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Walking with Marie Antoinette

There’s a story here……..but right now – you’ll have to be satisfied with just the photos……….  Enjoy!

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The Story of Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette

Honfleur Harbour and our Angel of Mercy

English: Reflection at Honfleur harbour, Norma...

English: Reflection at Honfleur harbour, Normandy, France, February 2011 Français : Reflet au port de Honfleur, Normandie, France, Février 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time we’re in the northwest of France, enjoying Normandy — friendly locals, crêpes, Camembert, and a port town known as HONFLEUR. It is a popular get-away for Parisians.

Little did we know that by not booking ahead, and it being the special “Blessing of the Ships – Pentecost weekend” – that we would not find a room – anywhere.

And then, when we thought – must we go all the way back to Paris, or sleep on a park bench –  when this tall gentleman comes out of NO-WHERE and asks us if we need a place to stay ……….

hmmmmmmmmmm

We’re  listening to him, and looking at him, and then I’m glancing at David and thinking that this is just TOO weird, who IS  this person coming to us out of no-where?

My American skepticism kicks in and I think ‘“SERIAL KILLER”………..do not follow this person. 

Well, we exchange niceties, and his card is given to us, a very nice little itsby bitsy card- the smallest little card – almost a brochure actually, but TINY , that you’ve ever seen.  We put it away and go to our first hotel, the one that is always there for us with an airline discount, – MERCURE, but ofcourse, they’re full, just like we’ve already been told.

We call 6 other numbers that we had listed in our fones.   It’s a very short conversation and it’s all C’est complete” – full.   Okay, so we go back to Mercure and ask them about their other hotel in Le Havre across the river.  Oh, okay, they do have one room, but it’s 170 euros!!!  Oh dear God.  Then we ask about getting there, and it’s by taxi. How much is that?  70 euros!!! You have GOT to be kidding me.  The park bench looks more inviting.  We’d only need it for maybe a couple of hours as we could stay in a restaurant eating and drinking till -what? at least 3am?  I don’t know.       But it’s looking grim.

We look at each other and pull out the  itsy bitsy colored “brochure” of this GITE  (by our stranger,) and call the number.  Yes , he still has the room, and so we tell him we’re be arriving by taxi. It’s only 6 km away.  The taxi that we had called earlier is nowhere to be found…….this always happens to us.  So, we called the stranger back.  He says he will come and get us.

Oh dear.

Well, okay.

And then he arrived in a little van/truck with only 2 seats in it so David gets in the back with no seat and I get in front with this nice stranger …….

David practically rolls into the back door,  when he takes off.  Pretty funny, but then we drive and it gets darker and I’m thinking, oh no, he IS a serial killer and we’ll never be found alive – ever – and what have we done??  And then as soon as I thought that, we arrive at the most lovely of country Gites with beautiful lights on and it turns out that this wonderful stranger has actually built this wonderful warm homey GITE with his own two hands!  He is a genius!  He did the building, the woodwork, the roof, the electricity, even the decorating. It was so very lovely!   And now, the stranger had a name, “Christian” and he was now our “angel of mercy” . ( He is also related to Celine Dion and to the brother of Champlain, the discoverer who founded QUEBEC!!!  We got the whole history lesson.)

I do have a lot of faith in these matters, by traveling “by the seat of our pants” so to speak because that is our M.O. with our work, but honestly, it’s a test, and honestly, this guy comes out of no- where and we are blessed blessed blessed with the most lovely evening in this gorgeous Gite in the Country outside Honfleur,  quiet, peaceful, with a long country walk in the morning after our very fresh country breakfast.

How lucky can we get, I ask myself~~

The following is compiled from Wikipedia and from Rick Steve’s Travel to Honfleur………..

Honfleur escaped the bombs of World War II and feels as picturesque as it looks. Gazing at its snug harbor, it’s easy to overlook the historic importance of this port.

This is where the Seine River meets the English Channel. For over a thousand years, sailors have enjoyed Honfleur’s ideal location. While busy conquering England, William received supplies shipped from here. (Also a relative, btw).

And Canadians know Honfleur for Samuel de Champlain who sailed from here in 1608, discovering the St. Lawrence Seaway and founding Quebec City.

The harbor, once fortified with a wall and two gates, is now an easy-going marina. Today’s Honfleur, long eclipsed by the gargantuan port of Le Havre [luh ah-vrah] just across the Seine, happily uses its past as a bar stool and sits on it.

Honfleur’s Church of St. Catherine is worth a visit. It seems if you flipped it, it would float. That’s because it was built by a community with plenty of boat builders and no cathedral architects. When the first nave was built in the mid-1400s, it was immediately apparent they needed more space — so they built another.

Many consider Honfleur the birthplace of Impressionism. Just as Monet once did, artists still come here catch the light playing on the harbor front and reflecting in the water. It was in places like this that the battle cry of the Impressionists — “Out of the studio and into the light!” — was born.

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Try to learn to breathe d…

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough. Ernest Hemingway, advice to young writers

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Stepping Off the Train in Cool, Breezy, Sunny Deauville-sur-Mer

Bathing Time at Deauville, by Eugène Boudin, 1865

Bathing Time at Deauville, by Eugène Boudin, 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Step Two Whoa!  Deauville  is cool, breezy and lovely  and we just left all that sun and heat. So what happened?

