Thursday, June 25, 2015

Honfleur and Villerville

Honfleur has been painted by many artists over the years and once you arrive at the harbor, you immediately understand why. Today there are more British expats than artists in residence, but the charming village feel of this port remains. 

 There are numerous streets stretching out from the harbor.
All the streets in the heart of the city are cobblestones, so make sure you wear the proper shoes! 

 If you have a tiny car, you can drive in, but it's a labyrinth.
The biggest wooden church in France is Sainte Catherine's
and yes you can enter and/or attend a service.
Some buildings have the year they were built literally engraved in stone.
 City Hall is a much more modern building.
Driving along the coast, Villerville looked like a movie set, and it was! 
The fictional town of "Tigreville" in the Jean Gabin and Jean Paul Belmondo film, "A Monkey in Winter", was shot here and numerous posters, pictures, and plaques note that fact.
 Even the town church was picturesque.
 There are access points down to the coast
 and you can stroll above the surf.
This is the view of where the Seine joins the Atlantic.
 My favorite view was the path leading south :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Deauville & Trouville in Normandy

The Atlantic coast of France is best experienced in the Summer, so I went to Normandy for the first time in the middle of June; for someone who has lived in Southern California, it was still chilly :) The most well known city is Deauville, where the film festival is held and rich city dwellers have Summer homes. The casino is a beautiful building on the edge of the coast.
The beach is laid out into sections with various services available along each section
including private cabanas named after famous actors and actresses, a bit like the stars on Hollywood Boulevard.
 There is a long boardwalk along the beach
 and various shelters from wind and sun on the beach itself,
 which was empty in mid June,
 as were the beachside cafes
 and Summer homes.
 Downtown Deauville was a bit more inhabited,
 and even had a small train going from the center of town to the beach.
 The center of town also had activities like shopping at high end stores,
 sleeping in the grand hotel,
 and strolling the city center park in front of Printemps department store.

Trouville is a much smaller city just north of Deauville and IMHO much more charming:)
There is a casino here but it was being renovated.
The main reason people came here was for the "Sea Cure" or as I would call it, "Fresh Air".
If you don't want to swim in the cold ocean, there is a heated pool.
The City Hall is as picturesque as the city itself.
Shops and restaurants line the harbor
offering seafood from Brittany and local catches like bulots (sea snails).

The beach amenities are built alongside the old bunkers from the war,
and as a symbol of how things have changed on the Normandy beaches, flowers now adorn the bunkers.
The beaches were almost empty,

as were the harbors,
but I saw Elvis hanging out:)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Museum of Architecture Part 2

The Museum of Architecture has so many models of old and new that I couldn't fit all the photos I took in one post, so here is part 2; this is the other half of the ground floor of the old as well as the upper floor of the modern. Enjoy!

A close up.
The other half of the ground floor (the photos in yesterday's post) can be seen and entered through several openings.

This archway
had incredible details underneath, like this in the center,
and this on the sides underneath the arch.
The intricate work standing from a few feet away,
is even more amazing up close.
There is an elevator or stairs to the upper level of modern architecture.
The Radio France Building and
the Citroen Building, both exist in present day Paris.
Resorts built into the natural landscape, skyscrapers, and temporary structures built for exhibition from all over the world, fill the upper level. There are also many video presentations about how certain structures were designed and built; I saw many students with notebooks, taking notes.
The upper floor also has a smaller exhibition of frescoes and wall paintings.
The most impressive sight was seeing three of Paris' great buildings through the windows of the Museum of Architecture. If the weather is nice, there is a ground floor cafe with a terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower where you can enjoy a bite or a drink outside; a priceless way to spend some time in Paris :)