Off to Normandy
“Over the Bounding Main”
Archie and I left the Dock Yard and drove to the Portsmouth to Le Havre Ferry. We were early (it was 5 PM and the ferry left at 11PM). This was the overnight ferry. Archie picked this ferry because we could sleep aboard and avoid an overnight hotel charge in France. A good move!
A word about Archie’s car: It is a 10 year old Fiat “Punto” in excellent condition. It has a 5 speed manual transmission and a 4 cylinder.1.2 liter engine that get over 50 miles per gallon. It clipped along at 60+ MPH and carried Archie and I quite comfortably. It was great to have a car in France because we drove many miles with lots of side trips. “Thanks, Archie!!”
This is the “Norman Voyager”. It is a UK registered ship with space for 200 cars and 120 tractor trailers and can carry 800 passengers. There are 120 – 2 and 4 bed cabins. The cars are on the top deck and the trucks are on the lower 2 decks. We must have had a full load of trucks because they went on first and there was a non-stop parade of them boarding before us.
Here is our route across the English Channel (or La Manche- as the French call it). It took about 6 hours for the crossing. During the D Day invasion, all the Allied invasion forces (troops, trucks, tanks, etc.) crossed from many ports in England at this wide point. It must have been a long anxious trip for the troops!!
I think the Germans were expecting the invasion forces to cross from Dover to Calais. A much shorter route. They were fooled, weren’t they!
Bright and early the next morning (Day 3 of my visit) we breakfasted on a “Full English Breakfast”. It consisted of: A fried egg, baked beans, broiled tomato, a slice of ham, a strip of bacon, some mushrooms, a half a bagette, and finally a piece of fried bread. GULP!!
After disembarking at Le Havre, we proceeded west along the Normandy caost and stopped at Deauville.
With its race course, harbor, international film festival, marinas, conference center, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the “queen of the Norman beaches” and one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in all of France. The closest seaside resort, when coming from Paris, the city and the nearby region of the Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast) has long been home to French high society‘s seaside houses and is often referred to as the Parisian riviera. Since the 19th century, the town of Deauville has been a fashionable holiday resort for the international upper class. Deauville is also a desirable family resort for the wealthy. In France,
Guess what? We thought we were in Deauville, but we were actully across the River Touques. in Trouville-sur-Mer, but the above narrative still applies, This is the Trouville-sur-Mer “Hotel De Ville” (City Hall).
After all that confusion, Archie needed a mid-morning coffee so we stopped the Brasserie le Central. It is the cafe with the red awning in the lower right.
I took a little walk around town while Archie went back to the car to be sure we had time left on the parking meter. He didn’t want a ticket. He didn’t get one.This is a statue of Gustav Flaubert the French writer who is counted among the greatest novelists in Western literature. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857). He spent some time here so I guess he rates a statue.
Now on to Page 4 and the D Day beaches.