A cold day

We checked out at 9:50 and Dave was charged €55 City Tax. I am so sure they got that wrong! It was 4 Deg C when we left and the warmest it got all day was 10 Deg C. Our first stop was Giverny.

We arrived in the rain and it was packed with tourists. After a short walk around we went shopping in Vernon, stopping for coffee first at a rasta bar. We then drove along the Seine and had lunch in Mantes-La-Jolie.

From there we went to Versailles and the queues everywhere were ridiculous. Even more so that it hailed and people stood in them, waiting.

We decided to have coffee and walked into town to find somewhere open and warm. And then walked up a short alley where we found a kitchen shop selling something I had been looking for. The walk back to the car was not pleasant in the hail, and we were both drenched by the time we got back. From there we headed back to Charles De Gaulle. We put petrol in the car (€50.20 for 30.46l) and dropped it off at Europcar at 15:45. We then went to check in to the hotel and at 16:30 we were in the bar enjoying a Grimbergen Blonde. After that we sorted out our suitcases and took them back to the airport for early check in. This meant we had one less thing to worry about in the morning, and it gave us late boarding and a 10% discount on duty free spend on board. We went back to the room and relaxed before going downstairs for supper. Step wise it was a good day, 13557 steps and 7.31km. We got an average night’s sleep and woke up earlier than planned. We had a very nice breakfast buffet and left the hotel at 8am. We were in the security queue 15 minutes later and by 8:30 we were through and on our way. We stopped at Ladurée for macarons and then got into the queue for passport control at just the wrong time. It took us 35 minutes to get through it and then we had a long walk to board the plane. We were on board the Airbus A340 at 9:42, ready to fly home. We took off at 10:20 over Paris. Lunch was served at 11:10 which was very early. There is very little to do on a day time flight other than read something, watch something or play something. I chose to read a book and Dave played games. Just after 17:00 we were served ice cream so afternoon tea was a macaron each and a glacé. We had tortellini for supper with a glass of champagne. The dessert was not special so we enjoyed another macarons after our meal. We landed half an hour early and by 22:05 we were in the car and on our way home.

Full circles

Today was a journey of many full circles. We headed out at 9:35 for Ferme Des Puepliers, a cidre presse in Flipou.

It is just a shop and they also sell fresh produce and award winning dairy products. It’s less than 20 minutes from Connelles and we had to double back a bit to get to our next destination which was in Heaurteauville.

That one hour drive took us into the start of Bourg-Achard. Our stop here was Clos des Citots, another cidre presse. It looked totally closed when we arrived, despite the cars.

The geese sounded the alarm and a young gentleman came from the barns at the back to open the shop for us.

We bought cidre for home and then made our way to La Mailleraye-sur-Seine we did our shopping and had coffee.

We followed the Seine through Caudebec-en-Coux towards Le Havre. 11 years ago we arrived in this port via Ferry for our second overseas trip together. We got onto the toll road and paid our €5.40 to go over the same bridge we had been on then.

From there we drove through Honfleur to Pennedepie where we had lunch. This is the Pont De Normandie.

On the way back we saw a bunker and stopped at the Classic Pub & Cars for a coffee and to look at the cars.

We had wanted to walk around the quaint village of Honfleur but it looked like a tourist trap, and was packed with pedestrians.

Instead, we headed for Connelles, having to detour through Étréville due to the road being closed. There were police blocking an entire section for what we assumed was an accident. We then drove through Bourg-Achard and hit the peak hour traffic again in Pont-De-L’arche, getting back to Connelles at 16:30. We went for a swim and sauna and relaxed for a bit before going across the road for a beer. Being in the car most of the day meant I only walked 6408 steps and 3.33km.

Apples, ruins and Notre Dame

Our first stop of the morning was Le Pressoird d’Or in Boisemont.

Only a 35 minute drive from Connelles through some windy roads. We had hoped to see more of the cider presse than just the buildings and orchard.

We bought rose cider (which was really good) and some confit to bring home with us.

From there we drove to Les Andelys and walked up to Château Gaillard.

Originally known as Château de la Roche, it was constructed in 1196.

In 1573 it was designated as an old castle and between 1603 and 1630 it was demolished leaving what is now there.

It was designated as an historical monument in 1862 and was well worth the steep climb to see the ruins, and the Seine.

After that we followed the Seine to Saint-Pierre-Du-Vauvray where we had lunch on the banks of the river.

We then headed for Louviers to have a proper walk around before doing some shopping and heading back to the apartment.

We went for a sauna and ambled down the other side of the area before enjoying fresh salmon for dinner.

I walked 14968 steps and 8.01km.

