06 June 2010


the big picture

During the last term break we took a trip to Normandy. We decided to take the ferry over because AJ has been so crazy about boats. Although it takes longer than the train, it was nice to be able to have lunch and walk around a bit and it made the little guy happy.

AJ on the boat

For a while anyway.

The boat

We decided to stay in Honfleur and rented a typical house in the center of the city just around the corner from the harbor.

Honfleur street 5

Honfleur harbor 1

Honfleur harbor 3

Honfleur harbor 2

Several of our days were spent just walking around looking at the buildings,

Honfleur street 3

honfleur street 2

Honfleur street 4

shopping at the art galleries,

Honfleur street

a whole lot of time was spent watching this boat dredge the harbor,

Hinfleur harbor 2

and, of course, our trip would not be complete with feeding a few pigeons; however, this time they got a bit more than they bargained for when AJ started pelting them with French fries...

They have them in Honfleur too

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is grocery shop. Because we had a kitchen we ate most of our meals at home and were able to try some of the local favorites. The house was right around the corner from a bakery, so we "sampled" quite a few things. In fact, by the third day, the woman on the bakery knew us and sent Sam home with a bag of goodies for us to try. Spencer ate three baguettes a day and all the kids loved the ham so I didn't feel quite so bad about all of my "tasting". Well, that and Sam probably ate 3lbs of cheese.


While there, we toured the beaches and visited the American memorial and I will never forget the expression on Owen's face as we came up the knoll and saw the graves -with his eyes wide and mouth hanging open, he just stopped. The whole D-Day tour was very moving, but the magnitude of the battle did not overpower the coolness of the tanks and boats until they saw all those headstones. Judging their reaction, they will not forget.


From the beaches we headed to Mont St. Michelle and had a great time exploring the tidal island.

Mt St Michele

streets of mt st michelle

draw bridge

The back of Mont St. Michelle

The next stop was the walled city of St. Malo. We had dinner at a cafe on top of the wall and watched an incredible storm.  Walking back to our car we were treated to a rainbow over the city. 

rainbow in st malo

We spent one day driving around the immediate area and visited the resort cities of Deauville and Trauville and we stopped at a beach in Villerville that was covered in mussels that were left by the receding tide. The kids were amazed and Sam hungry. 

April 1, the opening day, we visited Giverney. I have to say that Giverney was not at all what I expected. I liked Monet's house more than I thought I would (the kitchen and dining room are to die for) and the gardens were smaller than I thought they would be. Don't ask me why, but from his paintings I expected them to be bigger. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful place.


From there we followed Monet's path to Rouen to see the Notre Dame cathedral. Rouen was not at the top of our list, but were glad we decided to stop - it is a great city.  We toured the Notre Dame Cathedral and while there the boys saw a sword on an alter.  When I explained it was dedicated to Joan of Arc and when they learned she was burned at the stake right in Rouen they were amazed - I think we talked about Joan of Arc the whole way back to Honfleur. 

It was one of those memorable trips where everything went right - the sun came out every time we stepped outside and rained, even hailed, like mad the rest of the time. It seemed like all of the trees were in full bloom. There were no crowds and if there ever was a line we managed to miss it. The wine was fantastic and the Calvados better. Even AJ was well behaved, which might have had something to do with him being very proud of himself for letting us know (loudly) each and every time he saw a cow (by the way, there are a lot of cows in Normandy). It was a great trip and Spencer is already asking when we can go back and has suggested his birthday.


niki said...

Amazing photos! Looks like a great trip~ LOVE the blue door photo!

Anonymous said...

What an education the children are getting; how they will enjoy and appreciate the journeys as they mature - how I enjoy vicariously travelling w/you; yr blog is great. Gigi

Restyled Home said...

So wonderful to see you and your sweet family again! In England, no less (well, in this post, Normandy!). What an exciting adventure, but obviously it has a few downsides (no dryer?!).

Little A.J.is adorable, as are all of the kids!
Much love and don't get too blue on laundry day!

Post a Comment