Hi! I'm Jenna, and my life is Eventurous.

I am currently living in Paris, working as an Au Pair. In July, I am planning on hopping on my bicycle and going where ever the wind takes me. As I see the world, I will write about my favorite things:

Events/ Adventures/ Art/ Travel/ Floral/ Nature/ Hair/ College/ College 2/ Cycling/Maps

Places: San Francisco/ Denver/ New York City/ Paris/ Around France/ London/ Scotland/ Italy/ Ireland photo ScreenShot2013-06-23at94052AM.png

Ramparts, Ports, and Pirates

Saint Malo, France

Stop three of four on ‘Let’s use public transportation to get to obscure places from Normandy to Brittany Day’

I was probably, definitely, really impulsive when I booked one night at a hostel in Cancale, France.

It is really hard to find hostels in France and I had so many logistics to take care of, I wanted to nab the first thing I could find to put myself a bit more at ease.

The hostel was advertised as being close to Mont-Saint-Michel, I needed to stay near Mont-Saint-Michel. I quickly looked at a map and decided to book it. I had a lot of dots to connect.

Unfortunately booking a night in Cancale added like 5 more dots I would not have had. But ultimately, I’m glad I did it because I would not have seen Saint Malo or Cancale otherwise, and I really enjoyed both places for different reasons.

So. Yeah. The hostel was advertised as close to Mont-Saint-Michel. Lies. It was about as close to MSM as London (*slight exaggeration*). To get to Cancale from MSM, I had to take the only bus leaving MSM that day to Dol de Bretagne. Then I had to take the train to Saint Malo. Then I had to take another bus. Then I had to walk 7 km.

I had some time to see Saint Malo on the evening I arrived and in the morning before I left to catch my train to Rennes.

Are you confused yet? Yes this is a lot of places. If the tumblr interface allowed for it, I would draw a diagram for you.

I know I over do it. But I saw what I wanted to see. It all worked out.

SO I had about an hour in Saint Malo before the only bus for the evening that would take me halfway to my hostel.

I walked around the port and the ramparts and I fell in love. Saint Malo is a port city from the Middle Ages oozing with gnarly history. I love history. And I love boats. I could not pull myself away. It reminded me of pirates. Turns out it was a huge place for pirate activity during the 19th century. SO COOL.

I followed the path around the top of the ramparts fortifying the old village of the city. After a while, I knew I had to turn back, but I was too intrigued. I kept going. Eventually, I turned around and was crunched for time to catch the bus. This resulted in a slightly stressful runwalk back to the station.

But I made it.

The following day, I returned to Saint Malo again to take the train. I had 2 hours to kill so I went to the beach and collected shells.

I think I would have enjoyed a day or two spent solely in this lovely city.

I shall try to go back. There are ferries that run between this city and England and Ireland, which might one day be useful to me.

Among the many things France excels at, each city never fails to fill their parks with gorgeous landscaping and gardens. This is Parc du Thabor in Rennes.

Among the many things France excels at, each city never fails to fill their parks with gorgeous landscaping and gardens. This is Parc du Thabor in Rennes.

The Windows of Le Mont-St-Michel

Stop two of four on ‘Let’s use public transportation to get to obscure places from Normandy to Brittany Day’

Mont-St-Michel is really hard to get to.

Public transportation in Northern France is relatively difficult and despite Mont-St-Michel being the second most visited place in France after Paris, they just haven’t felt the need to make the place more accessible for those who do not want to rent a car or pay a couple hundred Euros for a tour.

To get from Cotuances, where I was staying in Normandy, to Mont-St-Michel, I had to take a pretty difficult path. There were no trains running between Coutances and the closest train station to MSM, Pontorson, until the afternoon. So I did a car share from Saint-Lô in the morning. I had the driver drop me off at Pontorson train station right as the shuttle for MSM was about to leave. The next one was in 2 hours. I got very lucky. Pontorson did not look like a fun place to hang out.

When I arrived at MSM, there were people everywhereeee. Tourists with their big backpacks, holding their iPads taking photos and walking as fast as molasses.

The first part of the hill on the mount is covered in touristy shops and overpriced restaurants. It reminds me of Disneyland, except the cool medieval architecture is real.

I circled around the mountain to the top. I really enjoyed finding cool windows and taking pictures of the views. This was probably because any photos I could have taken of things on the Mount itself would have been littered with tourists…and I don’t want them in my photos! Unless someone is hanging out in the bay, my photos were relatively people-less. I know, maybe I am lying to the world. Sorry.

I was able to wander through the Cathedral at the top of the hill for free because I am under 26 years old. There are so many cool crypts and chambers. It is insane to think something like that was built about 1000 years ago on top of a mountain in the middle of a bay. People are incredible.

