The Traveler's Journal

Adventures, tales, stories and vignettes by travel writer James Patton Jones

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Wednesday the 19th of September 2018 | PM Edition Published by JRAC, Inc.
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Previous Articles:

Columbia
Architecture in Columbia

England
To London via Train
A Bus to Stonehenge

France
A Flight to France
Normandy, Brittney and the Loire Valley
First Day in Paris
Walking Tours of Paris
Memories of Paris

Japan
Arrival in Tokyo
Subway Survival, Swords, Site-Seeing, and Sushi
A Week of Business Meetings, and Wonderful Food
Asakusa and Tokyo Tower
Mt. Fuji and Hakkone
Sony Building, Hibiya Park, Shopping

Mexico
Memories of Mexico

Switzerland
Swiss Excursion, Part I
Swiss Excursion, Part II

USA
Snow Camping in Yosemite

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Normandy, Brittney and the Loire Valley

It has been quite difficult to find a coffee shop in any town we've been to thus far. Another note: we have determined that these people only eat between 11am and 1pm, and again after 7pm. They appear very punctual and insistant about this.

On the way to Averance, we stopped in Swiss Normandy at Domfront. The town appeared to be fortified against the weather-- I stuck my head over the wall, and got a face full of wind so strong it nearly knocked me over.

When we arrived in Avarance the town turned out to be about 10x larger than the guidebook stated. Tried to see another castle, but it too only turned out to be fortifications that remained. That night we stayed at 'Hotel Patton' at Patton Place. Yes, Patton Place is named after the U.S. General Patton. In fact there's a memorial to U.S. forces in the middle of Patton Place, flying the U.S. Flag, right next to a U.S. WWII army tank. [need to research this further]

   
   
Chartres-- a magnificient catheral. The exquisite stained glass was made in the 12th c., the statues and gargoles are elaborate and incredable to behold.


[Title: "Chartres Catheral - Front" ImageID: 535308_2 ]
[Title: "Chartres Catheral - Sundial" ImageID: 535308_3 ]

Sun 16 Sept.

Continued to tour Chartres.

Passed a BMW sedan pulling a horse trailer behind-- a rather humorous sight, if you ask me.


[Title: "Catheral in Verneuli" ImageID: 535308_20 ]


[Title: "Catheral in St.Faubarge-St. Colombe" ImageID: 535308_25 ]

In Caen we saw both the Dame and Homme Abbeys. The Homme Abby had gardens with a labrinth and a beautiful walkway.


[Title: "Dame Abbey" ImageID: 535337_6 ]
[Title: "Homme Abbey" ImageID: 535337_8 ]

We got lost hunting for the car and found a castle instead. Eventually we found the car, and then our hotel.


[Title: "Sunset in Caen" ImageID: 535337_9 ]

Mon 17 Sept.

Today we hunted down that castle, only to find that what we had seen the day before were fortification walls, but no castle remained. We toured the fortifications anyway, as well as the museum. The Dames Abby was also interesting, neat architecture; see photos, since these building are so hard to describe.


[Title: "Not-A-Castle in Caen" ImageID: 535337_13 ]

Note: it has been quite difficult to find a coffee shop in any town we've been to thus far. Another note: we have determined that these people only eat between 11am and 1pm, and again after 7pm. They appear very punctual and insistant about this.

On the way to Averance, we stopped in Swiss Normandy at Domfront. The town appeared to be fortified against the weather-- I stuck my head over the wall, and got a face full of wind so strong it nearly knocked me over.

When we arrived in Avarance the town turned out to be about 10x larger than the guidebook stated. Tried to see another castle, but it too only turned out to be fortifications that remained. That night we stayed at 'Hotel Patton' at Patton Place. Yes, Patton Place is named after the U.S. General Patton. In fact there's a memorial to U.S. forces in the middle of Patton Place, flying the U.S. Flag, right next to a U.S. WWII army tank. [need to research this further]

This evening we drove down to Mont St. Micheal, as Helen insisted upon seeing it at night. It was magnificent! I can see now why Helen has wanted for years to see this place.


[Title: "Mont St. Micheal at Night" ImageID: 860148_2 ]

For dinner we had a wonderful meal, though I ordered "escalopes", after Helen told me they were scallops. Wrong. Not sure what it was, but it tasted sort of like chicken. We enjoyed some hard Apple Cider with this meal. I think I could get used to this.

Tue 18 Sept.

