Disclaimer : There are no nails in this post – or cute kitties – so I’ll forgive you if you want to skip it!
So are you ready to relive the Normandy trip with me?
First up, I’m not especially good at taking photos – don’t expect any masterpieces. The only reason I can photograph my nails is because I’ve done it thousands of times and learned from my mistakes. Holiday photos are another kettle of fish ! Also, I’m not a tour guide. I quite like travelling, but I don’t pretend to retain much interesting information !
So we drove from where we live, a town near Versailles (to the west of Paris) up to Normandy. On the way up, we decided to stop at Honfleur. This is a small port-town, and the nearest sea-side town to Paris. So although it was already (just) after the summer holidays, and there is no beach in this town, there were still quite a lot of (mainly retired-age) people around.
The weather wasn’t great when we arrived. That was a bit disappointing, as when we had left home it was super sunny. But that morning, everything was pretty foggy. I did think there was something forlorn about the empty merry-go-round, though.
We had lunch by the port, opposite a pretty church (well, I guess it’s a church). Every third shop front here is a restaurant, so it’s great for people-watching. Of course, I had mussels and chips (a regional delicacy!). And the old man on the table next to us was pretty interfering, and kept commenting on our conversation, despite the fact we were speaking quietly and not to him – nope, not about him either! His wife seemed quite fed up by the time we left…
And during lunch, the fog lifted and the sun came out, it was glorious and we had some lovely ice cream and tried to take photos without too many (other) tourists in them!
There are a couple of nice churches in Honfleur, too. I think it’s really lovely that they open their doors and you can go right in and see. Of course, you can leave a donation, but you don’t have to. There was one wooden church (which I didn’t take any photos of… I did say I’m not good at this!) and a beautiful stone church too.
Then we continued on to Ducey. This is a village that isn’t too far from Mont Saint Michel, so it has a lot of guest houses. It also has a lovely walk along the river (the Sélune), and we went quite a way down it. A section of it has been adapted to be accessible to wheelchair users too, which I think is pretty cool, as I guess that going fishing is tricky in a chair, it’s nice to see that the local council (Mairie) has been thoughtful enough to provide a decent, wide, flat pathway. And the view is lovely (I’m a country girl, fields like this just make me feel at home!)
We said hi to the local cows, of course. I’m pretty sure that’s the law if you go away to the countryside.
And the river is beautiful, but the banks were too steep to allow us to paddle.
The little waterfall we came across made my bloke feel all intrepid, especially when he saw a rock jutting out towards the water
But he got a little scared when he realised I took a photo of him! We’re both pretty camera-shy, so I understand…
We stayed in Auberge de la Selune, which I totally recommend to anyone in the area! The rooms are basic but very clean, and prettily decorated, and the restaurant is just divine! A meal is a little pricey if you’re on a budget, but if you can afford it, it truly is worth it. Plus, every single person there was so friendly and lovely, we’re already trying to work out when we can go back !
And then, after a lovely night’s sleep, we went up to Mont Saint Michel. The car park is about a half hour walk from the Mont, but we decided to make the most of the weather and go for it. That’s quite a walk, and there are free shuttles for those who want to use them, but it was nice and cool in the morning, and we were glad not to miss the opportunity of the view, which is just amazing as you go up the causeway!
The abbey sits atop the mont, and we did a couple of short tours where we learned about how it was built up. For many years it was also a prison, and although our guide seemed to quite enjoy the grisly details, he was actually very tactful and we still felt happy to eat lunch afterwards (while I’m on the subject of food again – my second favourite after nails – I do recommend the local cheese!)
There are also a lot of buildings left from the village that used to support the abbey. These are mostly converted to shops and restaurants now, but apparently there are still a few monks and other residents – though we didn’t see any.
One of the reasons that I really wanted to go is that apparently I went with my family when I was very young, I wanted to see if my memories matched up. Well, if what I do remember was the Mont St Michel, the streets used to be a lot wider!
The view of the bay was worth a couple of panoramic shots though, it is stunning! And this isn’t a region known for its sunshine, we were super lucky to have clear skies all the way!
There are local guides who take small groups across the bay at low tide – we did see a couple wandering out on their own, and the woman nearly lost a shoe to quicksand! Thank goodness they had the sense to turn back.
Well, there you go 🙂 it was definitely worth the trip and we’ll go back again sometime (soon I hope!)