Caen and Bayeux, Normandy, France

June 22, 2007  •  Bayeux, Caen, Europe, France, Honfleur, Normandy, Travel

We woke to an absolute downpour and Honfleur was totally empty – it was even hard to find a restaurant open at 11am but we settled on a small ice cream shop, of all places, on the Vieux Bessin where we ordered crepes and coffee. The buckwheat with ham and cheese, although huge, was bland and disappointing, but my husband’s regular crepe with hot diced apples, Calvados and ice cream made an excellent dessert bite!We left Honfleur and drove to Caen to see William the Conqueror’s castle and the 2 enormous abbeys. I am always stunned to see the amount of work and money that went into anything related to the church, and we read that it was these two abbeys that supposedly put Caen on the map politically.Today, Caen is a bustling small city with people rushing around to work on the Monday we were there, and this was our first lesson in trying to find lunch in the small towns and cities of Normandy. This isn’t like Paris and nearly everything shuts down at 2pm, so we scurried into the last open place we could find (past 2:30 already) for a simple meal at a cafe.I ordered the recommended special cold plate with room temperature slices of roast beef with frites, those excellent French fries after my first course of tomato salad (they were extra ripe and tasted like mid summer tomatoes).We arrived in Bayeux where we would spend two nights in time to see the famous Bayeux tapestry, the world’s longest tapestry that in detail explains the story of William the Conqueror. It was a perfect tour for us – you step in line, are handed headphones, are told to press 1 as you enter the winding hall with the tapestry, and you shuffle along listening to the story while you view the tapestry – all in 20 minutes!

After walking around the town a bit we landed on a small but busy spot for dinner and were seated in a back corner of the bar because we didn’t have reservations, another tip I learned about dining in the small towns of Normandy. For dinner I had salad with toasts of melted Camembert and bacon bits – REALLY delicious – and whitefish with green apples slice on top and baked in the oven, then drizzled with a Calvados-cider sauce and accompanied by bright green vegetables all over the plate and rice.

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