Labour Day

Did you know that this very French holiday has its roots in America? In 1886 there was a strike in Chicago and 3 years later France declared International Workers Day here. I’m 1941 the Vichy Government made it a paid days leave. It is a day meant for peaceful protests which clearly was not the case in Paris. In South Africa it is a public holiday but all the shopping centres stay open. Not the case here where we are staying near Rouen. We left the apartment at 10h25 to get some food for lunch, supper and breakfast and headed through Romilly-sur-Andelle and Fleury-sur-Andelle finding nothing open. We then headed for Rouen past a ruin of an Abbeye built next to a canal that was really amazing. In Boos we stopped at La Belle Rouge, a small butcher, to buy pâté and minced beef and carried on until we found a boulangerie.

Maison Dumontier in Franqueville-Saint-Pierre had a long queue outside it so we stopped there for baguette and croissants. In Fresnay we bought fresh produce and cheese at L’epicurien and then went to find coffee.

I was given a maguet flower. This tradition dates back to 1561 when the French King Charles IX, was given a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He liked it so much that he decided to offer them each year to the ladies of the court.

By 12:30 we were done and headed back to Connelles, filling up with petrol along the way. 40.63 litres cost us €63.75! We stopped along the way to take in the view and have our croissants.

It is illegal to drive and eat in France! We got back to the apartment at 13:25 and had lunch and relaxed.

And 15:00 we went for a 70 minute amble through the village and at 17:00 we went for a long sauna. I walked 9817 steps and covered 5.16km.

Gold, Juno, Sword

We set off at 9:05 for Caen which took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to.

William the Conqueror lived here in a Castle complex that has been turned into a museum.

We walked around it and part of the old city before heading to Arromanches-les-Bains.

We arrived at 13:20 and had lunch on the wall looking out onto the English Channel. From here you can see the harbour built by the Allies after the D Day landings.

11 years ago we were at Utah Beach where there is a museum and memorial.

All along the streets are these flags of remembrance with different people named. We did not go to the museum here and the small pedestrian area has commercialised the War in a way that’s sickening. We had very expensive crêpes before driving to Asnelles – the site of the code name Gold.

The beaches along here have been turned into Oyster beds and we went to La Calvadosienne to buy a dozen for supper.

We followed the coast road as best we could to Juno and past Sword to Ouistréham.

From there we crossed the Pegasus bridge and drove part of the Route de Liberation until we crossed La Grande Canal.

As it was getting late we headed back to the apartment, stopping for grocery shopping in Pont L’Évêque first. We spent 8 long minutes in peak hour traffic and got back to the resort at 18:45. Dave went for a sauna and I did another load of laundry. We had a late dinner of freshly chucked oysters, cravettes, duck terrine and cheese and biscuits.

Only 8523 steps today and 4.49km

Rouen

After a late start to the morning we left Connelles at 10:15 and drove to Bourg-Achard to go to the market.

It is 45 minutes away and the market is in the square outside the Church. From there we drove to Rouen and parked at Hôtel de Ville off Rue Piétonnes.

This is perfectly situated for the historic centre of town.

We spent a fair while walking around and visited the Cathéderal Notre-Dame de Rouen which was built starting from 1170.

It was conferred as an historic monument in 1862 and is very impressive.

We left Rouen at 14:50 and drove through Amfreville to Les Écluses on the Seine.

They started building them on the 11th of December 1929 and completed the construction on the 13th of January 1932.

It is quite a sight, a highway of two locks, one kept ready for traffic coming each way. We watched a barge going down and out and then one coming in. After we saw the water coming in under the lock we left.

We got back to the apartment at 16:25 and after coffee we went for a swim and sauna. There is a pick your own garden here so I selected a few herbs for Dave to use in his cooking. Quite a slow paced day and I managed 12133 steps and 6.30km.

A lot of travelling to Connelles

We woke up early and had breakfast and finished packing. We were meant to be off the barge at 9:00 but yesterday we discovered that was not the case. Our paperwork was completed on Saturday afternoon as the staff are not working today. However, we had a taxi booked for 9:30 and I didn’t want to change that. We were ready and waiting for him when he arrived and it was a clear run to Clamecy.

As we had an hour to wait before the train departed, Dave and I walked into the village to buy croissants, pain au chocolat and a mini crocombouche.

The train left on time but we had to change trains at Laroche-Migennes for some reason. It was a good thing the conductor was there when that happened as we would not have known to do so otherwise. We got to Bercy on time and Ben, our taxi driver, was waiting for us. He dropped Dave and I at Europcar and then took Bev and Eric to their hotel. Their onward trip is to Ireland. We collected our car after the young gentleman helping us got us a better price, and the addition of road side assistance. We left Charles de Gaulle just after 15:15 and had a very scenic drive. There is an amazing Church at Les Andelys and after that we crossed the Seine.

Dave had found a supermarket on Google for us to do our shopping. It is a Turkish supermarket, and very interesting. But the eggs and water were sold out. We headed back the way we came to Louviers which has its own Notre Dame.

There we bought a few more essentials at the Carrefour before retracing our path.

We went on a very narrow road to get to the resort. We arrived at 18:25 and the first order of the day was doing a load of laundry. We had supper and relaxed and got an early night. Despite being in transport all day I managed 11742 steps and 6.26km.