One of our most pleasant surprises was our visit to Etretat. I knew very little about the area before we arrived, other than the beach that the girls were looking forward to. We expected it to be picturesque because it was one of Monet’s favourite subjects. But the photos we saw in advance didn’t do it justice. Etretat’s small beach is sandwiched between colossal rocky cliffs, and we walked from one end of the escarpment to the other. Between the natural arch and the tall bluffs, it was a photogenic town and a great place to relax after busy Paris.
We spent two night in Bayeux, visiting the D-Day beaches and seeing the breathtaking Bayeux tapestry. We stayed at Clos de Bellefontaine, an elegant bed and breakfast on the edge of the historical district. The rooms and gardens were lovely, but what made the B&B so special was the service. Carole speaks perfect English and helped us plan our sightseeing in the area. And when one of us left a stuffed animal there, she mailed it to us in Canada at her cost!
Our best food in France came courtesy of the wonderful Villa Fol Avril. Located in the tiny village of Moutiers au Perche, this villa was our home for our last three days in Normandy.
In some ways, this was our favourite part of the trip. After a week and a half of busy sightseeing, it was a joy to stay put for a few days in an area that had no huge attractions but many small delights. We spent each day seeing local sites and relaxing by the pool, and each evening in the restaurant at the inn, eating food so fabulous it nearly brought me to tears. The fixed price meal we enjoyed on our first night was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. The shrimp and avocado hors d’oeuvre was an incredible mélange of flavours I’d never think to put together. And the frozen nougat dessert was a delightful blend of meringue and fruit. Given Andrew’s shellfish allergies, I won’t be attempting to recreate the shrimp dish, but I’ve already scoured the internet for frozen nougat recipes. Once I find one that’s worthy of the original, I’ll post it on this blog!
Next month: Four hotels that are worth the challenge to get there!