English: Train Station of Deauville and Trouvi...

English: Train Station of Deauville and Trouville, Calvados, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re only 2 hours north of Paris!   Welcome to France, where temperatures change as quickly as they do in Saint Louis.  No, scratch that, they ‘re getting ALL the heat now,  no coolness what-so-ever. So, it’s Bus Vingt-D (20-D)  to Honfleur and we hop on that right away as it takes us up on cliff roads over looking a lovely view of the ocean,

which we have not seen for sometime now.  Streets are so narrow and how this bus gets through is a miracle but he actually drove on the sidewalk getting out of the town of Deauville !!  We had to laugh!

 

 

The Bus ride to Honfleur is only 2 euros a piece, so such a bargain!!

Cannot wait to get there, but for now, we’re still bumping along, enjoying the scenery……………

 

Deutsch: Villa Strassburger (ehemalige villa R...

Deutsch: Villa Strassburger (ehemalige villa Rotschild) in Deauville (Calvados, Frankreich) Français : Villa Strassburger (ancienne villa Rotschild) à Deauville (Calvados, France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m Visiting the Queen Tomorrow so………….

I couldn’t resist having my hair done at my old standby Jacques Dessange where I went “back in the day” -Those days were?  You ask……..

Okay, those were the days my friend, we thought would never end  – – – where  I had a teeny disposable

income and flew to Paris on my passes to get my hair cut and colored. At Jacques Dessange. For the weekend.

Ahhhh, there is nothing like working for the airlines BEFFORE 9/11, where the income was good, you gained seniority fast, and you actually got

to fly for free on a weekend, when the planes actually had seats for you to get on, not like NOW, where you’re lucky to get on ANY flight………

So, She’s coming, ………okay, she’s not coming to Paris, However,  The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee  2012   Parties have begun in earnest all over the tiny British Isles and the Continent

English: Location of the British Isles on the ...

English: Location of the British Isles on the European Continent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and maybe even in the US, for all I know, but “alls I know,” (that’s a horrible Missouri expression) is that we have been invited by the British ( I can’t say which association – but you can guess) and we are delighted to go, despite having to find garb in all RED WHITE and BLUE.  I found a few things in my closet,  left over from  past Fourth of July events in the US, –  I hope it isn’t too dated.   I’ll let you know by how many stares I get.  But honestly?  To find a pair  –  absolutely LOVELY little red shoes, to go with what I already owned, caused extreme apoplexy – 170 EUROS………yes – you heard that right – it’s EUROS, and it’s 170 of them, and yes, they were Repettos, but STILL FOLKS………..I can’t DO THIS!!

So, I have something that will work .No, I’m not wearing the Union Jack.   It just plopped itself at the end of this post.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom (Photo credit: stumayhew)

But I sure loved those bright red repettos!

Maybe I can wear my Christmas Red Boots

No.

I always find RED, love Red, love RED, but NO to those RED REPETTOS!!!

Stepping up to the Train, on a Very Hot and Steamy Paris Day

Claude Monet: Gare Saint Lazare, 1877

Claude Monet: Gare Saint Lazare, 1877 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, we are headed towards HONFLEUR for a much-needed mini “vacance” –

This is Step One to our adventure:  – Gare Saint Lazare –

SO, on this

very hot steamy afternoon we’re at the train station – once again,  – Gare Saint Lazare,  and I’m waiting at the departure screen which is  lit up in bright orange LCD lights for the VOIE to come up so I can race over there and get a good seat!  We love the seats with the tables, but they are few and far between.   Okay, so , I don’t know which one it is yet and I’m standing here very impatiently with almost 70 people behind me all staring  at that screen and it’s getting very very warm!!!  UG! – SO,  when I see the magic number pop up (David guesses 23, I guess 21 – as we always make a game out of this, which the winner is the recipient of  either 5 euros or a beer, )  THEN, and only then, I’ll race over there and grab our seats with a TABLE!   While I’m waiting in this really hot huge train station, David is getting sandwiches.  He knows that I need moutard on mine, because it’s so good and so hot that it opens my sinuses and ofcourse complements the whatever ingredients are sandwiched in there……..David is strictly plain,— plain, plain,plain –  so he doesn’t know what he is missing!~    I’m having to wait at the head of the line for these seats like a maniac because we  made this booking last minute, therefore,  no seats could be assigned, as so many  of our weekend trips are done this way because we just never know exactly  if we’ll be able to go anywhere or not………..

This is just the way it is.

Oh Oh !  The number, the magic number has appeared!! It’s 24!! And David has won the bet.  I owe him a beer!

Français : Quai de la Gare Saint Lazare - Pari...

Français : Quai de la Gare Saint Lazare – Paris – France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This train station is very nice – beautiful – in places , and also – very ugly in other places – it’s been in the refurbishment stage for over 10 years now.  NOTHING moves very fast in France.

We are used to this now, and we’ve only been here 8 months.  People who live here and are from here are not used to this, but we, being the lovers of France that we are have taken it all as “nor-mal-MAL” and accept it.   That could be a good thing, since we can flow with the tide with the bureauracy.  And there is a lot of that.  So yeah, you might as well, just float along with it…………….I don’t need high blood pressure at my age.

STAY TUNED FOR WHAT HAPPENS ONCE WE ARRIVE IN HONFLEUR!!!!

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