Tag Archives: Normandy

Sign Me: Charmed in Normandy

When we were in Normandy last week Mark and I spent one night in the tiny town of Honfleur. Honfleur is a picturesque port in Normandy, sitting at one end of this impressive cabled bridge, le pont de Normandie, which links Honfleur with Le Havre.

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For some reason I can’t begin to explain, I did not take many pictures in Honfleur. One explanation is that the town is so pretty I couldn’t decide what to shoot. Many Impressionist painters captured the beauty of this tiny place on the estuary of the Seine, so you may have seen paintings of Honfleur in museums.

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This was not our first trip to Honfleur, and we did not spend a lot of time in the town this time around. The highlight of this visit was our hotel, L’Auberge de la Source, an old farmhouse sitting a few miles outside of town, on the edge of an enchanted forest. Well, it seemed enchanted to me, anyway.

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Our room was upstairs in the main part of the house, offering views from three sides.

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We ate a very nice dinner next to a burning wood fire in the hotel dining room, where we returned for breakfast the next morning.

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bread, anyone?

bread, anyone?

love those old French floors

love those old French floors

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Just outside the windows of the breakfast area was a pretty little garden, complete with an old apple tree that was dropping its bounty while we were there.

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We slept with a window open and I woke in the early hours to the sound of gentle rain on our roof and a rooster in the distance. Yep, this place was definitely enchanted.

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Most people probably do to spend the night in Honfleur, but that’s too bad, because they are missing out on a little slice of country heaven.

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Mont St. Michel

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Mark and I had been trying to get to this amazing place for so long, and something always seemed to squelch our plan.  Usually, it was the weather.  As you can see, that was not a problem when we finally got there a few weekends ago.

The abbey of Mont St. Michel is located in Normandy, north-west of Paris.  I knew it was an easy day trip, and the way we got there truly could not have been any easier.  We took the TGV to Rennes, which took about 3 hours, and then walked next door to the bus station.  Ten minutes later we were on a very nice coach driving to Mont St. Michel, which took about 1 hour and a half.  I found the tickets on-line and was able to book the train and the bus on the same ticket.  Ridiculously easy!

The abbey, in some form or other, has been perched on this hill since the 8th century.  It is surrounded by mudflats, and when the tide comes in, it becomes an island.  There is a tiny village, entirely touristic, just outside the abbey walls, which ensures that the 3 million people who visit the site each year do not leave without food, drink, and trinkets.

The entrance is a maze of roads and bridges under construction.  It looks like a lot of tourists, but actually it was relatively empty.

The entrance is a maze of roads and bridges under construction. It looks like a lot of tourists, but actually it was relatively empty.

view of the mudflats

view of the mudflats

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refectory

refectory

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On our way back down we stopped here for a beverage.

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Then it was back on the bus to Rennes.  Hint: if you buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store on your way out of town and plan to drink it on the bus, don’t sit in the seat directly behind the driver.

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We enjoyed our bottle of wine on the TGV, and were snugly back in our beds by 10:00.

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