Famous for its cuisine, art and architecture, France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Visitors are lured by the romance of Paris and the sophistication of the south – but isimage: Justine goes sightseeing in Paris there life beyond the Eiffel Tower, can-can girls and haughty waiters? Justine Shapiro travels to the western and northern regions of this surprisingly diverse nation to find out.
First Justine touches down on the Normandy beaches, site of the tragic World War Two D-Day landings. Touring the surrounding sites in an army jeep, she discovers the history of St Mere Eglise, the town at the centre of the behind-the-lines parachute drop the night before D-day and achieved notoriety in the film The Longest Day.
Nearby is the world famous thousand-year old pilgrimage site Mont Saint Michel, an abbey perched on a small rocky island in the middle of a shallow bay. Justine tackles the abbey on foot – a trip that’s claimed a fair few pilgrims through the centuries because of its sudden tidal turns and deep pits of quick sand.