Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Welcome to my blog -- follow us as we travel around France.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Normandy: Honfleur

Sunday, October 17, 2010
It was a beautiful clear day today!  But, cold and we were glad we have our polar fleece jackets.
We started out for Honfleur shortly after breakfast.  Honfleur is one of our favorite places.  We have stayed there twice before at the Cheval Blanc Hotel.  We were surprised at all of the changes as we drove into town (yes, there’s a McDonalds), the old town center is just as it has always been.  This is a very scenic town with an inner and outer harbor.  The outer harbor is where the fishing boats come in, and the inner harbor is where the pleasure boats are moored and there are shops and restaurants all around it.  There is also a view of the Normandy Bridge that goes across to Le Havre. 
The town was very busy today with people who came there just for the day.  Sunday lunch is a long-time French tradition and people will go quite a distance for lunch on Sundays.  We had a nice lunch at one of the harbor-side restaurants.  Mom had moules – frites again (mussels), and I had some sort of fish in a sauce.  It was pretty good. 
After lunch we walked around a little bit and looked in some of the shops.  We went up the St. Catherine’s Church, which is quite different than most old churches in France because it is constructed of wood rather than stone.  Apparently, when they were ready to build a church, they had no stone masons, but plenty of shipbuilders.  Consequently, the church is wood and if you look at the ceiling from the inside, it actually looks a little like an upside-down boat. 
We were a little late getting back to the car, based on the expiration time on our parking  permit, but no worries.  We stopped at the McDonald’s to use the restroom, then headed out on a back road.  We went through a lot of farm country, mostly cattle, and saw several thatched-roof cottages.  In France, they often plant the peak of the thatched roof with irises, and the older roofs have lots of moss and grass growing on them, too. We went to Pont Audemer and looked around a little.  We went into their old church, St. Ouen’s, and there was someone in there playing the organ, so we sat down to listen for a little while.  I think they were practicing or perhaps giving a lesson to someone.   Back on the road, we followed the signs for Rouen, but to avoid confusion, we didn’t want to go into the town, so we set up Francine again to get us back to the hotel, which she did.  We got back around 5:00. 
We are the only guests tonight, but had dinner in the dining room, and our hosts treated us just as graciously as they would if there had been several guests.  We had the beef filet and it was the best beef we've had in France, and actually the best we've had for a long time.  It was cooked to perfection.  We skipped the entree & cheese courses tonight, but did have the chocolate dessert again.
After we had finished dinner our host, who cooked our dinner, came out to visit with us.  He is quite a character and speaks excellent English.  He's actually spent quite a lot of time traveling in the US.  We really enjoyed visiting with him.

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