It’s up oh so bright and early this morning. We’re off the beautiful Honfleur, our last stop in France before catching the ferry back to England tomorrow. Not for the first time am I left wondering where the last three months went. Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun.
We drive past a wall of limestone cliffs, the partner side to the cliffs we saw the other day. These are so like the white cliffs of Dover that you can literally see how the once joined land mass split in two, creating the English channel.
Along the way we cross a very serious bridge, new I think, lifting us over two arches, high over the Seine tributaries that flow into Honfleur and Le Havre. The tide is in, and our height offers a perfect bird’s eye view of the blue waters below.
Our early start secures us a spot by the river and then thankfully, the pace slips back to sedate. Coffee please: Chris knows the drill. It’s going to be a hot day, I’m suddenly feeling very grateful for our cool Scandinavian summer.
It’s our second visit to Honfleur, and as with all return visits, the pressure to sightsee is significantly lessened. There’s the gorgeous harbour of course, the 19th century carousel (I couldn’t resist a twirl on it last year) and charming cobblestoned streets with their ancient, colourful half timbered houses, but our minds are more focused on picking up a few little treats. We spend the next few hours happily browsing and shopping.
Apple, cider and calvados products rule and many stores do a brisk trade in Bretton striped tops. They are neighbours, Brittany and Normandy, after all. Sculpture is very prominent in the galleries this year, most of it excellent.
Treats secured, our minds turn to lunch. We settle in one of the tiny cobblestoned squares for cafe treats: curry moule and frites for Chris, a gallette for me. Both are exceptionally good. A half litre of chardonnay eases us into the late afternoon. I’ve decided that a half litre is the perfect amount of wine at lunch. A glass doesn’t quite hit the spot, a bottle can be a little too snoozy. The half litre gets the Goldilocks tick of approval: just right.
Despite taking many pictures last year, I can’t resist a few more shots of the harbour after lunch. It’s looking particularly resplendent in the afternoon sun. Busy too, with the river cruises in port. Lots of lovely trade for the restaurants that line it. I throw out a tentative line: might we come back at night to photograph the harbour? He says yes! Oh the power of an approaching birthday. Now to consider how to best harness this annual gift.
Til then, there’s nothing to do in the heat but unfold a deck chair and laze away the afternoon by the river. Under the shade of trees, I read, Chris snoozes. The promise of an evening excursion beckons but for now I’ll wait for the bunnies to appear at twilight (they don’t, but there are bunny marbles everywhere) and ponder what delights cocktail hour might bring.
After dinner, Chris keeps his promise and we walk into Honfleur to see the night lights. It’s very quiet being a Monday, but the harbour is lit up, as are the key buildings. Very excited to be out in the dark, despite much ribbing from Chris that he’s only there as bodyguard. My camera is a little challenged in the dark, but I do my best before I eventually get dragged away home. But in fairness, it’s after my 100th treaty for “just one more shot”.
Still no bunnies. Not that I blame them. It’s a brave bunny who pokes his ears or tail out on French soil. As today ends in France, my birthday day starts at home: my day ends with early bird birthday wishes from friends and family, a perfect end to a lovely day.