Today we returned to Mont St. Micheal and hiked all the way to the top. I was more impressed today than last night, if that's possible. I have decided that place is the most remarkable, most impressive man-made structure I have ever seen. (I expect the greek and egyptian temples and pyrimids will equally impress me, but I have yet to see them.)

The hike to the top made us quite hungry, so we enjoyed another fabalous French meal. Accidently ordered "escalopes" again (due to a misunderstating of my non-existent French). I still think its a chicken dish. I should go and look it up...

Ah, I see: "escalop" means "cutlet", and is a popular means of serving veal, chicken, and other meats. Now I know. With today's meal I ordered an appitizer of mussels; it was more of a first course, and it was the largest serving of mussells I've ever gotten in my life: bigger than any main entry even. We split a bottle of Cider, which tasted better than the one last night, though Helen pointed out that it was the same brand. Hummmm. For desert we had 'strawberry ice creme' that was more of a sherbert, but delicious none-the-less.

Next we drove to the city of Vannes. As it was already getting late, we decided to have a walk through town, and have dinner.


[Title: "Catheral in Vannes" ImageID: 860148_24 ]

Wed 19 Sept.

We awoke early and continued touring the city of Vannes, including a visit to the local archaeology museum.

As we were driving to Carnac, we had the experience of attempting to buy fuel for the rental car. Quite an experience indeed, given that all the fuel pumps were labeled in French, and that the car required diesel. I pulled into a gas station, and a lady came out to pump the fuel. I appearantly was not "allowed" to pump it myself. Then I realized that the fuel door required a lever to be pulled from inside the car. But search and search as we did, we couldn't find it. The attendant lady left to help another customer, then came over to help hunt for the lever. We pulled out the owners manual, to no avail. Helen saved the day when we found a button in the center console under the emergency brake handle. She pressed the button, and the fuel door opened. Whew! Enough excitement for today!

Once we arrived in Carnac, we immediately started hunting out the megalithe monuments I so much wanted to see. I got to see several, including walking inside one of the stone tombs.


[Title: "Dolmen de Mane-Kerioned" ImageID: 871445_2 ]

[Title: "Carnac Megalithe Alignments" ImageID: 871445_11 ]

Next we visited the local paleontology museum. Finially we found our hotel, took a walk around town, and decided to have a dinner at the hotel resturant. An excellent choice as we had another excellent meal. I could definately get used to this food!

Thu 20 Sept.

Today we drove to Saumur, visiting the Troglodytes a Forges along way. These were underground houses dug out of the ground, typically made by the workers who were cutting blocks to build the local catherals and castles. As they excavated, they turned the "caves" into homes.


[Title: "Troglodyte Dwelling" ImageID: 860048_11 ]

Fri 21 Sept.

Today we toured Tours, including visiting a really cool castle (finially).


[Title: "A Real Castle at Last" ImageID: 861277_11 ]

Sat 22 Sept.

This morning we awoke early, had breakfast, and then dressed for the wedding (of a friend of Helen's, and her reason for coming on this trip). We then drove to Ambroise, had lunch, found out our hotel, freshened up, and then left again for the wedding. We arrived at the City Hall as indicated, only to find no obvious entrance. But we were not the only ones confused. After about 40 minutes most of the guests were milling about outside the building. Soon the bride and groom arrived, and they socialized a bit. Appearantly we had to wait for the person that runs the civil ceremony to arrive. When she got there, we all filed inside an ancient building, and we watched a French civil wedding cermony. I couldn't understand a bit of it. Next we all hiked across town (about 12 blocks at least) to the main Catheral, where the religious ceremony was to be held. It was a beautiful building, with lots of stained glass, and wonderful acustics. Again I could not understand any of the cermony, as it was entirely in French. Next we all headed to our cars to drive over to the reception. I should note that the civil ceremony started at about 3pm, the religious ceremony at about 4pm and folks started arriving at the reception place at about 5:20pm. We all milled about a bit, myself and Helen pretty much keeping to ourselves, since few people there spoke English. Eventually we found a couple who did, and had several delightful conversations with them. Next we were herded into the banquet hall, where the first of five courses were served. The food, as usual, was excellent. However, at about 11:30 pm, when we had only just received the 4th course, I began to wonder how long the evening was going to last. We gave up at about 3am, since the next morning we needed to drive back to Paris so Helen could catch her flight home. Most of the guests were still there however when we departed.


More articles about France:
 A Flight to France
 First Day in Paris
 Walking Tours of Paris
 Memories of Paris


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