Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 10 : July 11 - Normandy's Resort Towns

Caen, France to Honfleur, France ~2 hours
Honfleur, France to Paris, France ~ 3

Sunday was our last day in Europe, even though we would be sleeping in Dublin and flying to Boston Monday morning. We woke up in Caen, France, in the middle of Normandy and decided to keep driving east along the coast to see the other side of Normandy. We managed to find our way out of Caen and hit the road towards Honfleur. Along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up at a Carrefour, kind of like a French Walmart. We grabbed some breakfast and I was finally able to find some cute, affordable baby clothing to buy a present for Emma!

We drove through many small towns, all more or less on the water. It really does look like New England, with different architecture. Since it was Sunday morning, it was very busy the whole way. There were people getting out of church and crowds of people on the streets going to brunch and shopping at the markets. We drove through the more posh resort towns, such as Deauville and Trouville, on our way to Honfleur. On Saturday I had been surprised by the lack of crowds, b/c I was under the impression that Normandy was the place that all the Parisians go for the weekend. Driving east of Caen, it seemed to me that this was where all those tourists were. I guess it makes sense- it's closer to Paris and it's much more posh with fancier shops and restaurants everywhere.

After Deauville, we went back up into the rural farm lands before descending into Honfleur. As you come into Honfleur, you can see the super industrial port of Le Havre across the bay. Then you get into downtown Honfleur, which is on its own little inlet, le Vieux Bassin, and it's just like Rockport with Motif #1 and the sailboats. We walked around the old town, browsing the little shops and checking out the super old buildings before lunch. We decided to have lunch at a cafe right on the little inlet. It is completely surrounded by cafes, so we had a lot of choices. Not wanting to spend and arm and a leg, we opted for a sandwich place and ordered some Croque Monsieurs, kind of like a grilled ham and cheese. I had a Croque Madame, a grilled ham and cheese with an egg over easy on top and Janda had a Croque Forestier, a grilled ham and cheese with bacon and mushrooms on top. We enjoyed our sandwiches and our view and then it was time to get to the airport.

Cafes to the right of Vieux Bassin

Cafes to the left of Vieux Bassin

Busy little street in Honfleur

Another side street in Honfleur

We saw more half timbered buildings

The old church was having service while we were in town

I was worried about traffic going back to Paris on a Sunday afternoon, so we left at 2:30, hoping to be there around 6 for our 9:30 flight. Even though it was around a 2.5 hour drive, we (of course) hit traffic. There was an accident and a bunch of breakdowns, but we made it to the rental car return and were in the airport a little after 6. Getting to our terminal was a 20 hike and then we had to wait about 30 minutes to check in. The lines for check-in were unbelievable. There is no kiosk check-in at Charles de Gaulle and they open up very few check-in counters. Our line was out of the check-in area and around the corner, and we saw longer ones! We went up a few stories to the security to get to our gate and it was the same story. Only one line open and it took forever!

We managed to get on our flight, and the flight to Dublin was super easy. We grabbed some sandwiches at the airport, ate them at our hotel and hit the sack ready to come home in the morning. The flight back to Boston was long but not too bad. There is On-Demand at each seat and they give you a lot of food. A little after 4pm, we were back home and snuggling with the kitties!

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