Omaha Beach, Mont Saint Michel och Champagne – Gone Camping i Frankrike

Kicking off your vacation with a boat
trip, always spices up your adventure. We’re on board the Stena Scandinavica
ferry, going from Gothenburg to Kiel. After that,
Normandy and Champagne await us. You’re welcome to join us. Adventure Excitement Culinary experiences Encounters The southbound trip from Kiel
will be divided into two days. After 1 300 kilometres, we will reach
southern Normandy and our first goal: The fabulous monastery
of Mont Saint-Michel. It looks like something
straight out of a Disney film. The monastery is located
on a peninsula in the Atlantic. At high tide,
the surrounding sandbanks are flooded. The only connection to the mainland
is a narrow causeway. But you or the population of 44 people
won’t have the island to yourselves- -because more than 3 million tourists
visit Mont Saint-Michel each year. To avoid the worst crush of tourists,
come here early in the morning- -and be there when they open
the doors to the monastery. Once inside, you’ll be treated to
magnificent halls, a fantastic garden- -and a breathtakingly beautiful view. If you stay until evening,
you’ll experience another great scene: Mont Saint-Michel at sunset. Two hours to the north are five
of the world’s most famous beaches. But they’re hardly known
for the beautiful sand… 70 years ago,
156,000 troops landed here on D-Day. To get a better grasp
of the Invasion of Normandy- -I’ve booked a full-day tour
with a guide called Martine Gipari. One of the most heroic actions took
place on the cliff called Pointe du Hoc- -located between Omaha Beach
and Utah Beach. The Allies feared that the German
cannons would reach both beaches- -and so, 225 Rangers were given
the task of taking the fortification. Using ropes, ladders and grapnels- -they scaled the 30-metre high cliffs- -while the enemy fired
machine guns and mortars. After two days of fighting,
only ninety men remained. Since June 8,
we didn’t change anything here. So, it is possible to see
all these craters- -which were made by the large bombing,
which was made by the Americans. That’s why, today,
we are coming here with great respect. We didn’t change anything, and we
suppose that we still have bodies here. During the first part of the invasion- -some 1,000 soldiers were killed
or injured every hour on these beaches. That’s 16 people a minute. One man every four seconds. Many of them are buried
in the American Cemetery- -that sits beautifully
above Omaha Beach- -overlooking the area
that was given the code name ‘Easy’. Paradoxically, that section
proved to be the deadliest one. We have here 9,387 graves. That’s people who died before D-Day,
on D-Day and after D-Day. Watching the beach, the cannons,
the barbed wire and the bullet-holes- -will not leave you cold. You have to remind yourself that
the operation was successful, after all- -and marked the beginning
of the fall of Hitler and Germany. If you, like me,
want to stay in the centre of things- -I can recommend
Camping Omaha Beach. The campsite
has a vast view of the ocean. There are cottages, tent sites
and caravan spaces. The sun is setting. We got a beautiful
spot at the Omaha Beach campsite. We’ll round the day off with a light
dinner of nibbles and some nice wine. We raise our glasses in remembrance
of those who sacrificed their lives. We leave the coastline
and head five hours east- -to France’s northernmost
and most glamorous wine district: Champagne. The region is the size of Småland
and boasts 5,000 wine producers. The most famous ones can be found
in the unofficial capital of Épernay. But out in the small villages,
you can have personal encounters- -with the farmers who have made
the drink in your glass. Champagne has over 300 villages,
so there are loads to choose from. There’s one village you mustn’t miss,
and that’s Hautvillers. A man with a very special connection
to Champagne once worked here. Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon worked
here in the late 1600s and early 1700s. He’s sometimes credited as the inventor
of the sparkling wine, but that’s false. He did, however,
play a vital role in the development- -of the winemaking process
in Champagne. At this time,
the wines were actually still. Another reason for visiting Hautvillers
is the shop Au 36. It’s run by Julie Valade and has been
named one the best shops in France. They’ll help you find your personal
favourite in this ‘jungle of bubblies’- -whether you prefer
a crisp Chardonnay- -the texture of a Pinot Noir
or a fruity Pinot Meunier. If you’re hungry, don’t forget to order
a plate of local specialties. The 328 villages in the Champagne
region have different classifications. Grand Cru is the top appellation. Only
17 villages have received this status. One of these is Verzy,
where I meet up with Anne-Marie- -who runs the Etienne Lefèvre winery
together with her family. Why it’s Grand Cru? Of course, because it’s an old village
of old wine growers- -a special exposition
and special soil underground. Everything is important. It’s the most expensive grape
you can find in Champagne. Why? Because it has a special taste,
a special flavour. And you cannot find
that sort of flavour anywhere else. To put it simply: champagne
undergoes two fermentations. First in barrels, just like any
other wine, and then in bottles. That’s when the bubbles form.
Sediment will also form. The bottles are kept at a forward angle,
and the sediment gathers in the neck. The sediment is removed
before the wine is stored and enjoyed. So, tell me. How do you think
that champagne is best appreciated? Alone, or together with food? Any occasion! In this time, we have
nice weather. It’s spring, summer… You prefer pink, we have pink. It’s fruity, naturally. You have
a taste of strawberries, cherries. And it’s very easy
to drink the pink champagne. When you drink champagne,
it’s a happy time. And I think the bottle expresses
happiness. Your proper happiness. Many vineyards offer
free tasting of their products. Often, though, you need to book
your wine tasting in advance. Going to Champagne is not only
educational, it’s also a money saver. The champagne is often 30-50 %
cheaper than back home in Sweden. I’ll drink to that! In Champagne,
there are a handful of campsites. We’ll stay in Val-de-Vesle,
only ten minutes away from Verzy. The site is small, quiet and green. Just like at the other campsites
we visited in France- -the blue CEE plug
works just as it should. It’s time for dinner.
Tonight’s dish is Russian pancakes. Tonight, I’ll be making blinis, a dish
that goes perfectly with champagne. Anne-Marie Lefèvre chose a bottle
that goes extra well with it. Here’s my base.
I’ve allowed it to ferment. Flour, milk, eggs, salt and egg yolk. I left it for about 45 minutes.
The grill is on. I just need to add some melted butter
and whisked egg white. I’ll start with the butter. And now the well-whisked egg white. The grill is ready.
I’ll drop some batter into the pan. Add some caviar… Both black and red.
Some locally produced crème fraîche. A sprinkle of chopped red onion. And finish off with a wedge of lemon. Dinner is served! We have blinis on
the plate and champagne in the glass. We have a sunset over the campsite.
It doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks for joining us
on our trip through France. Hope to see you soon. Either here
on this programme or out on the road. Go to to get the recipe The award-winning wine shop
in Hautvillers is called Au 36. In Verzy,
we visited the Etienne Lefèvre winery. We stayed at
the Camping Omaha Beach- -and the Camping Municipal
in Val-de-Vesle.

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