Normandy

Honfleur

During a recent trip to Honfleur I discovered two wonderful but vastly different hotels and fabulous dinners…

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D-Day and The American Cemetery at Normandy

I remember singing the national anthem, loudly, proudly, passionately feeling the lyrics, my adolescent tenor soaring over the voices of the other 6,000 students in the Brooklyn Technical High School assembly.Then there was Vietnam and most grotesquely and dishearteningly the faux patriotism in the aftermath of 9//11.

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Calvados

In Normandy’s colorful, New England-like autumn, apple aromas fill the air as apples are harvested to make that potent spirit that fortifies on a frosty winter evening.

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D-Day-A Suggested Itinerary

On that miserable June 6, 1944 morning 2,700 British, 946 Canadian and 6,603 Americans, men and boys (many lied about their age to join the fight) made the supreme sacrifice on our behalf. As you gaze out over the Channel please bow your head in thanks.

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Granville and Iles Chausey

A mere 45 euros (3 hours by train) from Paris, Granville offers a relaxing antidote to the frantic pace of Deauville and its Parisian bling-bling.

M selected the Hotel de la Baie, a 4 star hotel and Thalosso on the Bay Mont Saint Michel in Donville. Rooms are rented at full or demi pension and an excellent chef makes it easy to choose the buffet breakfast and lunch or dinner.

 

best-western-plus-hotel.jpg 

 Don't be deceived by the Stalinesque exterior,(local law prohibits modification of exteriors and he hotel was formerly a bowling alley) the rooms are refreshingly modern with bleached wooden floors. Our room came with a deck and a view of the bay and the beach that was a few steps away.

After a relaxing dinner at the hotel and good night's rest, we took a 45 minute walk along the beach and up the cliffs (via stairway) to Granville. It was here that my 96 year old friend, John Davis, who landed with our troops in July 1944, met fifteen-year old Jeanette. After a six year epistolary courtship he reurned to Granville and they were married. 

Our first stop was up the hill to the medieval, walled, Haute Ville created by Charles VII to serve as a defense for Mont Saint Michel.Today it is home to cafés, bistros, the Museum of Art and History and The Musee d'Art Moderne Richard Anacréon

It was now time for lunch and par hasard we discovered Au P'tit Mareyeur, a bar à huitres that has been a family affair for twenty-five years. Betty and Pierre served us 12 oysters, shrimp and bulots with three glasses of wine for under 30 euros fot two.

betty pierre

You start from a base of 6 oysters + wine for 9 euros and add elements of your choice , sold by weight. They provide seafood to many local restaurants, including our hotel where we also had the succulent Ile Chausey oysters.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the home of Christian Dior

chy phare

Our next day was highlighted by a ferry ride to Ile Chausey, the largets in the 52 island archipelago that used to furnish granite for Paris sidewalks.To assist me in the invasion I recruited forty nine-year old students who were on a class outing.

the gang

Lunch found us at the Hotel du Fort et des Iles, savoring lobster, shrimp and bulots for 22.90 euros and a carafe of Muscadet. Another family operation it has been in the family since 1928 as this photo affirms. 

Eight rooms are available from 90 euros with a bayview at 120 euros. I can see Long John Silver peering through his telescope.

We concluded our day in the garden of Le Bar de la Sirene with friends we had made on the ride over.

As we disemebarked back in Garnvilee I was high-fived by my gang, some of whom already spoke English.

moules

In fear of eating every selection on our hotel menu we found a change at the adjacent hilltop La Cambuse where we were served mussels and a 50cl carafe of Chardonnay for  a mere 27 euros.

missmanche

 

And to make the meal more memorable, we were served by Miss Manche in the Miss France competion, to be decided later in the year. She gets my vote.

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Granville

A mere 45 euros (3 hours by train) from Paris, Granville offers a relaxing antidote to the frantic pace of Deauville and its Parisian bling-bling.

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Les Iles Chausey

 Our next day was highlighted by a ferry ride to Ile Chausey, the largest in the 52 island archipelago that once furnished granite for Paris sidewalks and Mont Saint Michel.

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