Thursday, September 14, 2006

Honfleur & Deauville, France

Okay, picking up where I left off with the travelogue emails. Back to France.

Our last stop in France was in the town of Honfleur which is one of those towns that is a bit too self-consciously aware of its own quaintness. It's about an hour's drive from Paris enabling Parisians to hop in the car, buy overpriced antiques and local crafts and think they're "in the country", much the way New Yorkers do out on the eastern end of Long Island or in certain towns along the Hudson. Nevertheless it is a picturesque village situated on the Normandy coast of France. Honfleur is mostly noted for its half-timber houses dating from before 1520 (which are called Tudor style in England) and the 500 year old wooden Church of St. Catherine built by local boatwrights as a temporary replacement for the original stone church destroyed in the Hundred Years War.

While in Honfleur I also took a short motor coach tour to the town of Deauville. As our guide described it "Parisians can't stand each other so on the weekends they like to get out of the city, but they all seem to come to the same place". That place is Deauville. So, again using the New York City analogy, that would make Deauville the Hamptons. There are lovely homes, wide sandy beaches, a horse track, expensive shops and hotels, a casino and a "planche"--what we would call a boardwalk.

The pictures below from top to bottom are: The harbor in Honfleur, a tower which was originally part of the medieval wall surrounding the city and once used as a toll house for ships entering the harbor, the steeple of St. Catherine's, a quiet lane in Honfleur, the "planche" in Deauville (as you can see, it ain't no Jersey Shore) and the very ritzy Normandy Barriere Hotel in Deauville.

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