Monday, July 26, 2010

A Weekend en Normandie

Hello my dear girls,
I hope you are both well.  I am, as of Friday, on holiday for three weeks!  I am happy to report that I have already profited from the time off.  This morning I returned to Paris after a lovely, relaxing and at times, somber, weekend in Normandy.  One of the other assistants from work, Amandine, is from Normandy and she was shocked to learn that despite my extensive travels in France, I have never been to Rouen.  She invited us to her family home outside the city and the boyfriend and I were all to happy to accept her invitation!

We arrived in Rouen on Saturday afternoon and after a delicious lunch in her family's gorgeous garden we went to the rive droite of Rouen to check out the Impressionist exhibit at the Musee de Beaux Arts.  I wasn't sure what to expect in Rouen, but I was instantly charmed by the gorgeous architecture.  It is nothing at all like the Haussmannien buildings of Paris!  A coupe of cidre normand and a few macarons from Grand-Mere Auzou was the perfect end to our afternoon in Rouen!

Sunday was a more somber day as we drove along the cote de Nacre passed Deauville and Trouville to the Plages de Débarquement.  We stopped first at Juno beach where Canadian and British soldiers landed, then at Gold beach, then finally on to Omaha Beach where the Americans came ashore on 6 June, 1944.  The beach is now a popular vacation spot (we found this pretty odd...), but there is something eerie about it.  Our last visit was to the American Cemetery to see the over 9,000 white crosses commemorating lost american soldiers.  As the Star Spangled Banner played, a Canadian-American girl, her French friend, and her Canadian boyfriend paid respect to their grandfathers and others who fought on those beaches (or in other battles in Europe!) over 60 years ago.   It was a truly sobering experience.

After one last restful sleep in her gorgeous house and an evening ride in the woods (Yes, they have horses!),  we caught a train back to Paris ce matin.  While it is nice to be back in la capitale, there is nothing like escaping the noise and chaos of Paris... even if only for a few days!

Bisous xx Ophelia

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