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ahoy from normandie!


As a kid, before ever setting foot on French soil, I had two very distinct images of what I imagined the country to be like. One picture I had was a quiet and rainy scene near the Eiffel Tower without tourists or those pests who aggressively jingling souvenir keychains in your face. There was a just a couple smooching (wearing berets, of course!), and Madeline and her classmates shuffling by in a pack in their little yellow hats. 

The second image I had was of fishermen and sailors up north (although I didn't know it was north) on an overcast day, wearing pea coats and striped shirts eating seafood on a dock, and listening to jazz. Jazz? That's kind of specific, I know. My father was a jazz drummer by night and my grandmother was a jazz singer here in Paris, so jazz was a big part of my life coming from my dad's side of the family.


Having done the kissy Eiffel Tower scene several times, I had been itching to experience my nautical fantasy, complete with striped shirts, hats and shellfish slurping. I wanted it all! Apparently, I'm not as mysterious as I think I am (okay, I don't think I'm mysterious at all), and this has been somewhat of a reoccurring subject because for our annual autumn getaway, Aurelien offered me a weekend in Normandie to live my dream. On this gorgeous fall weekend this faux-risienne and her beau set off to the storm the coasts of Normandie! Finally!

The first stop on our tour was the quaint village of Honfleur.


Why yes, that is a rainbow to the right.


Ahoy.
Yes, I said this several times during our trip.

Oyster corpses.
I mauled these suckers like a beast.

Jolie France, indeed.

 
Aurelien never fails to find street art.
Of course there was a Space Invader in Honfleur.

Do you know how many striped shirts I own?
About 25. I'm obsessed with sailor chic.
I really held back from adding to my collection.


Look guys! 
I'm totally storming the coasts of Etretat!

 Brrr. It was cold.
Good thing I had my handy little beret to warm me up
while looking out onto one of Etretat's famous cliffs.

A natural cave formed below the cliffs.
I have to admit, I was a little creeped out in here...

..and then Aurelien shared that the Germans hid out in here as well as other nearby bunkers during WWII.
Yeah, that did it for me. 

One last peek in the cave before escorting myself 
out of former nazi territory.

So "villagey".

To end our Normandie getaway, an impromptu photo shoot in my striped shirt (that I inherited from the late Jacques O'Lantern)
in Le Havre just had to be done.

Last looks out onto the beach...

...before heading back home, crossing the Tancarville Bridge.
It was like a mini version of the Whitestone Bridge!

...and just like a kid, I was depressed to leave.
I heart Normandie.

The ride home was long as we sat in congested holiday-end traffic. Apparently, everyone else in France had nautical fantasies that they too needed to live out before the year-end. French radio didn't help much either in curing the side effect of fatigue and boredom; a derivative of lightly riding the break pedal while looking out onto a bloodbath of endless red brake lights. In fact, the radio made it worse with its non-stop radio "chat" and the rotation of the most random American pop songs. Phil Collins fans really should consider moving to France. To be fair, we did hear my favorite Gainsbourg song "Elisa" four times in two hours. God, I love that song. I wonder why...

It truly was a fantastic and picturesque end to my two weeks of vacation that I was granted after only a week of starting work. Now the kids are back in school which means so I am. I hope you all had a lovely weekend! At for the last time, for nostalgia, ahoy!

35 comments:

  1. Hooray! Ah, I remember those trips up to Etretat for shellfish galore, ridiculously cold walks on the beach and then yes, the sad looooonnnng ride back (is it just me or does the traffic jam actually begin in Etretat?). You look absolutely adorable. Thanks for sharing your happiness on this quiet Monday. :)

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    1. Thanks Heather! I cheesed it up a bit for this trip! I entertain myself. :)

      I'm glad it's not just me who thinks that the trip back to Paris is depressing. Whoa, now THAT'S a hashtag white girl problems if I've ever seen one! LOL.

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  2. Ahoy!

    I'm having trouble focusing on the Normandie photos due to the gorgeous and fashionable young woman in your pics!

    LOVING your pics and LOVING them even more when you're in them!