I finished seeing the whole island after less than two hours, but I had to wait for the bus (then train, then other bus) to my next destination Cancale at 4pm. There was only one since it was a holiday! Boo.

I managed to get from MSM to my next destination, but I feel like I wasted a lot of time waiting around.

Oh well, it is a beautiful place, just maybe, maybe a bit overrated. But I’m glad I saw it.

Super duper low tide 8 a.m. in Cancale, France.

Super duper low tide 8 a.m. in Cancale, France.

I ❤️ Saint Malo, France.

I ❤️ Saint Malo, France.

The Ramparts of Saint Lô

Stop one of four on ‘Let’s use public transportation to get to obscure places from Normandy to Brittany Day’

My trip in Normandy and Brittany was pretty ambitious. I wanted to se a lot -about 10 places in 4 days. This involved a lot of going back and forth all over the two regions via buses, cars, walking and trains.

I passed Saint Lô in Normandy a few times on my way to Coutances on the train and every time I saw the ramparts and fortress like centre ville through the window, I was intrigued.

Since it was a holiday (Easter) on Sunday, trains were very limited (they’re pretty limited in this region in general). So getting to Mont-Saint-Michel was super challenging, I had to hitch a ride from a couple who was going west towards Saint Malo via covoiturage. I had to meet them in Saint Lô, so I took the bus there early in the morning from Coutances, where I was staying with my friend.

And I explored the little village.

Sunrise in Port Picain, Cancale, Brittany along the Bay of Mont-St-Michel

Sunrise in Port Picain, Cancale, Brittany along the Bay of Mont-St-Michel

Mont-Saint-Michel. 

Cute from a distance, tourist hell on the inside. But still pretty nifty if you look past the souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants and focus on the incredible architectural feat of the Abbaye at the top. 

Heads up: it is really hard to get to and only a half day activity…

Mont-Saint-Michel. Cute from a distance, tourist hell on the inside. But still pretty nifty if you look past the souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants and focus on the incredible architectural feat of the Abbaye at the top. Heads up: it is really hard to get to and only a half day activity…

Operation Overlord

I did a tour of some of the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy. The tour left from Bayeux, and I was the only one registered who showed up, so for the second time this week I got a private tour! Apparently those cost 400 euros and I only paid 50…so cool. The guide was really nice. We got along really well and since it was just me we had extra time so we got some coffee at a brasserie at Omaha Beach that was owned by a family who had a restaurant at the resort there before the war.

The tour was awesome! We started at Pointe du Hoc, one of the American Government properties in Normandy. It is a preserved battle ground with giant craters from bombs and shattered cement blocks from bunkers and canon coverings. It is the location where 225 rangers on D-Day climbed up steep cliffs to surprise the Germans and hold them back from releasing canons. Half of the soldiers died but the operation was deemed successful after a very long fight.

Then we went to Omaha Beach where the most deaths occurred on D-Day. The American Allies were at a huge disadvantage because of high bluffs along the coastline that gave the Germans an upper hand from above. At Utah Beach, the other American beach, there we many less fatalities because the beach is bordered by sand dunes, not bluffs.

There was a memorial right on the beach, in the water. To me it looked like swords, but apparently it represents wings and bravery. One of my favorite things from this tour was seeing all of the Allies’ flags together. It is nice to see countries working together for the greater good. It’s as if the flags are old buddies who sit at the monuments all day reminiscing about the war.

The American cemetery above Omaha Beach is also run by the American government, so it was closed during the shutdown. It is filled with rows and rows of roman crosses baring names of fallen soldiers. My favorite part was a statue of a man in front of the MIA memorial. The statue represents youth. The average age of soldiers buried there is 22. My age.

There are 26 cemeteries in Normandy including a few German ones. Before the D-Day invasion, the occupation in Normandy was actually quite peaceful (as peaceful as Nazi rule can be). A majority of the German soldiers were nice men who were pretty much stuck -join the Nazis or die. They were average dudes just like any American soldiers but dirty politics and, well, Hitler’s insanity, put them into a horrible place.

The story of D-Day is an incredible one and it is really nice to see a success story from the Americans joining in a war (for once).

Reading about history in school is one thing, but walking through the craters with echoes of bombs is another.

 Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France 

Brochure says: “The French government erected the symbolic dagger atop the bunker as a monument to the Rangers.” 
It’s a dagger guys! 
It was erected to represent the Allies coming into Northern France on D-Day. Pretty much the climax of WWII happened here. 

It was messy. Sometimes history is hard to swallow.

Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France

Brochure says: “The French government erected the symbolic dagger atop the bunker as a monument to the Rangers.”
It’s a dagger guys!
It was erected to represent the Allies coming into Northern France on D-Day. Pretty much the climax of WWII happened here.

It was messy. Sometimes history is hard to swallow.


Large Visitor Globe