Given my recent renewed research into Normandy, I've decided to share episodes of our fantastic trip from my old blog so that you can get an idea why I'm so fascinated. ;-)
Here goes... once upon a time, in October 2007 to be precise, hubby (then my fiancé) and I took our car, a Renault, to its home country of France. As it turned out, this wasn't the best idea, but let me start on our first day following the ferry trip...
Relaxation & Exploration of Argentan
Our first full day here in Argentan began well: with a lie in.
Our home for the next week was to be a farmstead with house, three cottages (a former barn turned into 3 self-catered units), whitewashed outbuildings with wooden beams and plenty of grass and grounds. Our cottage was pleasant, with wooden beams and original walls, living/kitchen area downstairs and a spacious bedroom and bathroom upstairs. We had booked the cottage next door, which turned out a bit small in the living room area, so we were offered a choice. Good call!
We got out of bed later only to find fog covering the whole landscape around us. Even the sheep and horses behind our house appeared as ghostly grey apparitions and the branches of the fruit trees resembled dark, thin arms raised skywards. Luckily it cleared up by late morning and the day turned warm & sunny, reaching 25C later that afternoon.
Our breakfast, taken leisurely in our dressing gowns (yes, we’re on holiday!), consisted of croissants, baguette, cheese & hams and 4 berries jam (the lid of which jammed and it took all hubby’s muscle to open it) and of course our usual continental 'must have' – boiled eggs. No decent brekkie without them. I had to enjoy my coffee black as I’d picked buttermilk instead of ‘normal’ pasteurised milk the previous day at the supermarché. The lid was green so I assumed it was semi-skimmed. Silly me!
At lunchtime we set off into the town of Argentan for a leisurely walk. We found the town centre very pleasant, with quaint houses, impressive churches and plenty of bars and patisseries open for Sunday coffee and cakes. We passed families out for an after-lunch walk (three generations happily together) and groups of sober teenagers joking and laughing (no bottles of booze in sight), not feeling threatened at all unlike in the UK. After our extensive stroll through narrow lanes, past shop windows displaying country fashion and gifts, we sat outside a bar in the main square in the old town centre for ‘deux caffé, svp’ (receiving espresso, as expected). Sitting back, we enjoyed the sunshine, peace and quiet of the afternoon, watching the world go by.
Suddenly, a French car stopped next to where we sat. A woman leaned out of the window, asking: ‘Excusez-moi, Madame. Nous cherchons la rue …’ Yes! It looked like we already blended in here. LOL She didn’t like my reply, though: ‘Nous ne sommes pas d’ici.’ Ah, and they drove off without further comments. Je l’aime bien ici.
After a gentle stroll along the canal of the river Orne back to our parked car, we tore ourselves away from this lovely town and headed back home, 5 minutes' drive away. By that time it was well after 4 pm and we spent another hour sitting in the sunshine, sipping cider. Organically produced, this time. Only €1,80! Yumm! We have to get more of that. The alcohol content is quite low, which explains the low price, but it’s wonderfully drinkable and refreshing. With the sun sinking, the temperatures dropped quickly and we headed back indoors, turning the heating on.
We finished the day with soup and warmed-up baguette, listening to French radio where they had a nostalgia night with English-language and French tunes from the 60s & 70s. Later, we played games on our Macbooks, linked electronically to each other so we could play chess, while we enjoyed a glass of red wine. We thought we’d have an early night, but in the end it was 11 pm again. Oh dear! We had a long day ahead of us.
See photos of Argentan!
Tomorrow: Bayeux and Arromanches-les-Bains. :-)