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  • Writer's pictureMme Vanessa Williamson

Our guests most moving experience

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

As autumn closes in we have time to reflect on what has been an amazing 6 months of B&B and guests visiting on Guided Tour holiday stays. I recall how we now take time to stop our guests as they walk into the L’Hotel de Hercé private courtyard for the first time. Watching their heads tilt back looking up high in amazement. Exactly as it was for us the first time. It is still something I do nearly every day as I still wonder how we have been so blessed. The questions, is the extra building ours too ? Then it’s the garden that becons. So often my invitation for a walk up our meandering garden path is accepted. A tranquil green walk into our park like walled garden a welcome place for guest who have been travelling. Looking back towards the house guests turn & smile & say “so this is all yours”? I answer yes & that it’s theirs too to enjoy during their stay with us. There has been so many wonderful conversations over a shared glass of wine in the salon, if this Is the food of life we are happy. Two emails arrived from past guests this week thanking us for their stays and particularly thanking us for their guided tours. They have been reflecting since being home. Both guests are widely travelled and their emotion on the experiences of visiting DDay Normandy sites still lingers with them. To our surprise requests for DDay Tours in this 75th anniversary year have been high. In fact our most popular. I feel a shift in consciousness that it’s time to lock this memory in, to ensure it’s not forgotten. We have learned now to watch our guests as the day unfolds, ensuring we visit quiet places outside the museums. The walks along the oftern deserted Utah Beach after lunch are usually in silence. After the education from the museums the vast enormity of this one day in WW2, across 5 beaches on the Normandy coast hits. The films cannot capture the experience of the vastness of the coast line. The tranquility & tossing breeze such a contrast to the hell that was unleashed. Peter just weeks retired after life in the military & Government advisor said over and over “I have never understood this before”. He request no more museums but to drive the coast - beach to beach. We did, for him the coastal plain, sand dunes, the famous bocharge, soaring high hedgerows, the vast distances were his experience. It’s sobering moving, for me as a mother of sons the same age as the young men resting the cemetery’s, I often have a few tears. The drive back to Mayenne takes on a new significance. As Matt explains the path of the Normandy Allied breakout to begin the path of the Liberation of France. We follow General Patton’s Army all the way to our house. Where in 1944 the tanks passed through Place de Cheverus during the battle of Mayenne. The last bridge over the river saved by An American solider. His sacrifice is remembered every year. Then the Free French & Americans headed north to Paris. It’s compelling.

Travel can be so much more than a holiday, it’s about the people you meet, the hours shared in often unexpected experiences. It’s about wonderful food, new conversations. it’s exploring life really, life in the present and the past. Thank you for reading


28th Oct 2019

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