Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What we did on our Summer vacation

Wow, it's been so long that I had to go back through the photos to remember what we did! On the one hand, we had a terrific time with family and discovered an area that was new to both of us. On the other hand, bunking up with a fussy, easily distracted two year old was really hard. Next year we're going to rent a gîte, and that's that!

First we made the pilgrimage to Pas-de-Calais, the region that my belle famille comes from, the region of France that I would move to in an instant if ever given the opportunity (and I don't hesitate to tell Stéphane that every time we go!). I don't know why I'm so drawn to it. I just find it beautiful, it's close to the sea (ok the English Channel if you're being pedantic) with gorgeous beaches, you can't throw a stone without hitting a historical site (which, I imagine, would be frowned upon, but I digress) and I find the people are just really lovely. Seriously can't say enough nice things about that area.

So Stéphane's uncle showed off his latest refurbished cars:

'52 Hotchkiss
A Hotchkiss!!! Amazing!!!

'34 Citroën
The original Citroën C4!

And we got to take a spin in them as well. Great fun!

You might remember that Stéphane went on a huge genealogy rampage a couple of years ago and traced his family back to the time of Louis XIV (which is a pretty good accomplishment since most records from before the Revolution were destroyed). While we were in the area, we visited the village where his oldest ancestors came from.

His family left definitively 150 years ago, so no traces left in the cemetery (this is a very common practice in France; as long as tombs and gravestones are well taken care of, they are left alone, but when they fall to disrepair and no one claims them to take care of them, they are repurposed). This would have been his family's church, it certainly dates back to their time.

The family church

The family church

We did a spot of fishing...

192 : 365

Fry saw the ocean for the first time and didn't want to leave...

193 : 365

Then we drove down to visit Caen. Our main interest was actually visiting Bayeux and the famous tapestry, but we were really happy to visit Caen for the first time (Stéphane didn't know it at all either). We didn't spend a whole lot of time in Caen but we really enjoyed visiting the chateau, which is where William the Conqueror lived before he, well, conquered.

Il était toujours grimpeur !

Long way down

Château de Caen

We ended up visiting Bayeux on July 14 (aka Bastille Day) so a lot of places were closed, but not the tapestry, thank goodness!! No pictures unfortunately but amazing. Really loved how they displayed the tapestry and it's super well presented with a free audio guide. There's also a huge museum about the history of the tapestry and William and why he went to England and all that jazz. Two thumbs up!

There are also quite a lot of shops and workshops dedicated to Bayeux lace, but they were closed for the holiday, so I hope we'll get to go back someday and see that! We really enjoyed the town, had no idea it was so big and so lovely!

The Bayeux Tapestry Museum and its Viking Ship (yeah, I don't know)

Finally, we drove home, stopping by the chateau of Chambord to take a little break (like you do):


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