Monday, October 24, 2011

Norman-Tastic Part Deux

So it turns out that Normandy is more than just D-Day memorials.  It is also the home of camembert.  And neufchatel, and livarot.  All of which I was able to taste during our delicious dinner at Le Pommier in Bayeux.  I went with the cheese plate, and loved every second of the experience when the server brought the most gorgeous and delicious-looking plate of cheeses to my side, explained what they were (in French), I nodded (as if I understood), and I started pointing.  Here's my delicious Norman cheese plate:

The Ninja got a mean mustache from his excellent dessert choice, chocolate ice cream and raspberry sorbet. Definitely blog-worthy, primarily because he did not realize it was there until we all started giggling.

Also in Bayeux we saw the Bayeux tapestry. Which I thought was going to be an old piece of cloth hanging on a wall somewhere.  It is actually 70 meters long (which, fyi, is really, really long), and tells the story of the Norman conquest of England.  Goes like this: Edward is old, he names William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, as his heir. Sends brother-in-law Harold to tell William. Harold delivers the news, and swears loyalty to William. Harold goes back to England, Edward dies, and Harold decides that a better plan is to make himself king.  William agrees with everyone else that Harold is a terrible name for a king, and goes to war to take his throne.  Harold dies, William becomes William the Conqueror and King of England.  And this giant tapestry was commissioned to tell the story to illiterate Normans - it would hang in the Bayeux Cathedral every year for a few weeks.  By the way, this thing is really old - like a thousand years old.  And WAY cooler than it sounds. 

We spent the afternoon in Deauville, which is sort of considered the northern "Riviera" - expensive (I mean, chic) boutiques, expensive (I mean, chic) bistros, etc.  It was cute, though not as cute as Trouville, the town across the street.  Best part of the entire day for me was the apple cider sorbet I had at Martine Lambert.  Martine Lambert has been making ice creams and sorbets since 1975, when she opened her first store in Deauville. Now more widely known and respected, she also has locations in Paris but Deauville remains the heart of the operation.  Normandy is apple country, so in general we had been eating lots of apple-y things.  But this apple sorbet was brilliant - it tasted like fall, like crisp apples and homemade apple cider, and it was just fantastic.

Beautiful apple orchard between Deauville and Honfleur

Our last night was spent outside of Honfleur, definitely in the running for cutest town ever.  It's a harbor town not far from Le Havre (huge international port), and the pictures below sum it up better than words can say.  Samuel Champlain left from Honfleur to explore Canada and ultimately found Quebec City.  You really could almost imagine what it must have been like to sail from this small town one chilly morning into realms unknown.  Love Honfleur. Want to go back.

Before returning to Paris, we spent a few hours in Giverny visiting Monet's home and garden. I know it is even more breathtaking in the spring and summer, but it was pretty darn amazing.  Also, Mr. Oil is an incredible photographer so while in general all the photos on this blog are taken on my shmancy iPhone, most of the Normandy pics were taken by my husband, Mr. "Ansel Adams" Oil (the chocolate mustache shot was all me, thanks).

And that, folks, is the family trip to Normandy.  Two thumbs up - times ten people - that's a lot of thumbs. Dad, here's your blog-worthy moment - thanks for the awesome trip!