums & Galleries
Top 10 Culinary Highlights
Top 10 Gourmet Restaurants
Top 10 Unspoilt Villages
Top 10 Forests
Top 10 Activities for Children
Top 10 Outdoor Activities
Top 10 Festivals & Events
(This is some, not all)
The book in its physical format is small - just small enough to fit inside a DL envelope (i.e. the standard white envelope, designed to accept a sheet of A4 paper folded twice). It is actually a few centimetres shorter than a DL envelope. This compact size makes it easy to fit into your pocket.
This book can't provide detail - it can provide `the big picture'. I now normally take two travel guides with me - a DK Top 10 one like this and a detailed travel guide, to get the best of both worlds. If you just have a detailed travel guide, you can miss out on things that you wish you had visited.
On a separate issue, I originally bought my Top 10 books in the Kindle format (because I am a Kindle lover) and to my surprise found the Kindle format terribly irritating. It taught me that when using a travel guide, you want to be able to flick quickly through it and jump around easily - that's SO much easier with a physical book. In addition, you want it to be in colour - you can cure that by taking your iPad with you but an iPad is bigger and heavier than this book in its paperback version. You can get round that if you have an iPad mini or a large screen smartphone (neither of which I had when I bought this) but you are still left with the problem of being unable to flick around the book quickly. Travel guides just don't work well in the Kindle format, in my opinion.
You may feel otherwise but that is how I feel. I found the relative awkwardness in flicking around the Kindle book a major handicap. And this is despite the fact that I buy most of my books in Kindle format.
The beauty of these books is that they give you an overview, which means that you end up doing things that you would not have done otherwise.
TIPS ON D-DAY BEACHES
As the book just provides an overview, I used it in conjunction with a detailed book i.e. The Definitive Battlefield Guide to the D-Day Normandy Landing Beaches: Sixth Edition with Latitude and Longitude References by Holt, Major, Holt, Mrs 6th (sixth) Edition (2011).
I also found Brittany Ferries' iPhone/iPad app useful (and very cheap).
For what it's worth, my favourite D-Day place to visit was Pointe Du Hoc. Please be aware that you can download a free iTunes app on Pointe Du Hoc, created by the American government, which will give you an audio tour - search for `Pointe du Hoc by ABMC' (the American Battle Monuments Commission). It is 21.5Mb (best downloaded in the UK - else find free wifi in France) . Because Pointe du Hoc itself is outdoors and is a self-guided tour, you can visit it after other places have closed. So, for example, the US cemetery at Omaha Beach closes at 6 p.m. in the summer - you could go from there to Pointe du Hoc. The only thing at Pointe du Hoc which you would miss is the museum which closes at 6 p.m. but it is very small - it is nothing like missing the museum at the US cemetery at Omaha Beach. In July when we went, it does not get dark till 11 p.m. so visiting Pointe du Hoc in the evening is not a problem.
Flag break at the US Cemetery at Omaha Beach is at approximately 5.30 p.m. daily and is worth watching.
If travelling via Le Havre, may I suggest that you visit Honfleur. It is about 20 minutes' drive from the Le Havre ferry terminal, yet only about 5 minutes off the motorway from Le Havre to Caen (so it adds pretty well no time to your journey). You take the first exit after the 'Pont de Normandie' - the impressive bridge - if travelling from Le Havre to Caen. Honfleur makes a great first port of call for breakfast on the way out (if on the overnight ferry), or last port of call on the return journey - and a much more relaxing and civilised end of a holiday than a motorway dash from Normandy for the ferry.
If you have a diesel car, diesel (not unleaded too, sadly) is a lot cheaper in France than in the UK. In the summer of 2014 we paid approximately 1 GBP per litre at which time it was approximately GBP 1.30 in the UK. So don't make the mistake I once did of `doing the right thing' and filling up your tank immediately before leaving home.
There is a updated version of this book: DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide: Normandy
Avoid this book.
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