It really could have been the longest day, but it passed in a moment. The drive to the beaches of Normandy France looked to be around 11 hours so we opted to break it up by stopping our first night in Rouen, France. There’s two options when traveling from southern Germany to the French coast: you can get tricky and head a bit north and visit some WWII sites located in Belgium or head due west, sail through Paris and stop as close to the English Channel as possible. We opted for route 2. A highlight of the drive was our traditional German lunch at one of the many roadside parking areas where I quickly pulled out the adorable picnic basket I picked up at the antique store earlier this year. Inside I tucked 2 personal size bottles of Pinot Grigio, assorted salami and cheeses and a few Laaber chocolate truffles to round out the snack. The whole experience convinced me that eating on the road can be quite delightful.
We rolled into Rouen with its famous cathedral around 9pm. Since we knew it was going to be a short and simple stop, we decided to book lodging at the Ibis Budget hotel, a super cheap but clean hotel chain. We were not disappointed. It was indeed clean, and the 6 euro self-serve breakfast offered in the lobby featured fresh chocolate croissants, baguettes, french yogurt and fruit. We were set up for a successful day of exploring the area.