Other posts on this trip: Getting to Our Little House, Dieppe and Thereabouts, Omaha Beach

It has been busy around here. Today was Hannah’s last day of school, and I’ve been writing and sewing quite a bit. Plus, all of the makeover prep for this site!

So, it is taking a while to finish posting these trip photos from Normandy. I still have quite a few, but I’m going to bust them all out in one final post.

I love, love, loved Rouen. I especially loved the timber-framed buildings.

rouen1

This was the most artistically inspiring stop on our trip, and I have so many great quilt designs swimming in my brain right now as a result.

rouen2

This one turned our brains inside out a little, but it is actually built, windowed, and timbered on an incline in the middle there. rouen3

Rouen was also crazy with gorgeous churches. The Church of Saint-Ouen was just such a pleasant place to spend some time. Lovelier even than the cathedral in town.

stouen

stouen1

Hannah and my mother-in-law Cora did some great exploring here.

stouen2

stouen3

stouen4

stouen5

stouen6

stouen7

stouen8

I could have stayed all day, but we were hungry. And we had the best lunch (possibly best meal period) in Rouen. My stepfather-in-law Ian found it; he had a feeling. I had a seafood bisque and steak frites; okay, frankly churches make me really, really hungry.

rouenlunch

Also, more cider. Always more cider in Normandy.

IMG_7155
Side note: who is this grown up little girl?!rouenlunch2

The view at lunch was gorgeous.

rouenlunch3

I could have turned around and thrown a rock at the Church of Saint-Maclou, but I don’t think it would have been appreciated. Again, yet another gorgeous space.

Look, it’s Adam!

rouen7

We eventually made our way to Cathedral Notre Dame, but it wasn’t terribly impressive outside. I mean, it’s insane on the outside, but it was under construction.

rouen4

I didn’t even go in with Hannah right away; we stayed outside and made friends with this little guy, Caesar.

rouen5She did love running around the stone steps out front, too.

rouen6Then we made our way inside. Hannah made friends there, too.

notredameStairs at Hogwarts? Nope, to the cathedral’s library. *sigh*

notredame2

The green hand truck humanizes it, otherwise it would be way more beautiful than stairs have any right being. Artistic choice.

Funny story: Rouen had the only fabric store I could find anywhere near us in Normandy, so on our way to see Joan of Arc we made our way to it. It’s called Homo Roussel, and it is run by a family of intimidating but kind French women who speak no English. It was a bit of a disappointment only because it had almost no fabrics; it was basically trims. You line up and wait for one of the women behind the counter to bark at you to say what you want (and you’d better know), then when you’re done they hand you over to a glorious ancient lady who rings everyone up on paper. I have no confidence that she did that math correctly.

However, the women were very kind to me, and with my MIL’s help I walked out with some Liberty of London trims and fabulous ribbons I saw by the metre. I wish I had been brave enough to order from the immense wall of lovely buttons behind the counter, or to even take a photo inside the shop, but it was not that kind of day. I don’t think the old woman at the register would approve of photos, and I thought asking for buttons would be disastrous. </end story>

homoroussel

I congratulated myself on French transactions well sorted with some macarons directly across the way. It turns out I have been eating macarons incorrectly my entire life, because I had no idea they were so completely delicious.

macarons

I usually turn up my nose at macarons, but these were like a scrumptious slap in the face for all of my years of misinformation and apparently stale macaron eating.

macarons2
Our final stop in Rouen was the site of Joan of Arc’s burning. A grim memorial, and the square around it is kind of a shady hangout for teenage ne’er-do-wells. But the monument itself, on the site of her execution, was powerful. I took a moment or two to reflect on feminism and youth and France.

joanofarc

There was a little carousel in the square, and as we discovered on this trip Miss Baby loves carousels.

rouencarousel

That was all of Rouen. Man, this is a long post. I have a few more photos!

The same day we visited Omaha Beach, which was the day after Rouen (Thursday?), we started out by having lunch at the harbor in Honfleur.

honfluerThis was where I finally had moules frites! It was a tourist spot, and it was incredibly hot to be eating a big meal outside, but those mussels were still amazing.

honfluer musselsAfter lunch we went to see the Bayeux Tapestry. Believe it or not, I had to be schooled on this extremely famous tapestry beforehand. It’s housed in a building in a lovely little square in a lovely little part of town.

bayeuxtapestry1

It’s 230 feet long and wraps all the way around the inside of its building.

bayeuxtapestry2

I kind of want to learn to embroider now. Just amazing, amazing artistry.

bayeuxtapestry3Hannah enjoyed the censored version (there are beheadings and dismemberments all over this tapestry, it is not for the faint of heart).

bayeuxtapestry5From there we headed to the beaches of Normandy and the D-Day stuff, which I’ve already posted. That was a long, long day. A three hour drive back to our little house, and since we didn’t stop for food before we left the beaches everything along the way was closed. We almost got lost in Rouen without a working GPS, but we managed to get back to the house to feast on what was left of the bread and cheese on hand around 11pm or so.

That was our last night in Normandy; not quite the farewell feast we’d hoped for, but we had huge, leisurely lunches on this trip.

The morning after that long day, before we caught an afternoon ferry back to England, we took Hannah to the zoo in Caen. This was her very first trip to the zoo!

caenzoo1

The flamingoes were a big hit. She was suspicious of that peacock, and I don’t blame her.

caenzoo2She made a little friend at the zoo; her mom practiced her daughter’s English with us for a bit.

caenzoo3Of course this being France, even a little local zoo has an impeccable little manor house on the property.

caenzoo5And then it was time to drive to Calais, get on the ferry, and head back to Dover, England. And for Hannah to say goodbye to her grandparents for now. It is tough having Adam’s whole family on another content, but we manage.

ferryhomeWe flew out of Heathrow early the next morning and came home to reality.

It was a lovely, wonderful trip. A trip that Adam made several times with his parents growing up, and it was so cool to share that piece of his childhood with Hannah. Living in New Jersey, my own history tends to dominate Hannah’s experiences since I grew up here. So it’s nice to go have these big, epic adventures that bring Adam’s history in, too. A big adventure in a little French house.