(Ah, by now, I'm feeling very 'francais'...note the French spelling of Normandie!! I'm also wishing I had brushed up more on my language skills...my high school French is letting me down!)
We're in Calvados country...
so, we stopped at this manor house for a bit of a taste...
- site of Joan d'Arc's martyrdom
we stopped to buy some of her 'chocolate tears'...
- ...we climbed the clock tower...
Rouen was known as a wool center, and its town symbol is the lamb...
(I didn't find a single yarn shop in town, although, I must admit---it was raining and I didn't really look too hard.)
- Rouen Cathedral
Monet's famous cathedral looked very dreary in the rain, and parts were under cover for some renovation.
Quite magnificent inside...
and serving as a gallery for a modern art show.
can you see the repair cracks? the tower fell in during the famous 1999 storm.
(I'm sparing you the photos of Richard the Lionhearted's tomb with his heart, Rollo's tomb with his femur, Rollo's father's tomb with most of his parts, and the dozen or more pictures of the art show.)
that is now an art school. (There was a really funky little relic enclosed in glass by the gate....a petrified cat with a mouse. Thank you Rick Steves...I would have missed that!!)
- visited Ste Catherine's church
built by ship builders, it really does look like you could flip it on it's ceiling and float away! They used various sized trees for the supporting post columns, evening them up by adjusting the size of the bases. Very ingenious. Not an architect among the builders, they worried about putting the bell tower on top---for fear it would fall through the roof.
so they built theirs across the street. It weathered that 1999 storm just fine....and all the other weather it's been subjected to since it was built in 1460. It's the largest wooden church in France.
- Eugene Boudin was born in Honfleur. This museum has a few little galleries with local history; the top galleries are dedicated to Boudin's work and that of his friends. Very cute. All French. My language skills were really taxed here.
yes, another rainy day, but somehow, the weather seemed appropriate for visiting this 8th century beauty.
we climbed to the top....I'm sparing you once again the gazillion photos I took; for some strange reason I was totally enamoured with the ironwork here...
maybe just one?...
pretty, isn't it?
Before leaving, we had to have one of La Mere Poulard's world famous omelettes.
touristy, but memorable
Although there is about an 80 mile stretch of this cote l'albatra (can't figure out how to make my computer do the accent marks!), we did the Griswold European Vacation version here and snapped some shots of the famous Porte d'Aval... up close and personal (right on the beach), and then again from the cliffs. While we weren't getting rained-on wet that morning, we didn't have the sun with us to really show off the alabaster white cliffs. (But we saw them again in the d'Orsay---a la Impressionists' version.) We did have enough wind to blow us off the cliff, so after our requisite kodak moments, we moved on.
Palais Benedictine, built by Alexandre Le Grand for the production of his benedictine liquer in the 19th century, the only place in the world where it is produced. We toured the palais, the history room,
was our last stop in Normandy. A Benedictine Abbey founded in 654 but rebuilt and consecrated in 1067 in the presence of William the Conquerer. Today it is in ruins...remarkable that as much of it remains after it was used as a stone quarry for a while. We had a very peaceful stroll around the grounds...
and felt this was just the right note on which to end this leg of our tour.
(we'll go to Paris in another post!)