First Trip of 2020; Northern France

rockenrolla

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Hello everyone! This is my first road trip post so I hope y'all enjoy it. Fair warning though, nothing but highway, city, and small French countryside roads in this post. So if you're expecting gear-banging, fender-crunching, off-roading photos and stories then I'm sorry to disappoint. You'll have to wait for me to post my XJ for that. ;)

Anyways, to begin with a little backstory is probably necessary. I'm active duty (ch)Air Force stationed in Germany but originally from Texas. Being the last year of my overseas tour, the girlfriend (also AD) and I decided that we should finally check Paris off our to-do list. I'm not a huge fan of big cities but I am a huge fan of art, architecture, and history so we agreed that not only would we drive the 4 hours from our base to Paris, we would drive an additional 4 hours to Normandy, France so I could see the the D-Day landing sites and other famous WW2 monuments in the area.

Jeep and specs- 2018 JL Sport with 3.6L/8speed on stock tires. Only "mods" are Weathertech floor mats and a 13inch antenna. We did a total of 1164 miles averaging 19.5mpg on the autobahn usually around 70-75mph. The entire driving time for this trip was 21.5 hours from leaving my driveway to parking back in my driveway 4 days later. Without further delay, here we go.

I never actually got far enough away from the Eiffel Tower to get a good photo of it but here's a few Paris shots.
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Outside the Louvre.
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Some random girl...
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The Winged Victory
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And finally, my girlfriends favorite statue. Not sure why, maybe its the details in the hair and dress.
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After 2 days in Paris we moved north to Normandy, staying in a small town called Bayoux. From there we spent 1.5 days exploring the area starting first on the western coast at Mont Saint Michel. A small island right off the coast that's only accessible by bridge during low-tide. Unfortunately you can't drive up to it unless you either live there or have a special pass.
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The final day is when we saw the D-Day monuments and landings.
I have about a 1/2 gallon of sand I'll be dividing up sending to a few friends as gifts. When i was stationed in Okinawa I regret not ever being able to visit Iwo Jima so I made sure to get a collection of sand from here.
The monument reads, "The Allied Forces Landing on This Shore Which They Call Omaha Beach Liberate Europe-June 6th 1944."
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Finally a Jeep photo.
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Strangely enough, Omaha beach looks exactly like a beach. If there wasn't a monument every 500 feet, you would have never known that over 2,400 casualties had happened there just over 75 years ago on this same sand.
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Taken in front of the Operation Overlord Museum, which is actually closed from January to March if I remember.
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Pointe Du Hoc Ranger Monument. Where members of the 2d Ranger Battalion led by Lt Col James Rudder, a Texan, scaled up the 100ft+ cliff side to destroy important targets that could have crippled the D-Day landings on nearby beaches.
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Two plaques; one dedicated to the 2d Rangers and one from the State of Texas, dedicated to Lt Col Rudder who led the mission.
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Overall, I'm extremely happy with how well my Jeep handled the long drive across France. It has fairly low mileage so I didn't expect anything to happen but you never know on long road trips. My Jeep has now traveled through its 4th country and I look forward to having it see a few more by the time I leave Germany later this year. I hope y'all can make a trip across the pond to see the world as it really does open your eyes towards how other live, work, and enjoy life. Thanks for reading my trip post!

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oceanblue2019

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Very cool!

Have you made it to Colmar France yet?

I presume you are at Rammstein AFB? Check out EuropaPark as it's pretty interesting to contrast to Disney over here - most of it was ripped off from Disney. Then you can go up to Amsterdam and check out Efteling which is where Disney stole his ideas from ;)

Also if not too far you can get down to Lake Constance. On the German side the ZF museum on the lake is excellent. More about the zeppelin era but do go a bit into modern day ZF including the transmissions in our Jeeps.

Munich for the BMW factory tour and museum is interesting, as well as fantastic beer. If you go to Munich check out the "Monastery" beer garden as it's the best beer I've had.
 

BelAir2Corolla

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Rockenrolla,
Thank you for your service!
We have plans to visit Paris in early June, and are looking to plan a trip to Bayoux for the same purpose: visit the landing beaches and cemetery as well as visit Mont St Michel. Did you visit MSM on your own or as part of a tour? I see "skip the line" tours offered out of Bayoux, questioning whether I want to go that route. I expect from the pictures around Omaha Beach that you were driving on your own. If so, were there any times you wish you were on a guided tour?

Did you stay at an Airbnb in Bayoux? Care to recommend? And finally, how long was the drive from Paris to Bayoux?
Thanks!
Dan
 
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rockenrolla

rockenrolla

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Very cool!

Have you made it to Colmar France yet?

I presume you are at Rammstein AFB? Check out EuropaPark as it's pretty interesting to contrast to Disney over here - most of it was ripped off from Disney. Then you can go up to Amsterdam and check out Efteling which is where Disney stole his ideas from ;)

Also if not too far you can get down to Lake Constance. On the German side the ZF museum on the lake is excellent. More about the zeppelin era but do go a bit into modern day ZF including the transmissions in our Jeeps.

Munich for the BMW factory tour and museum is interesting, as well as fantastic beer. If you go to Munich check out the "Monastery" beer garden as it's the best beer I've had.
I have not made it out there yet, I've actually barely visited France before this trip so i'll add it to my trip list! You are correct though, I'm stationed here at Ramstein. EuropaPark was fun but very packed and small compared to Disney and Six Flags that I'm use to. Munich was a blast went for Octoberfest.
 
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rockenrolla

rockenrolla

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Rockenrolla,
Thank you for your service!
We have plans to visit Paris in early June, and are looking to plan a trip to Bayoux for the same purpose: visit the landing beaches and cemetery as well as visit Mont St Michel. Did you visit MSM on your own or as part of a tour? I see "skip the line" tours offered out of Bayoux, questioning whether I want to go that route. I expect from the pictures around Omaha Beach that you were driving on your own. If so, were there any times you wish you were on a guided tour?

