Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting away from Paris for a long weekend

My french class made a weekend trip to Normandy last Friday, and I took advantage of a full day, Saturday, to relax and "faire du shopping."
Bayeux, Saturday morning

Bayeux, the town we spent most of our time in, is small, with a walkable downtown. I had noticed on Friday night as we explored a little that there were lots of small shops with all kinds of things for sale, and it seemed like a good place to look for the little gifts I wanted to take back to friends.
Gift shop

So, Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast, I headed off to town.

Before I got there, however, I came upon something that always enchants me, a weekly market. Coming upon one of these by surprise, as I did, just makes the day for me. There's an atmosphere that's special -- the sounds, the smells, the sights, catching little bits of conversations as people greet each other, ask questions, corral their kids, and such.

And, a market gives me a chance to practice french!

This market had every kind of thing for sale: Animals, clothes, books, CDs, vegetables and fruits, flowers, cheeses, and all kinds of meat, fish, and shellfish, as well as prepared foods for eating then or taking home.

Chickens for sale

I could have spent the whole day there. 

Gorgeous veggies and fruits
Cheese market
When I texted Dennis photos of the rabbits, chickens and ducks, he suggested they would make great gifts. Perhaps...

And I did indeed find some nice gifts there, other than the beautiful and healthy little animals.

Catalan Paella in the market

Gorgeous dessert
Bayeux, as does all of Normandy, enjoys a great reputation for its regional dishes, among them, just about anything and everything made from apples.

Another specialty is dairy, so there are lots of dishes with cream sauces and cheese. Among others, the region is famous for its Camembert.

One of the students in our class and I had dinner together Saturday night and ordered several small plates to share, so we got to try five different regional cheeses, as well as a fabulous polenta dish with little slivers of brightly colored veggies tucked in everywhere.

Bayeux has a botanical garden, and it just happened to be right across the street from our hotel, so I spent a bit of my afternoon there. So peaceful and beautiful.

And for my friends who are as transfixed by birds as I am, I awoke every morning well before it got light to a vibrant dawn chorus, owing to our hotel's being adjacent to the garden. I hadn't heard this much birdsong in weeks. As is always the case for this trip, I couldn't put a name to anything, but whoever they were, merci beaucoup! 

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