    Glad you had a great time. I'm so curious about the North of France as I've never been. I know what you mean about French radio with our 3 hour+ drives to PACA and back. So jell that Gainsbourg played for you at least! :P

    Bisous & bonne semaine ~

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    1. Oh stop! HAHA! Normandie takes center stage here! You're so funny..and so sweet! Thank you. : )

      Yeah, I lukced out with the "bourg" on the radio..and it was my song! Seb was like "c'est pas vrai"...after hearing it four times. It was pretty crazy!

      Bisous and have a nice week too!

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  3. What a beautiful place to visit! My mom and grandmother just went there, and they came back raving about it. It's definitely on my list!

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    1. How nice that your mother and grandmother ventured up to Normandie! Was anyone in your family in WWII? Is this was brought them up there or they went "just because".

      You should definitely check it out if you make it to over to France! Judging by your last post on your blog, I'd say that you have the travel bug right now! : )

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  4. Gorgeous! I must really start to get out of Paris when I go to France!

    Your pics of Etretat reminded me in a scene in one of my fave movies: "Le coeur des hommes 2".

    You know that locals always can tell Parisian tourists from a mile away because they're the only ones who wear striped shirts?;)

    Ahhhhh a weekend getaway during school breaks and traffic jams on the way back: you're turning into a real Froggy!;) Soon you'll be hightailing it out of Paris in August and coming back with a tan just in time for la rentrée!

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    1. Oooh I have to check out "Le coeur des hommes 2". Is part one just as good as one, or is it one of those rare films like 'Hot Shot: Part Deux' and 'Dawn of the Dead' where the sequel is better than the original? ; )

      Haha! I was much worse than a Parisian tourist, I was an American tourist acting like a total goof ball on their precious beaches. I had a blast!!

      My ticket restos definitely make me feel included in the French fun!

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    2. Glad you're enjoying the tickets-restos;)

      I prefer Le coeur des hommes 2 to the first, for some reason, but I like both (and bought both of them at la FNAC on one of my trips to Paris;))I also like the soundtrack:)

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  5. Awesome! I was there this WE too! I passed through a bit of Normandy to reach Brittany. Next Time you should visit Brittany. My favorite region in France. Very unique mix between France and Great Britain.

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    1. It's funny! A LOT of people were up there last weekend! Every time I tell an acquaintance that I was there, they're like "omg! moi aussi!". I guess this was the place to be this weekend!

      I'm dying to visit Brittany. That's next on the list!

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  6. Love, love, love the photos! I always think Normandy is not as blantantly beautiful as some other parts of France but I like it for its more subtle charms.

    And from one striped shirt fan to another, if you ever get bored of France, you should try Croatia.

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    1. Thank you!! I'm glad you like the photos. We had fun taking them!

      Is Croatia a striped shirt haven as well? Oh no. I'm THERE next summer! I feel so regal wearing a striped top in a beach town....even if I do look like a total poser!

      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Mlle Ella, is there any chance that you're related to Jacques la Courge?! I couldn't help but notice the striking resemblance between the two of you! Ditto to Grenobloise's comment: "LOVING your pics and LOVING them even more when you're in them!"

    Your ride home reminds me of when Stephane and I sat in traffic for hours coming back from Deauville. Seeing all the taillights of the cars pouring back into Paris suddenly made me realize how many people live here.

    Honfleur is on my list of places that I want to visit again because we only had time for lunch and a quick stroll around town when we stopped there on our way back from Normandy. It's a beautiful place! I think it's great that Seb and you have a tradition of autumn getaways!

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    1. MK...I Google searched Jacques la Courge and nothing came up. I think the joke is flying over my head...as usual.

      Oh you have to see Honfleur again and then right a super blog post of all the things that I missed...which I'm sure is a lot! You're Out and About and I'm "Out until I'm cold, full and/or drunk". : )

      That commute back from Deauville is really bad. Especially on that little freeway that takes you into the city. I've sat in that a few times and it's just awful!

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  8. Lovely pictures, I am pleased you got to fulfil your fantasy. Sounds like you were not disappointed. Hornfleur is a lovely place.

    I have just realised that I think I met you, at the bloggers breakfast with MK in Aussie in Paris apartment! Were you there?

    I was so overawed to be in such illustrious bloggers company, I just sat and listened , fascinated.