Did you stay at an Airbnb in Bayoux? Care to recommend? And finally, how long was the drive from Paris to Bayoux?
Thanks!
Dan
Hey Dan, we visited MSM on our own. Being that we had our own vehicle it was just a quick 1.5 hour drive from Bayoux. Maybe because it was the off season for them the skip the line tour wasn't necessary as we walked up to the Monastery at the top and waited in a 3 minute line to buy tickets. They do have a tour in English but i believe only offered twice a day for that. For the Omaha Beach area it probably would've made a big difference in being on a tour as I'm sure they have knowledge of what happened at specific spots of the beach. From what I remember is that in Bayoux they had a tour company for D-Day beaches and also nearby the cemetary in the pictures is the Operation Overlord museum. I'm sure they have knowledge or possibly even offer tours themselves. As for staying in Bayoux my girlfriend is mostly the planner but she found a hotel through Booking.com for us that was fairly priced, super clean, and had its own private parking lot which made me feel better since we drove our own Jeep. I believe the name was Hotel de Luxembourg. Hope this helps!
 

Whody

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Nice trip! I HATE driving in Paris, glad you made it out unscathed. Currently stationed in Belgium, moving to Germany soon (Stuttgart). Just ordered a new Jeep, won't be here till July or August. The wife and I plan on seeing how many countries we can drive it in.
 

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We did something similar last August(not in a Jeep though) and it was incredible. Bayeux is a great little town(see pics below as these guys stayed in the little hotel we stayed at)! Mont St Michel was awesome as well. We enjoyed are time in the French Countryside 100% better than in Paris; but Paris was on our bucket list so.........

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@rockenrolla

Visiting Normandy would be an important but difficult trip for me.

As sure as any defining moments in life, the one before and after you watch the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and the invasion of Normandy has to be one of them.


My dad told me how the Allied forces "softened the beach with untold numbers of air strikes" prior to the invasion, but fortified bunkers on positions of height resisted the bombing and made for enormous numbers of casualties as we invaded from offshore.

These men who gave their lives, and the Jeeps they drove allow us in peace to sit here and discuss this.
 

kennware

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Great read and great trip by the sounds of it! I was over in Normandy last summer (pre-Jeep ownership) and this has made me want to re-visit the area this year. The history in Normandy and the rest of Northern France relating to both World Wars is fascinating and awe inspiring. Going there in a Jeep is postcard perfect!
 
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rockenrolla

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Nice trip! I HATE driving in Paris, glad you made it out unscathed. Currently stationed in Belgium, moving to Germany soon (Stuttgart). Just ordered a new Jeep, won't be here till July or August. The wife and I plan on seeing how many countries we can drive it in.
Nice man, I hope you enjoy the area in Stuttgart. I was there for the Oktoberfest celebration and the town has a big celebration for it. I recommend Austria if you haven't been yet. A really beautiful country honestly.
 

Elpato74

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Nice trip! I HATE driving in Paris, glad you made it out unscathed. Currently stationed in Belgium, moving to Germany soon (Stuttgart). Just ordered a new Jeep, won't be here till July or August. The wife and I plan on seeing how many countries we can drive it in.
Whody, we ourselves are headed to Germany soon. We will be in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Just picked up a new 2020 JLU yesterday to move over there.
 

Elpato74

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Nice man, I hope you enjoy the area in Stuttgart. I was there for the Oktoberfest celebration and the town has a big celebration for it. I recommend Austria if you haven't been yet. A really beautiful country honestly.
Hey Rockenrolla, new member here. I will be headed to Germany soon. Can I pick your brain on a couple of Germany Vehicle Inspection questions that I have?
Im aware of the tire (snow rating) law, but what can/can’t you do to your Jeep there in Germany. Don’t want to have issues by putting g something on that I shouldn’t. Any advice would be appreciated.

Rich
 
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rockenrolla

rockenrolla

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Hey Rockenrolla, new member here. I will be headed to Germany soon. Can I pick your brain on a couple of Germany Vehicle Inspection questions that I have?
Im aware of the tire (snow rating) law, but what can/can’t you do to your Jeep there in Germany. Don’t want to have issues by putting g something on that I shouldn’t. Any advice would be appreciated.

Rich
Hey Rich! First off, congrats on the new Jeep! There's a lot you can't do to your vehicle without it being inspected to pass. if your tires extend beyond the wheel well then they require you to purchase new fenders to cover the tires or as most of us do, we just buy garden trim and put it under the fender to "extend" the fender out and it works. There's more but I'll PM you.
 

Dave928

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great topic. I've taken a 3 week vacation to europe for the last 4 years and always do a few days in Paris. always heard it was a real shit hole so went the first time just as a BTDT thing, but i love it now. no trip this year :(

and Stuttgart is great. do the Porsche museum and factory tour.
 

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@rockenrolla

Visiting Normandy would be an important but difficult trip for me.

As sure as any defining moments in life, the one before and after you watch the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and the invasion of Normandy has to be one of them.


My dad told me how the Allied forces "softened the beach with untold numbers of air strikes" prior to the invasion, but fortified bunkers on positions of height resisted the bombing and made for enormous numbers of casualties as we invaded from offshore.

These men who gave their lives, and the Jeeps they drove allow us in peace to sit here and discuss this.

It always saddens me to see what all the men and women have done for our country ..... and to see it today..... I still mourn the loss of my friends from Iraq.... I should have visited France when i was in there in Germany.... U.S Army here.... I'm still proud of what all the service people have done in and for our Country and always will stand for the National Anthem and Old Glory..... Thank you...
 

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