Back to France...Honfleur and Etretat
Normandy is known for its rainy weather and did not dissappoint while we visited Honfleur and Etretat. It was just awful drenching rain the entire time we visited both places. I can imagine how beautiful Honfleur must be on a sunny day with the Merry Go Round turning, the boats coming in and out of the harbor and the streets filled with people. Regardless, I found Honfleur to still be absolutely charming with its medievel half timber houses, tiny streets filled with chocolate, pastry and cidre houses and restaurants. Dyana and I found respite from the rain under the awning of a harbor side restaurant. I had a bite of snails there. Not the buttery garlicky fare more common in Paris and other places, but cold and served the Norman way with a garlicky mayonnaise. I had a beef burgandy that was heavenly in its buttery wine sauce. We trekked through all the small shops that we could trying the chocolates and the cookies and cidre. My indecision about what to buy left me out in the cold as when I went back to purchase, I found the cidre shop closed for their two hour lunch break. I did find some fleur de sel (the upper crusty layer of a salt bog) in one shop and made myself and Dyana each a ceramic container to keep it in when we got home.
The weather did not relent by the time we got to Etretat. We got out of our huge Mercedes tour bus and walked to the boardwalk promenade to see the beautiful cliffs, beach and church. The weather was so menacing that our enjoyment was brief and we took off to have a warm cappucino and dry off a bit. I had to buy a real jacket with a hood as my plastic rain poncho had about had it against the winds. Despite the weather, both were stunning places to see. I have to say that as much as I liked Paris with all of its glamour, history and rich architecture, I feel I am very fond of the smaller towns of Rouen and Honfleur.