    Love Denise



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    1. Hey Denise,

      Nope that wasn't me. I wasn't at that lunch. Perhaps it was Abby Paris Weekender? I think she has a full head of hair like me. : )

      It sounded like a fantastic lunch! I'm so glad you got to experience it! Bloggers are a chatty a bunch aren't they?

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  9. What good luck you had with the weather! I'm sorry to hear of the demise of Jacques O'Lantern, but it was nice of him to pass on his styley clothes.

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    1. Jacques didn't last more than a day after Halloween. He was all moldy and shriveled up. I guess the pumpkins aren't drenched in pesticides like they are in the States! Our pumpkins last at least another post-Halloween week.

      Losing Jacques truly was a tragedy, Gwan. Thank you for reaching out.

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  10. Ooh, looks like you had a fab visit! I've only ever seen Normandy in the rain mid summer... So sad your last sign didn't have my favourite destination on it too - Toutes, cracks me up every time :oD

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    1. Ha! Toutes! I didn't see that town on our drive! That would have stood out to me too! Quillebeuf gets a chuckle out of me, especially when said with an American accent.

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  11. Wow stunning pictures, gorgeous place! Adding to my list of must-see places. Well done on holding back on the striped shirts...that's strength - my mind & heart would have bugged me till I had a beautiful striped shirt wrapped up in a cute bag to take home!

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    1. Thank you Ella-Lauren (love the name!)! I'm glad you enjoyed the photos!

      Well what held me back from purchasing yet another striped top wasn't so much my person discipline as it was the price. The really nice ones were expensive! So I didn't have much of a choice! Maybe one day... : )

      I did spend my striped shirt money on my future 17 month old niece and got her a little sailor top that I seriously can't wait to see her in!

      Thanks for commenting and welcome!

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  12. I'm another one with a thing for the Normand coast. Something about their butter melts me....

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    1. Did someone say butter? Yums. We actually picked up some local goodies like butter, caldvados, cidre and confiture. So we brought a little bit of "N" town to "P" town!

      Looking forward to my next visit, for sure. Love that place...

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  13. I love Normandy so much I bought a second home out there. I showed restraint however when tempted to decorate with lots of navy blue stripes and shells/slipknots/sailing watercolors. Instead, we have an entire wall of the kitchen filled with Americana: pie tins bought off of ebay, framed prints of Edward Hopper's art, vintage signs. It's the perfect mashup of splitbeam architecture and diner style.

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    1. You lucky lady, you! A second home! Fancy, fancy! : )

      Oh I would have so wanted to do the whole nautical decor too! But I guess to the locals, it would come across a bit campy...not sure, maybe they're nicer than the Parisians!

      Nice call on the American decor in the north of France. I love contrasts like that!

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  14. Love your different photos! While I studied French in HS my desire to visit France has faded over the years. However, your photos always restore the desire I once had to visit:) Looks like a lovely weekend!

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot coming from a profesh photog! ; )

      I'm glad my photos spiked your interest again in coming to France! Have you ever made it over?

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  15. What a beautiful weekend!! It must be nice to get out of Paris for the weekend to "storm the coasts"!!
    Love the photos and your captions. You really are so funny!

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    1. Thanks, Allison!

      I definitely stormed the coasts! Because I had my rubber boots on, I was able to go splashing into the ocean! It was so liberating!

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  16. You take such beautiful photos. You really have a great eye or capturing a city!

    Congratulations on your Expat blog nomination! You deserve it!

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    1. Thank you! I share the nod with other incredible and hardworking bloggers! If you haven't already, stop by the site and leave a comment for any of us! It's a fun award contest to be a part of. The administrators of the site really are so lovely.

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  17. I ADORE this blog. From under a mosquito net in Indonesia I can still live a vicarious French life, which balances out the fact that I am lucky here when I can find a mirror and sit-down toilet! These photos are completely gorgeous. I want to go to Normandy now.

    Also - a jazz drummer and a jazz singer in the family? That is so glamorous!

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    1. Thank you so much Callie!! I'm honored that you check in with me while you're out on your adventures! Thank you. : )

      You'd love Normandy. Please put it on "your list". Honfleur was like a French postcard...and we ate so well!!

      Yeah! Jazz runs on my dad's side of the family. I can actually buy my uncle and grandmother's music on iTunes!

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