Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A Break in Normandy

I have just returned from a much needed break in Normandy, and delighted to report that I am minus my croaky voice and a viral infection that has plagued me for best part of this year!
We stayed in Deauville in a property overlooking the sea with views of some of the best sunsets I have seen. This was a recuperation and relaxation holiday, so I did my best not to end up turning it in a writing holiday, but there is so much to see and do Normandy that I found it extremely difficult. We were in Normandy on the 6 June, a very important in history, so a trip along the Normandy beaches was a must. Although we did not see the main parades,
we went to Arromanche to see what remains of Mulberry Harbour, which helped to win the war. There were Canadian, American and British War Veterans there for the anniversary, and a visit to the museum was very moving indeed. Mulberry Harbour was built in England piece by piece in various parts of the country, and no one knew what they were working on. The pieces were then shipped out to France and built under the cover of darkness – a fantastic piece of engineering – the harbour, and road from the harbour to the village to take the vehicles, supplies, etc!

Orbec is a medieval village – one of only a few that was not totally destroyed during the war. Very quaint with timber houses of the distinctive Norman appearance, some with thatched roofs. The day we went was market day and all the farmers came into town with their horse and wagons to sell their fruit, veg and homemade bread and cheeses. As you can imagine we sampled a great deal of the local produce!

Another day we went to Falaise, which is the birthplace of William the Conqueror, and a huge bronze statue of the Conqueror, on horse backs sits in the castle just below the castle – his childhood home and that of the Dukes of Normandy.

We also visited Caen, which is now very modern being almost destroyed in the war, but we did walk around the ruined castle and visited the museum.

I loved Honfleur, so pretty and some of the buildings seemed to be so tall that they would topple over! Again it was market day so very busym and interesting to see all the different foods on display. Various boats were in the harbour and seafood was on every menu.

Deauville itself is where all the film stars holiday and once a year (in September) is home to Deauville film festival. Things were extremely expensive in Deauville, but it was nice to see another side of life. The promenade or the Boardwalk is boarded for miles and super to walk along. All along the boardwalk are beach huts with little gates in front with the name of a film star who has been to Deauville – lots of lots of them, all famous, including firm directors as well. We were told to look out for famous people as they come to Deauville to the Casino and then parade along the boardwalk in the afternoon. Unfortunately I cannot report seeing anyone famous, but we did look at the restaurants serving Oysters and Champagne and an enormous platter of shell fish for a mere £60 per person! We also visted Tourville – much cheaper than Deaville and also Villiers Sur Mer.

Alas it was time to leave and I returned home to find the final proofs of The Story of Pembrokeshire sitting on the doormat, so it was back to work as usually!

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