• June 6th – French Commemorations & Swedish Festivities

    by  • June 6, 2014 • City Breaks, Festivals, Paris, Stockholm, World War II

    This year, the 6th of June represents a memorable date across the patriotic hearts and minds of many, as thousands come together to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Landings in Normandy, France. Attended by Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, David Cameron, President Hollande of France and President Obama, a string of official commemorative ceremonies have been taking place across Normandy.

    Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary, Prince Charles laid a wreath near Pegasus Bridge, a strategic crossing point captured by the British troops within minutes of their gliders landing on French soil, whilst David Cameron attended an evening vigil on the bridge itself, lit spectacularly by fireworks. In Paris meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth and President Hollande laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

    Today, Prime Ministers, Heads of State, servicemen and their families have attended services at Bayeux Cathedral, a city renowned for its historic tapestry just over a two-hour train journey from Paris, and the US War Cemetery in Colville-sur-Mer, with a further commemorative event taking place later today at Sword Beach, one of the five landing points in Normandy for the allied troops.

    Over in Scandinavia meanwhile, the 6th of June marks the National Day of Sweden, in honour of two historical events: in 1523 Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden, laying the foundations for a new independent state, whilst in 1809 the country adopted a new constitution. With festivities taking place across the towns and cities of Sweden, those worthy of a mention include the Royal Palace in Stockholm opening its doors to the public and the ceremony at Skansen, Stockholm’s Open-Air Museum, where the Swedish flag is run up the mast and children in traditional peasant costume present the King and Queen of Sweden with bouquets of summer flowers.

    This coming Sunday meanwhile, Stockholm’s Drottningholm Palace, summer residence of the Swedish King and Queen, will play host to the baptism of Princess Leonore, the most recent addition to the Swedish royal family, a year to the day following the marriage of her parents, Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.